Beauty and the breeze

Trip Start Sep 25, 2013
Trip End May 13, 2015

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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Monday, January 13, 2014

We caught a flight from Bali to Flores and the views were amazing flying over islands encircled with turquoise waters. The flight was only an hour and it was so nice not to be squashed into a bus for a change, we even had leg room! I did a lot of research into airlines as most are banned over Europe airspace as they fail to meet safety regulations, a few have an awful history of crashes and even a murder onboard (garuda airlines I'm looking at you) but Indonesia is so huge, made upon over 18000 islands it's the worlds largest archipelago and travelling overland can take weeks which we don't have.
Landing we were met with some cool Komodo statues and we hung out in a room waiting for our luggage (first airport we've been to with no luggage conveyor belt) the taxi drivers and touts were pressed up against the glass until they were let in and we were asked at least 50 times if we needed a taxi. Once the luggage arrived we were walking on a dirt track round the 'terminal' - it really was the most unusual airport! Once outside we see they're building a very slick new futuristic airport next door (maybe thats why this one was a building site?).
We do the haggle for a taxi and only overpay by 25p so not bad. The town is 1 main road and a harbor and reminds us of the basic villages we visited in northern Laos. T finds us a room at gardena hotel which after seeing alternatives trumps the competition for our budget. It's basic with no flush or sink but it's large and clean and 100 steps up has the most amazing views over the harbour and out to the national park. 
Flores has to be the hottest most humid place we've visited so far Terry exclaims 'it's hotter than hell' and we're both dripping with sweat after carrying the bags up all the steps.
After the most satisfying cold shower we begin the epic search for snorkelling trips and trekking to see the dragons as labuanbajo is the launch point for trips to see the dragons and there's at least 20 shops here all offering more or less the same tours. Most places combine snorkelling with a trek, as Komodo national park encompasses many islands which have some of the worlds best dive sights. The dragons live on Komodo and Rinca (pronounced Rin-cha) islands but Rinca is closer and smaller so you have a better chance of sightings. However all this talk of diving really tempts me to do an open water course. I've always been interested and they had some amazing offers in Thailand but I was put off going alone and spending a fair amount of money just on myself. However with the help of xmas funds and Terry telling me not to be so stupid I decide to go for it. There's a huge dive shop under our hotel, the owner Wolfgang is quite a character and I tell him I'll sign up. He's in such a rush to start me that he puts me on the back of a motorbike to hit a cash machine. Off I go and my card doesn't work! The driver is also asking me personal questions about money and takes me a long way back (I actually started to consider jumping and rolling off the bike if need be!) I return without the cash and Wolfgang gets pretty short with me refusing to start me on the course. I take this as a sign I may have chose the wrong dive shop. The next morning I check tripadvisor for reviews and Wolfgang is the least favoured with more than a few serious near death complaints. I visit the top 5 shops on TA and 2 guys tell me how dangerous Wolfgang runs his boats. 3 out of the 5 shops are closing up though for off season breaks, blue marlin is still going but at 50% more than the competition so I book with bajo divers for a good price starting in a few days time.
That night we watch the sunset high up in treehouse bar and eat and listen to some live music at the lounge, we've actually managed to hear live music almost every night in the last 10 days, quite a treat. Sleeping here is quite a task as it's so noisy, gecko's talk, boats motor across the sea and honk their horns plus the mosque starts the morning prayer call over loud speaks at 4am. We sleep better on our 2nd night with ear plugs but decide to head out to kanawa island an hour off the coast for the next 2 nights.
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