Memorable Trip to Komodo, Flores

Memorable? Yes, I think this was the most memorable trip I’ve had in 2017. One of my favorite travel blogger, Febrian, said that the most beautiful place in Indonesia for him is Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, and I definitely couldn’t agree more! I had just gotten the chance to visit one part of Flores and I’ve already been awestruck by how beautiful this place is. A truly wonder the world should celebrate, and it exists in Indonesia! Starting from Labuan Bajo, a busy bustling small city which now became the center of tourism, we started our memorable Komodo sailing journey.

 

Me and my squad had been planning this trip since forever, but none of us was actually taking any action besides created a WA group to plan the trip. I am so grateful when we were finally able to make this trip happened. The first step is, doing countless of googling and researching through the internet, comparing the prices, and getting feedback from others to decide which tour service you’re going to use for the trip. You can google ‘Komodo Sailing Trip’ and you’ll find hundreds of tour services for this. I bet you want to make sure to get a tour service with good reviews and match with your budget and trip plan. You will be spending at least 2 nights on the boat and you might want to adjust everything based on your plan and preferences, from the simple and affordable boat service, or the fancy and comfortable one. It’s really up to you. Therefore, don’t be lazy! Do research!

The timing was just right when it was the #GOTF moment. Some of my friends and I stayed late until night at the office trying to find the most affordable flight to Labuan Bajo together. The price of the flights from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo can’t be considered cheap for us. That’s why, you really need to be smart in choosing the most suitable flight for you. When I said the ‘most suitable’ here, it means for the budget and the time to travel perspective. There are many options of flights which requires long hours to travel because they are not direct flights. You have to go early morning, transit to Bali or some other areas for hours, before finally fly to Labuan Bajo. Luckily, we got a direct flight using Garuda Indonesia from #GOTF which also suited our budget. It took patience to plan a great trip indeed. 🙂

DAY 1

We arrived at Komodo International Airport in the afternoon. Our tour guide picked us up and dropped us to our simple hotel for the first night. On the first day, we had plenty of time to explore Labuan Bajo before starting the sailing trip on the next day. Where did we go?

Paradise Bar

I think this bar is pretty famous in Labuan Bajo. There were many tourists chilling around the area to enjoy the beers, have conversations with friends, or simply watch the sunset. The location of this bar is up at the hill and facing the oceans, which is perfect to enjoy the view.

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Make sure you come early before the sunset. Otherwise, you can’t get any seat.

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In the evening, we continued by having seafood for our dinner in the food stalls located the center of the town, and then exploring some of the bars and cafes (like Le Pirates!) in the town.

DAY 2

In the morning, we took our luggage and walked to the port to start the sailing journey. Our captain and his crews welcomed us at the port and we were just to excited to go on board. Our boat wasn’t so big, but enough for the eight of us. We have 2 rooms at the bottom of the boat for the girls, each room can contain 3 people, while the guys got the small room in the middle. We observed the toilet (of course, we did!) and got relieved because it was nice and clean. 🙂 There was small kitchen at the back of the boat for the boat crews to cook our foods for the next three days. We were super excited! At the top, there was an open deck with some comfortable bean bags to hang around. We had a good feeling for the trip already!

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Sebayur & Kanawa Islands

Our first stop after going on board was to go snorkeling at Sebayur Island. There were several boats which parked in a row already near the area. We changed to our wet suits and jumped off to the sea. I couldn’t take any picture at Sebayur because we didn’t bring any underwater camera. Besides, I also just love swimming around the sea without being bothered by taking pictures and so.

After finished snorkeling in Sebayur, we moved to Kanawa Island, which is a small beautiful island surrounded by white sands and coral reefs. The sea is very calm and crystal clear~ I can spend all day soaking myself in the water there!

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Gili Lawa Darat

In the afternoon, our boat went a bit further to Gili Lawa Darat. We will do some trekking there to enjoy the sunset view on the island, where our boat would be anchored to spend the night on. I took some rest on the way there at the bean bag on the deck upstairs. There was one moment where I opened my eyes and couldn’t believe on what I saw. The beautiful view around the oceans, surrounded by barren islands.

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Gili Lawa Darat is a beautiful island which almost looks like a dessert barren savanna. We went there in the middle of August, so it was a dry season where it looks brown all over the island. When you come there around January – May during the rainy season, it will look green. We went trekking for around 30 minutes to the top and waited for the sunset there. I don’t usually like trekking, but it was all paid off after you see the view from the top. You have no idea how beautiful it was until you are there by yourself!

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Ready for some trekking? 🙂
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The trekking path
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Half way to the top

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Can you believe what you see?
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Waiting for sunset.

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The majestic sunset ❤

The sunset was at about 5 or 6pm. After that, we dragged ourselves from the spot where we enjoyed the majestic view back to the boat where we stayed overnight. It was pit dark in the evening. The mobile network was no longer working, only limited lights from the boat. We enjoyed our dinner which surprisingly tasted really good on the boat, then we went upstairs to play some games. We set up the bean bags and sat in circles. We was about to start playing games, when we looked up and found an amazing night sky view filled with millions of stars. We screamed in excitement and amazed by the view before our eyes. It was an amazing moment which couldn’t be captured by the camera. I felt super grateful living in this beautiful country, beautiful world, and I will always remember the feeling I have that very moment… 🙂

DAY 3

We stayed up late that night, and so, woke up a bit late hihi. Two of our friends went trekking again to the peak, although it was already late to catch the sunrise. They said, the trekking path was rougher than the location where we enjoyed the sunset yesterday. Meanwhile, I was just stay at the shore, enjoying the beach and the savanna.

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Manta Point & Taka Makassar

After having a simple breakfast (egg & toast) prepared by our awesome chef on the boat, we changed back to our wet suit to meet the manta! Our boat was wandering around the manta point area for about 30-40 minutes, before we finally met one! Satisfied swimming around with that beautiful creature, we moved a bit to Taka Makassar. It’s a tiny island or what we called as ‘gusung’ or ‘pasir timbul’ in Bahasa in the middle of the oceans. The water is clear blue and very beautiful! Our boat couldn’t go near the sands, and therefore, we have to swim across the big currents, which was quite surprising since the sea looks calm from above. I used all of my energy to reach the sand. However, it was all worth it (again). It feels like heaven for me. 🙂

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Pink Beach

Pink Beach? Yes, the name says all you need to know. Not many beaches has the sands  with pink color like this. I know one in the east of Lombok, and this one near Komodo National Park. The hue of the sands comes from the grains of the red corals in the shallow water mixed with the beach sands. It was even more glowing when the sun catches the sands. I jumped off to the water right away and was a bit surprised by how cold the water temperature is, despite of the hot weather on the beach. It was a bliss! Playing with the pink sands, sinking through a glass-looking water, cooling down your head and body after getting sunburn all day. I barely wanted to move from there.

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Komodo National Park

We cleaned up, then prepared ourselves to meet the main creature which becomes the attraction of this whole Komodo trip. It is the Komodo dragon at Komodo National Park. Komodo dragon is a huge lizard species which can grow up to 3 meters which lives in Indonesia. It was a wild animal and the closest distance you are allowed to the beast was 2 meters and fully guided by the rangers who brings a ‘Y’ shaped stick for protection. There are around 1,500 Komodo dragons in the area.

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Kalong Island

On the third night, we stayed at the Kalong Island area. The island is called as ‘Kalong’ which means ‘bats’ because it is surrounded by the mangrove forest and thousands of bats. If you are lucky, you can watch the bats went out of the cave besides (of course) the beautiful sunset. The waves were also calmer there compared to the Gili Lawa Darat, where our boat kept being shaken by the waves.

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It was not a lucky day for us, we couldn’t get the chance to meet the bats! But, what to complain when you’ve got another great sunset view before your eyes. 🙂

DAY 4

Wait, what?! Last day already?! It’s a long post indeed, but you wouldn’t believe how the time flies really fast there. We woke up very early this day to have another trekking, to the must-visit Padar Island!

Padar Island

I was a bit nervous because I heard the trekking path in Padar is a bit rougher compared to Gili Lawa. It’s longer and steeper. Since I’m not really a hiking/trekking person, I was nervous if I wouldn’t be able to reach the final peak. However, wasn’t it the highlight of the whole trip? It’s freakin’ Padaaaar! I guess it’s everyone’s wishes to have their feet on the top of Padar Island and witness another wonder offered by Flores nature once in their life. So, I pushed myself and grabbed my hiking shoes (you might want to wear your hiking shoes. Leave alone any sandals or flipflop!) and said to myself, “I’ll reach the final peak no matter what!” And, you know what? I don’t have any words to describe the beauty I saw before my eyes at the top of Padar. It was beautifully painted view after the sunrise.

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Sunrise by the oceans.

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The way to go back down from the top is even scarier. It’s very steep and slippery because it was full of sands and the cliff on your left. It will be better to have an experienced guide to make sure you are safe, especially if you have no experience to climb any mountain like me.

Manjarite Island

On the last day, we were supposed to visit Kelor and Bidadari Islands, but for some reasons, we didn’t. Another reason to have a trusted tour service, and don’t forget to make sure all of the itinerary with the boat crews before you are on board to avoid any miscommunication. We stopped by this Manjarite Island to have our lunch. One of our friend even jumped off the water once again. You just couldn’t resist the blue, could you? 🙂

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Then, we were finally back to Labuan Bajo with a heavy and unwilling heart. How are you supposed to leave heaven and forced back to face the reality? We arrived at the airport at around 1pm and waited our flight back to Jakarta at 4pm. I just wish I could back there next year! What a memorable trip which makes me realize once again, how beautiful our country, Indonesia, is… 🙂

For those who wants to watch the video version of the trip, my awesome friend made a vlog as below. Don’t forget to click subscribeee! His channel is awesome! 😀

 

PS: All photos above are personal collections, beautifully captured by @YohanesSidi & @MarthaMelisa.

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"Perhaps, then, this was what travelling was, an exploration of the deserts of my mind rather than of those surrounding me?" - Claude Levi-Strauss

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