Alor is home to the only commercial airport in the Alor Archipelago. Mali Airport (ARD) is located around 30 minutes to the northeast of Kalabahi by ojek.
As of mid-2017, Alor Mali primarily serves flights to Kupang in West Timor with NAM Air, Trans Nusa and Wings Air, with Susi Air supposedly offering flights to both Atambua and Kupang in West Timor. The flight to Kupang takes about 50 minutes.
Both ojeks and taxis meet the flight and can ferry you in to Kalabahi. An ojek costs 30,000-50,000 rupiah, a car 75,000-100,000.
Kalabahi is served by three boat options: smaller local ferries running daily to Baranusa on Pantar, medium-sized longer distance car ferries which run weekly, and the largest Pelni ferries, which run far further afield but only pass through Kalabahi every two weeks.
When it comes to boats, ALL schedules are subject to last-minute change due to any number of variables—weather and maintenance being the two big ones. If you’re aiming to arrive at Kalabahi by boat for onwards flights, we strongly recommend allowing for ferry disruptions (i.e. aim for Kalabahi the day previous to your flight).
Departure times should be taken with a grain of salt. Essentially, always get there early and wait.
To/from Baranusa, Pantar
There is a public passenger/cargo boat which leaves Kalabahi at 08:00 daily for the four-hour trip to Baranusa on Pantar. This service often leaves a bit early, so get there early! Tickets are 50,000 rupiah.
If you miss the boat to Baranusa, there is a daily 11:00 ferry from Kalabahi to Kabir (also on Pantar) which costs 40,000 rupiah, but from there you will need to charter a boat to reach Baranusa.
The Ileape does a weekly milk-run starting and finishing in Kupang which passes through Kalabahi on a few occasions. If you’re heading west to anything beyond Pantar, this service is your only option. There are no regular small ferries heading west from Pantar.
As of mid-2017, this was the timetable:
Kupang -> Lewoleba 12:00
Lewoleba -> Solor 07:00
Solor -> Larantuka 09:30
Larantuka -> Solor 12:00
Solor -> Lewoleba 13:30
Lewoleba -> Deri 18:00
Deri -> Baranusa 23:00
Baranusa -> Kalabahi 07:00
Kalabahi -> Bakalang 12:00
Bakalang -> Kalabahi 14:00
Kalabahi -> Baranusa 08:00
Baranusa -> Deri 12:00
Deri -> Lewoleba 20:00
Lewoleba -> Larantuka 04:00
Larantuka -> Lewoleba 08:00
Lewoleba -> Kupang 12:00
The least regular service, but the most appropriate for longer journeys by ferry, Kalabahi is served by the Sirimau which comes into port roughly every two weeks. Its route though is focused east to Papua with only Kupang and Larantuka being the more mainstream destinations. Check the Pelni website for up-to-date schedule and pricing information, but generally speaking, if you’re heading west, use the MV Ileape, as it is more frequent and more direct.
Kalabahi is fairly small but an ojek across town shouldn’t cost more than a couple of thousand rupiah. We routinely paid 2,000 rupiah from Mama’s to Cantic Homestay, for example.
For further afield, say to Alor Kecil (for the boat to Kepa), an ojek should cost 15,000 to 20,000 rupiah and a bemo (shared) 5,000 rupiah. There is no public transport to Batu Putih; you’ll need to hire a scooter or charter a bemo.
Cantic Homestay can arrange motorbike hire for 100,000 rupiah per day. Remember to check your travel insurance policy before jumping on a scooter in Indonesia, and always wear a helmet.
Morning buses run from Kalabahi to Kokar in the north (handy for Sebanjar and Hula) though if there are a few of you, chartering a bemo (or renting a motorbike) will give you a lot more flexibility for not all that much more money.
If you’re wanting to go to Takpala or Tuti Hotsprings by public transport, you need to get a bus bound for East Alor which will pass through Bukapiting. We were not able to get a clear time on bus departure, but recommend starting early in order to get back would be a good idea!