Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 26 July 2014 • Itinerary
I did an overland trip on Flores Island in 2009. It took me 10 days from Larantuka to Ruteng (more of that here). It wasn’t enough, since I didn’t make it to the west end. So, in 2013 I decided to return and start from the west working myself east. It took me 12 days to do just west Flores, not even reaching Ende and the remote areas. A smaller area was covered with more days. Can you help me do the math? ‘Cause I certainly am failing this logic.
People visit this national park to see the komodos, dragons that are said to be the closest descendants of the dinosaurs. I came for the diving. Why? Because as fascinating the komodos are, the underwater world of Komodo National Park is also a winner. Some even prefer it to Raja Ampat. So what’s it like? Read more here.
Ironically, I didn’t even get to meet any komodo on my trip here, but I did see it a month later on this trip. Granted, I did 4 days doing this and had the live-on-board experience.
Bajawa is the hub for Bena Village, however it has its own uniqueness to it. Aside to the cold crisp air that had me regret not bringing my wool socks for bed, it also has its famous coffee. Bajawa coffee is pretty renown amongst coffee drinkers and you can get some at the KSU Famasa at Beiwali Village. Usually the born-and-bred locals know where this village is. Make sure you get the right people from the accommodation receptionists. They’re your concierge fo sho!
As for Bena Village, it hasn’t changed much as a whole in the last three years. It does have electricity now, which is a huge step for them. During my visit, one of their traditional houses was being renovated. It was much fun just to see how these houses were made. Turns out, it was made of simple tools, hard work, and family ties. More on this link.
I redid my itinerary to Riung. So what was different with the visit in 2009? I had a travel mate, I gained travel mates, and it was an uber shiny day. God, how I love the sun! Everything looked better with a lot of sun. More of Riung in this link.
We visited a resort-like place here just because we saw its signboard on the main road. Don’t you just love spontaneous changes on the road? I certainly dug this one. I got a good night sleep and an open shower to recharge myself, all at the Mbalata Beach Cottages. Here’s the story.
We fitted Cancar in our itinerary. Why? Well, Cancar is a place where the rice paddies are devided and looks like a spider web. I’m not sure of there’s any other place in Indonesia quite like it, but I do know Cancar is famous for it. We were helped by a local in the public bus, Gonza and her cousin, which saw our confusion in getting to view point of these rice paddies. Bless their heart as they took the time to take us to the point, even if that meant a minor hiking trip. Had lots of fun and we’re still friends on facebook 🙂
As for Cancar, the locals say that a wealthy man once owned the land. He divided his land in such a circular manner to inherit a fair amount of land amongst his children. The partition has remained ever since, which I don’t know when it was exactly. I’ve seen rice paddies almost all my life and this is something different. It’s pretty cool. Donations are required when hiking up to the viewing point, which is… near a BTS tower, I think.
There are so many things to be said about Wae Rebo, yet so little bandwith. Hence a visit to Wae Rebo is necessary to those that are even slightly curious. Why? The whole trip right from Cancar all the way to the 7 traditional houses on the hills is memorable, which includes a stay at the Wae Rebo Lodge at Dintor Village. Don’t miss this! It’s awesome! For more about visiting Wae Rebo, just click on this link.
This is the hub city to both the Komodo National Park and the whole of Flores Island. It used to be a small, dark, dusty port city, but with time and exposure to the tourism world, it has now growing into a small town that can cater all sorts of travelers, from backpackers to high end visitors. More about Labuan Bajo on the link here.
If you’ve had enough of Flores but have a few more days before you flight or boat trip out, you might want to visit Kanawa Island. For me, it was the best spot to relax and end my west Flores trip. It had a great environment, it was laid-back, environmentally friendly, and surprisingly quite for a popular little island. Best trait would have to be the sunset massage. I’ll tell you more about it, just click on this link.
Flores has more surprises that I thought. It would take a lot of days just to see more of the island’s surface, let alone to dig deeper. The island is so rich in culture, but unlike to what I’m very used to on Java, and no doubt has beautiful nature. Also, it’s pleasant to travel here with sufficient accommodation and transportation. Because it’s so different and has many surprises, I like it a lot and I’m curious to see more of it. I need to come back. I heard there’s a mummy somewhere that needs a visit.
There are no direct flights to Flores Island from Jakarta, but there are from Bali. If you’re flying from Jakarta, you can take a route through Bali or Kupang. The most popular route is through Bali and continuing to Labuan Bajo.
Other cities on Flores Island that you can also fly to are Larantuka, Maumere, Ende, Bajawa and Ruteng, with more flight options through Kupang, Timor Island.
I can’t really recommend the best flight for you because there are so many airlines that do this route with so many schedule. I can say that some of the airlines that make flights to the island are Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Wings Air, and Trans Nusa. I can also suggest that you fly into Kupang, stay about two nights (or a month, whatever you like) and explore this laid-back hot city and then continue to Flores. Then, head back through Bali so you can relax and have the option to have a little luxury, such as multiple sitting toilets everywhere, just before you head home.
A few information on getting around west Flores (which possibly applies to domestic visitor and prices were from 2013):
Labuan Bajo – Ruteng by shared (private) taxi: IDR 80,000/pax
Ruteng – Bajawa by shared (private) taxi: IDR 90,000/pax, by bus IDR 40,000/pax
Bajawa – Riung by bus: IDR 40,000/pax
Cancar – Dintor by ojek and tough hanggling: IDR: 100,000/pax
Dintor – Pela (main road to Labuan Bajo) by truck: IDR 25,000/pax.
Pela – Labuan Bajo by mini bus: IDR 50,000/pax.