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Asia » Indonesia » Flores » Labuanbajo February 23rd 2018

It‘s Not Always Easy Getting To Where You’re Going . . . I have alluded to the fact that travel is a commitment fueled by passion: by a desire to experience; to discover; to learn; to grow. I have also mentioned several times in various blog entries that travel is not always easy, as evidenced again by our recent excursion to Labuan Bajo, on the Indonesian island province of Flores. Our journey begins at 7 a.m. on the island of Gili Trawangan, Lombok. Our scheduled itinerary will have us being transported by water taxi for fifteen minutes to mainland Lombok, where we will pick up another taxi that will deliver us to the airport in Mataram an hour and a half later. From there, we will fly to Denpasar, Bali, where we will pick up another ... read more
Bali’s Mount Agung
Flying to Flores Through Tumultuous Skies
Heading into Wild Waters in Komodo

Asia » Indonesia » Flores » Labuanbajo November 30th 2017

You know that feeling when you are travelling and you realise that somehow time has slipped away like sand through your fingers? You have all these plans, but suddenly they seem unfeasible because what you thought was a lot of time, turned out to be outrageously inadequate? Well, that moment arrived for me when I returned to Kupang from my little visa-run to Timor Leste. Thirty days seemed like a lot on paper, but when I looked at what I still wanted to do, those same thirty days shriveled to nothing. Reality kicked in. Flores, Sumba and Sumbawa in thirty days? No way!! You would think, three islands, ten days each, what’s the problem? Well, ten days for each only works in theory, in reality, you end up with much less, especially when you have to ... read more
Waiterang
Waiterang
Waiterang

Asia » Indonesia » Flores » Labuanbajo November 19th 2017

So here I was, on the last little leg, the last week of my journey that started just over two years ago as I boarded a flight from Barcelona to São Paulo. When you're exhausted after so long on the road and you literally can't wait for the end - when the much anticipated relief of getting home overrides the excitement of exploring somewhere new and seeing some amazing sights - this is when you know that it is time to stop. I now just had one week to go. With my cash budget almost exhausted and my body too, this therefore explains why I had chosen to fly in and out of Flores rather than taking a four-day boat from Lombok or what would have been the longest bus ride of my entire trip. I ... read more
Sunrise Over Mt Kelimutu
Manta Ray
Another Stunning Sunset

Asia » Indonesia » Flores » Maumere August 8th 2017

I did it. I traversed Flores west to east (well, at least until Maumere) without hiring a personal car and driver. That would have cost upwards of US$50 per day. The majority of the travelers I met hired a car and driver. Excluding time spent at the two ends of the journey, the overland journey itself took five days; total distance traveled over the crazy, winding, up and down roads was probably over 350 miles. I took public buses, shared ride vans, bemo, and hitched rides from fellow travelers. Except for the two days getting to Moni and staying in Moni, the entire journey was smooth and very pleasurable. Flores is heart achingly beautiful. The people, other than those I encountered in Moni, are just wonderful. Many people have helped me without asking for anything in ... read more
Coconut Garden Beach Resort
Coconut Garden Beach Resort
Capa Resort

Asia » Indonesia » Flores » Moni August 6th 2017

So, My Lucky Streak Ended... I left off my last entry with a sense of foreboding that my streak of positive travel experiences was about to end. Well, it did. As you may recall, I decided to plan out the remainder of my time in Flores after hearing negative stories about accommodation from westbound travelers. My intended next stop from Bajawa was Moni, where I had planned to stay two nights - the plan was arrive and stay the night, to go to Keli Mutu for sunrise, hike back down, and stay another night. After that, I had booked a beach resort in Maumere as a special treat to myself after staying in budget places and traveling rough(ish). I also booked a ticket out of Maumere to Bali on August 9. I was wary about planning ... read more
Ende
Ende
Bus Breakdown

Asia » Indonesia » Flores » Bajawa August 4th 2017

Adjusting My Travel Philosophy I flew in to Flores island on a one-way ticket and only my first two nights' accommodation reserved. I didn't want to overplan my travel. My plan was to wing it and enjoy the journey as it unfolded. I have traveled in Indonesia in this manner before and never had a problem. Maybe I was lulled into a false sense of security. Up until now, everything has fallen into place beautifully. I shared a car to Ruteng when my transportation fell through. When I snagged a room at the convent in Ruteng at the last minute, the staff at the hotel in Labuanbajo couldn't believe their ears. When I realized that I would arrive in Bajawa (where I am now) after dark, I enlisted the help of other people and managed to ... read more
The Trail We Hiked
Tolo Ledo Village
Hot Springs

Asia » Indonesia » Flores » Ruteng August 3rd 2017

... so said Hamlet to poor, doomed Ophelia. I had to stifle the giggles when I learned that the English-speaking nun who takes care of bookings at Susteran St. Maria Berdukacita in Ruteng, commonly known as MBC, was named Sister Ophelia. In case you're still wondering what on earth I am going on about, I stayed at a convent. And no, I didn't burst into flames while I was there. But first, let's talk about one of the most memorable days of travel I have ever had (and the bar was already set very high on this one). Getting to Ruteng The morning started with yet another transportation c**k up. The Gunong Mas shared van that was supposed to pick me up at the hotel didn't arrive at the appointed time. The hotel called the bus ... read more
Cancar Village
Spiderweb Rice Fields
Ruteng

Asia » Indonesia » Flores » Labuanbajo August 1st 2017

A Soft Landing in Indonesia It has been a while since I have traveled for a prolonged period of time, so I thought a soft landing into Indonesia would help me ease in, as past experience has taught me that independent travel in Indonesia requires patience and a sense of humor. My flight into Bali landed at 3.30pm on July 30, and I was booked to fly to Labuanbajo the next morning. I chose a hotel near the airport offering a free transfer. It turned out to be a good choice as I did not clear immigration and customs until well past 5pm. I arrived at The Radiant Hotel and Spa around sunset and elected to eat at the hotel restaurant (rare for me), chill in the pool and have a good sleep. I can't praise ... read more
View From My Seat While Flying to Labuanbajo
Labuanbajo
Padar Island

Asia » Indonesia » Flores May 30th 2017

To have all the choices of Bali after being so remote was almost overwhelming. I got a room at the same place Segara Sadhu, had excellent food, enjoyed great music and nightlife; watched some live bands on Poppies Gang 2. I used the internet, had tried to connect with my buddy Martinos from the beginning of the trip. Because my flight connections had been well behind schedule, I missed him. We would try to connect at the end of the trip. I got home at 1 AM. The next morning about 7AM I was off to the Bali airport, very excited as I had arranged to meet my parents and travel with them for two weeks. If you have read previous stories, you know I missed the chance to do that in India a few years ... read more
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Asia » Indonesia » Flores » Labuanbajo May 11th 2017

Labuan Bajo is a harbour town which the Lonely Planet describes as gorgeous but ramshackled - erm, well, I'm not sure our expectations were very well managed! Walking into the town on our first evening (in the rain!) was definitely a low point of our trip. As we turned onto the main drag we were greeted with traffic speeding by, horns beeping and the lovely smell of diesel. There was no footpath so it was a case of walking single file on the side of the road and hoping the scouters didn't clip you as they whisked past. It was a far cry from meandering down the sandy paths on Gili Air, where there are no motorised vehicles, just push bikes and the odd horse. We found refuge in the first half decent restaurant we saw ... read more
A room with a view
Watching the sunset from Treetop bar
Boat trip!




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