Flores island, at last, we get to the part of the trip where we’re going to be in the water more than anywhere else. We made a big mistake thinking that the island was similar to Bali; we knew the roads were bad and that we would need a driver but we underestimate the distance. We wasted some time in the transfer because we handle this in the last minute, but those 6 days were worth it, we met lots of interesting people and we wouldn’t change a thing; but we would recommend you not to make the same mistake. This is why the first thing you need to know is how big the island is: Flores has a surface of 13,000 square kilometers (remember that Bali has only 5,700). You should also know that the islands are very different. Wallace line, an imaginary line that divides Asia and Oceania in terms or biology and geography puts them on two different sides, and you can easily notice that.
We landed at Labuan Bajo and headed to the hotel (Pagi Hotel), left everything and we start wondering around the city. Labuan Bajo is relatively big, however, there are two differentiated areas: the port and the rest of the city. Although there are hotels in the city, most of them are closer to the port as it is there where you’ll find all the tourist agencies. And within all the options we chose 2-day diving (2 dives each day) without the life on board with Wicked Diving, we also walked around the port and chose the Paradise Bar to watch the sunset.
We woke up early, as usual, and started our first diving day. First stop Sabayor Kecil (little Sabayor), and what a delight: calm, enjoying the crystalline waters and the coral bottom inside Komodo National Park. We had a good lunch at the boat and after resting for a little while we got back into our wetsuits. Much more spectacular than the first stop was Tatawa Besar (big smile) and although the current was a little bit stronger, we got to dive with puffer fish and turtles. And, as the name says, we got out of the water with a big smile before heading back to town.
We finished our day having dinner at the fish market. At sunset, the fishermen bring what they’ve captured. Some tables are set in different stands in the streets and the barbecue starts heating. Choose what you want to eat, sit down and enjoy this tasty and fresh meal.
A new day and a new diving, this time at Batu Balong (hole in the rock). An immense rock over the sea level (and yes, it has a hole) and its structure is even bigger underwater like an iceberg. More corals, stronger current and more underwater life. This time we saw moraines, a big Napoleon, two white tip shark reef around one and a half or two meters long, some other green turtles and of course lots of fish. Absolutely full of joy we went to the spot everybody was talking about: Makaser Reef or Manta Point (the spot where the mantas usually are). The mantas gather in this spot by the dozen, and we are not exaggerating: here they come to get food and to be cleaned, a perfect example of symbiosis. In this area, the maximum depth is 15 meters and the highlight is that the current is very strong. Unfortunately, the coral in the bottom has disappeared and there is not a single rock in which you could hold, you should also be very careful as there are a lot of sea urnichs. Beside these inconveniences, we got to watch the mantas for 45 minutes, these are mysterious creatures with their mouth out of place. And if we exited the water with a big smile at Tatawa Besar, you could guess how we looked here!
Our time diving is over, we could have done more and we wouldn’t have gotten tired of it but we also wanted to get to some other incredible places the island has. So, with an organized tour, we joined some other tourists into a small boat and went to discover other things inside Komodo National Park. Our first stop was at Padar island. Rainy season is not here yet and the island has no vegetation at all. A big brown mass is what we find, for sure it must look beautiful when it is greener, but we are here now. So, we start hiking up to the top of a mountain that gives you the most picturesque view of all, and we see it. We see three bays: one with dark sand, one with white sand and one pinkish.
We continue our visit to Komodo island with the intent of seeing its most famous inhabitants: Komodo dragons. With a ranger we did the short hike, the heat is unbearable and we’ve heard some dragons are just next to the kitchen (we won’t miss them). And it was true, all the dragons we saw were underneath the buildings, where the kitchens are. What a weird animal! And that seems a really uncomfortable way to lay down! What we didn’t expect was to learn that in the island are other animals such as buffalo, wild boar or deer, but of course, how else were the more than 1,000 dragons going to eat? Our trip around the dragons is finished and we head by boat to the Pink Beach. Although on our way here we saw more pinkish beaches, this is the one they take you to do some snorkel. The color of the sand is due to the erosion of a red coral, this is why the sand is dye in shades of pink.
Back to Makaser Reef, but this time we see the mantas at our level, and if we thought it was shocking to see them from underneath, having them less than a meter away will leave you speechless.
Shared Taxi to Labuan Bajo (hotel) 25’000 IDR (1.7€)
1 day boat trip (2 divings + entrance to Komodo NP) 2’476’000 IDR (172€) for two
Day trip to Komodo NP (Padar, dragons, Pink Beach and Manta Point) 550’000 IDR (38€) per person
Ticket to Komodo NP + guided visit 425’000 IDR (29.5€) for two
Fish Market dinner 100’000 IDR (7€)
Pagi Hotel (4 nights) 1’400’000 IDR (91.23€) for two no breakfast included
Are you ready to scuba dive in Flores island and Komodo National Park?
All our route around the country in our section of Indonesia.
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