30 November 2016

10 DAYS IN FLORES

Hey there fellow travelers and non-travelers..hehe. Actually, this is a travel that I did for more than a week in May and the destiny is NTT, Flores. Came here just for a vacation to escape the busy life of Jakarta! It's also one of the things that is in my bucket list this year cause I've been dying to visit and explore this beautiful place! Went here with Fun Adventure tour with a 6D5N package (6 days, 5 nights). The package already included sailing and Overland Flores. What's that you ask? Well, sailing is for all the water activities, like the boat you use to travel between islands for example, then we have overland, which is like you may have guess, it's the land activities, like exploring Labuan Bajo and Ende. At first, I was also blind about Flores, like is it an island or a city or whatever but after this adventure, I finally learnt a lot of things! That is the beauty of traveling, isn't it? So I want to share this little knowledge that I have to all you lovely readers out there!

Labuan Bajo here is like the city, it's like the Jakarta of Flores and Pulau Komodo is like the Pulau Seribu. You need to use a boat from the harbor to roam about them, whereas Ende is also another city, like Surabaya. Places like Wae Rebo and Kelimutu lake is actually in Ende, to get to Ende from Labuan Bajo, you can either go by plane or just by car, which will take about a day, so I recommend the plane if you have limited time!

From where I live, which is Jakarta, I went to Labuan Bajo by plane, which can either go directly or transit to Bali and there's not much difference on the price, probably about 3 million rupiahs for the two ways direct ticket! The tour usually starts early, around 9 am, so I decided to depart from Jakarta a day before the tour, which is on May 4th and the tour starts from May 5th - 10th!

A bit of warning that this will be a pretty long post with mostly pictures on it with me less talking, though I think it's contradicting what I'm doing now, but trust me, the more you scroll down the less you'll read me yapping! XD

Now, let's start this exciting adventure!



DAY 1

Arrived at Labuan Bajo in the evening and got into a rented car that you can literally find anywhere in the airport! Don't worry about getting ripped off cause their system is usually IDR 100K per car with only 1 destination allowed, no matter how many heads, though I guess it adds up to 6 people only! The hotel I stayed at is pretty close to the airport, like 10 minutes close and it's called L Bajo Hotel. The hotel costs about IDR 350K++ per night. After dropping off my baggage, I rented a motorcycle to roam about Labuan Bajo, since it'll be a waste not to! Explored the place by asking the locals for recommendations and settled on a place called Wae Cicu. Labuan Bajo is pretty small, so you don't need to worry about getting lost, trust me!


WAE CICU POINT

To go inside this place is free of charge and located like on the main street..sigh, if only Jakarta has a place like this! :'( These hills is right next to the main street and it's a 10 minute climb to the top! There you'll find a perfect place to enjoy both the sunset and sunrise! You definitely have to include this on the list!


The first hill I climbed and the view is already all around super breathtaking!




Here's another hill! You can find many hills here but it's better to look out for the one people visit more, it's usually the one with the best view!





Yeap, you can see all of these beautiful scenery on top of Wae Cicu hill! Everywhere you look, it's God's art!




The sun is ready to set!!


KAMPUNG UJUNG

Usually, Labuan Bajo first timers will be recommended to try dining here. It's called Kampung Ujung and it's like a seafood paradise! Again, it's located beside the main road and you can find all sorts of food here, like chicken noodles, fried rice, and more but I decided to go for what they're known for and it's the seafood!


You can choose your own fish! Lol! There's an ugly truth though, you need to really pay attention when choosing the fish, since not all of them are fresh!



Bon appetit!


DAY 2

Here's where the Fun Adventure starts! You can ask to be picked up at the hotel to the harbor and again, the harbor is also pretty close to L Bajo Hotel. Just another 10 minutes to get there, so I really recommend this hotel! Fyi, there are 2 harbors in Labuan Bajo, so make sure you go to the right one!


Here comes the water~ Look at how clean the sea is, even the area near the harbor! It's nothing like the ones you find in Jakarta! I just love blue colored sea water! I mean, who doesn't?



PULAU KELOR

Pulau Kelor is not a place to be inhabited, it's only for sightseeing, so we just explored a little bit and left. By the way, please don't litter here! Keeping clean is very important if you want to see this kind of blue sea!





We went trekking to the top of this hill. It might not be that high but I think it's pretty steep and covered with sand, so it's very easy to slip! Out of all the island I went, I think this one has the steepest hill even though it's not that high!



The higher you get, the more beautiful the scenery!



Woohoo, finally made it to the top and will you just look at that view? Breathtaking!



PULAU RINCA (LOH BUAYA)


Next stop of our sailing is this island! A place to see the Komodo dragons!


Honestly this place is just scorching hot! You better remember to put on sunscreens with high SPF or else you'll definitely get burnt! Just look at how dry the trees are because of all the heat!




For safety reasons, the ranger always carries wooden stick and always nearby to protect us from a sudden Komodo attack!





Ta-dah!! There's the Komodo, small ones and big ones. Remember to keep your distance and don't make any sudden moves or else they'll attack! Another reminder is to not have any hanging objects, like key chains, etc..just don't!





Pulau Rinca is a pretty huge island. After seeing the Komodo, we went to see the solo tree. Exactly as the name says, it's a lonely tree in the middle of nothing!


And again with the trekking, it's definitely not for the weak..lol! There's a lot of effort involved but the reward is just too good to be missed!


There's the close up view of the solo tree..lol!


But not only that, there's also this amazing view!


Back to sailing!


PINK BEACH 1

Yes, the sand is actually pink from all the broken red corals but since it's visited quite a lot by humans, the pink color is sort of faded now. :(




Another trekking but this one is optional. The climb is pretty easy here, since it's not that slippery, though it still is steep. From the top you can also see the sunset complimented with a yet another amazing view!








PULAU KALONG (SUNSET SPOT)

In this area, you can see bats that are well known as 'Kalong' in Indonesian. When it gets dark, they will start to fly about but we didn't get there quite on time.. :'(


The sunset!! Super psyched to be able to see it without any buildings getting in the way and I get to see it from the boat in the middle of the ocean! Fantastic!




KAMPUNG KOMODO

Gonna spent the night here! This island is where the locals of Komodo lives. Be sure to not wear any revealing clothes here cause their religion is pretty strong here!


Houses won't have air conditions and electricity is also limited here, where it's turned off in day time and on from night 'till dusk!




Our inn, very modest with amazing foods!






You can just forget your phone cause you need to get to the pier at night time just to get phone signals and that is only for Telkomsel! So do me a favor and just enjoy nature! Try looking up the sky, you'll find it much more interesting than your phone screen!


DAY 3

Sailing~


PULAU PADAR

A must visit spot when traveling to Flores! This is like the most favorite spot and to get to the good spot you need to go....yes, trekking!


Can't say how long the trekking last, since it depends on your stamina, maybe about 45 minutes? Remember, the higher you go, the prettier the scenery! That's what kept me going!





LOH LIANG





Loh Liang here is similar to Loh Buaya, a place to see the Komodo dragons. You'll find more here though, since the island is bigger and so is the population!



You'll find 4 tracks that you can choose; short, medium, long, and adventure. The difference is the amount of trekking you'll do in terms of kilometers!


Another ranger to protect you and this time, there're 3-4 people because it's deeper in the wilderness and chances of a Komodo to surprise you is bigger!




On the way back, we'll stop by FREGATA HILL!




And sailing again~

PINK BEACH 2


Now this one is a less known Pink beach, so the color is still super pink! There'll be no trekking here as there're no hills. It's a smaller island compared to Pink Beach 1!




DAY 4

You know the drill..sailing~


TAKA MAKASAR


A small island in the middle of the ocean! Similar to the one in Lombok but here the color of the sea is pure blue, whereas in Lombok is more of a turquoise color!


Lunch will be served here while being in the boat of course and then you can take a dip. Who wouldn't be tempted to in this beautiful sea? Even with the sun, I'd still go for a swim! You can easily look into the bottom of the sea with this clear water! Perfection!



Sailing~

Usually afterwards you'll be taken to MANTA POINT. Manta is actually the name of a fish that you can see from the boat, if you're lucky enough like me! It's black and looks like a stingray. Saw it only for 2 seconds, so didn't get the chance to take a photo of it!

GILI LABA/ LAWA

Let's go on another trekking!


Just halfway through the climb and you'll be able to see this view!



The top hill view!


Sailing~

PULAU KANAWA

A more commercial island, where the rules kinda changes every now and then. Sometimes you need to order foods for a minimal to go in but I was lucky enough to only need to pay for the entry tickets!


Another trekking but I was tired, so I decided to just play around the beach..lol!




You can also go swimming here, watch out for the sea urchins though! Try getting into a deeper area or just wear fins for safety!


Not interested in getting wet? Well, you can go canoeing instead! It's a bit of a waste though, you'll miss out on all the beautiful sea creatures!



Sailing back to Labuan Bajo! The Komodo sail is finished, so time to get back to shore~


DAY 5

Woke up at dusk for the overland Flores! Going to Denge from Labuan Bajo by car and it's the final village before Wae Rebo. The trip took quite a while and we'll stop by this place for breakfast. Just a random diner, I got the Gado-Gado and this is what it looks like. Definitely different than the ones I'm used to!



The journey to Denge village is pretty scary, since on your riding in the middle of the cliff and the road is only fit for one car. Good thing there's no car from the opposite way! Though it's scary, the view is still gorgeous with all the plants, it's as if you're in a garden instead of a cliff!




FINALLY MADE IT!!
It's the last stop for those who wants to hike up Wae Rebo and there's a lodge here, non-AC as expected. All around the place is just plain field with no phone signal, just plain resting area!





Gotta fill your stomach before trekking up Wae Rebo now!


Though it's a very simple and traditional dish, it's very delicious! Especially the chili!


WAE REBO

We had a local guide to accompany us while trekking to Wae Rebo. You don't really need to worry about getting lost actually, since there's only one track and a not so difficult one, just slippery after the rain!


Normally, it'll take 2-3 hours to get to Wae Rebo village!


Going towards the hill, we were warned to not take any pictures upon the hike. Didn't know the real reason why, since the answers differs, just know that we can only take pictures again after performing the welcoming ceremony at Wae Rebo!


It feels satisfying when we could finally see the village from afar, you'll know what I mean after trying it yourself. This is a picture taken at a hut near the village. In this hut the local guide will ring the bell to signal that we want to visit.



Finally arrived!! We were brought to the inn right after and we need to sit into a circle and go through the ceremony. You can record the ceremony but no taking pictures. They'll speak in a language that I'm not familiar with but just know that they welcome us well!


See that circle area? Do not go up there! I don't know why but it's forbidden. There's a lot of rules in their tradition but it's best to just follow them, you're in other people's area!


Reaching the village made me really happy! Plus the air is cold and it's like you're in a place that you'd never imagine and the locals are all very friendly! :D


Where we'll sleep for the night. No AC needed as the place is cold already!


They sell their self made crafts here and it's pretty expensive. The big ones will cost you about IDR 500K and the small ones are about IDR 250K, it all depends on the motif. Other products they sell are coffees, honeys, cinnamon, chili, and more!


Indomie!! Made with firewood, which made it taste a whole lot better! Enjoying this in the cold weather is the best!



We'll have to get into a circle again for dinner. Again, simple but because it's made with firewood, it definitely taste way better!


Because the electricity is limited, charge your phone while you can! Lol!


Yes! This is what I'd been waiting for! Countless of stars can be seen from Wae Rebo because it's pretty high up and the darker it gets, the more stars there is! Good thing it didn't rain or else I won't get to see this!




DAY 6

Woke up early to go on another trekking to that building at the top. It's Wae Rebo's library! You have to bring at least one children's book if you come to Wae Rebo, doesn't have to be new but you need to bring it!


On top of the hill, we could see the sunrise from behind the mountains! Like those children drawings!


Look! A rainbow! How magical~



Day or night, it's all pretty!






The kitchen~


After breakfast, we went back to Wae Rebo lodge to shower and rest before continuing our trip to Ende. It'll take all night to get there, since we're going by car. On the road to Ende, we were supposed to drop by SAWAH LINGKO, a field that looks like spider web, but it rained, so forget that..we went to dinner at Ruteng area instead!

DAY 7

After getting car sick all night, we finally arrived at DANAU KELIMUTU. We get to see the sunrise here!


To get there, we went through yet another trekking. It's cold here, so you better bring more layers of cloth! The trekking is super easy here because it already became a recreation spot, so there's stairs and asphalt roads and all that but it is freezing! It will take about 30 minutes to get there!


All the sunrise hunter!



Ta-dah!! Here's the lake! So pretty! Be careful though cause once the sun rises, there'll be a lot of monkeys coming out. Don't step over the fence and careful with foods! If you slip and fell into the crater, the staffs won't be responsible cause you were warned, so be very cautious!






Kelimutu actually has 3 craters and usually people take pictures on the top one, because of the sunrise. The other 2 is just a black non-active ones.






This is what the track looks like, easy right?




Here's the black crater one, we'll pass this while going to the blue lake.






And the tour ends here!


DAY 8

Back to Labuan Bajo! From Ende, I decided to take the plane to go back and it costs about IDR 700K. This is also the day that I get to explore without the tour!


Sailing~


Rented a boat on the harbor, just plain walking up to the staff and said our destination. They gave us the price of 1 million for 3 destinations without limited time. Don't forget to bring foods, something simple and easy!


PULAU SABOLO

I knew about this place from a friend that owns a tour here. It's not a popular tourist site, so there's literally no one else around, like my own private island. You can swim here but that's about it, there's really nothing much here!









Even without diving in, we can see the corals and everything because of how clear the water is! :D


To take photos underwater, my friend brought a go-pro!






Sailing~

GOA RANGKO

It's 90 minutes from Labuan Bajo.


Went here because I saw this place at a tv show called My Trip My Adventure..lol! Super random! Went on a 10 minutes trekking but be careful of the snakes and sharp rocks!


To get into the cave, we had to use a roap. It's also allowed to swim, the water is salty and cold!


Sailing~

SERAYA ISLAND

Another 90 minutes from Labuan Bajo.


This is actually a lodging island but you can also just enjoy the place without having to stay at the lodge like me..lol!


Super cozy but no sunset.. :(










DAY 9


Okay, don't really know what this place is called. We went to the top for view but it turns out to have nothing..lol! The colors of the rock is pretty unique but very sharp!




Sailing~

UNKNOWN ISLAND (ACROSS RINCA ISLAND)

Not an inhabited island and just went here to take photos. This island was going to become a lodging but it never happened. Don't really know why but the building stopped at the dock!





PULAU BIDADARI

A small island to swim!


Since we don't know where else to go, we went back to Labuan Bajo to dine! It's actually pretty similar to Bali, a lot of foreigners and foods, from Western, Japanese, to Indonesian. There's also a lot of nightlife going on! So if you're bored with the sea, you can enjoy the city!

DAY 10
PLATARAN KOMODO 

Been updating my photos to Instagram while I was there and coincidentally, one of my Instagram followers is a local here and offered me to stay here. Thanks God! Such a perfect moment where we can just relax in a beautiful hotel and good service. All those tiring trekking has definitely paid off! :3

THANKS PLATARAN KOMODO BEACH RESORT (esp: Nigel Douwes)











Here, they have their own dock and pick up service from hotel to airport with a speedboat, since the road is terrible. You can also see the sunset here!


Yeap, and that's my long post about my 10 days in Flores! If you asked me whether or not I'm tired, well it all paid off after seeing the beautiful scenery! I guess all in all the trip is quite expensive from the plane tickets (about 3 million rupiahs) and 6D5N tour (about 4 million rupiahs), other small things like foods, car rent, boat rent, tipping, etc. Might even reach 10 million rupiahs! Don't worry though cause if you just want to go to half the places I went, it definitely won't cost that much! If you get seasick, you can just explore Danau Kelimutu and Wae Rebo or if you love the sea, you can leave the overland trip and just go with the sailing one!

Here are some tips from us;
1. Use sunblock of 110++ SPF and a hat, cause with just sunscreen you might not get burnt but definitely tanned!
2. Use Telkomsel provider, you'll thank me later!
3. Use trekking shoes!
4. Power bank..lol!

By the way here's another important reminder of DON'T LITTER!

Thank you for reading!

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