The capital town of Belu is Atambua. It is the smallest district with a total land area of 56.18 sq. kms. It has 12 definitive sub-districts namely Fatukbot, Lidak, manuaman, Resbesi, Fatubenao, Atambua, Berdao, Beirafu, Umanen, Tulamalae, Munumutin, Tenukiik.
On the village economic capacity, the villages of Kota Atambua were categorized as 1 village (8.33%) who are self-supporting (swadaya), 4 villages (33.33%) are self-sufficient (swasembada) and 7 villages (58.34%) are self-developing (swakarya).
The main town of Atambua has a total population of 73,794 (Male – 36,758; Female – 37,036) with a total of 14,253 Households. It remains to be the most populated area with a density of 1,314 people per sq. km.
CULTURE AND CRAFT
TAIS/SARUNG ADAT – This manually woven piece of cloth/shawl is traditionally worn by a-would be couple before their formal church wedding and sometimes as regular clothing. The motif and designs of the cloth varies depending on their tribe and culture. And it takes a month long to finish a quality sarong. This cloth can be bought in almost all villages of Belu. But nowadays, according to the local people, you can hardly see those who are capable of making a shawl with good quality. The traditional shawls are also been traded and sold in the market and shops downtown. The cost ranges from Rp. 80.000,- to Rp. 500.000,-. The one which costs Rp. 80.000,- to Rp. 100.000,- are thinner, shorter and sometimes of poor quality. While the Rp. 150.000,- to Rp. 500.000,- shawl, its thicker, longer in size and can be used as a regular clothing.
TENASAK/TEMPAT SIRIH- a box for betel nuts; made from young sprout of coconut tree leaves. It takes two days and at most one week to finish one box. The motif and designs are also dependent on the tribe where they belong. This can be bought in the villages of Belu, in the market and traditional shops in Atambua. The cost ranges from Rp. 20.000,- up to Rp. 50.000,-. The cost varies in terms of size, designs and materials used. This can also be used as coin purse or a wallet.
KALABAKA – is a small sling bag basically worn by men before their tribe’s wedding ceremony. The motif and the designs are dependent on their origin. But this is also normally used by the village old people as an ordinary bag for their “sirih” (betel nuts). This can be bought in the village but also in the market and traditional shops in Atambua.
HASE HAWAKA – It is a ceremony held in welcoming visitors, by the government, in the villages or even for ordinary house guests. They put a “selendang” (ties) on the shoulders or wrap around the neck after giving words of appreciation for the guest’s presence. While customarily, the guests are also requested to respond.
LIKURAI – A traditional dance performed in welcoming visitors. This is usually done by beating a small drum kept on the left armpit while gracefully dancing and with different formations.
ADAT PINANGAN – A ceremony held in the woman’s house to discuss marriage agreements for both families.
BULAN ROSARIO – It is a catholic rosary month which regularly takes place on May and October. In October, they usually held a procession of the image of the Virgin Mary, Bible and Holy Sacrament.
BAHASA INDONESIA – It is the national language of Indonesia; widely used by the locals in the work place and used as medium of instruction in schools, meetings or conferences and other daily activities. Most of the people in the district can understand and speak Bahasa Indonesia except for some native people who sometimes understood but do not know how to speak the language.
TETUN – is the native and main language of Belu; used in the proper town of Atambua and on the southern part of district: the Betun, Boas, Halilulik and Besikama.
KEMAK – another native language used in the middle part of Belu especially in Metamauk and Alas; part of Haliwen, Sadi and Desa Kabuna and on the north-western part of Belu, the Atapupu.
DAWAN – a native language used by people living in the southwestern part of Belu, in Nurobo, Manlea, Bidukfoho, Wanibesak, Desa Kekuun, Kaputu.
MARAE/BUNAK – a native language used by people living in the northern part of Belu like Wedomu, Lahurus, Nualain, Haikesak, Weluli (Lamaknen).
The Kabupaten Belu is dominated by Catholic, about 91.93%, Protestants – 6.36% while Moslems is only 1.58% and small percentages of Hindu and Budhism around 0.13%.
The public road of the Kabupaten Belu has a total length of 932.56 kms. The asphalted part is 510.88 km, re-graveled portion is 264.91 kms and still on the ground type which remains untouched for years is 156.77 kms.
But in terms of road condition, only 39.80% is in good shape, 47.93% has been destroyed and needs rehabilitation while 12.26% is in moderately good condition.
The 82% of the total transportation vehicles in Belu is represented by motorbikes.
The district had recorded a 420% increased vehicular accidents from 40 in 2005 to 208 in 2006. There is also an increase of 68.42% in terms of mortality rate due to vehicular accident (from 26 in 2005 to 38 in 2006 DEATH cases) while those who have sustained serious and light physical damaged has increased from 25 in 2005 to 279 in 2006.
The Airport (Bandar Udara Haliwen) of Kabupaten Belu is located in Jl. Adisucipto, Haliwen. The 20-seater aircraft of MERPATI and Trigana Air has a twice a week flight, every Tuesday and Thursday, from Atambua to Kupang and vice-versa (Kupang to Atambua every Wednesday and Friday). Without delays, the flight is approximately 45 minutes and the ticket costs Rp. 184.000,-.
The flight schedule also is not reliable since it depends on the number of passengers and the weather condition.
Other information, there were only few bemos but lots of ojeks waiting outside the airport. And it takes 10 – 15 minute drive to the main town of Atambua from the Airport. While the ticket can be purchased or booked at Timor Travel (Tlp 0389-22292; 0389-22455; Fax 0389-22291) and in Timor Hotel (0389-23023; 0389-23030; Fax 0389-23033).
For long distance and out-of-town travel, there were available public and private buses and van transport. The bus and van companies are (Val Estevas)