Komodo Dragons Trip – Day 01
Day 1: Denpasar (Bali) – Labuanbajo (Flores) – Rinca (Komodo National Park) – Labuanbajo.
Today plan, we will go by flight from Denpasar – Bali to Labuanbajo – Flores, then continue journey by boat to Rinca Island inside of Komodo National Park, and return to Labuanbajo to stay at Hotel Bintang Flores – Labuanbajo.
Why should fly to Labuanbajo?
Labuanbajo is part of West Mangarai regency, western tip of Flores island.
This area is closer to Flores Island or Labuanbajo. From Labuanbajo to Rinca Island can be reached within 2 – 2.5 hours and to Komodo Island within 4 hours.
Flight from Denpasar to Labuanbajo is well organized, with Riau Arlines, IAT (Indonesia Air Transport) and Lion Air daily flight…..
We were already at Ngurah Rai Airport at 9.30 a.m. While waiting for our friend who still on check in process, we had breakfast in one of small stall behind KFC .
In this stall, you can find rice wrapped in banana leaves, selections of cakes, breads, beverages including tea and coffee and the most important part of this stall is its price that considered low enough for person with just “in tight budget” like me he he he…..
Then our friend came over and distribute boarding pass. We moved on to the waiting room and paid for airport tax Rp 75.000 before. Not for long, we heard our boarding announcement at 10.30 and we go straight away to Gate17.
We flew with Riau Airlines. This plane is double propeller aircraft with 45 seat passenger capacity. Its seat line formation is two at the left and two at the right.
The plane took off smoothly and right on time at 10.40 a.m. The journey also very smooth and calm, hardly any shake. I also saw Tanjung Benoa view. We usually can see Mount Agung and Rinjani top from above, but this time it was covered by clouds…..
After more than an hour, I felt that the plane going down slowly and I think that we will reach land within minutes. I saw many small island around and we flew past Komodo island…
A few minutes later we landed safely at Komodo Airport – Labuhanbajo…. Yes, the airport name is Komodo, but we landed on Flores Island instead of Komodo Island…
We directly went to Bintang Flores Hotel, the place where we will spend our night for the next 2 nights. To reach this hotel from the airport only take about 15 – 20 minutes… On the way, I saw that the streets has been widened and many office building is being built. This area development is very rapid.
Bintang Flores Hotel is the only 4 star hotel in this area and I think the only one in Flores, so it is a very extraordinary hotel for this area. Once we get in, we saw a well maintained area… an international hotel area…. New and good hotel building…. I guess it was 6 storey building. Lobby at the second floor, coffee shop at the ground floor. All rooms were facing the sea…. wonderful view…
After put our luggage and a bit refreshment on the room, we were heading straight to the dock. Because we have to go trough one way street, to reach the dock, our car have to climb trough a hill behind the town so we had a chance to took pictures of Labuanbajo dock with sea and small island as the background from top of the hill….. What a magnificent view….
Less than 15 minutes we reached the dock and stepped up to the boat or wooden boat. This boat is clean, its length around 12 meter and width 3 meters, big enough for seven of us plus 2 boat crew makes total of 9 person.
This boat equipped with a clean toilet, a kitchen, two long pillowed wooden bench that makes our long journey comfortable.
We moved leaving Labuhanbajo dock while taking pictures. The sea were calm, with only small ripples, unlike what we were afraid of. It seem just like boating on a lake or river. The weather also very sunny and bright, but luckily wind flows generously.
After a while, came a boat crew, serving our lunch that consist of rice, flour coated calamari, cap cay, fried noodle, sour sweet fish… And it was so yummy, especially the flour coated calamari. Or is it maybe because we were extremely hungry, it was almost 1.30 a.m.
We passed a boat with few foreigners and according to our friend, they also will go to Rinca. We wave our hand… and we passed them by.
In a few hours we arrive at Loh Buaya, a bay at Rinca Island where we can find wooden dock place for boats to stop. There was already 5 boats ahead of us. So we get closer to one of those boats and we jump from one boat to another.
Afterward we walked trough the dock. Just after we passed the gate, we saw a komodo, not so big, maybe around 1 meter. My friend were very enthusiastic, no wonder because this is their first trip here. Noisily, they took pictures of komodo which caused those komodo running away of fright….
We keep on walking for another 300 – 400 meter to PHPA office to get entrance fee. The entrance fee quite expensive. Rp 85.000 for local and Rp 175.000 for foreigner. (Remember to carry money, unless you want to be deported he.. he… he…)
Then we were introduced to a ranger who will accompany us exploring this place. Just after we gather around to have short briefing by the ranger, we saw a komodo approach us, not very big, probably 1 meter, just like the one we saw at the dock. Then we also saw another one near the cafeteria… took pictures, and another short briefing.
We continued our journey… Then we saw one big komodo …. Two big komodo…. And few smaller komodo …. It might be 6 – 7 komodo…. Wow amazing…..
The ranger poke one of the big komodo with stick to wake it up, and the disturbed komodo start to swash its tail. Its tail swash is very hard, it can knock you of the ground with just one swash. The komodo start to move, woke up slowly and lolling its yellow and branched, snakelike tongue.
Finished with taking pictures, we continue the journey. Then we saw heaps of soil decorated with holes. Above the heaps, lie a komodo. The ranger told us that this is komodo nest, where komodo lay its eggs in one of those holes. The other holes are empty and only served as camouflage.
Not for long, then we saw a bird as big as a chicken and has a pair of red legs. It was maleo bird which also called as megapod. We move forward, but did not see any komodo existence, instead we saw another bird species.
Return to ranger station and those komodo still hanging around there… waiting for another photo shot maybe… ha… ha… Then we heading to cafeteria to have rest then return to dock to get on boat that will take us to Labuanbajo.
We have seen enough komodo today on Rinca Island, so we think it is enough and we don’t have to go to Komodo Island that will only waste our time.
In the middle of our journey, the tide is higher and we were a bit shaken for 30 – 40 minutes, then things get calmer when we enter Labuanbajo bay. Return to Hotel Bintang Flores.
Finished bathing, we went outside Labuanbajo to have diner. We heading to a simple restaurant, located at small hill slope. It took a while before the foods are ready to be served. Maybe next time we should order it first then return here, in order to save the waiting time. The food itself is not very bad, or is it because we are starving… Return to hotel and have rest.
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