Labuan Bajo

Labuan Bajo fish market

It was time to tan-up.

The second half of August is tough when it comes to a clear blue sky in southeast asia. Trying to run away from rainy days, we checked everywhere from a desert beach in Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, some islands in southern Thailand, etc.

After all that, a cruise in Indonesia was the winner.

view from Cheng-Ho

It was a 5-day live-aboard cruise from Labuan Bajo-Flores-Komodo island and back to Labuan Bajo where we decided to try exploring new place in Flores.

Komodo National Park is located in the center of the Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. Established in 1980, initially the main purpose of the Park was to conserve the unique Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) and its habitat. In 1986, the Park was declared a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, both indications of the Park’s biological importance.

Komodo National Park includes three major islands: Komodo, Rinca and Padar. As well as being home to the Komodo dragon, the Park provides refuge for many other  notable terrestrial species such as the orange-footed scrub fowl, an endemic rat, and the Timor deer.

Timor deers

At the Komodo National Park we had a local guide led us on the 2.5km route in search of the Komodo dragon. We saw a couple of baby-dragons up on a palm tree, Timor deers, snakes, birds and a 250 years old tree anything but the dragon himself.

250 years old tree

We thought we wouldn’t see a single 0ne even though we made it to their home but guess what – we finally saw them hanging around near the National Park office on the way back to the port where we arrived at in the morning.

Komodo dragon and a boar

boats at Komodo National Park

Now – if you are a serious divers, this is it. You should not miss, among many others, a dive or two (per day) at the Crystal Rock and the Castle Rock points.

Not that I am a pro-diver myself (are you kidding me?). My regular place was the sun deck with my George R Matin – A Dance with Dragons book. But hey – without slipping into one wetsuit, I saw dolphins and mr. turtle a couple of times and  that already made my (cruising days)!

a boat on a beach at Waecicu Eden beach

After a cruise we stayed a few days at a super sleepy place located 20 min by boat on the western part of Flores Island in the Sunda archipelago near Labuan Bajo before heading back to Bali for a couple of nights.

W hotel in Bali

We arrived in Bali just in time to see the Balinese started decorating and prepared for the Galungan festival.

decoration on Galungan day

On Galungan day, the Balinese believe that God and their respectable ancestors spirit visit the earth. The spirits must be suitably welcomed.

Canang Balinese offerings

In Bali, with or without the Galungan decoration, you will definitely find the Canang Balinese offerings everywhere. These offerings are put out every morning for the spirits, good and bad. I remember falling in love with the small offerings on the street everywhere I went the first time I visited Bali and Ubud in 2001 after which I went back, more or less, another 10 trips.

I have got to say from this trip though that sadly Bali has changed, like everywhere else, to become a lot busier and way too touristy for a chilled-out holiday I used to have.

Despite all the changes and whatever more to happen – I am sure, you will always find something charming about Bali.

(source: Komodo National Park website; Bali Island: Galungan Festival; Canang Balinese offerings)

until nEXt

©2012TH

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