Travel in West Timor isn’t easy. Most villages are hours off paved roads, and getting to them on motorbike after negotiating endless potholes and skirting past treacherous drops is the only way to reach them. Once there, to get access to villages like these, the old head-hunting village of Nome and the incredible Temkessi, you must present an offering of betel nuts to the village chief, who will then invite you for a look around, a chat, and, if you’re lucky, a bed for the night in one of the smoky beehive huts (ume kebubu). This offers an insight into the fascinating animist culture of the place, and you learn of interesting traditions, such as the one in Temkessi, where, once every seven years, youths of the village face an endurance test – they must haul themselves up a sheer rock face, a live goat strapped to their backs, get to the top, slaughter the goat, and eat the whole thing to ensure a successful harvest! Indonesia offers some of the most exhilarating travel in Asia, and an incredible diversity of people, culture, and wildlife – just the tonic for the adventurous explorer tired of air-conditioned malls and vehicles, routines, and all the other things that make life habitual and rather boring. Go and see for yourself!
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