Flummoxed in Flores
Trip Start Aug 05, 2011
65Trip End Oct 14, 2012
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To their credit the Baliense are trying to improve the 1970s style airport with a huge renovation but the domestic departures terminal is currently less than glam and would benefit from a little fresh air once in a while
We were late to board our plane but eyeing the propellor mini jet any time frustrations were soon forgotten and the camera came out to capture the occasion. There were roughly 60 passengers on our plane for the hour and a half flight over to Flores. We fought the need for some shut eye and enjoyed a BBC3 moment watching breathtaking islands pass by under us as we tried to work out what was what using our trusty Lonely Planet and listening to The XX.
When we arrived at Komodo Airpot the plane drove to the front door of the building and baggage claim entailed barging nuns out of the way to regain possession of our backpacks through a window onto the run way. There were no passport checks, simply hand over your luggage stickers and your off.
We had booked into the Komodo Eco Lodge for our first three nights and were glad of the free airport transfer they offered, once again meaning we could avoid the hoards of waiting 'taxi' drivers on mopeds. Hurrah. The lodge is nice enough, the rooms are huge and breakfast is included but it was pricey as at the time of booking everything else in Labuan Bajo was sold out. Breakfast is toast with your choice of eggs, simple but perfect for us
Our main purpose of a visit to Flores was to see Komodo Dragons in the wild within the Komodo National Park. We are not sure if we like the animals or it is the name dragon which attracted us but we were excited to see these prehistoric looking creatures all the same. We did consider booking a trip to either Komodo or Rinca Island through our lodge but thankfully shopped around first. We decided upon Rinca as our Island of choice, although the dragons are smaller, there are more of them and therefore you are more likely to spot them. We booked through Thomas Adventures and paid 1,000,000 IDR for both of us, saving a whopping 680,000 IDR on the hotels best offer price and having the park admission and camera fee included. We liked Thomas a lot, he was very knowledgable and had a lot of time for all of our questions and quotes. One of the nicer things about this tiny company is that they take on students during the summer break and teach them the industry as well as giving them a chance to improve upon their English, we were much happier handing our money over to them.
Rinca is reached by a two hour rickety boat ride from Labuan Bajo, across smooth waters thanks to Komodo Island taking the brunt of the waves
In order to visually hunt out these creatures we embarked on a trek, after being advised it was only medium and the hard trek took only one hour. Two hours later we had seen many dragons, got very sweaty in the mid day heat and in L's case had a spot of swelling.
The nice thing about the Komodo National Park trips is that they are combined with a second stop for snorkeling, unfortunately this is another hour and a half away at Bidadari Island
Our day trip only consisted of four people, it was really nice to be in such a tiny group. Our boat sharers were Spanish and only the guy spoke english so we were pretty much left alone to enjoy the day. We did however, learn some things about the rest of Flores from the Spanish chap; the roads are terrible and very indirect covering a distance of 700km on a 400km island. The suggested stops are at least 4 hours apart and most people fly into one end and out of the other, we of course have booked flights in and out of Labuan Bajo and are now somewhat flummoxed. Our intention was to visit Kelimutu, three volcanic crater lakes which change color, the problem is that by road it would take at least 5 days to get there and then we would have to get back! Did we mention we only have 11 days in total in Flores?
To say that we have had some difficult decisions to make would be putting it lightly
We have tried to get back to Bali earlier than planned but all flights are sold out, flying to the other end of the island to see the lakes doesn't work out date wise and we have exhausted pretty much every other option. It is really hard to be a backpacker when one of you can't sit in a car/bus for extended periods of time, god damn gym! The best option is looking like staying here in Labuan Bajo and resting up...but who knows!