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Introducing West Timor

With rugged countryside, empty beaches and scores of traditional villages, West Timor is an undiscovered gem. Deep within its mountainous, lontar palm–studded interior, animist traditions persist alongside tribal dialects, and ikat-clad, betel nut–chewing chiefs govern beehive-hut villages. Hit one of the many weekly markets in tribal country and you’ll get a feel for rural Timor life, while eavesdropping on several of some 14 languages spoken on the island. In West Timor even Bahasa Indonesia is often a foreign tongue. Except in Kupang, its coastal capital and East Nusa Tenggara’s top metropolis, which buzzes to a frenetic Indonesian beat.