The Unforgettable Island Hopping Cruise: Flores-Komodo Island – Day 1

*This trip is solo-female-traveler-friendly

In July, I had a call to adventure.

I decided to quit my job of 1 year (that I was not enjoying) and decided to embark on an epic adventure of my life… alone.

I took the opportunity to reset my head and regain my balance and booked a two-weeks holiday to Indonesia (in less than 10 days).

I have always wanted to do this trip.
To explore Flores.
The island of my dream.

— And also to climb Mt. Rinjani! —

So I divided my solo trip into 3 parts:

Trip 1: West Flores, Island Hopping – of which 5 days I was living aboard on this gorgeous cruise boat, called the “Tanaka“.

Trip 2: Ende, East Flores – to visit the East side of Flores which was famous for its beautiful tricolored lakes, Kelimutu.

Trip 3: Mt. Rinjani, Lombok – 3 days /2 nights trekking on Mt. Rinjani.

I recorded all my research and budget in excel like a perfectionist
(except I wasn’t and messed up some domestic transportation).

Regardless, I recommend booking Indonesia’s domestic flights with Nusatrip.com
(they were very fast to respond and they will allow you to make some cancellation with minimum processing fees).

Also, Baliferry.com for speed boats going to and from Bali
(however, I don’t recommend going with Blue Water Express.
I will tell you more about my experience with them later).
(credit image: Hello Flores)

Trip 1: Island Hopping
For 5 days and 4 nights, the Tanaka would take me island hopping around West Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.

My island hopping *itinerary* includes:
Day 1: Labuan Bajo – Sebayur Besar
Day 2: Sebayur Besar – Siaba Besa – Gili Lawa Darat (North Komodo)
Day 3: North Komodo – Central Komodo
Day 4: Central Komodo – Rinca
Day 5: Rinca Island – Labuan Bajo

*itinerary subject to weather condition
The agency that I contacted to organize this trip for me is https://helloflores.com
They provide the best service for island hopping cruise around Flores.
They are very professional and helpful in answering all your questions.
HelloFlores have partners with many boat operators and have a regular schedules so get in contact with them first for more details.

Be sure to use my referral code HFZEAN for 5% discount!

And subscribe to my newsletter for more tips & deals.
Day 1: Labuan Bajo – Sebayur Besar

Departuring from Bali, I took a flight to Labuan Bajo flying with Wings Air.
There was 1 hour delay in my flight, but it was pretty common for the domestic flights in Indonesia (as I’ve been told by the agent). So don’t worry about your flight being delayed for an hour. The Tanaka will wait for you to arrive and won’t leave without you. (Chances are other passengers taking the cruise would also be on the same flight as you too).
The view from the plane is breathtaking!

The beautiful rugged mountains with the savanna terrain, white sand, and blue water greeted you as you first touched down the airport of Bandar Udara Komodo in Labuan Bajo, which is the fishing town of Flores.

As a new emerging island destination, Flores’ diversity in marine life, beautiful corals (aside picturesque view) had gained its attraction in diving tourism, on par with that of Raja-Ampat’s, with just a little more budget friendlier 😉

But for me, it was not scuba diving that lured me to Flores (I’m more of a snorkeler).

The main two reasons were:

1) I wanted to see the one-of-a-kind, and never-before-seen-anywhere-else-in-the-world’s ferocious reptile that roamed the earth for millions of years:
the one and only Komodo Dragons

2) I wanted to witness the beauty of the pink beach of Flores
After landing at Labuan Bajo airport, I was picked up by the boat operator’s staff who transferred me and other passengers to a nice little cafe that sells scuba diving gears. (I forgot the name of the cafe, but it was overlooking the harbour of Labuan Bajo, where we would eventually get on a small speed boat to our Tanaka cruise).

At the cafe, we were greeted by Alain, the owner and designer of Tanaka, who built his own boat from scratch! (Amazing!) Alain is French, and had been living in Myanmar for 10 years, and one day he decided to quit his office job (just like me!) and pursued his passion in something related to traveling.

(Big applaud to Alain for the bravery and for following your passion!)
And Hallelujah! —
Here’s a good look at the Tanaka, our home for the next 5 days, cruising in PARADISE–E–E!!
(The downstairs lounge, where we were first welcomed with hot ginger tea – this area is used as resting area to prepare our gears before going off the boat)
(Where the crew sit and chill)

Oh, hello didn’t see you there Neleste!
Underwater, he is the guy who will show you where all the cool fishes hang out 🙂
like stingrays, baracudas, mantarays, and sharks!
(The main entrance and exit of the Tanaka)
(The side walkway to the cabin and dining area)
(The dining and living area)
(The sun deck for lounging and about)
After we got to relax on the boat, we made our first anchor near to Bidadari Island, the closest island to Labuan Bajo mainland and made our way there.
Bidadari Island – at first you won’t notice it. But if you look at the sand, they are pink!
(You thought it would be more pink? Well they used to be very pink. But people started taking the sands.)
(Someone was playing with the red corals, arranging them into this shape
– not me!)

In Flores, most beaches have these red corals that get broken down and its residue is what made the sand pink.

Hence, the pink beach phenomenon!
So I found my spot, fell asleep, and woke up with no sun burnt as I was lying in the shade.
There were quite a few tourist boats coming to Bidadari island.
But not too crowded that they will photobomb your selfie 🙂
I went to explore the left side of the beach and noticed that the rocks were green.
In fact, I kind of noticed in the water that some of the rocks were faintly green, but they were small.

As you walk to this side of the beach, the green rocks become more abundant and apparent (the size is much bigger than the one in the water).
I don’t know how the rock became green, guessing it was due to the minerals.
But I am an avid collector of rocks and shells, so I took some home as a small souvenir 😀
The sun is starting to set so we will soon head back to the Tanaka.
Back on the Tanaka to clean up and in time for sunset watching.

As a solo traveler and an outgoing introvert, I had no problem making new friends and chatting up people in general.

So my first night was about catching names of other travelers on the boat.
Not only the company was good.
The food was “superb!”

And that’s a wrap for my Day 1 🙂
A nice and easy day.

Read on for Day 2 in my next post.
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2 thoughts on “The Unforgettable Island Hopping Cruise: Flores-Komodo Island – Day 1

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