It sits along the highway in the heart of West Timor but with ample hotels and a claim to royalty SoE is a place that has a few charms. Finding accommodation is simple, a string of hotels and home-stays litter the main street.
Here are a few disjointed facts and sightseeing ideas in Soe that will be sure to kickstart your inland adventure.
Stop at the Amanuban palace, built in 1913. This is located 27km in the east towards NIki Niki. Skulls were brought here by the local headhunting village of NONE and to this day reside in the caves behind the main building (which is rather small for a palace). To one side there is an ancient graveyard where SoE’s royal blood line have been laid to rest.These include ‘THE LAST KING’ and a Mr Bil Nope who in 1910 decided to die on his own terms by burning, 22 people opted to join him.
Head 10km to the north and marvel at a seven tiered waterfall named Air Terjun Oehala or push further into the scenic and undulating Bola Palelo valley. Onward from there you can reach the Fatumnasi mountain range which according to hilarious guidebook leaflets are “attempting mountain panorama.” Ancient bonsai trees and sprightly flora make these areas a pleasant detour. 80km south of SoE is a colourful pebbled beach but if you are going to West Timor to look at beaches there is nothing on the mainland that compares with Rote Island.
You will notice timber yards throughout the region, an export material throughout the region although Timor’s most famed product is sandalwood. The ample quantity of this resource led West Timor to war under colonisation by the dutch who arrived in 1640 and fought the already settled Portuguese for rights to the land. Eventually in 1914 a treaty was signed by the two European countries when East and West Timor were officially divided by a border. The oil from this treasure can trade for up to USD$2000 or 1kg.
Oh and one last little fact, the statues that depict the “OK” hand signal are referring to the three kingdoms of West Timor uniting as one.
For more information on the intriguing villages around the SoE area check out our guide to the villages of West Timor