Glance at a map and Alor’s Bird Head Peninsular is immediately obvious in the island’s northwest. The islands main town and main point of entry Kalahabi sits on the western side of the ‘neck’, the only significant piece of flat terrain anywhere on the island.
Alor’s coastline is chock full of beautiful beaches, secluded coves and sleepy coastal villages and some of the best of them can be found on Bird Head Peninsular. King of the castle is the stunning Batu Putih ‘White Stone’ beach at Kabola village on the east coast. Picture a small bay flanked with high cliffs, a wide sandy beach and crystal clear waters. Truly delightful!
Continuing anti-clockwise around the peninsular, the village of Mali at the northwestern tip has lovely beaches. At low tide you can walk out to the tiny island of Sika. Cross to the north side of the island for another lovely beach and some great snorkelling. If you’re feeling really adventurous, camp the night. Don’t worry if you miss low tide; it won’t be hard to find someone with a boat to take you across.
Next on the list is Kokar village. Whilst the stony beach lacks the ‘kapow’ of some of its neighbours, it deserves a second look. Thatched huts nestle under swaying palms, rustic wooden outriggers line the shoreline and in the evening, watch fisherman drag their nets as the sun sets over the bay. They may even let you join in if you ask.
On the western side of Bird’s Head, the snorkelling over the soft-coral garden just offshore at Sebanjar is first rate. In fact, it’s pretty good all the way down to Alor Kecil 3km’s south. Alor Kecil is also the jumping off point for the beautiful Kepa Island, only a five minute boat ride away.
For a change of pace, drop into the town mosque in the fishing village of Alor Besar. It’s home to Al Quaran Tua, a 12th century Koran that planted the seed of Islam in the Alor archipelago. Hand written on tree bark parchment, it’s a revered antiquity which for a small donation, you can see for yourself.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the Bird’s Neck’s charms but it does give you a taste of what you might find. It’s a great trip, especially suited to those with limited time or limited funds as a sealed road encircles most of the peninsular. Only a small section along the northeast coastline between Mali and Kobar is missing but you can breach that gap by using some of unsealed inland roads. Even without a map or road signage is almost impossible to get lost. It’s possible to circumnavigate Bird’s Neck using public transport but assuming you want to get off and linger at various points along the way it’s not really practical unless you have lots of time to wait around for the next service. The best option is to hire a car or scooters or use an ojek.