Ceningan Island to Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Nusa Ceningan

We decided to spend Christmas on a small island, a short distance from the main island of Bali. We took a minibus from Kuta to Sanur where we followed the driver to the beach. We stepped in the water to hop on the very basic and no so fast “speed boat”. It took about an hour of boat to reach Lembongan and just before reaching the island we saw some dolphins swimming nearby. We crossed most of Lembongan island on our way to the yellow bridge leading to the tiny island of Ceningan. The hotel had a small saltwater pool and only two bungalows. Our bungalow had a huge bed, a balcony overlooking the pool and a small ocean view. The bathroom was located just at the back of the bungalow, outside with only half of it covered by a roof.

December is rainy season in this area, so we had many rainy days. We relaxed, enjoyed the swimming pool and the stress free island life.

Nusa Lembongan
Our bungalow for a few days over Christmas

The view from the neighboring restaurant

Where the restaurant ends and the ocean begins…

The hotel’s pool

Bali

After a few days of quiet holidays, we had to leave our little island and get back on the main land. The two guys working in the hotel gave us a ride to the boat on their scooter. The sea was a little rougher than on our way to Lembongan, but this time we saw some flying fish. As soon as we started walking in Bali we remembered quickly what we didn’t like about it the first time.

Labuan Bajo, Flores

The morning of our flight to Flores island, we woke up slowly before our alarm. We were looking at things online when Seb saw an email from Rina Kembar (using a yahoo address) with “info SKY” as the subject line. He opened it and it was saying that instead of 11:30am, our flight would be departing at 9:40am, it also included a reminder that we needed to be at the airport two hours prior to departure. When we saw the message it was 7:50am. We never packed our bags so quickly! We had picked a hotel located about 10 minutes walk from the airport so we were able to make it on time.

The views from the sky were very pretty; turquoise water sprinkled with green lush islands, exactly how we had envisioned Indonesia. We landed in Labuanbajo earlier than we had first expected, and decided to walk the two kilometres to the beachfront. We hadn’t book a room before so we walked around, asking for prices before settling down on the little bungalows of the Gardena. We were walking in the village as the sun was setting when Seb’s foot fell right in the whole left by missing bars on a sewer grid. Luckily only his knee was bruised, it would have been really easy to break a leg with the depth of the whole.

The next day, we had decided to book a four-day boat tour to Lombok. The owner was there and he told us that because of the rough sea his boat had not made it back, so it would not be leaving the next day. We were quite disappointed especially as we were already debating leaving Indonesia earlier than planned. We decided to take the one-day tour on Rinca island and then spend the following three nights on a semi-private island owned by the Gardena before flying to Lombok.

Aerial view of Bali

Labuan Bajo

Nice small island viewed from the plane

Labuan Bajo

Our anti-flies friend

Rinca Island, home of the Komodo dragons

The boat was very small, and didn’t look too sturdy with its two wooden benches. The engine was so loud, we had previously thought it was helicopters making all the noise. Once we left the quay we realized there were also no life jackets on board. The ride to Rinca took about 2 hours, following the coast, in the slow and very noisy boat.

The scenery was very nice with many green lush islands and some white sand beaches. When we arrived on Rinca island, we met the local rangers who quickly showed us on a map the path we were going to take. As in Nepal, the guides where only equipped with wooden sticks, but this time it was the 2.0 version, with a fork end. We went toward the few houses of the locals as some Komodo dragons like to hang out there and eat food scraps. After looking at them for a few minutes, we went on the main path where we were lucky enough to see three more dragons. Everybody took many pictures with the guide encouraging us to go one by one to have our picture taken near the dragons. We were walking in the forest when suddenly AA noticed a small funny shaped branch on the ground. It was a baby dragon, about 1 m long. Up to the moment they are tall enough, the babies live in the trees in an attempt to protect themselves from the adult dragons. The Komodo dragons are not fussy eaters, they will eat whatever they can catch, ranging from small animals to deer or even water buffaloes. They can smell food from 5 to 10 kilometers away. Apparently it is very hard to get data on them because as soon as they die, other Komodos will feast on the dead one and leave nothing behind.

The tour then continued on through the forest and up a hill to a nice viewpoint. The tour was a little short for our liking, but as it was very hot, coming back on the boat allowed us to cool down a little thanks to the breeze. We moved on to Pink beach, a small island, about an hour of boat away. We stopped there for our hour-long snorkeling session. The coral was very cool, filled with many fishes of all the different colors and patterns one could think of. Seb also saw a black and white stripped snake swimming close to the surface. It was a nice snorkeling experience.

On the boat to Rinca

Small fisherman village

Indonesian transport

Komodo Dragon

Viewpoint on Rinca Island

Dragons hanging out under the houses

Then, we just had to go relax for the evening and get ready for our trip the next day. We are going to spend New Year at a very special place.

To be continued…

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