Holiday time is around the corner, and I bet many of you are heading to the beaches. Instead of the usual place (a.k.a Bali), why not head out a path less beaten? If you’re not after luxury, but want to be close to nature, wake up to unobstructed view of the sea, eat delicious, home-cooked, seafood meals with a French flair, all for a fraction of the cost of Bali, then read on!
Kepa Island is located in Alor, East Nusa Tenggara. To get there, you fly from Jakarta to Kalabahi, the capital of Alor Regency (Kabupaten Alor). From Kalabahi, a 30 minute car ride will take you to the Alor Kecil Village, where you then board a small motorized canoe for a 3 minute crossing to Kepa Island.
What’s on the Island?
There’s a small village, and of course, there’s the fabulous La Petite Kepa, a small homestay managed by a charming French couple in collaboration with the people of Kepa Island and Alor Kecil Village. Cedric, Anne and their cute daughter Lila have lived in Alor for more than 10 years.
What to do on the Island? Work really, really hard. At relaxing
The days are spent swimming, snorkeling, diving, reading and conversing with each other. The water is gentle and safe for children (but the littlest ones still need to be supervised by adults). Dolphins are often seen around the Island—I even got to swim with them up close. After a hard day of relaxing, everyone sits around a table enjoying simple yet fresh and tasty meals, with a bit of a French touch.
There are nine bungalows at La Petite Kepa, so there are no crowds. Children are very welcome; Lila, who speaks French, English, Indonesian (and some Alorese!) will be their own little guide and friend. The guests are mainly European, so if you’re learning a European language, it’s a great place to practice, as at any given time there could be many different nationalities there.
One small warning though: there are no fresh water sources at Kepa Island, so water must be brought from the mainland in small boats. Guests are therefore encouraged to use as little water as possible, but it’ not at all hard to live with just a few splashes of water. Really. After all, when you’ve spent the whole day going back and forth to the sea, the last thing that you need is to soak some more with a bath. And don’t worry, drinking water is plentiful, and plenty of sea water is made available for toilet flushing,
For detailed information about La Petite Kepa, check their website: http://www.la-petite-kepa.com/. The price is Rp125,000 per person including 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Diving and snorkeling equipments are available for hire. Mandala Airlines flies direct to Kalabahi (with a stop-over in Surabaya and Kupang) every Sunday and Thursday, and from Kalabahi to Jakarta Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday (http://book.mandalaair.com/). My round trip fare from Jakarta was Rp2,7 million.
Fashion: Kepa is a very laid back and relaxed place, people tend to dress very casually in shorts, shirts and tank tops. Remember, it’s not Legian.
Beauty: Don’t forget to bring a hat, a cover up, sunglasses with UV protection and a lot of sunscreen (check for UVA and UVB protection). Forego soaps for your bath and use an in shower conditioner to lather up (such as the Olay In-shower Body Lotion), and your skin will stay moist and soft. Don’t rinse conditioner off your hair (or use a leave in condition) to keep your hair from drying. For a bit of color on your face, use a natural cheek stain such as Tarte’s or Benefit’s.