Statue of the first President of Indonesia in Ende, East Nusa Tenggara

Things to do in  East Nusa Tenggara

So many islands, so little time

With more than 1,000 islets scattered across three seas, East Nusa Tenggara is island-hopping heaven. Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sees travelers flock to Flores—the province’s largest island—to snorkel with mantas and admire the dragons. Some extend their trip to highland Wae Rebo Village and the color-changing crater lakes of Mt. Kelimutu. Other things to do in East Nusa Tenggara include Sumba, a ruggedly beautiful island where megalithic tombs and peaked houses meet world-class surf.

Top 5 attractions in East Nusa Tenggara

Komodo National Park (Taman Nasional Komodo)

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Komodo National Park covers 669 square miles (1,733 square kilometers) of islands and pristine ocean. Its attractions are twofold: Komodo dragons, the world’s largest lizard, and lush reefs. Besides the dragons, wildlife includes boar, bats, deer, wild horses, and monkeys.More

Pink Beach (Pantai Merah Muda)

One of several pink beaches in Komodo National Park, Pink Beach (Pantai Merah Muda) is a sandy strand on Komodo Island. While edited photos often overplay its color, the beach does have a rosy tint, particularly at the shoreline, courtesy of tiny fragments of scarlet marine organisms that mingle with the white sands.More

Batu Cermin Cave (Mirror Rock)

A popular attraction for visitors to Labuan Bajo on the Indonesian island of Flores, Batu Cermin (Mirror Rock) Cave takes its name from the light that shines through a small gap in the rock and bounces off its silica walls. Though it has some interesting marine fossils, stalactites, stalagmites, and bats, it’s the light effects that make this small cave special.More

Rinca Island (Pulau Rinca)

The second largest island in Komodo National Park, Rinca Island (Pulau Rinca) is home to more Komodo dragons than Komodo Island—not to mention deer, wild boar, and monkeys. In addition to short and extended dragon-spotting hikes—including a new elevated walkway—it offers white sand beaches, a café, souvenir stalls, and the Niang Komodo Museum.More

Kalong Island (Pulau Kalong)

A mangrove-clad islet in Komodo National Park, Kalong Island (Pulau Kalong) is formally known as Koaba Island. But everyone apart from mapmakers calls it Kalong Island (Bat Island) because of its star attraction: a colony of flying foxes, which clouds the sky at sunset as the bats take wing for nearby Flores in search of food.More

Top activities in East Nusa Tenggara

All about East Nusa Tenggara

When to visit

East Nusa Tenggara is relatively dry by Indonesia’s tropical standards, so visiting during the rainy season—which generally peaks December through March—is less of a problem than in other parts of the country. April through November is the best season for surfing in Sumba. The Pasola, an ancient ritual featuring horseback javelin battles, takes over the island when the sea worms first appear in February or March.

Getting around

If time permits, sailing is the ideal way to explore East Nusa Tenggara: options range from luxurious dive liveaboards and modified phinisi schooners to ferries both large and small. Shared taxis (called “travel” on Flores) or private drivers are generally the most efficient way to travel between island towns, though Flores has some public buses. If you'd rather fly, West Timor has an airport, Sumba has two, and Flores has several.

Traveler tips

Sumba is an impoverished island in one of Indonesia’s poorest regions. Hospitality jobs and training can help lift whole families out of poverty and broaden young people’s horizons. The Sumba Hospitality Foundation non-profit runs a groundbreaking hospitality school in Tambolaka, West Sumba. Help support their friendly and passionate students by staying at Maringi Sumba, their training eco-resort, or savoring local flavors at Makan Dulu Warung Sumba, their educational restaurant.

Local Currency
Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
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People Also Ask

What is East Nusa Tenggara famous for?

East Nusa Tenggara is most famous for the earth’s largest lizard, the Komodo dragon. They’re only found in UNESCO-listed Komodo National Park, which also offers world-class diving. It’s also known for Flores island—home to Mt. Kelimutu and Wae Rebo Village—and Sumba, which offers surfing, peaked houses, and the Pasola ritual.

What islands make up East Nusa Tenggara?

East Nusa Tenggara is made up of more than 1,000 islands, across the Flores Sea, Timor Sea, and Indian Ocean. The three most important are Flores, Sumba, and West Timor, which shares Timor Island with the independent nation of Timor Leste. Komodo dragons have made Komodo Island and Komodo National Park famous.

Is Bali part of Nusa Tenggara?

No. Nusa Tenggara means “southeastern islands” and Nusa Tenggara is a region of Indonesia that contains two provinces: East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara. Although it’s right next door to Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara’s most important island, Bali, is its own province.

How do I get to Nusa Tenggara?

That depends on which part of Nusa Tenggara you want to visit, but most travelers start from Bali. Fast boats link Bali with Lombok and the Gili Islands in West Nusa Tenggara, while some liveaboards run trips to Komodo National Park in East Nusa Tenggara. There are also ferries and flights.

Is East Nusa Tenggara safe?

Yes. East Nusa Tenggara is generally safe and it’s unusual for tourists to experience crime. Strong and unpredictable currents make some Komodo National Park dive sites extremely challenging: dive within your limits and with a buddy, and ensure rental gear is in good condition and the boat has safety equipment.

What language is spoken in East Nusa Tenggara?

Indonesian is the national language of Indonesia and almost everyone in East Nusa Tenggara will speak it. But you’ll also hear a rich variety of local languages, including Kambera in East Sumba, Manggarai in West Flores, and Uab Meto in West Timor. English is widely spoken in Labuan Bajo, Flores.

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