Rote is a beautiful little island in Indonesia, between Timor and Savu. Despite its remote location there’s plenty to do, making it a wonderful tourist destination. But first, you have to get there!
In order to get to Rote, you’ll first need to fly to Kupang, Timor, from either Jakarta or Bali – from Bali the flight will take around 2 hrs. Once you reach Kupang you can either take an aeroplane from Kupang airport for around 200,000 rupiahs which will take roughly half an hour including boarding time (15 minutes flight time).
Most people would recommend you fly, however if flying isn’t really your thing or you prefer to take things a bit slower, you can transfer to the local ferry port – about 20 minutes away from the airport – and take either a fast or slow ferry to Rote Island. The fast ferry will take roughly two hours, and the slower ferry closer to three or four hours. There’s usually a 10kg luggage allowance on the commercial flights, with surfboards incurring an extra charge of around 150,000 rp; while this is great news for backpackers, if you’ve got suitcases full of luggage you’ll probably be better off getting the ferry as you’ll be able to take more with you.
The slow ferry is around 80,000 rp, so significantly cheaper than the flights, however as mentioned it will take a lot longer. The ferry leaves Kupang at 8:30am every day and returns around 11am meaning there’s usually an overnight stopover in Kupang, and you’ll have to be up fairly early, but it does also mean you’ll get the whole day to explore. During the windier months (July and August) the ferry service can be somewhat sporadic so always check before you travel or book a flight instead to be on the safe side.
Alternatively, if you’ve got lots of spare cash burning a hole in your wallet, you can charter a private 12 seater plane to fly you from Kupang to Rote, which will set you back roughly $3000, but this might not be an option for the majority of people!
Once you arrive in Rote it’s likely you’ll need to get a taxi to wherever you’re going, or you can rent a scooter to get around; the roads are generally good quality so are easy to navigate. Rote, much like the rest of Indonesia, is incredibly beautiful and renting a scooter means you’ll be able to take in all the island has to offer at a pace that suits you.