Traveling to Flores: Magnificent Treasure of the Easterners

By Putu Yunita Wacana Sari, Batch 2016

Blue sea and beautiful green hill on the way to Komodo Island from Bajo Harbour (photo Darma Putra)

With lots of excitement, 19 students from Master Program in Tourism Studies 2016 of Udayana University and a lecturer as a trip supervisor, decided to explore Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara Province from 14th – 19th of March 2017.

The trip was began by flying from Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali to Komodo Airport in Labuan Bajo. After landing safely at Komodo Airport, the group were directly transferred to Labuan Bajo harbor to begin the sailing trip.

It was such a perfect day to do sailing and the sun was shining even brighter than what can be normally felt in Bali. It was ten times hotter than Bali which makes most of people think that Bali has one sun while Flores has ten.

It is a good idea to cover the skin with a high SPF sunscreen, hat, or anything that is necessary, so that the trip can be enjoyed without worrying the sun too much. Besides, drinking enough water to keep hydrated is also a crucial point.

Wooden quay at Kanawa Island (Photos by Yunita an Nonny).

The beauty of Kanawa Island

First trip was began by visiting the Island of Kanawa. Kanawa is a very beautiful island. It was a very fun place for the group to do their first snorkeling in Flores. One good thing that must be done in snorkeling is to wear fins or beach shoes to protect the feet from barnacles which stick on the wooden quay next to the snorkel spot. Some of the students got cuts on their feet by the barnacles since they didn’t wear any fins.

There wasn’t so many tourist especially westerners could be seen at the island on that time. That is actually a good thing to know for those who doesn’t really want to stay in a crowded place during holiday. Kanawa Island in low seasons will be a perfect choice for them.

Kanawa Island

Since everyone in the group didn’t want to lose the chance seeing other beautiful places in Flores, the trip then continued to Gili Lawa Darat Island. The tour leader gave 3 tracking options. Those are; short, medium and long track. The long track was ended up to be the option chosen.

It was such a hard work to climb the hill especially for those who doesn’t really do a regular exercise. However, the hard work was all paid on the top of the hill with a beautiful landscape view. The sun was about to set, everyone was still excited but a little bit tired, so the group then decided to leave the island and continued to sail to the homestay in Komodo Village.

View from Gili Lawa Darat Island.

Scary Warning

It was already dark when the group heading out to the homestay. Suddenly, a red shooting flare was seen from the distance. It is actually a sign for the boat captain that the boat is getting closer to the quay. Everyone stepped out from the boat while the tour leader told everyone to stay together since sometimes Komodo dragon will come to the village to look for some food. That was a good but scary warning to know.

Everyone was separated into some small group so that they could go to the different houses to get rest. The house is quite different to the other houses in Indonesia. It is consisted of two floors but the family only stays on the top floor. Meanwhile, the toilet is located on the ground floor.

The houses are actually designed to protect the family members from Komodo dragon. Other houses which only having one floor will be protected by wall and gates. Unique things that can’t be seen all around the world is that, they put some of the empty cans on the gates, so if someone or even Komodo try to get in to the house, the empty cans will give a warning to the family in the house.

Other thing that is very important to be noted is that this village uses solar power as their main electricity power. Electricity will only be available from around 6 PM until midnight. However, phone signal is only available during the time in which the electricity is off. It’s actually inconvenient as in fact people cannot get phone signal and power for the gadget at the same time. In this case, power bank will be the only thing that can save the day.

Komodo Village

Padar Island

On the next day, the trip continued to Padar Island, the tracking track was quite similar to Gili Lawa Darat. However Padar Island provided even more beautiful landscape view to see. It is beyond amazing when 3 different beaches can be seen in just one sight. The next destination, which actually the main point of the trip, was Komodo National Park (KNP). There are several important things that everyone should be aware of whenever visiting KNP, those are: (1) everyone should stay together and close to the ranger (2) don’t carry or swing anything by hand since it could attract Komodo’s attention (3) women who get period is not suggested to do tracking around the island, but if they want to do the tracking, it is a must to always stay close to the ranger since Komodo is really sensitive to any kind of smells.

Group photo in Komodo National Park

It is important to always follow the rules since Komodo dragon is a very dangerous animal. For the group, seeing the last living dragon on earth was scary yet amazing and unforgettable experience.

The writer on Padar Island.

Manta Point

On the following day, the group went out to do snorkeling at some spots. It was started by visiting Taka Makassar. It is a small island which can only be seen during the low tide. The island will be disappeared along the high tide.

Taka Makassar

After taking enough pictures in Taka Makassar, the group headed out to Manta Point to see the famous Manta ray fish. Manta ray is actually the largest ray fish species on earth. It is not dangerous since it doesn’t has sting on its tail and considered as the smartest and friendliest fish to human being besides dolphins.

Manta Ray

It was such a lucky day since there were a lot of Manta ray fish went out and swam around the boat. Everyone was amazed by how large it is. Those who decided to stay on the boat were still be able to enjoy the underwater view since our tour leaders did a free dive and tried to get close to the manta and made some amazing pictures and videos.

Enough with Manta, the group then decided to go back to Labuan Bajo harbor and went straight to the hotel to get rest since on the next day half of the group had to continue the trip to Waerebo village.

For our journey to Waerabo, known the village above the cloud, please click Trip ke Waerebo and Waerebo yang memukau