When I planned my tour for Flores, I was very skeptical. Most of the reviews related to this tour are this is not a very safe destination. Hundreds of comments are scattered on the internet – about the condition of boat (being really bad) and also what you see and what you get are very different. But my obstination for this tour ultimately ended into a great journey.
Flores is a beautiful archipelago in the eastern part of Indonesia. It has a very diverse ecosystem of itself.
The main reason of my visit to Flores was – Gigantic reptiles named “KOMODO DRAGON”.
But, now when I look back, Komodo seems to be just one part of it.
Our Arrival in Labuan Bajo
We entered Labuan Bajo (one of the major entry point to Flores) by flight from Denpasar, Bali. Sam (our Spanish Friend) was already there and we decided to meet in the evening, while we booked our tour as well.
Things became quite easy for us since Sam already had enough idea about the place. There are numerous vendor shops in Labuan Bajo from where the tour can be booked. Based on information from Blogs and Sam’s experience, we haggled around every shop till we got a tour booked for us.
This is how our booked tour look like
Total Price – 750 K IDR /Person
Duration – 2 Days – 1 Night (Night stay on boat)
Tour – First Day – Labuan Bajo – Rinca – Komodo – Flying Fox Tour – Overnight Boat
Second Day – Pink Island – Snorkeling with Manta Ray – Kanawa Island – Back to Labuan Bajo
Meeting Sam in Labuan Bajo resulted into visiting an amazing sunset point – a cafe overlooking the sea with some islands around it. ‘What a breath-taking view it was. Loved it!!’ Paradise also hosts a live music session and even a Karaoke, the food served is not bad either. Overall we had some great time out there.
And Tour Commenced!!
Tour, as mentioned above, starts quite early in the morning. We reached the shop where we booked our tour, grabbed our snorkels, and moved towards Harbor. And there it was – our Boat, not in bad condition by any chance; but with very limited facilities. The boat was quite small and had a small covered deck which was supposed to be our stay area. The deck could easily accommodate four of us (two of us and one Canadian couple), but any more than that it would have been a lot congested. Beside the deck, there was a raised platform which provided a good view-point of the ocean from the top.
There was a common western toilet as well in the boat, and it was in good condition. Overall, I was satisfied since my expectation were minimal based on numerous reviews about it
We met Jeoffrey “our Captain” accompanied by two other fellows who would be assisting us throughout the tour.
There was a good supply of water and food items, and the boat staff were extremely friendly and accommodating.
Our first stop was Rinca Island. It took almost 1.5 hours of boat ride from Labuan Bajo to Rinca which was the part of Komodo National Park Region. The reason of this tour was going to be fulfilled at the very start and I was quite excited merely with the thought of seeing world’s biggest reptile in its wilderness.
Please Note – There is student concession in Komodo National Park and it is not displayed anywhere. Do ask for the same and get the discount of around 30% on the final ticket price.
Island tour involved walk along the trails with a forest ranger per group. There are 3 types of trails defined- Short, Medium and Long. These suggest not the difficulty involved but how much time it would take to traverse through them. I took medium trail which we easily covered in 45-50 minutes and saw 6 Komodos and Komodo’s nest under the protection of Mother Komodo.
Rinca hosts relatively small 1.5 – 2.5 m long Komodo. A visit to Komodo Island is must- to see much longer and ferocious Komodo.
Next Stop – Komodo Island
It took around 1.5 hours more through open-ocean. Though, ocean here appears very different. This area serves as the confluence of Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. It is also referred as through-flow. Because of this phenomenon, ocean appears to be devoid of waves at the top, while there are deep water currents flowing down which creates swirls or minor storms in the middle of the ocean.
Anyways, Komodo is another Island hosting Dragons and much bigger in size – usually 2-4 m in size. We just have to pay for the Ranger fees here as we have already paid for park entrance fees.
Flying Fox Tour
This was the only disaster of our Flores tour of two days. There was nothing here. We were just waiting for these flying foxes in the middle of the ocean, but I have certainly seen much better such group formations in many other parts of the world.
Back to Komodo Village
Surprisingly, Komodo Island has a good amount of population. It is a coastal village where fishermen have managed to coexist with more than 1200 dragons. Our Captain “Jeoffrey” hails from the same village and offered us to visit his house in the village. It was our pleasure indeed, witnessing closely the life of residents of such a remote island village – hundreds of miles away from any nearby major town.
Jeoffrey himself was not very good in English and so was his family. But as someone has said “A smile is the Universal welcome”. We had very good time at his house. Sweet Buns with Indonesian tea were what we all actually needed at the end of this long day. Above all this, we got the family touch for free- thanks to Jeoffrey.
Night on the Boat beside Village Harbour
It was supposed to be an uneventful night in the end. But NO! It was not. Weather nearby any ocean is very unpredictable. And so was weather that night. It started raining heavily with light storm. In fact, water started dripping inside our deck from the two open sides.
Our crew took utmost care of all of us. They made sure that it was as comfortable as possible. Even though the rain lasted for at least half an hour, water could not seep inside our deck. I’m sure, if it would have been some other crew/boat, we would have struggled much more. But for us, it turned out as an adventure and indeed a night to remember.
A Beautiful Morning – Pink Beach!!
A ‘sunrise’ so beautiful, ‘air’ so fresh, and surrounded by ocean all around – a view I have only dreamt in the past. But I lived it in Flores that very morning.
We then moved onto Pink Beach, a beautiful coral beach. Pink colour is because of the presence of a kind of amoeba- microscopic animals called Foraminifera which produce red or pink light on the reef. We were quite early and had a lot of time to enjoy beautiful beach and snorkel without any disturbance from anyone else.
Now is snorkeling time with Manta Rays
Pink beach was great and I was in no mood of leaving it- especially when we were the only one there for almost 2 hours. Another activity was snorkeling with huge Manta Ray.
I have to admit one thing here – our crew was really experienced with Flores region. Jeoffrey knew exactly where to go, at what time to go; to witness actually what we are supposed to enjoy there.
Mantas were huge and though I couldn’t get my fear of snorkeling in the open ocean out, I could witness these humongous fish in their natural habitat.
Our Final Stop – Kanawa Island
A beautiful island indeed, but much more commercialized. After my good swimming time(I’m really a bad swimmer though ) in Pink Beach, I chose to walk around the island. The island was beautiful- a very small island with a nice beach and good place for snorkeling.
They set up a resort few years back, which seemed to be almost out of business and now they were trying to charge for EVERYTHING. Make sure not to use their services if you don’t want to get ripped off!!
Back to Labuan Bajo!!
Sit back and Relax, which was what I did while coming back. There were plenty of memories of these two days and they just flew by. It took about one and half hour to come down to Labuan Bajo from Kanawa.
Please let me know, if you like this itinerary or if the information posted is helpful. Do you have any interesting story to share from Flores? Please comment and let us all know of it.
Thanks for reading and happy traveling.