Flores and Komodo islands, life underwater

November 2016

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Costs:

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.

-If you liked it, Pin it!-

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54 comments

  1. I love this post! Last summer, I went to Bali in Indonesia and It was a great travel experience for my husband and me. We rented a motorbike to discover the island during 2 weeks. I would like to come back to Indonesia one day … and your post inspires me to do it! Thanks for sharing. Enjoy guys 🙂 !!!

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    • Your welcome, Flores and Bali have only in common that they are both Indonesian islands it is funny how different they are! Hope you try visiting Flores one day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You are living one of my dreams! I have always wanted to see Komodo dragons up close and the diving looks so spectacular. My husband and I haven’t dived in about 2 years now so we need to get out there again. Often it’s hard to realize how big an area is when visiting, we thought we could visit many different islands in Fiji in just a day… oops! 🙂

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  3. You are living one of my dreams! I have always wanted to see Komodo dragons up close and the diving looks so spectacular. My husband and I haven’t dived in about 2 years now so we need to get out there again. Often it’s hard to realize how big an area is when visiting, we thought we could visit many different islands in Fiji in just a day… oops! 🙂

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  4. I am so jealous! I was in Indonesia this summer but didn’t have time to go to Flores or Komodo. I did go diving off the coast of Bali but it wasn’t too great to be honest… And I have been wanting to see mantas for years! 😦

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  5. What an experience – this sounds like a wonderful trip. Were there many tourists? It sounds like there isn’t – which is always appealing! I love the idea of dinner at the fish market. I am very jealous- I would love to visit this place!

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    • There were a few tourist in Labuan Bajo as it is the “main activity area” but not too many. The fish market was delicious and it is just worth visiting (don’t expect it to be all fancy) 😉

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  6. Envious! 😀 Your photos are great (pinned one). I’m always stunned by the underwater life, and was cheering once again looking at those corals and turtles! It must have been a great experience. Thanks for sharing, enjoyed it! 🙂

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  7. OMG Komodo Island I couldn’t get there I was scared of the dragons haha!! but now I regret I have to go again I’ve heard quite good things bout it. you are lucky you discovered it and your photos of Mantas are amazing

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    • the turtles we saw were very cute and calm, nothing compared to the mantas, the puffer fish or the sharks, each creature had something to keep our hearts running 😉

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  8. Wow wow wow. What an experience!! This trip sounds amazing. Especially the scuba diving, you have sold me to take a visit. Your photos, especially the underwater ones are also fantastic. Price tips are also extremely useful. Will pin!

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  9. Wow, wow, wow! These islands look amazing. You have sold me completely with this post. Your pictures are unreal and your scuba diving experience sounds just awesome. Also would love to climb that mountain. I’ve pinned this post 🙂

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  10. When I was travelling across Indonesia, I never made it further east than Sumatra. I have been longing to return since and your post makes it look so worth it. I also never thought about the other animals on Komodo, what an awesome and gruesome thought 🙂

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  11. Might sound embarrassing, but I’ve never even heard of this place until reading your blog! What a beautiful place with crystal clear waters perfect for diving! Your photos are so appealing and eye catching!

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    • Thanks! To be fair we hadn’t thought about Indonesia much and Flores was a mystery for us too, we only knew we wanted to see the dragons and to dive & what a perfect spot to do both!

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    • Hey! Yes we snorkel and dove with the mantas, apparently they are very scared of the bubbles and people but they are so big and weird that they look scarier than what they are. It’s just a trip away from Singapore don’t miss it

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  12. Loved discovering a lesser known part of Indonesia through your post and pictures! Bali’s been on my bucket list for a long time but now I have another destination to add! Especially because I love snorkeling and diving 🙂

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    • Thanks! You should definitely at least try to scuba dive and see if you like it, then a whole new world opens in front of you!

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  13. I have heard so much about both of them, unfortunately I have been just to their neighbour Lombok Island during my journey to South East Asia! My wife have been there 2 years ago and she can’t forget how beautiful were, especially Flores; she didn’t like so much Komodo Island! It seems you have got an amazing experience, your description and pictures are fabulous. Into my bucket list?!? I think so 😀

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    • Glad that you’re added another place into your list. We had heard contradicting things about Komodo too (also about Bali) but we got to see the dragons which was our goal!

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  14. That’s great that you got to see Komodo dragons! (Along with all the other beautiful animals!) I’d love to get that close to manta rays one day. I did see a sea turtle pop its head out of the water in Australia the other day – it was a pretty special moment.

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