If after visiting Boti you’re still keen to see more of West Timor’s traditional villages and getting even further off the beaten track, instead of returning to Soe along the same route, head to Saenam village in the hills overlooking the Timor’s mid-south coast then head west. This route trails the coastline through tiny, rarely visited fishing villages and mile after mile of superb beaches.
Few tourists make it as far as the little village of Saenam and you can expect to be greeted by shy but welcoming locals. It’s not as traditional as Boti, but you’ll still find the obligatory Ume Khubu and Lopo. However, this detour is as much about the trip as it is the destination, as the winding mountain trail serves up some great scenery, more remote settlements, traditional farming and a glimpse of a way of life that the West has long since forgotten.
From Boti, backtrack to Oinlasi, then take a southeasterly route to Saenam village. This 45km section will take you a good 3 hours to complete. If you’re riding your own scooter, be sure to fill the tank at Oinlasi. There’s no accommodation at Saenam, although you could probably find a willing local host, so you’ll need to push on towards the coast.
Turning westwards, you’ll pass through the villages of Kuamnasi and Taehum before reaching the pretty stone beach of Kolbano. There’s a very basic homestay (Joy’s Homestay) if you want to hang around, otherwise push on. A couple more villages and 20km later you’ll hit Oetune Beach, an expansive stretch of sand and great place to stop and have a swim in the gentle surf.
From Oetune, the road veers north back into the hinterlands following the Noelmina River to the junction of the main Kupang-Soe road, some 38km and 1.5 hours later. From the junction it’s 32km east to Soe or 78km west to Kupang.
Whilst this entire trip can be completed in a day, the roads are in generally poor condition so it’s pretty slow going. Therefore, aim to get an early start. Apart from the homestay at Kolbano there are no facilities. Between Oetune and the main road there are sometimes villagers selling watermelon and other fruit by the roadside but don’t count on it; pack plenty of water and snacks for the entire trip. If you want to break the journey, there are lots of places to camp along the way if you want and you may be able to buy some fresh fish from any of the coastal villages along the way.