//story and photos by Abraham Ranardo.
Travelling to Flores was quite a challenge for us. Because we decided to not use any travel agent, hence we tried to plan the trip by ourselves. However, the information on the internet about Flores was not quite clear. Because of that, we decided to plan the destinations and routes in Flores and find out more when we get to Flores.
I was worried about the trip, but I was more worried about leaving my laptop/work and going into forest where we couldn’t access internet. My mind kept wondering, what if something urgent at work came up. Oh gosh, I hope I don’t mess things up before leaving…
Finally, the day had came. We flew to Bali first and stayed overnight at our friend’s place. At night when everyone was asleep, I was still working, uploading work and getting everything done before I left my laptop and flew to Flores. Yes, this was the first time I was really leaving my laptop and could do nothing about it for 2 weeks. That’s why I was so nervous and couldn’t sleep well. After many times checking, I was able to leave to Flores with less worry. “Let’s just enjoy the trip and forget about work for a while”, I said to myself. And we’re off to Flores.
Reaching Flores, I was fascinated by the new airport building in Labuan Bajo. It’s still not finished, but I could see the modern design and love it. Then we got ourselves a cab to the town. We plan to go to tour office first to ask about how to reach our destinations using public transportation and boat trip to Komodo. However, the cab driver asked about our itinerary and offered a private car service to reach the destination. It was freaking expensive. Even though the cab driver was really insisting, we refused the offer gently.
After that messy situation, we got dropped at tour office called Suarmanik Kencana Cruise Company and met Vigo. Vigo nicely arranged 2 days 1 night boat trip to Komodo and Rinca for a quite reasonable price for our last week. He was also very nice to us, he helped us reserving public travel car to Ruteng. Since there was still time, we explored the city a bit before we went to Ruteng.
In the travel car to Ruteng, we met Fonsy. She’s a flores lady who works in Jakarta and was on holiday trip to her hometown. She’s really friendly that Dimas and Bhella quickly became friend with her. At that time, I was having a severe car sick because of the wild curvy road in Flores. And, I was so stupid to take medicine too many, resulting me in a very deep sleep and I couldn’t even open my eyes. In the middle of the trip, we dropped by at Cancar to see spider rice field and heard the history of it. After reaching Ruteng, we luckily found empty room in Suster Santa Maria Berdukacita hostel (very recommended! Nice suster, rooms and delicious breakfast!).
In the morning, Dimas got us a car to Denge, the last village that can be reached by car before Wae Rebo village. We reached Denge by the midday. Blasius welcomed us to his homestay and arranged our trip to Wae Rebo (prepare a lot of cash, because it’s pricy). Then we hiked for about 9km to Wae Rebo village guided by Conrad.
Wae Rebo village is so beautiful! It was surrounded by mountains and the clouds are passing the village like wind. It was majestic! The locals and visitors were very nice to us. We spent a night there. In the morning, we went to library at the uphill. The view from there was very cool, you can capture the whole Wae Rebo village from there. After that, we went to Cunca Neweng guided by 6-7 years old local kids. Be careful, the road was very small, steep, and dangerous because you need to go across 2 mountains to get there. After enjoying our time in Wae Rebo, we went back to Denge with a local guy we met in Wae Rebo, Mikael, and a foreigner couple, Patricia and Francois. Then we spent a night in Denge.
There was limited public transportation from Denge to other place, so we need to be ready in the early morning. We took angkot then transferred to otokayu, a modified truck so people can sit in the back using wood planes. To get into otokayu, we need to climb the truck. It was a shaky and bouncy trip with otokayu, but we enjoyed it a lot!
After reaching Ruteng, we were surrounded by “calo” travel and got forced to use their service. It was very unpleasant. The car was overly loaded, and there was a guy sitting on the roof! That was the worst 10 hours of the journey. I really recommend you to take travel Gunung Mas instead of unknown travel in the bus station. Finally we reached Ende and luckily we got a travel car to go to Moni. In Moni, John welcomed us to his humble homestay.
In the morning, we went to the top of Kelimutu. It was windy and magnificent. We could see three color changing lakes. Lucky us, we met a driver who ask to be accompanied to Ruteng for a cheap price. He told many things about Flores culture, like how Flores people love to party with super big and many sound systems, how Flores people do wedding, and many things. He also showed us beach where there are a lot of blue stones.
We reach Labuan Bajo early, so we spent 2 days exploring Labuan Bajo before our boat trip. We literally walked around the city to see Batu Cermin cave, bomb storage site, eagle hill, and culinary center. Then, finally our boat trip to Rinca and Komodo! It was really fun and thrilling. We saw vicious and lazy Komodos in Rinca and Komodo island. We snorkeled at Pink Beach and Kanawa. Dimas and Bhella even swam with Manta rays!
Two weeks was enough for me to enjoy Flores. I learnt so many things about Flores culture and experienced many new things during the journey. I met many nice and great people sharing their life experiences. I saw different side of Indonesia in Flores. Even though there were some unpleasant experiences, I think it’s really worth it and I would love to come to Flores again in the future.