Bali, Flores, West Timor, Sumba
Planning and overall impression
Travelling across Nusa Tenggara is a bit difficult, because of the less
developed tourist infrastructure and the dearth of travel information
in the Internet and in travel publications.
My initial idea for this trip was to spend about 10 days on Flores and
a few on West
Timor, just to get a glimpse of the place.
Before the trip I didn't
have a detailed day-to-day plan about what to do in Flores because
travel information about Nusa Tenggara is a bit spotty.
The Flores itinerary was essentially finalised in Labuan Bajo with the
help of a local travel agent and turned out to be shorter than I
The travel agent convinced me to finish the trip in
because this way the return trip to LBJ for the driver would have been
shorter) instead of Maumere.
In hindsight, with better information I
might have also visited (the area around) Maumere and the Wae Rebo village, although I hear
that Wae Rebo is heavily commercialised.
In total, I spent only seven days on Flores (which, by the way,
is a very
scenic and beautiful island) and arrived in Kupang (West Timor) on August
26th in the evening.
There I was lucky to meet Edwin from the Lavalon hostel, who
helped me define the itinerary for West Timor. I used a draft itinerary
for West Timor which I found in wikitravel for the discussion with
Edwin. Together we finalised the itinerary, and Edwin explained that three
days would suffice and arranged a car with driver for me.
West Timor is a pretty cool place, not receiving many visitors but with
many cool sights. Tourist infrastructure is quite underdeveloped (for
instance there are almost no tourist restaurants and many roads are
bad). One of the places I visited, Boti, receives fewer than 200
tourists per year. And it's impressive that in the villages houses are
still built with traditional materials.
Having done Flores and West Timor in less time than planned, I still
had a few days to kill and used these for a brief three days visit to
Also in Sumba I relied on a local travel agent in Tambolaka to set up
an itinerary. I had cars with drivers for these three days,
which proved a very effective way to explore Sumba without
Sumba also has many traditional villages with houses
built with traditional materials and there are some nice beaches. The
geography however is less variable than in Flores and West Timor, i.e.
the island is more flat and Sumba seems to be more touristy. Probably
Sumba receives plenty of tourists who come from short trips from Bali.
In any case, local people more aggressively try to sell to tourists
stuff and solicit donations.
Two to three days are enough for the western part of Sumba because
there isn't that much to see.
The travel expense in Nusa Tenggara is relatively low. Simple rooms
with A/C and attached bathroom are in the 10-30 Euro range, food in the
roadside restaurants where I ate was inexpensive. The biggest expense
were the cars + driver (in the 700000-800000 IDR/day range). Flights
were also relatively inexpensive.
The biggest difficulty was to find places where to eat. While on Flores
at least in the major tourist centres there are restaurants catering to
tourists (unless you don't mind eating in restaurants for locals with
poor quality and dirty food), on West Timor and Sumba I couldn't find
restaurants. Either there were none, or the food was so bad that I
didn't dare to eat it. It was basically so that in the mornings I would
buy cookies, chips, fresh fruits and drinks, eat that stuff during the
day and then have a dinner in the hotel in the evening (when the hotel
had a restaurant).
There is a reasonably good infrastructure of hotels in Flores (although
except perhaps for Labuan Bajo I didn't see anything in the middle to
upper class range). There are also hotels (basic ones) in West Timor
Perhaps Sumba has good hotels and I didn't see them. But
both Flores, West Timor and Sumba are relatively underdeveloped for
what concerns hotels (if compared to standard tourist destinations such
as Bali, Malaysia or Thailand).
Money / Exchange rate
Euro = 14500 IDR
1 Euro ~ USD 1.08
phones and prepaid cards
Simpati SIM card for about 150000 IDR with a data package bought in a
shop in Labuan Bajo (preactivated, no ID required). I had a 1GB data
package (+2GB over LTE; LTE only in the biggest urban centres) which I used for web browsing in the evevings
in the hotel, because the hotel WLAN was too bad. I then bought a data
recharge in Waikabukak on Sumba. Decent coverage, except for the most
I often relied on the mobile phone as a Wifi hotspot, if for instance
the hotel WLAN was too bad (which was often the case).
August is the dry season in Nusa Tenggara. The skies were almost always
blue with no clouds. It only rained or was overcast on very few days.
Health / Vaccinations
The typical set of tropical vaccinations. For this trip I didn't
refresh any immunisation and didnt take anti-malaria pills, relying
instead on mosquito repellent to avoid mosquito bites.
VISA / Entry requirements
This time no visa was needed for me (German passport). In previous
years I had to pay some money for a visa on arrival.
No issues here - Nusa Tenggara is a quite peaceful place.
- The islands and the sea near Labuan Bajo (i.e. the Komodo
national park area)
- The traditional villages near Bajawa
- The villages of Tamkesi, Fatumnasi and None in West Timor
- The mountain landscape of West Timor east of Kefamenanu
- The Ratenggaro and Praijing villages on Sumba
Things to avoid
- Of the places I visited nothing really. Ruteng and the area
around it were a bit less interesting, but this was compensated by the
openness of the local population which is very interested in foreign
I used flights to hop from island to island and had my own car + driver
on each of the three islands. This allowed me to quickly move from one
place to the other and the driver also acted as a guide and introduced
me to the local people.
(some of the thumbnails are clickable and lead to larger images)
Komodo Hotel, Labuan Bajo, opposite the airport. 31 Euro for a nice
bungalow with adjustable A/C (remote control), flat screen TV, small
table, nice comfortable bed, bed lamps openn cupboard for the clothes
and nothing else. The attached toilet has a bad water sink (small, no
surface for toiletries, little water, water only comes out if you press
the button). The shower seems decent. Very heavy noise of planes from
the nearby airport in the afternoon, quiet at night as there are no
flights. About 1km from the village centre. The room is clean.
sunny, but with many clouds in the morning in Bali, hot &
Labuan Bajo almost spotless blue sky and surprisingly fresh (not hot,
there is some light refreshing wind blowing)
I get up at
9:20am, get ready and have a breakfast. After 11am I walk out
hotel with the idea of having a quick look at the beach in Kuta. Turns
out that this is too far away, so after a while I walk back to the
hotel. I check out at 12pm, then proceed to the domestic terminal. To
get in you must show your ticket. Since I have no printout I show them
the email on my smartphone. Then there is an initial security check.
I try to get cash from the ATM with the DKB card, the card is again
blocked (BTW, limits are again quite low, max. 2 or 2.5 million
Rupiah). Will have to call again the DKB bank in Germany and ask them
to unblock the card. Then I try the Targobank VISA card and this one
works, i.e. allows me to get cash.
check in at the
counter for the flight to Labuan Bajo. Now I would need a SIM card, but
there is no outlet selling one in the departures area. Plenty of shops
selling various stuff for travellers, several restaurants and cafes,
but no place selling SIM cards.
The 1:40pm flight to Labuan Bajo
with NAM Air is delayed due to the late arrival of the aircraft. The
plane will only start rolling at 2:43pm and finally take off at 2:50pm,
i.e. one hour later than scheduled. It's an ancient Boeing
safety briefing the
hostess says "let's now all pray for the
safe arrival to Labuan Bajo". If NAM Air was a good airline,
wouldn't be necessary...
I'm seated next to the safety exit, so
have more leg space. The flight proceeds smoothly and we land in Labuan
Bajo airport at 3:50pm. This is a small airport with just two gates,
but it seems relatively recently built or expanded/modernised. Very few
luggage trolleys, and all are taken by porters.
It takes about
20 minutes to get the luggage. Then I wade through the taxi drivers and
walk to the hotel which is basically opposite the airport. There I
check in and get to the room.
After I'm settled I walk towards
the town centre (let's say the village centre). Labuan Bajo is a small
place, but it is expanding a lot.
Shortly before 5pm
I walk along the
coastal road and see the stunning panorama of the bay with all islands.
Should look even better in the morning or at sunset.
reminds me a bit of Krabi years ago. Sort of a tourist village with
restaurants, tour operators, dive shops. I check the tour options for
the next days. 2D/1N trip to Rinca and Komodo for 750000 IDR, 1D trip
to Komodo for the same price, both leave very early at 6am. 8am
snorkelling trip to some islands north of Labuan Bajo for 300000 IDR.
6D/5N tour of Flores for 8.5 million IDR (hotels and meals not
included) and 4D/3N tour of Flores (driver+car only, 850000 IDR/day,
apparently no need to pay for the driver's hotel).
I have a fish dinner in a restaurant overlooking the bay and then book
the snorkelling trip for tomorrow.
Snorkelling trip around Labuan
Komodo Hotel. This could be a full service hotel, but when I ask them
if they can wash my T-shirt, this generates a few minutes of discussion
before they agree to wash the T-shirt. Mediocre restaurnt: the grilled
chicken I order has very little meat and comes with no sauces (quite
Weather: sunny, blue sky the
whole day. No wind, the sea is quite smooth. No rain and temperatures
up to over 30�C, more fresh in the evening.
morning I leave the hotel at 7:20am and walk to the city. A motorbike
picks me up and for 10000 IDR will bring me to the city. Once I'm above
the viewpoint, I get off and shoot some photos of the bay, then walk to
the tour operator. It's 7:40am and there is already some activity at
the operator's office.
At 8am I walk with
a group of three
Italian ladies to the boat. We lose some time and in practice only
leave at 8:30am. The boat heads along the coast to the north. The
coastline is green, but there is a lack of trees. Either they don't
grow or have been cut. Not that many beaches and no coconut trees,
which surprises me a bit.
At 9:30am we reach the first place, an
island with a sandy beach. There we get off the boat and spend the next
hour and a half swimming, snorkelling and lying on the beach. Nice
sandy beach, but with lots of coral and no trees on the beach, i.e. no
shade. Plenty of fish in the water (one even bites my leg), but
otherwise a pretty boring place.
At 11am we move to the next
place. This is another island, this time with a resort on it (the
Seraya hotel & resort). Seems to be an upper end/midrange
It's section of the beach is clean and coconut palms have been planted.
This island is sort of cute, but again there isn't much to do
here. It would have been better if the tour was touching more different
spots near Labuan Bajo instead of just two.
I swimm a bit, rest,
then have a lunch here. At 3pm we take the boat back to Labuan Bajo,
arriving there shortly before 4pm. I walk to the main street and
enquire about tour options. I end up booking a daytrip to Komodo for
650000 IDR (leaving at 5:30am, my goodness) and a five days trip across
Flores island until Ende for a total cost of 4800000 IDR (800000
IDR/day for five day and an additional day for the driver to drive
back). I'm back in the hotel shortly after 6pm and sleep shortly after
Bajo -> Komodo
Exotic Komodo Hotel
sunny, blue sky with some clouds and a thin high altitude clouds layer
here and there. No rain. In the early morning quite fresh, on the sea
not too hot. Not too hot also in Labuan Bajo.
I wake up
at 4:30am (!), stay in bed for another 20 minutes, then take a shower
and get ready. By 5:20am I'm in the hotel lobby and wait for Ryan, the
guy who sold me the tour to Komodo and promised to pick me up at the
hotel. And indeed, at 5:24am he is there and brings me to his shop.
It's still night and it's amazing that he starts working so early in
In the shop I meet
two girls who will also today go
to Komodo, but with another boat. Then another guy walks me to the
harbour where soon after I get into the boat. The other tourists on the
boat are two Spanish guys and a Spanish couple. Lots of Spanish spoken
today on this boat. Yesterday Italian, today Spanish.
expected, the boat starts leaving the harbour at 6am. The sunrise is at
and colours. Our boat and another one today go
to Komodo island together.
The boat is exactly the same as I had
yesterday. I was hoping to have a bigger boat, on which you can walk on
the deck because they told me yesterday that the trip lasts four hours,
but it's a small boat with two benches facing each other.
to walk or stand up, you have to sit all the time.
is, wow. Very cool coasts and islands in this early morning sun. Here
and there small fishermen villages just waking up.
Lots of islands
everywhere. The islands don't have much vegetation. Mostly grass and
bushes, very few trees.
Either all trees have been felled, or
they don't grow because this area doesn't receive enough rain. Which is
strange because we are in the tropics. I wonder if the explanation is
cold water currents which inhibit the rain (as is the case with the
Sahara desert). In any case the typical tropical weather
mornings, gradual clouds buildup, rain in the afternoon) is missing in
this area. And also, between the islands there are many
in some spots the sea water is quite cold.
Before 8:30am we are
on Komodo island, which means that the boat trip took less than 2 1/2
four hours as they told me in Labuan Bajo. We are in Loh
Liang, a bay on the eastern coast of Komodo with a beach. Here the
headquarters of the Komodo national park are located. There are some
facilities (basically just toilets and the administrative office - no
restaurant, shops, cafes or cafeterias). But there is no souvenir shop,
which is strange.
We pay 306000 IDR each (290000 IDR entrance
fee + 16000 IDR for a ranger shared by five people - ranger costs 80000
IDR). There are three or four different trails: a short trek, a medium
and a long one. In addition also an adventure trek which however takes
four hours or more (and we only have two hours here according to the
We wait a bit for the ranger, then finally at 8:50am
start walking. The area around Loh Liang is dry but lightly forested.
So we walk for part of the time under tree cover. We slowly walk up a
hill, Sulphurea hill, with a view of the Loh Liang bay. From here you
can see that this part of Komodo has some trees, although not that
many. It takes only 25 minutes to reach this hill. From the hill we
will walk down again to the Loh Liang bay, with the ranger all the time
In total we see three Komodo dragons: a small
baby one on the top of a tree, a medium sized one (perhaps two metres
long) walking in the undergrowth and a big fat one almost four metres
long resting on the beach under a tree, not far from the park
headquarters. This latter one is surrounded by tourists who take
pictures of him. The Spanish couple visited Rinca yesterday and saw
seven Komodo dragons, but smaller ones. Later on the beach we see a
group of deer who are taking a rest and are not afraid of humans.
after 10am we walk back to the boat. The boat brings us to a small bay
with a nice sandy beach, about 20 minutes away from Loh Liang. We'll
spend over an hour here, swimming and snorkelling. Lots of boats with
tourists anchor here. The sea water is a bit cold and there is a strong
At 11:50am we leave this place and go to another one.
It takes one hour to reach this place. Here, in the middle of the sea,
there are mantas. Lots snorkelling tourists looking for these mantas.
Finally, the boat
brings us to a third place where to snorkel (some
place near a beach).
We are back in Labuan Bajo shortly after
4pm. I get out of the boat and have some food in the pancake restaurant
(pricey ice cream at 19000 IDR per scoop). Then I withdraw more cash
from an ATM and walk to the Gertrudis travel agency where I pick up the
plan for the Flores trip. Then I head to the La Pirate restaurant where
I get more food (in practice I'm having lunch and dinner together - I
didn't eat the food package served on the boat). At 6pm I walk back to
Bajo -> Ruteng
Rima, Ruteng. 175000 IDR for a room with a TV, two beds (soft
mattress), toilet with hot shower and nothing else. Rather basic room.
The hotel is on a main street in Ruteng, very noisy the whole day and
even at night. Very thin walls which allow you to hear everything which
happens in the nearby room. Floor which vibrates when people outside
the room walk. In fact this is a wooden hotel (floor and walls made out
of wood). AC power is briefly cut off twice in the evening. No air
Weather: hot and sunny in
Labuan Bajo, blue sky with some clouds. Inland still hot and sunny, but
more cool the higher the altitude. Very strong sun. Many clouds in the
interior of Flores, sometimes overcast. No rain the whole day. Quite
fresh in Ruteng after 4pm.
At 8:30am the driver (Stanis)
of the Gertrudis travel agency picks me up. The car is not a tiny
little car as I had feared, it a white Toyota Avanza with plenty of
space. We first drive to the travel agency's office, where I pay the
remaining balance of the trip (3800000 IDR).
It's 9am when we
finally leave Labuan Bajo and start driving towards the
interior. Surprisingly the landscape changes quickly and
becomes very green, with
plenty of forest. Very hilly terrain, countless curves in the road.
From Labuan Bajo to
Ruteng it's slightly above 120km, but Google Maps
calculates over three hours of driving time. With a road like this it's
no wonder. In addition to the curves, the road is also very steep in
Stanis drives the car very quietly at an average
speed of around 30km/h. The first stop is a viewpoint from which there
is a nice view of the Labuan Bajo bay.
Must say that the
is very, very photogenic. Great green colours of the vegetation,
coupled with the blue sky and red earth. Very scenic landscape.
continue driving, stopping every now and then for some pictures. I
discover that cloves are grown here - on the ground there are mats
covered with clove seeds drying in the sun. Strong smell of drying
clove in the air. Also coffee and cocoa are grown here. Whereever there
is some flat land there are rice fields. Even terraced rice fields in
Everything is very colourful.
Strong colours and
contrasts in the cities and villages, countless photo opportunities. I
have to restrain myself from continually taking photos...
is a beautiful, gorgeous island. The only thing which is missing are
some temples or historical sites, easy access by plane from Singapore,
or Kuala Lumpur and a better tourist infrastructure (i.e.
Shortly before 12pm we stop for lunch in a restaurant
in Tangge. The food is so-so but then I wasn't expecting much anyway
(small, overcooked chicken leg with plain steamed white rice and
At 12:20pm we
continue driving towards
Ruteng. There are more rice fields, this time green ones along the
road. Brief stop in a farm, where cocoa and coffee beans and cloves are
drying under the sun.
After some time the landscape changes.
The road climbs
along the mountains. We reach 1100-1200m of altitude,
majestic forests on both sides (with the road on one side of the
mountain, below a valley, and opposite another mountain). We cross a
mountain pass, then the road goes down again.
Ruteng we stop at another place for a nice view of rice fields, then
later shortly before Ruteng we stop at the place where there are the
spiderweb rice fields. Entrance fee of 15000 IDR. Small path you have
to walk up to reach the viewpoint.
After the spiderweb
fields, we drive to a reconstruction of a Manggarai traditional village
(the Pu'u village). This is on a hill near Ruteng. Entrance fee of
20000 IDR. Relatively unimpressive because there are only three houses
whose roofs have been reconstructed in the traditional manner, while
the bottoms consist of wood planks or even cement. Young guy showing me
the place, speaks some English and wants to practise the language
At 3:45pm Stanis stops in front of the Rima hotel.
then I choose a "standard" room for 175000 IDR.
4:10pm I'm back on the street, looking for a shop where to buy some
food. I'm immediately approached by school kids who want to practise
their English with me. Also, they need to collect the names,
nationality and signature of the foreigner they spoke with as a school
After a while I have a swarm of six girls who are
walking with me to the shop. After the shop, one of the girls asks if I
can go with her to her school, because her classmates need to practise
their English as well. Because I have time to kill (my dinner is a 6pm)
and this way I can help these kids practise their English, I agree.
we walk to this school, which is actually quite far away, all the time
filling out exercise books with my name, country of origin and
signature. Once at the school I'm directed to a classroom. The girl
talks to the teacher who is holding a lesson on how to deal with
customer complaints (this is apparently a tourist-oriented high
school). I'm introduced to the class and because none of the students
dares to put any questions to me, the teacher asks me to introduce
So I explain who I am, what I'm doing in Flores, why I'm
travelling alone (wife likes to shop in KL). For about 10-15 minutes
I'm there. Plenty of questions from the teacher, since the kids are too
shy to put questions. I'm not exactly prepared for this kind of thing,
but I'm used to talk in public, so I don't have too many difficulties.
I walk out of the classroom it's 5:15pm. Lots of students are leaving
the classrooms (school is closing now). I run into the German language
teacher of the girl who brought me here. It's a pretty young girl,
actually more than pretty, really beautiful. Small chat with her in
German is taught in eight schools in Ruteng, which
is a lot for a small city of 50000 inhabitants and for a not so widely
spoken language. I guess they are preparing these kids to deal with
expected tourist arrrivals. Perhaps also French and Spanish are taught.
Then we walk back to the hotel. Again I have a swarm of schoolkids
6pm the driver brings me to the Agape restaurant. This is a
tourist-oriented place, serving decent food. Small portions - I have to
order an additional dish (banana pancake) because I'm still hungry
after eating the main dish. I'm back in the hotel around 8pm.
Villa Silverin, near Bajawa (a couple of km out of town). 300000 IDR
for a room with a bed, a cupboard, no A/C (but not needed as it's quite
fresh here anyway), small table with mirror and chair, very basic
toilet with water boiler system (small water boiler, i.e. not enough
water for a shower). No
WLAN in the room, only in the reception area.
Quite noisy as the hotel is on the main road. Not sure if I would
recommend this place. Opposite the hotel there is a restaurant serving
Weather: sunny with
clouds in Ruteng, fresh in the morning. Quite hot at sea level.
Overcast in some spots in the mountains. Cold and overcast in the
evening in Bajawa. No rain the whole day, a bit windy here and there
We leave the hotel
in the morning at
9:40am, then briefly stop in a supermarket in Ruteng where I
food and get additional cash, then leave Ruteng on the montain road for
Bajawa. The road will cross one mountain range, then get down to sea
level, then shortly before Bajawa climb up again the mountains as
Bajawa lies at 1100m of altitude.
Again pretty scenery on the
way, with mountains, forests, rice fields etc. but less impressive than
yesterday, or perhaps I just got used to all this.
Pretty green for
most of the trip, even if at the moment it is not raining in Flores.
At 10:35am we briefly stop at Ranamese where there is a
lake. Pretty view and a bit unusual here in the tropics.
before 12pm we stop in Borong along the coast for lunch. It's
Bougenvile bakery and restaurant and the food is so-so as I expected.
Here in Flores you only get good food in special restaurants in tourist
centres, but in the countryside the food quality is unimpressive.
12:35pm we continue the trip. The next stop is at a palm sugar
processing centre in Aimere, where they distill some liquor (Arak).
Near this place there is a dark sand beach (you could say a black sand
Shortly after that we start climbing again the
mountain range. Again a road with countless narrow curves.
stops along the way (one at a clove plantation -
a tree which is the source of this spice) we reach Bajawa at
3:40pm. The driver brings me to the hotel.
Now, on the plan for today
there is a stop at the So'a hot springs. But I hear that it takes
almost one hour to get there. If I spend one hour there, with the time
needed to get back, it's almost 7pm, too late. Driving in the darkness
should be avoided, because the road is narrow and frequently damaged,
and in the darkness you might not see the holes.
So we just
drive into Bajawa, to the local market and have a look. Bajawa itself
is unremarkable. Ruteng is almost more interesting, although both
places have no touristic highlights. Somehow the landscape reminds me a
bit of Laos - southeast Asian country with mountains. At 5pm we drive
back to the hotel. I have a dinner at the restaurant opposite the hotel
-> Villages (Bela,
spring -> Bajawa
Villa Silverin, Bajawa. In the afternoon there is neither water nor
electricity in the room. The hotel staff says it's because the whole of
Bajawa has no power. But at 5pm when a new customer arrives and
about the electricity, they switch on a generator.
a mix of sunny and cloudy, totally overcast after 2-3 pm. Quite fresh
(temperatures around 20°C when the sun isn't shining). Some very light
rain, every now and then.
The plan for today is to visit
the traditional villages near Bajawa (Bena, Luba and Bela) and a hot
spring. We leave the hotel at 9am and drive to the first village
Along the way
pretty impressive views of the Inerie volcano.
reach the first village (Bela) after less than 20 minutes. Must be very
close to Bajawa. The village consists of houses built with bamboo walls
and characteristic palm leaves roof lined around a rectangular common
square. On the square there are some graves and some gazebos, also
built with wood and palm leaves roofs. You have to sign in a guestbook
and pay a 20000 IDR entrance fee.
Bela seems alive, because there are kids playing, i.e. it's not an
abandoned village or a village where only old people live.
Bela we drive to the next village, Luba. This is similar to Bela, the
only difference being that there is no fixed entry price (you make a
donation) and the main square is arranged in terraces because the
ground isn't even. Next to the village there is a school built out of
concrete. Some women are weaving cloth in this village. There are no
souvenir shops or other shops at all in this village. While I'm there,
there are another 2-3 tourists visiting the place, i.e. it doesn't get
that many visitors.
All villages I visit this morning consist of
houses built with traditional materials. There are no tin roofs for
instance. They all lie at about 600m of altitude. Some of the graves
show people who lived until almost 90 years of age, i.e. the lifespan
of these villagers seems to be quite long.
We then drive to the
last village, Bena. There are probably more traditional
this area (on the road I see a street sign pointing to one), but Bela,
Luba and Bena are probably the more famous or touristy
ones. And I must
say that all these villages look similar. After having seen two or
three you are not exactly keen to see more of them.
and Bena it's just a short five minutes drive. Bena is the cutest of
all these three villages. Same structure as Bela and Luba and here the
central square is terraced with non even terraces, because the terrain
is not even. Entrance fee of 20000 IDR and they even have real tickets.
There is a tourist info centre, with exhibits explaining the village.
This village is the best organised for tourists of the three villages.
walk up until the end and reach a viewpoint with a nice view of the
valley behind the village. When leaving I'm asked to write a short
comment into a book.
At 11:30am we start driving to the hot spring, arriving there 25
the roads have consisted of narrow, steep and curvy mountain roads.
Slow speeds, the road being for a large extent across the rainforest.
What is impressive of this forest are the bushes of bamboo, some of
them 30-40m high (or perhaps more).
The Malanage hot spring is
not that easy to find. From the road you walk a small trail downhill
for about 30m. Then you reach an entrance, where you sign in a
guestbook with your name and nationality and pay 10000 IDR. The hot
spring itself is a small forest river where all the water is hot.
Further upriver, a small river of even hotter water most likely mixes
with a cold water river.
The only facilities of this place are
a rather basic changing room and some gazebos providing some shadow.
There is no restaurant, there are no shops and I also do not see a
toilet or shower.
The experience is
quite pleasant. I end up
spending about an hour in this place, then shortly after 1pm we drive
back to Bajawa. With us in the car there is a guy of the hot spring who
needs to get back to Bajawa.
I'm back at the hotel at 1:50pm and
the day is essentially over, because we already visited all places. I'm
starting to regret having planned so many days on Flores. Seems I could
have done everthing in one or two dys less. Or perhaps I should have
planned a more ambitious itinerary, with a stop on the north coast or a
trek to Wae Rabo.
At 2pm I have a small lunch in the
restaurant opposite the hotel. I spend the rest of the day in the hotel
because the weather is not good and the hotel is quite far away from
the centre of Bajawa city.
Penda beach -> Ende
Wisata Silvester homestay, Moni. Sort of a guesthouse along the main
street; the room is noisy. 300000 IDR for a clean room with two beds
(soft mattress) and no other furniture (except for a small table for
the suitases). Water basin in the room. Attached bathroom with a shower
(hot water, water boiler system, a bit bigger than the one in the
Silverin hotel) but no water basin. No A/C (it's fresh outside, but
would be nice to have a way to make the room more dry), no WLAN.
Weather: most of
the day overcast, every now and then some light rain. Fresh at
altitude, very hot at sea level when the sun is shining. In Moni in the
late afternoon it's overcast and there is some light rain. Mud on the
streets in Moni. Over 22°C in the homestay room in Moni, warmer than in
Bajawa probably because the altitude is lower.
the hotel at 9:15am and start driving towards Ende. It's
overcast and a
bit rainy. The landscape is relatively unimpressive until we reach the
settlements, farms, moderate slopes, no dramatic
scenery of wilderness or steep mountains. The region seems even a bit
dryer than the region around Bajawa.
At 11:30am we reach the
coast. The sun is shining now and it's quite hot. We continue driving
and at 12:10pm we reach Nanga Penda beach.
This is a black
with several blueish stones on it. Near the beach there are heaps of
these blue stones, as if somebody had collected them. The colour is
actually cyan, some kind of green-blue. Except for the stones this
beach is relatively unimpressive.
After 25 minutes on this
beach, we continue driving towards Ende. With a stop or two along the
we reach Ende at
1:20pm. Ende lies along the southern coast of
Flores, near what seems to be the cone of a small volcano. Lots of
construction ongoing in Ende. The city is not terribly interesting,
except for a traditional market which looks nice.
We have some lunch in a restaurant (the Edelweis restaurant in the
Grand Wisata hotel). Quite decent food.
2:05pm we continue driving towards Moni. Moni is a mountain village
lying at 720m of altitude.
The road to get
there is currently being
reworked, i.e. there are roadworks along the road. From what I'm told
later, this road is only open during certain hours (for instance
12-1pm), probably to allow the roadworks to proceed. The scenery is
quite green. Lots of villages, farms and rice fields along the way.
4:20pm we reach Moni. It's small mountain village full of mud, because
it is raining. Apparently Mt Kelimutu lies 900m higher than this
village, but this is the access point to the mountain. We settle the
stuff in the place the driver chose for me, the Silvester homestay.
Access to this homestay via a muddy path, my goodness.
putting my things into the room, I walk a bit around the village. There
are several guesthouses and homestays, some of them being built. Not a
too touristy village at the moment - there are few tourists and only a
few cafes and restaurants. Lots of small kids on the streets (happy
little kids), farms, chicken and pig everywhere. Seems a very dynamic
place, i.e. a growing village.
I have a dinner in the restaurant
opposite the hotel. The spaghetti bolognese they serve are full of
chilli (40-45 minutes waiting time for the food).
hostel, Kupang. This is located along the waterfront in the centre of
Kupang and is run by Edwin, the owner of www.lavalontouristinfo.com.
The room I have costs 260000 IDR and has one big comfortable bed, A/C,
fan, water basin in the room, a frame usable for clothes of towels,
free WLAN (reasonably speedy). The toilet has a modern closetbowl (best
quality so far on this trip to Indonesia) and a shower with hot water.
The room is clean and you can see that the owner cares about quality.
Only drawback is the main road nearby which is a bit noisy at night.
Edwin himself knows a lot about West Timor and Nusa Tenggara and can
help with the planning of the trip. Breakfast included (simple, but
good breakfast: tea or coffee and a banana pancake).
overcast, poor visibility and some rain in Moni at 6am and on Mt.
Kelimutu. Not too cold however. Later at 10am the sky opens up in Moni
and there is some sunshine, but Mt Kelimutu is still in the clouds. Hot
and sunny in Ende.
I'm glad I didn't decide to wake up at
4am to see the sunrise, because this morning there was no sunrise on Mt
Kelimutu. Instead I wake up shortly before 6am and a bit after 6am I'm
in the car to Mt Kelimutu. This is a narrow and curvy but paved road
which leads to a parking very close to the summit.
visibility and rain because we are driving through the clouds. We
arrive at the parking at 6:45am. Entrance fee of 150000 IDR/person +
10000 IDR for the car. Waste of money this morning, because there is
nothing to see (clouds/fog with roughly 10-20 metres visibility).
it's raining, I wait in the car, hoping that the weather improves.
While there I see wet, frustrated people walking down the staircase,
back to the parking. It may be the dry season here, but this doesn't
mean that it's sunny/blue sky everyday and everywhere.
minutes, since we are starting to run out of time, I finally get out of
the car and start walking on the trail to the summit. It's a relatively
short and simple trail, consisting of stairs or paved ground. You could
walk that with beach slippers. Nice trail across the forest by the way.
Soon I reach the viewing spot for the first lake (there are
three of them). The viewpoint is on the crater. From there across the
mist and fog you can guess that there is some blueish lake below. But
right now all you see is that you are in the clouds: water vapour and
water droplets floating in the air and flowing past by you. If you
this is what you
would experience when flying through the
The vegetation is "milking" the clouds, i.e. the water
in the clouds condenses on the trees and bushes and drops to the
ground. This way, even if it is not raining, water is transferred from
the clouds to the ground. And you get wet even if you have an umbrella,
because the water from the clouds, i.e. the "wet air" flows past you. I
have to keep the camera inside the jacket to keep it dry.
Some wet macaque monkeys near the summit (1650m of altitude), probably
waiting tourists to feed them.
the first viewpoint you have to walk to the second viewpoint. This lies
on the highest point and from there it should be possible to see all
three lakes. Just guessing of course because from there I only see
Very few tourists are here this morning. On the summit
there is a lady with a big umbrella selling soups and drinks. Must be
no fun being here today.
Around 8:20am, since there is no hint
that the weather is going to improve, I start walking back to the car.
At 8:40am I'm back in the car
and we start
driving back to Moni. Initially due to the clouds there is
almost no visibility, max. 10
metres or so.
Back in Moni I have some breakfast, then I take a
shower and pack my things. Suddenly the sun is shining and the sky is
homestay owner suggests to go back to the summit, but
it's 9:30am and already too late and in any case the summit is still
covered by clouds.
It's around 10:30am when we start driving
back to Ende. At 11:35am we reach the roadblock of the roadworks.
Officially they only open the road at 12pm, but in practice already at
11:50am the cars can drive through.
We raach Ende at
12:20pm and pass by the very lively market. Then we drive to the
Edelweis restaurant where I have some lunch.
Shortly after 1pm I'm done with the lunch. The driver then brings me to
the airport. Small tip of 500000 IDR, then we part.
airport in Ende is very small. There is just one small check in hall
with no benches. Luggage trolleys are available however. It's still to
early to check in, so I have to wait a bit.
Finally at 1:35pm
counter of Wings Air opens and I can check in. 10Kg excess luggage,
which however only costs 110000 IDR. These have to be paid in
outside the departure hall.
After I get the boarding pass,
I proceed through
security and walk to the waiting hall. There is just one gate here.
Long wait at the airport, then it turns out that the flight is delayed
because of the late arrival of the plane.
departure was supposed to take place at 3:45pm. In reality we start
walking towards the plane at 4:05pm and the plane (an ATR-72 turboprop
of Wings Air)
only takes off at
4:23pm. The cruising altitude is about
5000m and the speed is around 470km/h.
We land in Kupang at
5:12pm, with over 30 minutes of delay. The scenery is quite
interesting: much dryer than Flores, looks very much like the savannah
type of scenery there is in Australia.
At 5:22pm I'm
walking into the
terminal,just four minutes later I'm already in a taxi into Kupang.
Extremely fast procedure here in Kupang, also helped by the fact that
the aircraft and the airport are both small. In a place like KLIA2 I
would have lost 10 minutes just walking from the gate to the baggage
Getting to the Lavalon hostel takes a bit over
20 minutes. When I arrive Edwin isn't there but arrives within
I check in and
later discuss with Edwin the car rental and the
itinerary for West Timor. We end up with a three days trip across West
Timor, starting and ending in Kupang. Leaving tomorrow (27.8) and back
on 29.8 in the evening.
Edwin tells me that Sumba is also interesting,
so I book a flight
to Waikabubak (Tambolaka airport) for August 30th.
the evening I get more cash from an ATM. I can't find the restaurant
Edwin claims there is so I just eat a chocolate pancake purchased from
a street stall along the way. I discover the night market where they
offer freshly grilled fish. Will eat there when I'm back in Kupang on
the 29th. I buy some food in a small supermarket and get back to the
Kupang makes overall a pretty good impression.
It's much bigger than the cities I have seen on Flores, is growing
(lots of contruction ongoing), seems to be reasonably wealthy (lots of
big cars on the streets). The city itself is quite modern and
relatively clean. Interesting night market area near the Lavalon
hostel. However I can't find a restaurant.
beach -> Boti
a hut in the Boti village. Very basic accomodation, no running water.
Toilet is outside, for the shower you have to use a bucket of water.
100000 IDR (and I pay another 100000 for the driver). Dinner is
included, but I don't dare to eat it because it is all cold food (cold
chicken, vegetables etc.). There is also a small welcome drink
(tea/coffee + cookies) and a small breakfast the day I leave. I'm
sleeping in a hut with thin walls, some battery powered lamp outside.
The bed is very hard (I have to take the pillows of the neighbouring
beds and put them below me) and there is no blanket.
sunny, blue sky the whole day. Very hot in the sun.
a breakfast, at 8am I meet the driver.
The car is again a
Avanza, big enough for everything. At 8:15am we leave for Kolbano. It
first takes a while to get out of Kupang, then the scenery becomes
obvious. It's quite dry here and the landscape is like a savannah.
Every now and then some small town.
At 9:30am we stop at a
small town where there is a colourful market. At 10:20am we cross a
wide river which at the moment is not carrying too much water.
The scenery now becomes more green, i.e. there are more trees, more
plants, sort of a tropical rainforest.
11:45am we reach Kolbano beach. This is a beautiful beach with small
pebble stones in different colours. The setting is absolutely gorgeous:
blue sky, turquoise sea waters, white or lightly coloured beach.
According to Edwin there are crocodiles, so I don't swim.
12:15pm I'm done with the beach and check the restaurant.
food is pre-cooked and full of flies, I skip it. The driver instead
doesn't care and has a meal there.
Around 12:30pm we continue
driving. Now the driver picks a small, bad road which climbs up the
mountain. To a large extent this road is not paved and is very, very
steep. In 10-20 minutes we climb to 700m of altitude. The driver has to
switch off the A/C because the engine of the car is not powerful enough
for such steep slopes if the A/C is on.
Very green scenery:
the slopes of this coastal mountain range are heavily forested and very
green. Must receive enough water even in the dry season. The landscape
is mountainous in the interior, but I see no volcanoes.
continues to be horrible and will be so for the next three hours, until
we reach the Boti village at 3:15pm. The paved surface with the tarmac
has been almost completely washed away and the road is almost all dry
mud and stones.
I'm worried that
the car might break down. For sure
this road is more suitable for an off-road vehicle.
several stops to take pictures of this interesting and gorgeous island
we finally reach the Boti village at 3:15pm. There I'm
the king (and it's a real king according to the Lonely Planet
guidebook) and meet the other village people.
The Boti village
is not too scenic or photogenic. It's a collection of huts in a forest
of palm trees which provide a lot of shade. I see lots of old people,
some women and children. I guess that perhaps the young men are
somewhere at work. The men of the village wear a sarong.
Litani, Kefamenanu. 300000
IDR for a big room with A/C, a bed with not
so soft mattress, TV, some furniture (cupboard, table+chair etc.).
Bathroom with shower (hot water, small water boiler) but no water
basin. As water basin I use a big container with water tap which
actually is meant to be used as a source of water to flush the toilet,
since there is no water closet system.
initially sunny and blue sky with some clouds. After 2-3pm the sky is
overcast and there is some rain (only 20 minutes). Fresh at altitude,
hot at lower elevations.
I wake up at 5:50am
then get up. This was a tough night on that hard bed in the
cold hut (at night it
gets quite fresh). I sort of get ready, pack my things and have a short
breakfast. Before I leave there is a weaving performance at
the ladies of the village, followed by a tour of the souvenir
It's 7:45am when we start driving.
This will be an intensive and
somehow tiring day, with many places visited and lots of driving. First
we drive back a piece of that horrible road. At 8am we stop in front of
a church. Today is Sunday and people are dressed up for the day and
ready to go to church. Chit-chat with people, lots of photos of these
people and the kids. Very colourful event.
Then we continue
driving and reach the None village at 9am. We drive through
and pick up a local guy who is dressed up as a village chief and some
Donation of betel
nuts and other fruits to the village chief (we
bought them before arriving in a small town; driver told me to do so).
At 9:10am we park the car next to sort of a fort. This is a structure
with some stone walls, some traditional huts inside.
spend the next 35 minute inside this fort with the village chief
showing me around (he speaks some basic English and is quite
photogenic). Interaction with the kids (small group of three girls who
like to pose for the camera and have a lot of fun with different facial
Then brief visit of
the souvenir shop and finally at
9:50am we drive to the next place.
The next stop is Oehala which
we reach at 11am. This is not a village as I initially thought, just a
recreation area in a gorge with a nice set of waterfalls. Very fresh
and scenic. Lots of local people are there on this Sunday morning and
some have spent the night there sleeping in a tent. This is a great
place where to relax for the weekend.
After half and hour
this place, at 11:30am we start driving to the next place. This is the
Fatumnasi traditional village, which lies somewhere in the mountains at
1500m of altitude. The change in altitude is noticeable as we drive,
because the scenery becomes more and more alpine (or sort of). There
are cows and we pass by a beautiful forest of casuarina trees at 1300m
The road again is horrible. Reminds me of the joke
about the best military jeeps in the world ('Our military jeeps are the
best in the world.
We have created the
worst roads in the world to test
them.') Basically we drive over stones, large and small stones. There
is almost no tarmac.
With a number of stops along the way to
take pictures of the scenery which is really nice, we reach Fatumnasi
at 1:10pm. I'm welcome by the village chief, and elderly guy dressed up
in traditional attire. Together with me also a group of Indonesian
people from Kupang came with a truck. And I meet again the Italian guy
I had met the day before yesterday in the Lavalon hostel in Kupang.
is some kind of function going on. People assemble in a circle in the
events area and the village chief says something in local language.
There is also some music. In between I take a walk through the village.
The historical part of it consists of nice, well preserved
traditional round huts with a conical, palm leaves roof. One hut per
family as I hear. And they seem to be still in use.
located in a place with not exactly a plain, but some kind of plain
with a small slope, surrounded by a river valley and mountains. Quite
scenic area. There are also some cows.
At 2:20pm we leave this
place for the last place of the day, Kefamenanu. It's about time to
leave because the drive to Kefamenanu should take two hours according
to Google Maps and it's likely that we'll do stops along the way.
turns out that the driver doesn't take the shortest route,
first drives to Soe where he has some meal in a roadside restaurant.
It's 4:20pm when we start driving again towards Kefamenanu, but the
driver will make it in less than two hours, arriving in Kefamenanu by
There we refuel the car (another 200000 IDR for 31
litres) and drive to the hotel. In the evening I'm too tired to do
anything (and the driver probably as well).
I give a call to
Philip Renggi, a tour operator living in Sumba and then send an email
to him. Philip will arrange for a driver to pick me up at the airport
on August 30th and bring me around Sumba for a two days tour. Price per
day is 750000 IDR and that includes the car fuel.
hostel, Kupang. In the evening, shortly after 10pm the is a A/C power
cut lasting a couple of hours and affecting the entire block.
overcast in the early morning in Kefamenanu. By 8am the sky opens up
and it's mostly sunny with some clouds for the rest of the day. Some
light rain during the day. As usual quite hot except at altitude.
leave the hotel at 8:25am and drive into town. There I buy some
groceries in a shop and get some cash from an ATM. We also buy the bag
with the betel nuts and other vegetables.
At 8:40am we start
driving to Tamkesi. This is another village in the mountains, somehow
northwest of Kefamenanu, built on a rock.
The road is
then in the last section becomes very bad (unpaved, full of stones).
The landscape is relatively dry here.
At 10am the driver stops
the car in a place near a limestone hill. From there it's a 5 minutes
walk to Tamkesi along a path of stones. Tamkesi is a fascinating
village with traditional huts in a rocky terrain.
There are stones
rocks everywhere and wooden huts with a conical palm tree leaves roof.
Sort of a mysterious Indiana Jones atmosphere. Donation of the betel
nuts to the village chief (a lady, what is she doing with the betel
The village seems deserted. I only meet some old ladies
and a young lady with a child. Perhaps the men and all other younger
people are out in the fields for work or perhaps they have left this
village, which is understandable given that there are not too many
modern comforts in this village.
By 11:10am we are back at the
car and start driving towards the next place, Maslete. This is actually
just outside Kefamenanu and is sort of an open-air museum consisting of
a few traditional houses. Before getting there, we again buy the betel
nuts gift in Kefamenanu (and later I read that chewing betel nuts can
cause cancer...). By the way, driving from Tamkesi to Kefa takes 1:20
Upon arrival in Maslete we are greeted by a lady,
village chief, and hand over the betel nuts to her. It
turns out that this old lady is the only person left living in this
place and her hut, a big hut, is both a museum and her home. She has 10
children, who are all somewhere in the cities.
After Maslete we
have a brief lunch in a restaurant in Kefamenanu at 1pm. By now it's
very hot in Kefa and this restaurant has no A/C. The food is so-so. I
have some noodle soup, but this noodle soup actually is not good.
thing I have noticed is that most houses and homes in West Timor have
no A/C. In Malaysia most houses and homes have A/C, but here this isn't
At 1:35pm we start driving back to Kupang.
It's a long
drive (> 200 km) which on the roads in West Timor takes over
hours. My driver drives extremely fast, overtaking everbody, even
overtaking where overtaking is not allowed. But he manages to cope very
well with the traffic, the not so good roads and at 5:20pm we are at
the Lavalon hostel.
I pay the driver (2550000 IDR for the three
days) and we agree that he'll bring me to the airport tomorrow for
70000 IDR. Then I check in the Lavalon hostel.
In the evening I get into the shops area and buy a Magnum icecream and
have a dinner of grilled fish.
Sinar Tambolaka, Tambolaka. 450000 IDR for a deluxe room (deluxe
because it has A/C and hot water). The room is quite good (nice
furniture, good bed, flat screen TV, elecronic safe, table, chairs) but
the A/C is a bit weak. The toilet is horrible. Old, broken and dirty.
Nothing is as it should be. The toilet should be completely renovated,
but I guess the hotel owner wants to save money. Tea/coffee making
equipment (water boiler, sugar, tea and coffee bags, cups)
Weather: sunny, blue sky and hot in
the morning in Kupang. Sunny, blue sky also in Sumba.
ready at 7:50am, but the driver isn't here. Edwin shows up a few
minutes later. Some discussion, Edwin calls a taxi.
yesterday won't show up. Finally at 8:10am the taxi is here and we
drive to the airport. With some fast driving we arrive there
(trip costs 70000 IDR).
The airport is quite small and a bit
old. I check-in and proceed through security. By 8:45am I'm in the
departures hall, the boarding time is 9:15am.
At 9:19am the
boarding the Garuda GA0461 flight starts. This is a flight to Denpasar
with a stop in Tambolaka. The plane is a CRJ1000 with plenty of leg
space (2+2 rows).
The plane starts rolling at 9:37am and takes
off at 9:47am (scheduled departure was 9:35am). Small refreshment
served during the flight.
The plane touches down in Tambolaka
airport at 10:40am and at 10:47am
we are allowed out
of the plane. Then
it takes a while to get the suitcase (I only get it shortly after 11am)
and I walk outside, looking for the driver holding my name plate.
look and look, but there is no driver with name plate, only taxi
drivers asking me if I want a taxi, where I am going, which country I'm
from , what is my name etc. But Philip Renggi had written in his mail
that there would be a person with my name plate to pick me up at the
After waiting for while, I call Philip. First he
doesn't know who I am, then he remembers me and apologises, saying that
he'll be there in five minutes.
Finally after some time Philip
shows up and brings me to a car with a driver.
a minivan and
the A/C is a bit weak. We first drive to the office of Philip, where he
would like me to get into his office. But because it's already 11:30am
and the day is half-gone already I tell him we can discuss the tour
later and that we should start the trip.
The driver then wants
me to check in the hotel, but also here I tell him that I'll do it
later. So we start driving towards the southwest coast.
seems to be a quite dry island. There is some vegetation everywhere,
but no rainforests. The area through which we drive in the
Sumba is also quite flat, i.e. there are no striking
formations. It's relatively densely populated, because
drive you can see the effects of civilisation. There are houses,
people, villages and farms everywhere.
Shortly after 12:30pm we
reach the traditional Ratenggaro village. This is a very impressive
place, really amazing. A set of traditional Sumba houses with the high
roofs and in the centre some stone structures. Really amazing view.
after the arrival I'm approached by some souvenir vendors who quite
persistently try to sell some handicrafts. People didn't behave like
this on Flores or in West Timor. Perhaps people here are more poor and
at the same time there is an influx of wealthy tourists from Bali.
walk around a bit, but am quickly redirected to some
old lady who asks
me to write my name into a guestbook and then make a donation. Then I
continue exploring the place.
Ratenggaro is not only amazing, it also lies in a pretty unique
setting, overlooking a quite cool beach.
after 1pm I'm done with Ratenggaro and we drive to the nearby beach.
Here there is a river which is flowing into the sea.
Everywhere around the beach there are very sharp rocks. Amazingly
sharp, these rocks could even be used to cut things. At 1:15pm we drive
to the next place, the Pero beach.
Getting there takes
Pero beach is not too terribly impressive. There is
some sandy beach in a small bay, but otherwise it's mostly rocks (sharp
rocks) delimiting the beach. Near the beach some cows and strange
buffaloes with big horns are grazing.
At 2pm we start
the next place of the day, the Waikury lagoon. This is a 45 minutes
drive from Pero beach and the drive goes through farmland and
occasionally some small forest. The last part of the road is not paved.
Waikury lagoon is simply beautiful.
Sort of an elliptic
surrounded on all sides by tall and sharp rocks. Inside crystal clear
water, sand and corals.
I spend some time exploring the place,
then look for the driver. The driver mentions that this is the last
place of the day (after we return to the hotel).
bit early to finish the day (only 3:20pm). so I spend some more time in
At 4pm we drive back to Tambolaka. Driving takes over an hour and
passes through farmland.
5:20pm when we are back in Tambolaka. There I discuss with Philip the
options for the next day. The plan is to do a trip tomorrow (Aug. 31st)
and then take a flight to Bali on Sept. 1st.
there are no flights tomorrow (all fully booked), and I can only find
flights on Sept. 2nd. I end up booking a Lion Air (Wings) flight from
Tambolaka to Denpasar and a Malindo flight from Denpasar to KL.
At 8pm I have a quite good fish dinner in the restaurant of the hotel.
tour (south Sumba villages: Waigalli,
Wuntalaka, Tarung; Marosi
and Kerewei beaches)
Hotel Sinar Tambolaka.
sunny, blue sky in the morning. After 3pm the sky is overcast in
Waikabubak and it even rains a little bit.
leave the hotel at 8:12am and initially drive towards Waikabubak,
arriving shortly before 9am with a stop for the pictures in between.
The landscape between Tambolaka and Waikabubak is considerably more
green that the western part of Sumba I saw yesterday. There are some
hills (the altitude is around 400m).
Then the driver wants to
buy some special fuel in a petrol station
they only have in
Long queue and we lose about 10-15 minutes. After this, we drive into
the centre of Waikabubak and in a shop I buy some food and drinks for
today, since there are no restaurants in the areas we are going to
visit. I'll actually survive until the dinner just with some chocolate
milk, green tea and some soft drink. Not sure why I'm eating so little
In the same shop I also buy a data package to recharge my
SIM card. It's 20000 IDR for 340 MB. My phone had only 140MB left on
it, but after the recharge
it shows 340 MB
only and not a total of 480
MB. Or perhaps I misunderstand something. Somehow I regret not
the 1.3GB package for 50000 IDR, but I have only a couple of days left
in Indonesia and won't be able to use so much data.
drive to the first village.
although the road is to a large extent paved, even if very narrow. With
a photo stop along the way, it takes almost an hour to get there. We
are in Waigalli at 10:27am.
After having seen Ratenggaro
yesterday, I must say that I'm a bit disappointed by this village. It's
much smaller and less scenic than Ratenggaro. Later I'm told that
actually Ratenggaro is the nicest willage in west Sumba, so all other
villages will disappoint.
In any case Waingalli consists of some
traditional houses around a central square with some stone monuments or
structures. Quite a small place. People are actually living here, i.e.
this is a living village. Also here I'm asked to write my name in a
guestbook and leave a donation. Not too many entries in this guestbook
by the way. Either not so many people visit the village or people don't
want to sign in.
While I'm visiting this village, there is a female tourist who is
prices of handicrafts with some locals.
not yet 11am, but it is already very, very hot. I can't stay more than
20-30 minutes outdoors in the sun, so my visit in this village is
short. At 10:47am, i.e. 20 minutes later, we leave this village for the
The driver brings me to the Lapopu waterfall in some
national park (Manupeu Tanah Daru?). We are at the parking at 11:20am.
The entrance fee for this place is 150000 IDR, which is quite
expensive. Looking at the pricing table, it appears that locals only
pay 5000 IDR, i.e. foreigners pay 30 times what a local is paying.
Asides from the
high price it seems very unfair that foreigners have to
pay 30 times what locals are paying. So I decide to skip this place.
then drive to the next place, the Prainggoli village, arriving shortly
before 12pm. This village is similar in size and structure to Waigalli.
Same procedure as in the previous village: guestbook, donation,
pictures. Again I can't stay more than 20 minutes, because it
too hot. By 12:20pm I'm again in the car, driving to the next place for
This is the Marosi
beach along the southern coast of
Sumba and we'll be there at 1:20pm. Beautiful sandy beach, empty (no
people, no infrastructure, nothing). Only far away I see somebody in
the sea, perhaps fishing.
Now, while this beach is beautiful,
the problem is also that it's 1:20pm , the sun is high in the sky and
there isn't any shadow on this beach. No tree, no palm tree, nothing.
And it's also very hot. There is no cafe or restaurant where I could
sit down and have something, while enjoying the sea breeze or the view.
after 15-20 minutes frying in the sun I'm done and walk back to the
coastal forest area where there is some shadow. There I reat
while, then ask the driver to bring me to the next place.
is the Kerewei beach and we arrive here at 2:08pm.
This beach is a bit
less empty than the Marosi one. There is a building or two,
beach seems to get lots of visitors. In the palm trees area there is
lots of plastic rubbish lying around. The beach itself is a bit ugly,
but there seem to be some waves which might appeal to those who surf.
give a call to Philip and ask him what to do next, because today's
program again finished early. He suggests to visit a nearby village
(Wuntalaka) and then the Tarung village in Waikabubak on the way back.
we drive to Wuntalaka. This is right behind the beach and is
interesting because it's a living village. People live there,
a school in one of the traditional houses and it's even so that one
traditional house is being built. So apparently these traditional
vlllages on Sumba are not just museums, these are places where people
After a few minutes in this place we start
driving back to Waikabubak. Along the way we stop in a couple of places
to take a photo of some megalithic place with some stone structures.
are in the Tarung vilage shorty before 4pm. Tarung is interesting
because it is much bigger than the other villages, i.e. consists of
many traditional houses. But there is a mix of traditional and new
because for instance there are electric power lines everywhere,
satellite dishes etc.
While I'm there, a
traditional house is being
built. I also manage to step on a stone which must be a holy stone or
something similar because locals are shocked when I step on it. Maybe I
angered the gods by stepping on this stone.
While there I run
into Yuliana Ledatara, the other guide mentioned in the Lonely Planet
guidebook. It's a friendly local lady and we spend some time chatting
about Sumba and tourists etc. Then, around 4:30pm I head back to the
car and we drive back to Tambolaka.
In Tambolaka I meet
Philip, discuss the program for tomorrow and pay the car rental. Then I
head back to the hotel, where I have a shower and sme dinner.
Hotel Sinar Tambolaka, Tambolaka. Some
brief AC power cuts in the evening.
sunny blue sky in the morning, very hot. After 3pm the sky closes and
is mostly overcast. Only a few drops of rain along the coast, but more
Today's trip covers a number of places, but there are fewer highlights
than I saw over the past two days.
starts at 8:10am, when we leave the hotel and drive to Waikabubak.
have a new driver, and the car looks like an offroad vehicle, although
it doesn't seem to be a 4WD car. But at least the A/C in the car works
fine and is powerful enough. Yesterday's car was like a sauna.
reach Waikabubak around 9am, do some shopping (food and drinks for the
day, because there are no restaurants where we go) then drive to the
first place, the Praiijing traditional village. This is a short drive
from Waikabubak, located somewhere in the hills/mountains around
The village is quite nice and so is also the
setting around it.
It's no so much
centered around a common square,
it's more a group of traditional houses which extend along a line. Or
perhaps the village has been expanded from a historic core in one
direction. Some of the houses (a few only) have tin roofs, and at least
one house is being built now, or has its roof renovated with
When I'm about to leave I'm asked to put
my name into the guestbook. So I sit down and take the guestbook. But
there is no pen. When I ask for it there is some discussion/confusion.
I wait a bit,
then turn around
and look. My driver is trying to sharpen
a pencil with a giant machete knife. I tell him to forget about it and
just to leave the place. So around 10am we drive to the next place.
would be the Pasunga village, only a 15-20 minutes drive from
Praiijing. Pasunga consists of two rows of houses facing each other
with a common square in the middle. But these houses all have metal
(corrugated tin) roofs. Not scenic at all. I tell the driver to skip
this place and to drive to the next one, which is the Gailbakul village.
is only a few minutes away, but is also quite ugly. Either there are
modern houses with concrete walls or traditional houses with metal
roofs. Also here I tell the driver to skip the place.
drive towards north for a while. The landscape is now quite dry, not as
green as the landscape around Waikabubak and not very scenic.
11:10am the driver turns left on a small unpaved road, drives for about
500-600m then stops in front of a path. He tells me to walk up this
So I walk up this path and after a few minutes I reach the
This is located on
a hilltop and is a mix of houses
built with traditional materials and houses with tin roofs. Doesn't
seem to get that many visitors. Not that many people living there.
Overall quite nice and with many stone structures.
I meet two children
(girls), quite cute. People are friendly and there is no harassment at
Around 11:30am I'm back at the car. We now drive to the Mamboro area
around the northern coast.
12:23pm reach the Manuakalada village. This is again a village with
traditional and not so traditional houses.
I walk around a
the various houses. Also this place doesn't seem to get that many
tourists. Some locals approach me. Brief chit-chat with somebody who
speaks some English. Overall friendly people.
Because it's hot
like hell, the sun is very strong and there is little shadow in this
place, I quickly walk back to the car.
We then drive for
half an hour
and reach the next place, the Wawarungu village at 1:05pm.
consists of two rows of houses all built with traditional materials
around a common square.
Not so many
megalithic stone structures in this
place, but the houses look nice. Not much is going on in this place
right now, probably because it is so hot and everybody is resting in
the shadow of a house.
Because of the sun and the heat I only
stay for 12 minutes in this place, then get back to the car. Now it's
1:20pm and there is only one place left to see (a beach). Philip
yesterday selected the Karendi beach along the north coast.
takes one hour to get there, because the last km are on an unpaved
road, quite hard to drive. This beach consists of white sand and lots
of coral pieces.
It's not much of a
beach because the seawater is quite
shallow and to get to the deep water you have to walk for a while on
the corals, quite painful for the feet. According to Philip there are
no crocodiles, but swimming here is almost impossible. At least there
is some shadow provided by trees.
I spend over an hour in this
place, because I'm not keen to get back early to Tambolaka. In the
meantime the sky becomes overcast. It's low tide and some local people
with buckets and nets walk in the seawater, probably looking for
At 3:30pm we drive back to the hotel, arriving there shortly before
5pm. In the evening I have a dinner in the hotel.
hotel, Kuala Lumpur. RM 288 for a nice big room in a four star hotel.
Good level of comfort, very good shower. WLAN in the room is now free,
but a bit slow at night.
sunny, blue sky in the morning in Tambolaka, with some clouds in the
sky. Sunny with a blue sky (no clouds) also in Bali.
sleep "late" until 8 something am, then have breakfast and check out of
the hotel. At 11am I take a shuttle to the airport (takes only five
minutes). There I check in. Charge of 118800 IDR for 9Kg of excess
luggage, because Wings Air has a 10Kg limit. By 11:30am I'm in the
departures hall waiting for the flight to Bali.
Due to a late
arrival, the Wings/Lion Air flight is delayed (about 45 minutes). We
start boarding the plane at 12:35pm and land in Bali at 2:10pm, 50
minutes late. The plane does not stop at a gate. There is not even a
bus to pick you up. Instead you have walk on the airport trying to
guess what the right door is.
Once in Bali airport I walk to the
international terminal. It takes a while to find the left luggage. To
get there, you have to walk out on level one and go to the left. I
leave my bags there (50000 IDR per bag), then look for a taxi to the
Kuta Beachwalk mall.
First a guy offers to bring me there for
200000 IDR, which seems ridicolous since the distance is only 3.8km.
walk to the official taxi counter thinking the price there will
be around 50000 IDR.
I'm told instead the price is 250000 IDR,
even more ridicolous. Some brief discussion with a taxi driver. The
minimum price for which he is willing to bring me there is 150000 IDR.
Seems that the airport taxi drivers have formed a cartel to rip off
So I walk out of the airport and outside there I catch
a taxi (not an airport taxi, a normal one) for 50000 IDR. Seems that
for once I did the right thing.
Kuta (the area behind the beach)
reminds me of Khaosan road in Bangkok.
hotels etc. Lots of tourists of any age. According to the taxi
the Australians form the largest tourist group, followed by the Chinese.
Beachwalk mall disappoints. It's small, has just three floors, no A/C
(my goodness!), a very small number of cafes and restaurants, no food
court. Overpriced restaurants.
So I walk to the beach. Nice long
sandy beach, full of people and life.
The sea water is
shallow. Lots of
waves. Plenty of hotels and resorts on or immediately behind the beach.
it's quite hot and I haven't had lunch yet (it's almost 4pm), I walk
back to the street and get to a KFC restaurant I had spotted
before. There I have some food (the first big pieces of
chicken I see since I
arrived to Indonesia) and rest for a moment.
At 4:25pm I walk
again to the beach. It's still hot, but the sun is less strong. I get
back to the street and slowly start walking back to the airport. When
the beach road makes a turn inland, I take the path along the beach.
stop in a beach cafe where I have some fruit salad and some fresh fruit
juice. Then I continue walking along the beach until the sunset (after
Some Indonesian girls from Sumatra ask me to pose with
them. No problem. First a group photo, then individual pictures with
each of the girls. Just for fun, "loving-couple" pose with my arm
Lots of people on the beach. Some people playing
football. Beautiful sunset at 6:15pm. Lots of tourists with
selfie-stick smartphones taking selfies.
It's now 6:30pm and I'd
like to be at the check-in by 6:50pm (two hours before departure). I
speed up a bit, walk through the maze of narrow roads using Google Maps
and finally reach the airport. There I retrieve the luggage from the
left luggage counter and proceed to the gate.
Again some taxi
driver asks if I need transportation. I choose to ignore him, since I
am too lazy to explain him what I'm doing. He probably thinks that I
just arrived and am looking for a taxi.
The check-in, security
and passport checks are unremarkable. It's just that there are long
queues everywhere and the A/C in this airport is too weak. Despite the
A/C I still sweat a bit.
By 8pm I'm finally at gate 1. There I
find some A/C power sockets (recharging station), where I recharge a
bit the phone and the computer.
Around 8:40pm they change the
gate from 1 to 4. The flight is delayed, because at 8:55pm we haven't
started boarding the plane (planned departure was 8:50pm). In fact
we'll only start getting on the plane at 9:10pm and the plane will take
off at 9:30pm.
The plane of Malindo Air is a modern Boeing
B737-800 with plenty of leg space, USB charger for phones (not
powerful, probably 500 mA only) and screens in every seat with a movie
library (limited choice and second rate movies). They even serve a meal
(rice with vegetable biryani). I thought this was a cheap no-frills
airline, but apparently the service is good.
We land in KLIA 1
(the old airport) at 00:30am. I get out of the plane about 15 minutes
later. Some idiot rushes from behind to the front in order to be one of
the first to leave the plane. For the passport control you don't have
to fill out an entry card, but they scan your fingerprints and take a
picture of you.
By 1am I'm at the luggage belt waiting for my
suitcase. A few minutes later I have the suitcase, and by 1:08am I
queue up at the taxi counter. Some queue because three backpacker
tourists start discussing the price of the taxis with the lady at the
counter. The price of a budget taxi to the Midvalley mall is 109.30RM.
1:20am I'm finally in a taxi to KL. The driver drives quite fast (120
km/h and even more) even if the speed limit is lower. At 1:53am, just
33 minutes later, I'm at the hotel. I sleep at 2:30am.
Hotel Boulevard, KL.
sunny, blue sky with many clouds, very hot. In the afternoon the sky
closes and it rains heavily for about 45 minutes after 5pm.
spent meeting the family in KL. In the afternoon I take a taxi to KLCC
(metered taxi but perhaps the taxi driver "tuned" the meter, because
the meter is running a bit too fast), then spend the afternoon until
6:30pm in the Golden Triangle, walking until Petaling street.
Construction is still ongoing around the Petronas towers, with more and
more skyscrapers popping up around the twin towers. There is also a lot
of development around Bukit Bintang street, with the Sungei Wang and BB
Plaza Malls being demolished and replaced by something else. Bukit
Bintang street is changing. For instance the connection to Pudu street
is now different. It has been recently completed (I guess one or two
years ago), but already looks old.
In the evening family dinner in the Midvalley mall.
Home, sweet home
Weather: sunny, blue sky in KL in
the early morning.
get up at 6:30am and get ready. At 7:30am we take a taxi (hotel
minivan, 130 RM) to the airport. There is little traffic on the streets
on this Sunday morning and the taxi reaches the airport by 8:15am.
There we check in.
queue at the Emirates counter. We are sorted
out because Shirley has the 10:10am flight and are processed
immediately at the first class counter. Perhaps we should have arrived
even a bit earlier, although 1:50 hours before departure should
actually be enough.
While Shirley rushes to the gate (her flight
is at 10:10am, mine at 10:30am; we'll join in Dubai), I have a
breakfast at the Starbucks cafe on the floor above. Then I proceed to
The 10:30am Emirates flight to Dubai is delayed. The
plane starts rolling at 11:01am and only takes off at 11:43am. The
machine, a Boeing 777-300 has AC power sockets in the seats and is
quite full (in the section where I am all seats are occupied).
land in Dubai shortly after 2pm local time. There I reunite with
Shirley and the kids who have been waiting for me at the Burger King
restaurant. Around 3pm we walk to the gate (A16). To get there you have
to walk quite a bit and take a train, because it is in another terminal.
4pm we start boarding the plane to Munich. This is an Airbus A380 with
plenty of space and AC power sockets in the armrests. My seat is quite
cold, because the air ventilator blows cold air from the top directly
We depart on time and land in Munich on time. There everything proceeds
smoothly and we are back home after 11pm.