I went to Labuan Bajo on December 7th to have some adventure with my family. Labuan Bajo is a city located in Flores island, one of the big island at Nusa Tenggara Timur region, east part of Indonesia. Labuan Bajo is one of famous tourist destination in Indonesia due to its exotic landscape, and it is! Labuan Bajo is located on west part of Flores, the trip require us to hop between island to learn about its beauty. There are 2 style of adventure you can have while in Labuan Bajo, the first one is to stay in the ship called Pinisi for 3D2N, otherwise, you can stay at Hotel in Labuan Bajo, and have a private speed boat to explore the archipelago. Both way have their pros and cons, personally, I would like to sail with Pinisi because it will give you sailing experience, live in the sea day and night.
Tuesday, Dec 7th
I took direct flight from CGK – LBJ by Citilink, 8:35AM UTC+7, unfortunately my flight was delayed until 11AM UTC+7, rest assured all the itinerary got delayed. I supposed to arrived at LBJ at 11AM UTC+8, but due to the delay, I arrived in LBJ at 2PM UTC+8. The tour crew waited for our arrival, fortunately Labuan Bajo Airport is nearby the port, which 15 minutes away. Once we are at the port, another crew board us to the Pinisi, the boarding process completed around 3PM UTC+8 and we start sailing.
We had to skip Kelor Island from the itinerary due to the late schedule, and headed to Kalong Island instead to watch sunset with bats flying on the sky. Kalong is bats in English. Kalong Island is an island that has mangrove, the bats live in the mangrove in the noon and go out during sunset to find their food. It was cloudy day at that day, lucky us that the sun still go through and we can enjoy the sunset scenery. The bats fly out a bit after the sun went out completely.
Wednesday, Dec 8th
First night on the ship, diifficult to get sleep due to engine noise. I spend the night chat with other passenger. After some sleep, I realized that we were on sailing to Padar Island. to get there, we go through a strait which have strong current. When we arrived at the strait, the storm come hitting our ship causing our ship wobble. The caption ensure us that the ship is save, but uncomfortable. It felt like boarding aircraft in the middle of turbulence.
Padar Island is the most iconic place in this trip, even it is more than Komodo in my opinion. I arrived at Padar Island at 6.30 AM, the sun has risen above our head. Padar Island have 860 stairs with 3 checkpoints. Neither rest room nor snacks sold other than in the entrance, so ensure that you are well prepared before move to top. After the 3rd checkpoint, you can continue a few hundred meters more and it offer us a better view, just be careful because the path are not well developed. Despite we have well developed stairs to get to the top, it is still not an easy trip, ensure that you well prepared physically before go there.
Next hop is to Komodo Island, the island is 2 hours from Padar Island. Due to the high tide, the crew decided to borrow us speed boat to get there. The sea is not even friendly at that day, but the speed boat able to go through without any difficulty. Lucky us, because we sail by using speed boat, it only take 40 minutes to take us to the destination. This destination is not as great as I thought because the agenda is only to take picture with the dragons. Nothing special with the Komodo island other than meet the dragon the only live in that area.
Not far from Komodo island, we stop at pink beach to explore living creatures in the sea. we are allowed to have snorkeling activities here. As I didn’t do snorkeling, I went to hilltop and take some pictures. We can see beautiful sunset scenery from there.
Thursday, Dec 9th
Last day of sailing, we transit at Kanawa island before reaching the port in Labuan Bajo. Kanawa is an island at west of Labuan Bajo, it used to be tourism place, where we could stay overnight there, but when I came there at December 2021, it became an abandoned island. It doesn’t have any activities other than take photos and snorkeling, for snorkeling, you should pay attention to the sea urchins that live around the beach.
Docked at Labuan Bajo
I had lunch at Taman Laut restaurant and it is part of the tour package. Taman Laut located at Puncak Waringin, where you can see the harbor below us. When I was there, it was durian season, there are a lot of local durian. It has relative small size of durian, but the taste is amazing. It has some bitterness and creamy texture, I recommend it if you are durian lover.
Loccal Collection is well known hotel in Labuan Bajo, during my time, Labuan Bajo had 2 big hotels, Loccal Collection and Anaya Hotel, both hotels have sea view. Ayana is a 5 star hotel and Loccal Collection is special with its unique architecture, it adopt Santorini concept, where the building has style similar with building arrangement in Santorini, Greece. I would not recommend Loccal Collection unless you didn’t bring old people, because it require us to go through stairs to go from one place to another place.
Fri, Dec 10th
Friday, Dec 10th
Today, our plan is to take flight from Labuan Bajo to Ende (LBJ-ENE) at 11AM UTC+8. Our flight got delayed until 1PM UTC+8 and we arrived at Ende at 3PM UTC+8. In Ende, we use local car rental with driver, cost us IDR 550k/day. Ende has 2 famous hotels at that time, Grand Wisata Hotel and LCR Hotel. First itinerary is to have lunch in Ende, our driver brought us to Pari Koro, an indonesian restaurant, as Ende is a small city, don’t expect to have options for the restaurant and hotels.
Blue Stone Beach
After the late lunch, our driver brought us to blue stone beach. It located west of Ende, it took 1 hour trip through winding road which is not very comfortable. When we arrived there, it’s already 6PM and the sun was set, nothing much to be seen, other than the blue stone itself. As the beach name, the beach is not covered by sand, but blue stone with size vary from 5cm-20cm diameter.
I tried to find the origin of those stone, but I can not find any reliable sources. Referring to local people story, the stone harvested to build house ornament or even as a mix material in construction. By far, the stone always regenerated from the sea. Despite of those stories, I presume that the stone must be mixed by some mineral that coming from the mountain, got smoothen in the river and finally it come to the sea. My theory can is supported by the fact that Kelimutu Lake, the craters, have similar color as the stone in the beach.
Saturday, Dec 11th
Start from 8 AM, we head to Kelimutu craters, located on the east of Ende city. It take 2.5 hours to get there, the infrastructure is relative narrow and steep. It is recommended to get local driver accompany you to get there. At the location, local guide usually welcome you, I accepted their offer at IDR 50K per pax last time for safety reason. Take note that on top of the mountain, plenty of monkey dominates the area and they may snatch your accessories, so be careful with your belonging.
Kelimutu is somewhat easy to climb, compared to Padar Island. Kelimutu is 1600m above the sea level, and take 15 minutes trekking from the parking area to the top. The trekking path is well made and it has 3 checkpoints. Not like Padar Island, the path is not always go up, sometimes the path is flat which is easy to take. Keep in mind that the weather at the top is very unpredictable where the fog can come anytime. When I was there, It was 9:40AM with a sunny weather, and 15 minutes later, the fog come and covered all the scenery. The local guide said that it may take hours until the fog completely gone again. Before I come there, I thought that we can see all the 3 lakes at the same time, the fact is, we can not capture all 3 lakes in single photos unless we use drone, because one of the lake located behind the other 2.
Based on the local lore, all the 3 of kelimutu craters lakes have their purpose and name. The lowest lake, its color can change between blue and dark red, called as Tiwu Ata Polo. Second lake, its color always cyan, symbolize soul of young people who is pure and energetic. its name Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai. Last one, positioned across those two lakes, is for elderly, and it is colorless, called Tiwu Ata Mbupu.
On the down trip, we stopped at a small flower seller. They have around 20m2 of edelweiss garden. Dried edelweiss usually use as ornament and it is famous because it can be preserved longer than usual flowers. Edelweiss is a species that under conservation in Indonesia, so don’t pluck it unless you find it in an Edelweiss cultivation.
You may heard of Wae Rebo Village, similar as it, Wologai is one of the traditional village in Flores island. the villagers are no longer live in the village, but the building still preserved. Despite not lived anymore, the villager will come back to the village once in a year to hold yearly festival to oversee their elder head to peak of Kelimutu.
Sunday, Dec 12th
It is last day of the vacation! We will go back to Jakarta by using Batik Air from Labuan Bajo. We took flight from ENE to LBJ at 9 AM and LBJ to CGK at 3PM which means, we are stay in Labuan Bajo for 5+ hours. To keep ourself busy, we decided to visit Ayana hotel.
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