Kupang is the capital of West Timor, the Indonesian portion of the island of Timor. It is also the capital of East Nusa Tenggara, a province which also includes Flores and Sumba. Kupang is an important transport hub, so it is very likely that you will end up here at some point if you’re visiting West Timor.
Getting to Kupang
Kupang is a major tourist hub for travel to eastern Indonesia, and is also a major port for trade across the country. As such, it is easy to reach by both air and sea. The most convenient way to get to Kupang is to fly. Here’s how to do it.
Getting to Kupang by plane
Kupang’s airport, despite its relatively remote location, is very well connected to other cities in Indonesia. Destinations include Denpasar on Bali, Jakarta and Surabaya on Java, and Ende, Maumere and Ruteng on Flores. Further afield, you can fly to Waingapu and Tambolaka on Sumba. As is always the case with small airports in Indonesia, you should be aware that the airport has a patchy safety record, and there have been a few incidents in recent years.
Getting to Kupang by boat
Kupang is a major port, and ASDP ferries run regularly from the city to other ports across Indonesia. Destinations currently include Aimere on Flores, and Waingapu on Sumba. As ever, ferry schedules are subject to change regularly and without warning. Check out the ASDP website before you travel.
Where to stay in Kupang
Kupang is not a major tourist destination, and there is not the huge range of hotels you would find on Java or Bali. However, there is enough for you to find somewhere to stay whatever your budget.
Luxury hotels in Kupang
If you’re looking to splash the cash during your time in Kupang, check out Hotel on the Rock. This property has stylish, modern rooms, a rooftop restaurant, and a range of rooms catering for a range of budgets, but the Sea View Suites are a great option if money is no object.
Another higher-budget option is Swiss-Belinn Kristal, a stylish, modern hotel on the beach at Pasir Panjang. Again, it’s more expensive than other options in Kupang, but it has all the mod-cons you could hope for, like a sauna, spa and wellness centre.
Mid-range hotels in Kupang
Kupang has a few mid-range options when it comes to hotels. One of my favourites is La Hasienda Kupang, which is a Mexican style hotel. Not what you’d expect, but I suppose that’s a big part of the fun. Neo Eltari is a very stylish property, with a palm-fringed pool and comfortable rooms. Rooms are air-conditioned, with TVs and a stylish design with carved wooden blinds and modern lighting.
Another decent mid-range option is Aston Kupang, a modern business hotel overlooking the sea. It has comfortable, modern rooms, a stylish bar and restaurant, and a gym and wellness centre.
Budget hotels in Kupang
As it is not a huge tourist destination, there is less choice when it comes to budget hotels than mid-range and luxury options. However, there are still a few choices. Sylvia Hotel is a good budget option, with basic but comfortable rooms. They all have en-suite bathrooms and TVs, and the rooms are a little faded but perfectly OK.
Cheaper still is Hotel Ledetadu, which has basic rooms which are nevertheless clean and comfortable. A range of Indonesian dishes are on offer at the on-site restaurant, and there’s a lovely outdoor terrace.
Where to eat in Kupang
Kupang’s a lively town with the nightlife and restaurants to match. There’s a better choice of restaurants than there is of hotels, including Indonesian and Western-style establishments – we recommend, of course, that you go for the former.
One of the most popular restaurants in town is Subasuka Paradise. It’s in a popular spot on Jl Raya, and is next to a chapel which is a popular spot for marriages. The food is an extensive menu of Indonesian and Chinese classics, done simply and served in hearty portions. Live music accompanies the food every night.
Another restaurant not to be missed is Bambu Kuning. This place is only open for lunch, and you’ll have to get there before all the food gets eaten – it’s very popular. The speciality is succulent smoked pork; the ribs are fantastic with an ice-cold beer. Don’t expect luxury, or even a seat – this place is just a small shack, but the best places often are.
What to do in Kupang
One unmissable experience during your time in Kupang is a visit to the Crystal Cave. As well as being a great place to cool off from the hot Kupang sun, it’s a beautiful spot, named for the pristine, clear water. It’s a little out of the way, but all the ojek drivers know it.
Another lovely coastal location in Kupang is Toblalong Beach. The water here is a brilliant blue, and it’s a lovely place to swim and sunbathe. Unfortunately, the beach is rather dirty, but hopefully cleaning-up measures from the local government will improve this in the near future. You can find more ideas for things to do around Kupang in this post.
Kupang is a lively port city, and the capital of both West Timor and the East Nusa Tenggara province. It’s an important regional transport and trade hub, so you will almost certainly end up here if you’re travelling to West Timor. It’s not a hugely popular tourist destination, but there is a decent range of hotels to suit every budget. There are also some fantastic Indonesian restaurants, and some lovely beaches and caves on the coastline.
Have you been to Kupang? Do you have any suggestions for how to get there, where to stay and eat, and what to do, other than those mentioned above? Please let us know in the comments below.