7 June 2014 – Drinking my mint Kusmi Tea from Paris at my room.
I always want to write my journey in Flores but never have time to finally write it. Well, i fact since I work, I rarely write on my blog and this make me so sad. But I promise myself to at least write my travel journey. A friend of mine said that I have to keep writing my blog English because many people around the world can read it, not only in Indonesia.
Bali – Labuan Bajo, Flores
I was lucky at April 2014 got a chance to have a Danone Campus training on “Connected Leaders” which mainly focus on digital, collaboration, and co-create. This make me have an idea to extend my journey to Flores! So I book a ticket from Bali – Labuan Bajo via Sky Aviation. Meeting Sudiani, a good friend of mine from Bali since the Young Leaders of Indonesia program & Canada World Youth (CWY) program, I drop my stuff that I dont want to bring to Flores at Sud’s room. Staying one night in Sud home make me feel the Balinese family. Sud’s family is freaking awesome! The modest & kind-hearted mom and dad, cheerful sister of Sud, very helpful brother, and the cute two cousins staying with Sud. I met Sud at Kuta Mall after having dinner with Ananta, my junior in CWY from Bali. Sud take me with her motorcycle to go around Bali and we ended up having a quality chat at a small cafe in front of the bar which bombed at Legian. That night was 20 March, which is couple hours before my 24th birthday. I got a text message from Sky Aviation that my flight to Labuan Bajo was canceled due to the internal company problem from Sky Aviation. Shit man. I buy Lion Air immediately since they have only few seat left. I got one and really wish to get my money from Sky Aviation back. Sud really taking care of me, bring me to the airport to arrange the cancelation & we finally coming backat Sud’s home around 3 am.
“Are you dini?” a girl with a veil come to me in the airport at 21 March 2014 around 10.30 AM.
That was my first time meeting Karin, my travel partner for the next 7 days in Flores! Karin was a friend of Nafisah Wulandari, friend of my sister Fela & friend of Tya & Abe (my friend also). In fact, I never met Nafisah. What a funny friendship. Karin knew about my plan to Flores when Nafisah retweet my twitter about my plan to go to Flores & I offer people who wanna join my trip. Karin accept that offer suddenly and here we are at the airport in Bali, waiting for our flight to Labuan Bajo. Karin taking Garuda Explore Jet since her dad is the employee of Garuda while I take Lion Air since thats the cheapest flight after that damn Sky Aviation cancel my flight.
Labuan Bajo, 21 March 2014
One of my wish this year is to celebrate my birthday at other island and Labuan Bajo is such a perfect place to celebrate a birthday. Many text message, whatssapp message, and some call that day and I am so happy that I am not at the office in front of the laptop working on my project in my birthday. Labuan Bajo has a very small airport, dont be shock with the airport. For me, its like a terminal with the airplane instead of a bus. Your luggage will be drop in front of you in the airport, they dont have a place to take the luggage that can move with the machine. People will just offer you a ride and a help to bring your stuff. They sometime very insist to get it for you. For me, because I already know about this condition from a friend, I firmly said NO to them but still polite.
After 30 minutes of my flight, Karin’s explore jet arrive and I stand up in front of the door where Karin will go down (which actually the only door in the arrival). There you go, Karin!
I saw a familiar old friend face, with her sun glasses and her style that never change. I scream from my place to her which around 100 meter, “ENGGIIII!!!!” and we hug each other. Yeah, Enggi, a friend of mine since college are at Labuan Bajo now working for Swisscontact, handling tourism in Flores. A very nice job! Enggi is our hero in Flores. She gave me all the information, book the boat for us, and give us some hostel options since her boarding house doesnt fit for both of us. With her friend Rosi she pick us in the airport. I become the passanger of Enggi with her friend’s motorbike & Karin go with Rosi. They bring us to Enggi boarding house to drop our backpack and then they drop us at Philemon near the harbour to have our lunch. Ah yeah, its already 2pm and we deserve our first lunch at the island! A very famous fish soup from Labuan Bajo as Philemon’s speciality! Enggi & Rosi leave us at their office which very close from Enggi boarding house and this Philemon restaurant. Labuan Bajo, especially the downtown is not far each other so its easy to go from one place to another. Along the road of Jl. Soekarno-Hatta, all the food & hotel & travel agent as well as diving operator are gather there!
“Happy Birthday Dini!!!!” Enggi prepare a cupcake with the candle for me! Thats so cute. In the back of her office, we have a little celebration for my birthday. I hug everyone & couldnt be thankful than this. After having a bit of heaven from Enggi’s office air conditioner, we finally leave her office to her boarding house! Flores is very hot! So you better bring a very light clothes when you travel here. We bring our backpack from Enggi boarding house to a hostel that we finally choose named “Karisma”. It cost us IDR 150.000 for 2 people staying in one room with bathroom inside & fan. Its already around 6pm when we got into our room and its time to have our 1st dinner in Labuan Bajo!
I loooove Jl. Soekarno Hatta, the street is full of cute restaurant or diving operator. I read in Colors magazine in Garuda Indonesia flight that I took from Jakarta to Bali few days ago about Labuan Bajo. They recommend 3 restaurant : Selini, La Cucina, and Tree Top. Its hard to decide which one we wanna go for tonight’s dinner but we finally decide to go for La Cucina. Simply because they have a seat with harbour view. Three of us order pasta but with different taste. I order the aglio olio one as my favorite pasta! La cucina own by an Italy woman. Many restaurant and hotels here own by foreigners, mostly from Europe from Italy, Germany, or Spain. Enggi told us that its so expensive to buy a land in Jl. Soekarno Hatta, thats why no locals can afford to buy one. That’s so sad and dilematic.
Liveaboard Day 1! (Rinca Island – Kambing Island – Pink Beach – Kalong Island)
We meet Faiz, our captain at the boat with his partner. Those two guy will guide us during our 2 days and 1 night trip with a boat to see from dragon in the hill until manta under the sea! As other regular trip, Faiz bring us to Rinca island to begin our morning. The view in the sea was awesome, I think the best beach view I’ve ever see in my life. I set my samsung galaxy notes in Panorama view camera and capture this best moment. But still, none of my photo as best as its original view. All in blue and green. The view of the beach, with the beautiful sky, and its green trees & plants surrounding.. it just perfect.
Rinca Island is one of the best spot in Komodo Island. Faiz take us to the office of Rinca tourism and we have to register ourself and pay the entrance free. We got our guide named Asgar and he take care of us during our 2 hours short trek at Rinca island. He is just 18 years old but he is trained to be a guide and he always bring his wood as the “weapon” when suddenly the Komodo close to us. Yeah, Komodo is dangerous actually, they can fly – walk – run and just eat people! Thats why we have to explore with the guide. At that time, I got my period and for the woman, it is forbidden to enter when in your 1st day of perios because the Komodo can smell it & become more aggressive than usually. Thank God its my 3rd day so Asgar said to me that “just dont go far from my side.”
Our trek is fun! Asgar is very friendly and funny. He is also explain to us many things that we saw on the trekking area. We saw some of Komodo poop that make us sometime worried if there is komodo near us. Finally we arrived in the top of the short-trek view, its very breath-taking view to see the island above here & you will never want to go back by the time you reach this top.
Rinca Island – Kambing Island – Pink Beach – Kalong Island
We arrived in one of the snorkeling spot in Kambing island. I take my snorkeling glasses, wear my life vest and fin, and go into the water! One of my favorite trip activities in snorkeling, i just love to go underwater, meet the fish & plants and capturing all the moment inside. One day, I also want to take a scuba diving course and get the certificate. I just need to practice my swimming so I will be brave enough to dive! :)
After seeing underwater of Kambing island, Faiz sail the boat again to pink beach, one of the famous beach in Komodo island because of its extraordinary sand! They have red sand & coral. Long time ago, the sea water & sand is extremely red because of the coral but lately, due to the increasing number of tourist come to Pink beach, many of corals broken and it makes the beach decreasing its original red color from the coral. Still though, even its not that red, to me, I still can capture the pink sand and beautiful red coral that I only found here. Such a hidden treasure in Komodo Island.
We met 2 Komodo Island original locals that sell diamond (bracelet, neckles) in their kotok or small boat that only fit for 2 people. We buy from 1 of the seller that really nice & helpful. Not like another one that has a bad attitude with us. It only cost less than 100.000 rupiah for the diamond that we buy. We wonder how much profit that he gets by selling that, approaching all the boat that coming in Pink Beach & Kalong island.
When we left pink beach, suddenly the sky become darker with its very beautiful orange view, the sun set and I ask Karin & Enggi to go up above the boat because the view is more amazing above! Here we are at the rooftop of the boat, 3 of us busy to capturing every single second the changing of the sun position. Me with my samsung notes, Enggi with her sony mirrorless camera, Karin with her newly Nikon DSLR. Faiz & his partner just looking at us confuse what are we doing above. They see this sunset almost everyday but for us, this is a very precious time of our life, we did not know when can we see this again.
That night, 3 boat park in Kalong beach where usually people stop here for 1 night to sleep. Our boat has a room for us to sleep but that night, after having a very delicious dinner cooked by Faiz & his partner, we did not want to sleep directly. We lay down in the front boat and when we see above, we are speechless. We could not count how much stars that we see above. Its too much. Its another breath-taking view of our journey. Karin was trying so hard to capture the stars with her new Nikon. We play the music from my laptop & cute little red speaker that I bring (I got this one from Canada & I like it a lot!). That night was one of the best night in our life, the live on board experience is really one of the bucket list that people should have in their life!
Kampung Komodo – Komodo National Park – Manta Island – Kanawa Island
When was the last time you did something for the first time? 2 days after my birthday, I saw the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen in my life after Bromo mountain sunrise. When I open my eyes, it was around 5.30 am and the door from our small cabin room open, I saw the sun into my eyes and the fresh air. Enggi & Karin already wake up earlier and when I go out, I saw they already busy capturing the moment. I dont wanna go back sleep (as I usually do in Jakarta :p), I take my samsung notes & climb the boat into the rooftop again! We have a deep breath – in and out – enjoy the moment for a while & feeling so blessed standing here.
Not many people visit Kampung Komodo or the village where the locals from Komodo born and live. But Enggi told me earlier that if I want to make a program with Wanderlust, my ecotourism start up, Kampung Komodo will be one of the potential village to be developed for volunteering activity e.g teaching the kids at school, building library, teaching English for locals, etc. Then we decided to visit the Kampung before we go to the Komodo national park.
We met Pak Raisin, who is born & live in Kampung Komodo and be our friend who help us explore the Kampung. He show us the school, the communal bathroom, mosque, kiddos, and one eco-school in Kampung Komodo. It is build by people from Jakarta, a small open space with some wood that use by the kids in Kampung Komodo to learn English. I am really curious to see the school but unfortunately, its too far to go there since its the up of the mountain and we need to catch up as Faiz said. Next time, I will definitely stay here in Kampung and visit the school. Wanderlust also aim to have the voluntourism here.
When we arrived at the Komodo National Park after having out breakfast, we saw a magnificent cruise ship from Japan called “ASUKA”. Wow, we will meet those Japanese at the national park. We just found out that they have a world tour cruise ship for 6 months started in Australia – Indonesia – Europe – Africa – South America.. mostly they are retired senior people who spend their money with the loved ones to travel around the world. We met one of the Japanese and he proudly said, “I promise my wife before we get married that I am going to bring her traveling around the world. I work so hard when I was young and now, when we get old, I say to my wife that its time to living my promise!” Aww, what a cute couple!
We did the Medium Trek and happen to see Sulphurea Hill to see Komodo above. Another breathtaking view & luckily we met 1 komodo on our way to Sulphurea.We got a chance to also taking picture very close with the dragon that they protect in one area of this island.
After spending around 3 hours in Komodo national park, we left the island and go to Manta Point! This is the diving & snorkeling spot to see Manta, one of the amazing creature on Earth! Unfortunately, I could not see any Manta after spending 1 hour snorkeling trying to find the Manta. Faiz said that it might be because a lot of tourist coming together at the same time so the Manta hide itself. After Manta, we are having our lunch at the boat again – still serve by Faiz & his partner – by the way the food is surprisingly very delicious! They are really good captain on the boat & chef on the boat at the same time!
Before we come back to Labuan Bajo, we have one last best stop called Kanawa Island. This island is owned by an Italian if I am not mistaken and he create this island into a private island which people can stay overnight in a lodge. I met all foreigners in this island enjoying the books in the hammock / eating their food in the cool longue near the beach, or learn how to dive with the locals dive operator. When I put myself underwater, I saw the most beautiful view in Labuan Bajo underwater! To be honest, this island has the cleanest water ever. They have very beautiful various corals & fishes that make me wanna stay here. Unfortunately, we have to come back to Labuan Bajo to continue the journey. If I have time, I will definitely make at least 1 night stay here with only IDR 200.000.
Our 2 days 1 night live on board experience have to be closed that night and we see another sunset as we approaching the harbor of Labuan Bajo. We thank Faiz & his partner for taking us to explore one of the seven wonder of the world!
To close our perfect day, three of us having dinner that Sunday on Tree top, one of the best restaurant in Jl. Soekarno Hatta & meeting Enggi’s work friends at The Lounge to ask some brief how to go to Wae Rebo, UNESCO World Heritage in isolated mountain of West Manggarai, Flores.
Me and Karin will continue our journey tomorrow to Wae Rebo while Enggi has to work on the weekdays so too bad she cannot join us. We got all the information in our head from Enggi’s very nice & kindhearted friends like Kak Icha, Boyke, and Anas. We left some stuff that we dont bring at Enggi boarding house & sleep around 12 am in Karisma hostel that night. Tomorrow, the elf will pick us from the hostel to go to Ruteng, one of the big city in West Manggarai, Flores.
Budget on Labuan Bajo for 1 person Friday – Sunday (3 Days 2 Nights + Live On Board) :
|Hostel 2 nights
|Boat for 3 people 2.800.000 / 3
|Dinner at Labuan Bajo 2 night
|Lunch at Philemon
|Entrance Fee Domestic Tourist
Continue to read the next journey in Wae Rebo, UNESCO World Heritage!
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