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Lembata is an island in East Nusa Tenggara in Indonesia.


  • Lewoleba — largest city and main gateway to the island.
  • Lamalera — traditional whale-hunting village.


Lembata is east of Larantuka, Adonara and Solor. It is popular for its volcanoes, the most popular, Ile Api next to Lewoleba, the capital of the island, as well as for the village of Lamalera where locals hunt for whales in a traditional way.

Get in[edit]

Wonopito Airport (Indonesian: Bandar Udara Wonopito) (IATA: LWE), also known as Lembata Airport, is the airport serving Lewoleba. TransNusa and SusiAir fly between Kupang and Lewoleba.

Wooden ships (kapal motor) arrive in Lewoleba from Larantuka two or three times a day, 50000 rp one way (3+ hours). These boats also stop in Adonara on the way. As of April 2014 there are one or two weekly boats from Lewoleba to Alor.

There are also Pelni and other ferries from Kupang. Also flights to the nearby airport at Lewoleba.

Get around[edit]

Ojeks will meet you at the ferry. A ride around Lewoleba is normally around 10000 rp. Ojeks are also good for the nearby villages. A daily bus plies the bumpy road to Lamalera once a day around noon.

Achan (+62 812 3976 2320) is a reliable ojek driver who speaks some English and has a very welcoming family. He can take you around the nearby villages or take you to Jontona for Ile Api.

See[edit][add listing]

The whale hunting season in Lamalera starts in the beginning of May (May 2 in 2014) with a big celebration. The season lasts 6-7 months and you can join the hunters on one of their trips for a small payment. They kill around 15 whales a year and are exempt from the international ban on whaling.

But honestly, being there on a day when they spot a whale is not very likely. Some people reported (October 2014) fees for a ride on an extra boat (which has an engine, unlike the whalers boats which are man-powered) have skyrocketed.

Do[edit][add listing]

A handful of people climb Ile Api near Lewoleba for an amazing experience. The trail starts from the village of Jontona (reachable by ojek, from 25000 one way) and up an overgrown but somewhat driveable trail (the ojek can take you up some of the way if you pay more) to the abandoned village of Desa Lama (Kampung Lama) which as interesting destination in itself. The hiking trail starts from there up all the way to the smoking crater of Ile Api. For that and other volcanoes on Lembata, see Gunung Bagging for good information.

Visit one of the villages on the foot of Ile Api. If you can find a local who speaks english, which is rare, you will get a warm welcome. You may find someone to take you to the abandoned villages a little bit uphill, where they still keep their old rituals and spirits of the ancestors alive.

You can ask for Johannes in Lewoleba. He is a former missionary and speaks good english. He is from one of the villages an dreams of being something like a tourist guide for people who are willing to discover the place! He is known in Hotel Lewoleba. Very honest person!

A freelance tourism office has open near the Pelni harbor. Ella is working there, and is a very nice person. She can advice you places to go, rent motorbike ( 100k a day). She's only earning money from the tourists and the trekking/diving opportunities, nothing from the governement. Office open around 9am to 5pm Speaking a little english, better to have some indonesian knowledge, like everywhere on the island.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Various Rumah Makan and small warungs around town.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

The legendary Lile Ile was closed in April 2014 but worth checking out if you need cheap accommodation and the company of the owner Jimmy. It is a very short walk on the main road from the harbour, you probably won't need an ojek.

Hotel Lewoleba has rooms from 50000 (single, no fan, no AC) onwards. If you walk from the harbour (15 minutes), walk on the main road till you reach the traffic lights and turn right.

There are another couple of places too.

  • Hotel Rejeki, JL Trans Lembata No 93, Lewoleba, (0383) 41028. Traditional Indonesian hotel in the centre of town. Friendly and helpful management, can arrange travel and motorbikes 150 000-225 000.  edit


Telkomsel has good 3g around town if you have one of their SIM cards.

The post office has Western Union. The banks don't change foreign currency but there are ATMs.

There is a spot on the main road, about 500m further than Rejeki hotel. You need data on your phone to order the 5000rp access per day. Or ask a local to do it with it data, and pay him A warnet is available not far from the Pelni office, but expensive (10k for 3h)

Get out[edit]

Alor, Adonara or Larantuka by wooden ferry (see the get in section). There also Pelni ferries to Kupang.

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