Flores

After Lombok we had to take the ferry back again to Bali to get a flight to Flores. Before, we decided to visit Nusa Penida, an island just off Bali’s coast with stunning snorkelling and beaches, undiscovered temples and natural sights.

We arrived around lunchtime and had some time to kill waiting for our dear friends, Mana and Sal, who were staying on a nearby Island, Nusa Lembongan.

Once they arrived, we jumped on our motorbikes and went straight to Crystal Bay to enjoy some snorkelling together.

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IMG_2896IMG_1761 2Later, we had some beers and enjoyed the amazing sunset.

Next morning we rented a boat to take us to Manta Point where we snorkelled with mantas and (almost with) dolphins!

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We negotiated with the boat to drop us off at Nusa Lembongan where we spent the afternoon, exploring the small island.

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At the end of the day, we struggled to get a boat back to Nusa Penida since most of the tourism lives in Nusa Lembongan but, after long discussions with the fishermen, we sadly said goodbye to our friends and in no time we were back to Nusa Penida.

The last day was spent exploring the Island, which turned out to be a good surprise.

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We drove to the small village of Batu Madeg.

IMG_2978Village children walking home from school. Wherever you are, no matter how remote, you will always find children on their cute school uniform.

IMG_3003After Batu Madeg we luckily took the wrong turn and got to some beautiful Hindu Temples lost in the middle of the forest.

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There was just a local there who lent us a Sarong and, not being able to speak a word of English, handed us an old paper with the history and meaning of each one of the three temples.

IMG_3061Kelingking Beach

IMG_3069Angel’s Billabong – an awesome natural infinity pool with sea view

The following day we flew to Flores, a beautiful island named by the Portuguese in the 16th Century, formerly known as Nusa Nipa, meaning Snake, for its endless zigzag road that we came to know very well.

IMG_3076Fish Market Labuanbajo

We first landed on the capital, Labuanbajo, an ugly fishermen city that grew very fast over the last few years, filled with diving centres, tourist shops – advertising boat trips to the famous Komodo National Park – and pricy restaurants.

IMG_3096Sunset Labuanbajo

As soon as we got our motorbikes, we were off to the East part of Flores.
First stop: Hospital! (well, not straight away!)

Carlos fell off the motorbike riding through some construction works. As soon as this happened, everyone stopped immediately what they were doing to help.

IMG_3113We ended up being invited for tea and sat with the local village people for hours teaching them English and learning about the local culture. Despite all, we were very lucky!

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Carlos showing our tiny Portugal on the map

We resumed our drive for 4 more hours and got to Bajawa at sunset.

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Next morning, we visited the fancy local hospital.

IMG_1793 2Carlos got two stitches and a big lesson!

In Bajawa, we visited many traditional villages and found out that the village people had very Portuguese names such as Maria, Teresa, Elizabete, Marta…

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Bela village

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Bela village children

IMG_3148Bela village woman chewing betelnut

IMG_3172Bena Village

IMG_3162The beautiful roads surrounded by bamboos

IMG_3163And beautiful views of Inierie volcano

IMG_3228Hot springs in Bajawa where we had a swim with the locals

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Hot Springs – mother and son

Next day we drove further East through the mountains all the way to Moni. A dense green jungle replaced the west dry landscape of West Flores.
As we got deeper into Flores we got to know the friendly locals. Everywhere we went we had curious eyes, warm smiles and excited shouts “Hello Mister!”.

IMG_3719We found several catholic churches – the main religion in Flores

IMG_3712Helping dad with the coffee grains

When we got to Moni we found a picturesque village stretching along the road from the lower slopes of the Kelimutu volcano down to the valley floor.

IMG_3278IMG_3303Waterfall near Moni hiding in the middle of the forest

IMG_3315Trekking around Moni

That night we woke up at 3 am to ride all the way up to the top of Kelimutu to see the sunrise.

IMG_3372One of the three Kelimutu craters at sunrise

IMG_3417Before we left Moni we still had time for the local market where we bought some fruits for the way.

IMG_3425Stop for lunch at Paga beach.

Our last stop was the stunning east coast of Maumere where we stayed on a lovely beach bungalow only accessed by boat.

IMG_3432Our ride to the room!

Next morning we went to the nearest village hoping we could find a fisherman to take us on a day trip along the coast. As soon as we got there, we were very welcomed by the friendly village people who invited us for drinks and offered us bags of a watery small red fruit called jambu air.

IMG_3497IMG_3521They also arranged a fisherman friend to take us to the neighbouring untouched islands where we had one of the best snorkels in Indonesia.

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Paradise!

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Back to mainland with village kids

IMG_3589Satu, dua, tiga – go!

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Happiness!

IMG_3613Sunset at the harbour

IMG_3684IMG_3681Incredible Sunset on the way back to the homestay

The following days were spent driving all the way back to Labuanbajo, what a harsh trip it was!

IMG_3707Another flat tire….

The best part was saved for last – a 3 day boat trip around the Komodo National Park. Despite the pricy advertisements you can still get a fairly cheap liveaboard if you’re prepared to shower from a bucket, sleep with 3 more people on a small cushion and spend your time with a captain who hardly speaks any English.

IMG_3838Our tiny boat- view from a beach with wild dears

IMG_3747Kanawa Island our first stop – we were amazed by those blue clear waters

IMG_3790Kanawa Island viewpoint

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Sunset Trekking at Gili Lawa

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Lunchtime! Yummy Indonesian food

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Fun, fun, fun!

IMG_3929Second day trekking at Padar Island

IMG_3976Sunset at Padar Island

On the last day we went to Rinca Island to see the Komodo Dragons. You can choose between 3 trekkings and we decided to take the longer one to increase our chances of spotting one of the big creatures.

IMG_3996It was red hot and we didn’t spot any dragons until almost the end but, just before loosing our hope, we saw the biggest one in the park – a 3-meter long monster!!!

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We followed him maintaining a safe distance until he found his naptime spot.

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We ended up seeing many other smaller dragons on the last part of the trail.

Our last day in Flores was, of course, spent diving. As one of the top 5 best dive sites in the world, we had an incredible underwater experience with sharks, turtles, huge fish and unbelievable coral.

salto (1)And, after 6 great weeks, it was time to say goodbye to our dear friends and travel buddies Leo and Ben. We wish you the best of luck on your new adventure in Australia!

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