Budget Backpackers Guide For Rote Island, Indonesia

I had no idea what or where Rote Island was until 1 day before catching the ferry there. I turned up to Ende Airport on Flores Island and asked them what their cheapest flight leaving that day was which turned out to be to Kupang, West Timor. (It’s about and one hour and thirty minutes by plane.) So after booking the plane I started to google what to do in Kupang and it talked a lot about visiting the near by Islands which are some of the best places to surf.
Now I’m no professional surfer, I’ve body boarded about 4 times in my life when I was 8 years old in Cornwal, South West England so I thought I could give it a try. I mean, the sea is the sea right?…
Note to all those that think the sea is the sea.  It’s not. Coral is real. Coral is painful. Don’t try and attempt to ride the wave as far as you can. It’s not Cornwal. You’re meant to turn off once you start getting closer. I was not aware of this. If you do that you will end up on the coral, coral is sharp. Not a good idea. But other than that little incident, it was such an incredible experience and once the sun starts to go down over the horizon you’ll see the most beautiful colours in the sky with the sun a luminous shade of red. It was one of my favourite sunsets on this trip. In such a chilled out place, barely any people and just the beauty of nature surrounding me.
Ferry from Kupang to Rote
If you know you’re definitely coming back by fast ferry you can get a return. It works out cheaper. There is a slow ferry which is cheaper than the one I took but then it’s further from Nemberala the surf spot so the taxi will be more expensive. So it depends where you want to go.
The fast ferry currently (Nov 2016) leaves from Kupang at about 8 in the morning and takes about 2 – 3 hours depending on the sea. From there most people head to Nemberala for the surf. Now you can either get a private car which is really expensive or you can get a bemo (public transport) and the rate should be 25,000 – 30,000. They will try and charge you a lot more but just say you’ve been before and know what the cost is. (FYI you can fly there too)
Where To Stay On a Budget
If you’re backpacking and are on a budget the best place to stay at the moment is Thomas Backpackers. Just tell the bemo and they will take you straight there. The room comes with food included as this part of Indonesia is not very developed. You’ll pay around 15 -20 euros a day. There are not many places to buy food, especially if you go during off season like I did. There are barely any tourists and most places are closed. The restaurants that do exist are not the typical Indonesian prices. They are aimed for those on holiday so tend to be quite pricy, the typical street style food does not exist here. This place is predominantly for surfing and relaxing. Nothing else.
How To Get Around
As soon as you get to Nemberala you’ll need to rent a motorbike. It’s a must unless you’re staying in one of the hotels on the beach and are just going from there to surf. If you want to do anything else like exploring the different beaches ect you need a motorbike as it makes being there so much more fun. The beaches here are just insane. They are stunning, every five minutes you’ll find another spot and another.
Surfing Info
When it comes to the surfing, you head down to where the boats are and pay around 25,000 – 50,000 for the boat to take you out to the waves and they’ll wait for you and bring you back as the waves are in the middle of the sea not by the shore line. One day I went and just swam in the sea and bobbed around, the surfers definitely thought I was slightly weird. The second day I borrowed a body board and attempted to catch some waves.
Rote is gorgeous. So glad I rocked up at the airport in Ende and got on the cheapest plane. Adventures are fun and lead you into the unknown.

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