Semau Island is a secret spot, unknown to most tourists. The beaches there are probably the most beautiful I’ve seen so far. The sand is super white and thin, and the water as clear as it gets, and the best part is, there’s no one there. It’s a little bit hard to get to it, but its beauty makes it worth taking a day trip from Kupang. Read on to discover how to get to Semau Island, what to there, and other things to do in Kupang.
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Semau is a small island near Kupang, in Timor, There are some villages on it, but it’s pretty remote, and except for locals, no one ever comes here. The island is really nice with a lot of fields and greenery. The villages you’ll cross have nothing special, but the people will probably be surprised to see you, expect everyone to say hello and try to talk to you.
How to get to Semau Island:
To get to it, you’ll have to rent a scooter first, then take a small boat from Kupang, in Tenau Port, don’t worry they will carry the motorbike inside the boat, it’s pretty spectacular to watch. You can see where to take the boat on maps.me, it’s not at the main harbor, but at one a little bit closer to Kupang. Don’t forget to ask about the return boat schedule.
There’s no boat schedule (only for the first of the day and the last one), the boats leave when full. You shouldn’t have to wait long, the boats are small and locals often make the trip. The boat is 20k IDR per person or 50k with a motorbike.
To reach the nicest beaches and the the viewpoint, you’ll have to cross Semau island, the roads are bad so it will take you about two hours. You can start by going to Bukit Liman (Letebun on maps.me), you’ll climb the hill and have a nice view of the two beaches surrounding it and of the small island in front of it. When you get down, you can enjoy a fresh coconut. Then you can go to the perfect beach, you would have past it on your way to the hill (see below for the GPS coordinates). The beach is boarded by pine trees, you cannot miss it, it’s the second beach coming back from Bukit Liman.
If you are a large group you should definitively try to hire a boat for the day, there are other nice beaches on the island, some you cannot access by road, and there’s also a really small deserted island which seems super nice, next to Bukit Liman.
Bring plenty of food and water because there’s truly nothing on the island. Don’t worry about gas, you can find it easily there, people sell it in front of their house, just honk if no one is there.
The green dot is where you’ll arrive, the red is the beach and the blue the hill.
And now you just have to enjoy and relax…
Other things to do in Kupang:
1 -Visit a Sasando Shop
If you’re looking for cultural things to do in Kupang, stop by Oebelo to visit the Sasando shop. Sasando is a traditional Timorese string instrument. The owner is really famous in his field, they export a lot and if you’re lucky he’ll play something for you. His son won Indonesia Got Talent playing Sasando, and he can adapt modern songs for you. You won’t feel pushed to buy anything, but it can be nice to make a small donation.
2 – Tablolong Beach
Paradise-like beach near Kupang, the sand is white and the water crystal clear. The sea is calm there. so it’s a good place to swim. It’s one of the best things to do in Kupang. Depending on if you’re lucky or not, there can be a bit of trash on the beach. It was clean when I went but other visitors complained about the problem. You’ll need your own vehicle to get there (the last stretch of road is bad) or to hire a taxi for the day. Entrance fee: 2500 IDR You should know: locals swim with their clothes on. As Timor is not touristy, most people probably have never seen someone wearing a swimsuit. You might want to adopt local customs when it comes to going to the beach.
3 – Crystal Cave
Located in Bolok District, the cave can be hard to find on your own. Ask around for the entrance, you might end up paying for a “guide”. There’s a lake inside so bring a change of clothes and a towel. Depending on the time of the day, it can be really dark inside so bring a flashlight.
The place is poorly managed, you pay an entrance fee (5K) but there’s no facilities there. It can get crowded in the afternoon but it’s usually closed in the mornings. If it’s closed when you get there, you’ll need to ask around to find the caretaker or you can try this number: +6281238767401
4 – Oenesu Waterfall
A nice 4-level waterfall, you can swim there during the dry season but not the rainy season has the water is too strong. You can visit it on your way to Toblolong beach.
Entrance fee: 3k IDR
5 – Mount Fatuleu
A 90-minute drive fro Kupang will lead you to Mount Fatuleu. The climb to the top is steep and challenging but the view is worth the climb.
Make sure you have good shoes and don’t suffer from vertigo. In some parts, there’s no path, you have to climb, and you do it without equipment. I wouldn’t advise going there with children.
6 – Watch the sunset at Tebing Cafe
Tebing Cafe is a great place to watch the sunset, one of the best thing to do in Kupang. The cafe is a popular spot amongst locals. They often have live music and the settings are great.
Related articles to help you plan your trip:
- So’E – Visiting Timor’s traditional villages
- Jaco Island – Timor Leste’s sacred beach
- Indonesia – Everything you need to know to plan your trip
- 10 items to help you save space when packing
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