After 6 months of waiting, we finally did the island hopping in Flores, Indonesia. We went there last June and rent a pinisi – a traditional Indonesian sailing boat – for 3 days and 2 nights, together with my sister’s family and her friend’s family. There were total of 11 people in the group plus our tour operator. It was the first time for all of us and we were so excited.
Location: Labuan Bajo, Flores, Indonesia.
Visited: June 24-26, 2017.
Our Accommodation: a pinisi (traditional Indonesian sailing boat) called Kajoma IV.
Our Activities: Island hopping, trekking, snorkeling.
Tour Operator: Wil Jo (62-8111262222)
What a beautiful morning to start our activities for today! It’s quiet, sunny, and apparently, the boat anchored not too far from a village. That’s the village where a Singaporean tourist almost lost his leg back in May. He’d been warned by the locals not to take pictures of a Komodo dragon eating an animal but he didn’t listen. When busy taking pictures, another dragon came from a different direction and bit his leg. That’s what the boat crew told my husband. Lesson learned: always listen to your guide or the local people.
After breakfast, we changed to swimsuits for our first snorkeling on this trip. But first, the dive master informed us everything about snorkeling that we needed to know. Fortunately, he could speak English so I didn’t have to translate everything to my husband and son. Then we hopped on to the dinghy that took us to the famous Pink Beach. From the name, you can tell that the sand on the beach is pink. It’s the outcome of the red corals that live in the water.
Island Hopping Day 2 – Snorkeling at Pink Beach
When we got to the beach, there were other tourists already. Not too many though, as Flores is still far from crowd like Bali. But it’s going that direction since the Indonesian government is promoting Flores to the world now. So, you better visit Flores as soon as your next vacation time arrive.
The underwater world in Pink Beach was amazing. Colorful and all shapes of coral and fish were awaiting us. But we had to swim a bit farther from the beach towards the coral area to see all these beauties. With around 6 to 10 ft. deep, everything looked clear and sharp. How I wished to have my own fins and gill so I could swim and play with the fish down there.
Half an hour later, when I followed others to the beach, our tour operator touched my foot and signed me to follow him. Apparently, someone saw a squid. Wow! From above it looked like a brown rectangular box, but this is how it looked like from the bottom.
Then we spent some time on the beach; let the water scattered the pink sand on our feet. Felt like we wanted to stay there longer but we had to continue to the next destination for our second snorkeling time.
Island Hopping Day 2 – Snorkeling at Manta Point (Makasser Reef)
Yes, we’re going to see Manta Rays next. “They live in the deep-sea, swim against the current, and there’s a possibility we won’t see them,” explained the dive master. What?
Manta Point located in Makasser Reef with depth around 16-50 feet. The current was strong, so the dive master briefed us carefully about the area. We had to follow him and swim close together.
When we got there, the water looked dark and I wondered whether we could see to the bottom of the sea. Once we were in the water, I immediately put my head in the water, and yeap… no worry, the sun rays penetrated all the way to the bottom. Phew! I could feel the current moved us faster and the water felt cooler to the body.
Luckily, we saw our first Manta Ray not long after we were in the water. Followed by another one, and another one, and more. They swam fast and we could see them clear from head to toe. Amazing! My sister said there were 8 Manta Rays we saw that day. Wow!
And before we went back to the boat for lunch, we stopped at…
Island Hopping Day 2 – Sandy Island
Or an Emerge Island? I don’t know what’s the right term for this place, all I know we really loved it. We could walk or run from one end to the other end in a minute. The water was crystal clear and I saw a guy at the other end walking farther into the sea and the water only went up to his knees.
We played on the sand, took a deep in the water, let the small fish swimming around us, searching for coral with odd shape and threw them back into the water. I felt like playing in the giant sandbox. Yes! That’s the right term for this place: Giant Sandbox.
If only we could spend a night at this Giant Sandbox. But we had to leave for our next destination where we’re going to hike in an island and anchored for the night as well.
Island Hopping Day 2 – On the Top of Gili Lawa Island
After the boat anchored on a bay, we took a dinghy to Gili Lawa Island. The hill we’re going to climb looked steeper than the one from yesterday at Padar Island. The tour operator said it’s rocky all the way to the top.
Once we landed on the beach, the children took off right away with our tour operator to the top. We followed slowly because the view around the island was beautiful. And the higher we were, the more beautiful it was. We, the adults, kept stopping to take pictures with cameras and cell phones. I just love the place!
From the top, the view was just spectacular. Love, love it! The sea looked serene and it was so quiet. A seagull made a circle above us. I think she had a nest somewhere around the hill. I just wanted to sit and pamper myself with this amazing view, but the sun was about to set soon. Sadly, we had to leave.
We climbed a bit more and found a savannah waiting for us on the other side of the hill. When I looked to the right side, there were more breathtaking views. Speechless!
The sun started to disappear on the horizon on our way back to the beach. Fortunately, the trek wasn’t steep like the way up. So, we could move faster.
By the time we arrived at the boat, I was exhausted but satisfied with all the activities we did and the things we experienced today. Thank you, God, for the opportunity you’ve given us!
How to get to Flores
If you fly from Jakarta, there’s a choice of nonstop or connecting flight daily to Labuan Bajo, the hub to Komodo Islands. That’s where we started. We flew with Garuda, nonstop from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo for about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
When you’re already in Bali or Lombok, there are more choices of airlines and times to go to Labuan Bajo.
For a budget traveler, you can take a combination of ferry and bus from Bali. It takes two days though.
So, what are you waiting for? Plan your itinerary and book the ticket now. Flores is awaiting you.
Don’t miss our story from Day 1 and Day 3. Click the related links below.