5 Fun Facts About Rote Island You May Not Know

For those who have visited Rote Island, usually leave with stunning photographs and wonderful memories to pass on to future travellers. But there is so much more to it than just beautiful beaches and gorgeous sunsets. Here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about the island!

Image by Phia Griffin via YouTube

It was found by a Portuguese sailor! 

According to local villagers, Rote Island (also spelled Roti) has a fascinating story about the origins of it’s name. It is said that it was a complete accident when a lost Portuguese sailor arrived the island and asked a farmer where he was. And then the farmer (unable to speak Portuguese) introduced himself as “Rote”!

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Villagers in Rote Don’t Mind Hanging Around Graveyards

According to, one of the things that stood out was the location of graves in the villages, which is placed randomly around town. It is also sometimes used by people and animals as a hang out spot!

Image by Reynold Sumayku

 They have turtles as endangered species on Rote Island!

The Roti-Island Snake necked Turtle is a critically endangered species that lives in three separate populations on Rote Island, which is collected for exotic pet trade. So if you happen to see these turtles, it is quite a rare opportunity!

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 They’ve got ancient musical instruments!

Rote Island isn’t just a place for surfers to discover new waves, it also has something to offer for musicians! A harp-like traditional music instrument (made of palm leaves) called the Sasando originated from the island, and it is said that it has been around since the 7th century. Legend has it that this instrument was inspired by a dream, from a boy named Sangguana who slept under the Palmyra tree.

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 They make jewelry from palm trees!

The Palmyra tree (or lontar palm) is often used for basic survival on Rote Island. It is also a means of income from fishing and jewelry making. So if you do visit, be sure to purchase it as a souvenir!

Plan your next holiday adventure to Rote Island and discover its beauty and history!

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