Maldives of Indonesia

~ Everyone has its beauty, but not everyone sees it ~

Confucius 

My jaw literally dropped when i saw the perfect shades of blue right in front of my eyes. Never in my life i saw such an extended beauty in the land i called my home, Indonesia. I did google all the destinations before i left for Flores trip. but Trust me, this land called Taka Makasar is far more beautiful to see in person than in google image or Instagram.

This little Maldives of Indonesia located in Labuan Bajo, Flores, Nusa Tenggara Timur. Probably it takes about 30 minutes of boat-ride from the Manta Point. This little island is very unique, because you dont get to see it anytime you want. It will only appears when the tide is low. Some people call it ‘The Emerge Land’.

Since It is a very shallow island, our big boat cannot go near to it. As for me, the view was far more fantastic from the boat, you can see the vastness of the sea, the perfect shades of the blue sky and the ocean, and the small tiny island right in the middle of nowhere. More over if you have your cocktail, with a jazz music in the background and the ocean breeze blowing gently over your sun kissed skin. Oh, such a perfect moment from up there.

Nevertheless, i will suggest you to go down as well. Enjoy the waves that coming from your left and right sides of the ocean, enjoy the snorkelling and free diving, enjoy the beach-walking, and of course enjoy your self to have a great pictures to be taken. Haha.

Do not worry on how you’ll get there, every big boat that you ride already comes with a smaller boat to go to the small islands. Just dont forget to bring your own cute swim wear, snorkelling gears, and put a lot of sun-blocks if you dont want to get sun-burnt like me (since there’s no shelter at all),  or tanning lotion if you want to come back with a hot tanned skin.

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Drone footage of Taka Makasar from our Tour guide : Salam Ransel

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Taka Makasar View from our Boat

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*I got my sun-burnt already from my previous tank top while hiking. huftt*

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Pretty, isnt it? Ohh, i think i need more of this now, and a whole lot of girlstalk with this bunch.

~ There is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean never stop kissing the shore line, no matter how many times it is sent away ~

Flores : Gili Lawa (VLOG)

I cant stop sharing about Flores. Seems like it was the best destination that i went to this year. Breathtaking views, enjoyable sea-swims, challenging tracks, life-on-board experience, and a bunch of crazy friends as a company. Indeed the most memorable trip of year.

Besides Padar island, one of the best sunset spot in Flores, Gili Lawa also offers a great place to enjoy the setting of the sun. The hike up is not as hard as Padar island, but the track is longer than Padar. We took about 45-50 mins to go up since our stamina was not as fit as the other trekkers. Haha.

Our tour guide, Mas Ovela lead us to less common hill for us to enjoy the sunset. Apparently there’s many spots or many hills to hike in Gili Lawa. You can choose which hill you want to hike, depends on your preference and your skills (of course).

Gili Lawa has different topography *speaking like im an expert. HAHA* than Padar island. Why? Because these hills has a lot of plain / flat areas for us to rest or just sit there and watch the view from above, where in Padar island, i cant barely remember if they have any flat areas during our hike to the top.

Gili Lawa is super recommended if you wanna stay on top of the hill and sip your beer while enjoying the sunset. If you’re lucky like us, you can whale-watching from above as well! Yessss, WHALEEEE.. you read it right! We were so lucky that time, that we can watch 2-3 whales spraying its water out from their blowholes. How awesome is thatt! And we also watched how people on their speedboat were chasing after them to get a closer look of the mighty creature of the sea.

Since we went during the dry season, most of the grass were already turned brownish. The colour just like the savannah in Bromo, Java area. The locals said, the hills will all turn green during the rainy season. Cant decide which on is better, i think i will love both. haha.

Gili Lawa separated two islands and two seas. Gili Lawa itself also consist of Gili Lawa Darat and Gili Lawa Laut. This hill is just so unique, every part of the hill uncovered different views, and you just have to visit this beautiful hill of Indonesia. ❤

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Most photos are taken by Salam Ransel.

Hiking Padar Island (VLOG)

Back to Flores! Hopefully you dont get bored with the story from East Indonesia. ^^

As i mentioned before on one of my Flores VLOG, there’s only two major things that you can do in Labuan Bajo area, it’s either Go up to the Hill or Down to the Sea. Yes, i notice that i havent share with you the beauty of the down-under yet. Do Stay tune, i’ll post some beauties from the ‘nemo-world’ aka the open sea after this post. But maybe you have to wait for a while, cause ill be out of town for 3 weeks for my MC job. Gonna try my best to keep posting every week, but if i dont, im sorry. =(.. Hope you still love me~~ hahaha.

Okay, back to business people!

Padar Island.. Goshh.. It’s indeed the most beautiful place in Labuan Bajo! Even though The Hill is as steep as Kelor Island, and much more longer than Kelor, but the view up there is totally worth it!

The up-hike requires 40-45 minutes of your time (if you’re not a hiker like us), if you are a pro, the maybe you can reach the peak in 30 minutes time. Still the same field where the hills are very rocky and sandy, but i feel that this hill is much better than Kelor. At least there are some places where you can put your feet to the ground to stand straight and some rocks to sit when you are tired. Haha.

I was so tired after one full day of Hiking (Kelor Island in the morning, Rinca Island in the afternoon and this Padar island to catch the sunset). When we were half-way to the top, i was thinking to just stop there, since the view is already pretty enough. But luckily Ci Manda, a friend of mine keep cheering me up, reminding me that we are not here to only see the good, but to see the Best! #eaaa.. hahaha.

To see the best! Yes, that was my only motivation to keep on hiking to the top.. But too bad, when we were almost at the top, the sun was almost setting. And since there were too many people up there, we decided to stay in one place that’s almost at the peak to enjoy the beautiful sunset. Took many photos like no one’s business and singing our hearts out about never give up in chasing our dreams. Well, actually i am thankful that we didnt force ourselves to go up, cause i am sure if we did, we would not have our quality time there, just us and the beautiful sunset.

Really, the greatness of God’s creations over Padar island can make you forget all your burdens and problems. Somehow it’s just breath-taking, and you can only see yourself smiling all the way, thanking God that if HE can make such a beautiful places in the middle of ‘messy Indonesia’, i am sure that He will make our life ‘more beautiful’ than this in the middle of our ‘messy lives’.

After enjoying the great sceneries, our tour guides asked us to come down quickly as it about to get dark soon. If you remember on my Rinca Island’s post, some Komodos who ate human are exiled in Padar Island, so we must quickly go down before it gets too dark.

Going down is much harder than going up. It feels like we, especially me, took forever in going down the hill. and it’s getting harder with minimum lights that we have.  Thankfully we reached the ground without lacking anything. Only dirty pants, since we needed to ‘slide-down’ at some areas of the hills. haha.

 ~ The Climb is Tough, But the View From Up There is Worth It ~

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*Introducing You Ci Manda, the one who said we are only aiming to see the best. haha*

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**edited by VSCO**

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Most Photos are taken by Salam Ransel and the girls, all un-edited (except the one with VSCOCAM) *too busy VLOG-ing and too tired until i forgot to take my own pictures*

Komodo ‘Hunting’ in Rinca Island (VLOG)

‘Oh No! My monthly period came early’ said one of the girl with frustation on her face

‘Sighhh.. Then How??’ replied the other girl

‘Guess we must ask Mas Ovel (the tour leader) whether you can come or not to Rinca Island?’

Since The Last Dragon of history can smell blood from 5km distance, of course it was kinda frightening for any girls who happen to have their monthly period on the trip to Rinca or Komodo Island.

‘Hey, Mas Ovel said i can still go to Rinca Island, just stay close with the Ranger’

Finally we got off the boat. The sun was at it’s highest on that day, it was scorching hot and we walked our way to the Last Jurassic Park. The land is super dry, the grasses and leaves turned brown-ish, a sign that Autumn is already approaching.

‘Shall we pray first?’ I asked

Well, since we just listened to the ranger stories that one of the Komodo just recently ate a human (the locals), so i guess a prayer is necessary.

After the short prayer session was over, we proceed to take the shortest route (1 hour) for Komodo ‘hunting’.. The Ranger said from the month of May to August is mating season and August to September is the season of laying their eggs.

We were so lucky when we went there, we saw so many Komodos, when we often heard some groups only saw one Komodo for the whole walking journey. We saw them sleeping, walking, drinking, watching over their eggs, saw a panting Komodo which just finished digging trap holes, and saw a Komodo who tried to fooled us by pretending to sleep.

Normally they use this tactic to fool their prey. They usually close one of it’s eye and open the other one, so their prey will feel secured being around the Komodo, and when the time is right it will snatch their prey with their powerful claws.

The ecosystem in Rinca island is still running well. Komodo has never been fed by the Rangers or anyone. In order to keep the ecosystem keep going, the rangers or anyone there never killed anything, including insects like centipedes, except mosquito. haha.

Btw we need to salute those Rangers who make themselves available to be in danger everyday in every 10 weeks (if im not wrong – so they rotate every 2 months). They stayed in a Ranger house whereby some Komodo can just sleep peacefully beneath it. And OH, for tourist, you need to be careful too when you go to the toilet. Must Inform the Ranger if you need to use the bathroom (well, actually you cant separate yourself from the group – everyone must stay together). Since Komodo hate the sun and loves to be in a cooler place, some Komodo can just decide to rest in front of the toilet, because they found it cooling to lay in the ceramic floor. But these scene normally only happened in the early morning.

During ‘laying-egg’ season, normally the Komodo moms will protect their eggs by digging trap holes. So the probability of other animals stealing and eating their eggs will be lesser. And once the egg popped, they will automatically release to the jungle. so survival of the fittest is so real in Rinca.

Talking about Komodo’s eating behaviour, they eat all kind of meats. Normally they will bite their prey (the bigger one like pig), leave it until it dies, and consume it when it turns to carcass.

I always thought that Komodo is already poisonous itself, to my surprise, they only become poisonous when they consume the dead animals that contains bacteria. Our Ranger, Mas Primus said if the new born dragon is taken to the zoo and well-feed with the good meat, it will be a non-venomous Komodo.

As for those dragon which ate human being as their prey, they will be exiled to Padar island, because they have less food over there. So, maybe that’s one of the reason why you cannot stay over in Padar island eventhough they offer you a great beauty up there.

Overall, visiting Rinca island is a must, a place where you can learn a lot about new things about our environment and Indonesia, and the only place in the world where they have the most Komodo dragon.. Another proud moment of being Indonesian. hahaha.

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**Ohh. this photo session was kinda unnerving. We couldnt make any sudden move and talk to loud when we are near them. So, everyone of us, including me have to slink / move quietly to capture this picture. Have to salute the Ranger who bravely squad near him just to take this picture. **

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All photos taken by Me and Salam Ransel, unedited.

 

 

 

 

Kelor Island – The Steepest Hill of Labuan Bajo (VLOG)

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‘You can do it, Jenita!’ screamed the girls who already reached the ‘pit stop’ faster than me.

‘Aaaaa..! I’m confused now.. which way to go?!’ I panicly replied

‘You see the rock bigger rock on your right? Step on it and move forward!’

‘You sure?? I’m afraid i’d fall’ – I felt that the steepness of the hill is already more than 50 degrees, that i would fall anytime if i move wrongly.

‘Bend down more. Try to hold on to the rocks’

Finally after collecting all my courage, i can reach the ‘pit stop’ and the Top of the steepest hill of Labuan Bajo.

I thought it was only me who struggle my way up to Kelor hill, since i didnt see how the other girls went up because im too busy setting up my camera for vlogging (even though the vlog result still has a lot room of improvements. hahaha). But it turns out that all the girls faced the same problem with the hill. Indeed it’s a challenging one.

Our Guide, Mas Ovel already told us before we went down from the boat that this hill the most challenging of all hills in Labuan Bajo area. The smallest hill yet the steepest of all. And Mas Ovel hiked Kelor like it’s nothing. We are all so amazed that he and his partner Mas Ian can just hiked it without any struggle. Guess practices do make your moves perfect.

Kelor Island is reachable with one-hour of sailing with normal boat from Labuan Bajo, and 30 minutes of Speed boat. Apparently it’s also one of favorite place for the locals to spend their weekend too. Cause when we went down, we talked a bit with the locals and they said it’s a nice place to just hang out and relax, and for the kids to swim and snorkle.

Ohh, talking about how to go down from that hill is another interesting story. After we enjoyed the pretty sceneries and the hues of blue, we literally slide down the hill (using our butt) in order to go down. hahaha.. It was such an effort, such an experience and such a funny story to tell now (even though it was not that funny when we did it back then) haha.

But hey, we did it! and my suggestion is, do go there with a bunch of your good friends who will always tell you that you can do it, and who will spend the happiness together when you are all up there. Or i assure you it will be the most miserable 20 minutes of your hike. Unless you are a pro already, then maybe the cheer is not needed anymore.

Hope you enjoy the VLOG and the pictures displayed below! ❤

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** The ‘Pit-Stop’ whereby all of us hold tightly to the only tree there. Thank you Tree for you’ve been a great ‘Pit-Stop’ for us to catch our breath**

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** The two pictures that sums up of how we went down the hill. My black pants turns dark brown after that. haha.  **

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Most photos are taken by Salam Ransel, edited by me.

 

 

WaeRebo – Mysterious Village amidst of Flores Mountains (VLOG)

‘Yeayyy.. We finally here!’ said us happily with panting breath yet still full of excitement.

‘We should take a picture guys!’ said one of us while taking her camera out

‘Ladies, Welcome to WaeRebo Village, I am sorry that you cannot take any picture or video or do anything before you enter the Main House and prayed by the Chiefs of the village’ said our kind and funny local guide who suddenly turned so serious by that time.

Out of a sudden, this seven noisy girls became very well behaved and listen to the instruction of our local guide. We were escorted into the dimly lighted Main House  with a heavy cigarette smells all over the house.

The chiefs of the village greeted us with their warm smile, asked us to seat in a row, and they started the welcoming ritual. All guests must be prayed over first with Manggarai language (the local language). The purpose of the ritual is for all the guests to be kept safe at WaeRebo, because they still believe the human and the spirit in WaeRebo are still living together and helping each other.

After the praying session ended, we were escorted to one of the guest house to drink some Robusta coffee as their welcome drink. I am not a big fan of coffee, but since i am already there, and i want to respect their culture, there i was, sitting quietly and pouring sugar to my coffee and listening to some stories of the village that we will spend the night at.

A mysterious village – that’s the word that came to my mind after visiting this UNESCO World Cultural Herigate site. Relax, nothing mystical during our stay. I would say that it’s a mysterious village, because no one knows how long this village has been there for. It is only written in the history that someone named Empo Maro, an adventurous man from Minangkabau, West Sumatra sailed his way to the East side of Indonesia, and established this village. The story on why Empo Maro sailed away from Sumatra and how he ended up establishing this village on a mountain top is still a mystery.

Our two days one night stay at WaeRebo is very memorable (at least for me). I never stayed with local people before. When some high-schools in Indonesia has live-in programme (staying in some Indonesian village and live like villagers), my school just had some outings to some places in Jakarta. Yeap, thats the minus point of studying in National Plus school back at that time.

For some of you who have done the ‘live-in’ program. This trip may offer you the same conditions, where you got the chance to stay with the locals, eat with the locals, listen to the local’s music, bath in a cold-water with minimum lights (they only have lights from 6-10pm), sleep on floor with a thin mat accompanied by another traveller at your sides (Yes, it’s a communal type of stay, luckily it was seven of us, so we got the side space for ourselves), no air-con but super cold, and use torchlight whenever you need the bathroom once the sun goes down.

It was a super memorable trip, apparently the city girls can survive staying in Mbaru Niang (the cone-shaped 5 levels of traditional house) in the middle of rain-forrest with two-three days without any-connections to the outside world. Hahaha.

How to go to WaeRebo 

*DID some VLOG along the way* Hope you like it – sorry for the shaky videos, as i literally took it while i hiked.

WaeRebo is located at the heart of Flores mountains, if you are looking for a pleasant, serene and nicely-isolated feeling of mountain scenery, and of course with the high cravings for interactions with the locals. WaeRebo is a perfect place for you to go.

It was such an effortful journey for us to reach this traditional village. We need to fly to Labuan Bajo from Bali (since no direct flight from Jakarta or Singapore). Let me break down for you on how i reach there from Jakarta:

– Jakarta to Bali : 1 hour 50minutes (flight)

-Bali to Labuan Bajo (Flores) : 1 hour 15 minutes (flight)

-Labuan Bajo to Dintor : 6 hours of bumpy car ride

-Dintor to Denge Village : 20 minutes of car ride

-Denge Village to the foot of the mountain : 10-15 minutes of Ojek ride (motorcycle)

-Foot of the mountain to WaeRebo : 2 hours 15 minutes of a quite challenging hiking

Imagine how effortful the trip was. It feels like you are travelling to the other part of the world, which is still located in Indonesia. hahaha. Lucky i have a fun travelling partners with me!

We decided to join a local tour for the whole Flores trip, because we heard that if you go by yourselves, the local people may overcharge you for everything, since they still have minimum access over there.

Fun-Facts about WaeRebo

-They only have 7 Mbaru Niang (the cone-shaped traditional house) with 6-8 families in each house, and they cannot add the number of the house.

-The 7 house that we see now is already renovated, and built with NO nails at all. They have 5 levels in every house, but the locals can only stay at the first floor, since the 2nd to the 5th is to save their harvest.

-Stone altar in the middle of the village cannot be seated on nor walked through it, since they still offer their offerings to their God on that altar in every rituals.

-Electricity is only ON from 6-10pm by solar power.

-The Rain-forrest that we hiked to WaeRebo has stunning biological diversity, including many kinds of birds that will always sing along your trip.

-WaeRebo locals work out on their coffee plantations (Robusta, Arabica and Luwak). They also sells their ethnic handwoven cloth that you can bring home. Price is about Rp 600.000

-Received UNESCO World Cultural Heritage award on 2012.

**ps : do bring warm clothing since it will turns very cold at night and you can bring sleeping bag if you want to (saw some european brought that for sleeping)

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Photos are all unedited, Taken by Me and Salam Ransel