The talk about going for another holiday has long been around my close friends and me. However, with the marriage of a friend and the marriage plan of another, not to mention earlier long overseas trip 3 of us had, the idea seems so far away from realization (time and money were really the issue). It was pretty shocking (and again impulsive) that we decided to go for this Komodo trip. Again, it started only with the 3 of us, then the group expanded to 8 people, enabling us to open a private trip. The holiday EO this time is Rani, and we went with Salamransel crew for a 4D3N Sailing Komodo Trip (visit their website here).
Our first day started on Saturday at 3 AM (I can’t recall the last time I woke up this early for a first flight, on a Saturday), when we met up at the airport to catch our flight. We flew Jakarta-Denpasar with Lion Air and Denpasar-Labuan Bajo with Wings Air. Thank God the flights were not delayed so we arrived in Labuan Bajo on time at 9.30 AM. We were picked up at the airport and headed straight to Kampung Ujung Port to start our Sailing Komodo trip.
Our first destination was Pulau Kanawa. We went trekking the small hill and snorkeling there. OK, we weren’t too much impressed by the island but it was a good start. Then, off we go to Sebayur for another snorkeling session. I like the underwater view better here, since the fish was more colorful and various here. Tired of snorkeling, we headed to Gili Lawa Island, where our ship was anchored for the night.
Day 1: Kanawa
Our second day started quite early, we woke up at 4 AM in order to trek up the mountain (I cannot say that it’s a hill – it took us 40 mins to get to the top) and catch the sunrise view in Gili Lawa. I started the trek with a lot of complaints, especially since I got really tired of climbing and it was really dark when we started, but what I saw when I reached the top made me forget all those complaints – the view was really breathtakingly beautiful. After a lot of pictures, we went back to our boat and headed to Manta Point, where I didn’t dare to swim (the flow was quite hard and it was a deep, free sea, so it’s a no). We waited there for 30ish minutes until we finally saw 2 mantas swimming around. Quite satisfied with what we saw, we headed to Taka Makassar. At first, we questioned what the place was, and apparently it’s a small vacant island consisting only of a few trees and sand (the sand is half white-half pink), just like Pulau Gusung in Derawan and Karimunjawa. When the sand is covering a wide area with pretty, clear water, take pictures. A lot of them. So that’s what we did.
Day 2: Pink Beach – doesn’t look too pink in pictures
Tired of taking pictures (well, it’s a lie. We don’t get tired of taking pictures. Never did), we headed to Pink Beach for (tired sigh here) another trekking and snorkeling. (I like snorkeling but I don’t really like trekking, especially with the extreme heat in Komodo.) You cannot really see the pink sand from the picture, but if you’re there, then you’ll be able to see that the sand is really pretty pink. So sad with the fact that Pink Beach was our last snorkeling (the underwater experience was very beautiful, by the way), we headed to Pulau Komodo afterwards. I guess it’s a must visit place for tourists, since it’s where the Taman Nasional Komodo (Komodo National Park) is located. Going there, you have to be accompanied by 2 rangers per group, 1 in front and another 1 in the back, since komodo (komodo dragon is the more popular English name) is a carnivore predator that can attack people unexpectedly. Luckily during our visit, we got to meet one by the beach (seems like it needs some dose of the sun also! LOL) and took pictures with it. Our last destination for the night was Pulau Kalong, where we were supposed to see a group of bats flying above our ship during sunset. Unfortunately, the bats didn’t come out that night, probably because there were too many ships anchored there.
Day 2: komodo by the beach in Pulau Komodo
So we’d been warned: trekking on our third day would have been really tiring. It was proven. We started our first day at 5 AM (well, the ship crews started it that early, we only woke up at 7 AM when we’d arrived at our destination) to head to Pulau Padar. It was the highest track we climbed; the track was really slippery with sand and very few rocks to hold on to. We trekked for 45 minutes, but then what we saw was really pretty – we saw 3 gulfs surrounding the island, all 3 with different colors: black, pink and white. It was really pretty that we even recorded a music video there (for private use only LOL). Next, we went to Pulau Rinca, another island with big population of komodo. We also trekked the hill there, but it was not so sloppy so I survived. The komodos were smaller than the ones we saw in Pulau Komodo, so they are said to move faster. Our (certainly) last destination was Pulau Kelor, for another trekking. Due to my shoes condition (the soles didn’t survive Pulau Padar they fell off) and the tour guide’s story that the track there is the hardest one, I decided not to climb the hill. It was not so high, but my friends told me that the slope is 45 degrees and the rocks are located far apart from each other that they had to duck on their way down. After Pulau Kelor, we went back to Labuan Bajo to (finally, yeay!!) stay in the hotel there.
Highlight of the trip (top-bottom): sunset (day 1) and sunrise (day 2) at Gili Lawa, and 3 gulfs at Pulau Padar (day 3)
We spent our last day in Labuan Bajo getting to know around our hotel, trying to find souvenirs (failed) and eating good seafood before we went back to Jakarta. The most interesting thing we tried was Jungle Juice (thanks to Reni for introducing the drink to us) in Treetop Restaurant, a combination of aren (traditional alcoholic drink), Kratingdaeng (red bull), and soda. After a good lunch, we thanked our tour guide and were taken to the airport. The flight home was delayed for 1.5 hours, by the way, which we spent playing cards to kill time (because there’s no reception there for carriers other than Telkomsel). We flew with NAM Airline for Labuan Bajo-Denpasar and Sriwijaya Air for Denpasar-Jakarta.
The peaceful sea view from inside the ship
Arriving home safely, I just realized that I got sun-burnt really badly (my sister would stare at me from head to toe when I arrived, then said: how come you are so tanned), but I am happy. The trip was worth all the sunburn (and I didn’t shower for 3 days during my time at the ship); Komodo is a very beautiful place that I would recommend everyone to visit. However, if you got time, you might want to exercise a bit before going there – one thing I regretted was I didn’t exercise enough that I wasn’t physically fit when I was there. Please, please, please do not let it get dirty. Tourists, please be responsible with nature. Take only pictures, leave only footprints.