(Finally) Arrived on Flores Island! [Status Update]
As a follow up to my last post, we made it to Flores Island after a crazy THREE days of travelling. We were picked up in Senggigi and dropped in Mataram where we took another small bus to the official bus station in the city. We were then told we had to wait three hours until the bus left. Four hours later we finally left, filled to the brim and Glen, myself and our new friend Monika were the only tourists on board. Not that it was a bad thing, the locals are great and one little guy took us bule (white people) under his wing and felt he had to take care of us. What a guy!
The bus continued throughout the night once we got across the ferry from Lombok – Poto Tano, Sumbawa, with regular horn-honking, maniac driving and constant stopping and starting. We reached Bima at around 5:30am and had to switch from our air-conditioned bus over to a local bus where they piled our backpacks onto the roof and we sat among smokers and little village ladies. We finally arrived in the ferry port town of Sape and discovered when we got there that the ferry was cancelled due to rough seas. Shit! With no official answer on when the ferry would run again, we booked a hotel room nearby and slept for most of the day, going to the ferry terminal every now and again to check the boat’s status. Rumours were going around about when the ferry was going to leave and we decided to head to the terminal at midnight where we could buy a ticket for the ferry leaving at 3am. So, midnight rolled around and I was in line with about 20 locals pushing and shoving at the ticket window (they had enough tickets, but lines just don’t exist around here) and we got our ticket for the 3am sailing. This ferry made BC Ferries look like a luxury cruise line. We opted to stay on the top deck of the boat as the lower deck was piled high with people and garbage. Despite our initial worry about the rough seas they were ridiculously calm, and nine hours later we made it to our destination: Labuanbajo, Flores.
The town is amazing and is definitely looking like Indonesia’s newest hotspot – with tons of nice restaurants, tours and dive shops. We stayed for the night in a questionable hotel and left the next day for my new favourite place: Kanawa Island.
A boat picks you up in Labaunbajo for free and it’s an hour-long ride to Kanawa. The island was paradise – only a restaurant, dive shop and bungalows and no cars/motorcycles. We stayed in a bale which basically was a hut with a bed and mosquito net draped over top but it was perfect and all that we needed. Our days were spent snorkelling, lounging in the hammocks and walking around the island. It was sad when we had to leave – it was so relaxing!
We’re now back in Labaunbajo for the night and we leave tomorrow morning back to Lombok via a tour boat that will take 3 nights/4 days to get there, with plenty of stops along the way. This was the most price effective option for us since we are being transported back to where we need to go + we get to do all the tours we wanted to do anyways! The boat stops in several spots for snorkelling, stops on Komodo & Rinca Islands for trekking to find komodo dragons and some other random stops to swim in waterfalls and see flying foxes. I’m looking forward to it!
Well, I’m sitting here in our hotel’s restaurant taking advantage of their good wifi thinking of everyone back home. I can’t believe we’ve almost been in Indonesia for one month! We have another month to go here (we extended our visas) but that isn’t even enough time. This country is amazing and interesting and full of funny things that would shock Canadians – but it’s totally normal here (squat toilets, ocean = giant garbage can, smoking anywhere and everywhere… etc).
Thanks for reading! and sorry, there are more photos but I’m too impatient with slow uploading!!!