28.09.-29.09.2013 München – Kuta, Bali
After a few weeks at home, I spontaneously decided to fly away again – to Indonesia. In Munich I boarded an Emirates plane to Jakarta via Dubai, and from there I continued to Denpasar, Bali. This is where I met Mathijs again; we would be travelling together over the next few weeks. In Kuta we organised a few things, had a bit of party time, bought a few things and otherwise simply relaxed. It’s not the most beautiful place to be, but it is a good starting point for a journey towards the east…
30.09.2013 Kuta – Padang Bai, Bali
At lunchtime, we took a bus from Kuta to Padang Bai. Padang Bai is a pleasant little fishing village that only ever gets animated during the times of the daily boat transfers to Bali and to the Gili Islands. There are innumerable tour agencies offering for example trekking tours to Gunung Rinjani on Lombok, a tour we booked right away. We also strolled along the little beach and enjoyed the calm – a contrast to Kuta.
01.10.2013 Padang Bai – Senggigi – Senaru, Lombok
What a long travel day! It began early in the morning on a slow boat to Lombok, which was just as slow as its name would suggest.
Arriving in the harbour, we were transferred to Senggigi, where we were brought to our tour agency and waited for the pickup to Senaru. We finally arrived when it was already dark and we were incredibly tired…
02.10.-04.10.2013 Gunung Rinjani, Lombok
I have to say straight away: The trekking tour up the Gunung Rinjani was the most strenuous hike I have ever done. And another thing: Sadly, I didn’t make it to the peak. We were in a crazily sporty group, and many group members in the front were practically running uphill. This meant that I used up my energy quicker than usual and it was also a little bit demotivating 😉 The landscape was wonderful in the beginning, though. Volcanos have their own charm! 🙂
The first day was long and tough, but in the evening we camped at the edge of the crater and were rewarded by the fantastic view over the crater lake.
The night was relatively short, for we had to get up at 1:30 a.m. to pack up and leave for the peak. The first bit of the way was very tough right away, and unfortunately due to a misunderstanding I lost Mathijs and had to shuffle through the dark alone. I got caught somewhere in the middle – too slow for the fast walkers, too fast for the slow ones. Some 40 minutes before the peak, I had to give up. The ground only consisted of loose scree and I was sliding backwards more than I was advancing. The sun had already risen a while ago, and neither my group nor my guides were anywhere to be seen. All alone, I didn’t manage to motivate myself to carry on, so I turned back. Due to my bad mood, I didn’t take a lot of pictures, even though the landscape was in fact truly beautiful.
In a different group I would probably have made it to the peak and would have been able to enjoy the morning more. Later the same day, we went down to the crater lake, where it was possible to swim (brrrrr!).
The hot springs nearby were much more inviting.
Afterwards, we had to walk back up the whole way we had come down to get to our new campsite next to the crater – and again there was a stunning view of the crater lake.
The last day, we only went downhill in a leisurely way. This was my favourite part of the hike – I really enjoy going down a mountain!! 🙂 Many people complained about muscle pain, etc. Well, part of me couldn’t help thinking… if only you lot had started off a little slower and not worn yourself out so much! For I myself was feeling just dandy 🙂 But it’s for everybody to decide for themselves how they approach things. The landscape on the tour was really great, but a trip to the edge of the crater would have been enough for me (this is also what many travellers do). 🙂
05.10.-06.10.2013 Senggigi / Kuta / Motorbike Tour, Lombok
We arrived in Senggigi in the evening of 4 October and decided to explore the island by motorbike over the next two days. We went across the island to get to Kuta – for on Lombok there is a beach bearing the same name as the one on Bali. Only much nicer! Still – it wasn’t as great as I had expected.
So we cruised on along the coast towards the east and discovered some really splendid bays.
We spent the night in Kuta and the next day we visited Lombok’s southwest. This is where we found the beach of our dreams!! I don’t have much of an eye for distances, but I’d say the beach was about 3 km long – and completely deserted! White sand, turquoise water, simply amazing 🙂
07.10.-10.10.2013 Kencana Boat Tour, from Lombok to Flores
There are several possibilities to get from Lombok to Flores: You can a) fly, b) enjoy a bus trip of 30 hours or c) go on a 4 day boat trip where you can go snorkelling every day (including sightings of manta ray!!), stop at isolated islands, explore hidden waterfalls and have heaps of relaxing time in-between activities, simply doing nothing 🙂 Guess which of the three choices we went for! 😉
We had four wonderful days with a great group of people from all over the world. The highlight was a stint to Komodo National Park. We went to Komodo and to Rinca, where you can look for Komodo dragons during your hikes. We did spot some in the wilderness; although most of them spend their time lazily lying around near the restaurant, waiting for food waste…
The best moment for me was a little hike up a hill for a viewpoint – simply spectacular!!The tour ended in Labuan Bajo, where we spent another night with the rest of the group, with lots of fun and drinks.
11.10.-13.10.2013 Labuan Bajo, Flores
Labuan Bajo is one of the ugliest towns I have ever been to. No beauty and nothing to do, expect going on a tour to Komodo NP and scuba diving. As we had already seen Komodo dragons, we rested for a day and then spent the next two days on dives.
To be brief: Komodo National Park is not without reason known as one of the best diving spots in the world! All 6 dives were brilliant! We saw innumerable sharks, colourful corals, gigantic fish shoals aaaaand about 15 manta rays!!! We had a whale of a time. And most of the time there was a strong current, either prompting us to hold onto rocks or propelling us forward at high speed. Loved it!!! 🙂 Unfortunately, none of the divers took any pictures…
14.10.2013 Labuan Bajo – Bajawa, Flores
We spent this day in a bus. The trip was about 14 hours long, instead of the expected 10. It was long, boring and tiring.
15.10.2013 Bajawa, Flores
Bajawa is a small village in the mountains of Flores. There are some traditional villages nearby, where we went by motorcycle.
We also wanted to see the volcano lakes at Wawo Muda – but then we lost our way and never actually got there. Nevertheless we had great views and our motorcycle tour was really good: we drove across the land in a real off-road fashion…
It was fun, but I was also glad I didn’t have to drive myself 😉
16.10.2013 Bajawa – Moni, Flores
Another long bus journey. The roads on Flores are narrow and bendy, and the buses do not have a lot of horse power. So even short distances can take a while… but we eventually did arrive in Moni!
17.10.2013. Moni, Flores
Moni is a teeny-tiny village near Kelimutu National Park. Kelimutu is a volcano sporting three crater lakes in different colours. The best time to visit is early morning, for the sunrise. From a viewpoint, you can watch the sun rise behind the lakes – wonderful!! 🙂 Did I mention how much I love volcanos!? Volcanic landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful, time and again.
Equally nice were the rice fields we found on our way back. A fantastic surprise; while it was still dark, we had passed them without even realising…
After breakfast, we spent the rest of the day cruising around on our motorbike. Flores has amazing nature and sooo many friendly people live there, who waved to us from the side of the road, shouted “hellooooo”, and children wanted to high-five us. It was fun! 🙂
18.10.2013 Moni – Maumere, Flores
We were in luck: For the last part of our journey on Flores we found a half-private liftshare, so the trip was short and relatively comfortable. Did I say that Labuan Bajo is ugly!? That was before I saw Maumere. Definitely one of the ugliest towns I have ever seen.
People here were not friendly, but uncomfortably pushy. Infrastructure for tourism: zero. Restaurant choice: none. We ran into two German girls, though, who knew an Indonesian person half acting as their guide who wanted us to join him for a wedding. Of course we went! It certainly was an experience, but a pretty weird one. The newly-weds were sat on some sort of stage and in front of them there were rows of chairs for the guests, like in a theatre. Bride and groom were accompanied by applause while they accepted gifts, hands were being shaken, many picture poses and extremely artificial pictures were taken. The bride’s smile ended up looking rather forced 😉 Well, it was still an interesting experience!
19.10.2013 Maumere – Wodong, Flores
We wanted to spend our last days on Flores relaxing on the beach. For this purpose, we rented a motorcycle in Maumere and drove along the coast in the direction of Wodong. On our way we stopped at various beaches and places to stay until we found a perfect beach cabin 🙂
20.10.-23.10.2013 Wodong, Flores
The next few days, we relaxed a looooot.
One day, we did muster the energy to visit one last volcano. Mount Egon is the highest mountain/volcano in East Flores, but you can drive your motorbike far up on the street and then it’s only a 2-3 hours walk to the crater. And again I was fascinated by the volcanic landscape. Mount Egon is still highly active; many big and small holes seethe and smoke. It is a fabulous spectacle and you feel really small next to the gigantic crater. What a nice ending to our Indonesian volcano experience!
24.10.2013 Maumere – Makassar – Jakarta – München
On the afternoon of 23 October, we had to leave our relaxing paradise Wodong and head back into my “favourite” city Maumere. We had planned to enjoy a lovely dinner on our last evening together – but in this city, it wasn’t possible. What a pity! The next day we had an early start – a small propeller plane took us from Maumere to Makassar. There, I had to wait 5 hours for my connection to Jakarta and then take two more flights to get back to Europe – my definite return home. Sadly, in Makassar I also had to say goodbye to Mathijs again…
The weeks in Indonesia were a wonderful addition and brought my travels to a pleasant end. I could again feel the special freedom unique to long-term travels. I saw spectacular landscapes and had many amazing experiences. Yes, I’m happy I set out one last time, and it was definitely more than worth it! 🙂