I got picked up at 7 am. Clint and Andreev had started one hour earlier since they went to Batu Cermin (the caves I had been to two days ago) before getting me. I could sit in front next to our driver Alberth while Clint and Andreev shared the back seat. Our first stop was a Tofu factory. Well, factory is a bit too much maybe. It was rather a tiny local place where they produce tofu. It was interesting to see how the soy beans are transformed into tofu.
We stopped quickly at a lookout and got some local food as take away before there was no chance of buying anything anymore. After a couple of hours driving and passing many rice fields we stopped on the roadside with a nice view for lunch.
We continued to drive.
At around 4:30 pm we finally reached the start of the trail to Wae Rebo. We walked about 1h15min to get to the entrance of the village. You have to shake a bamboo bell thingy to announce your arrival before going down to the village itself.
It is a beautiful place in the middle of the jungle and the mountains. We first had to go through a welcome ceremony for the spirits to accept us being there and pay some money for taking pictures and stuff. Then we got some tea or coffee and walked around the village to take pictures.
A very cold shower with a scoop to wash the sweat of the trail off was followed by a game of cards with some guys from the village in the guest hut. All visitors of the village slept in this hut.
We got dinner and went to bed very soon. It is pretty expensive with 325000 Rp per night and person, but it is worth it. At 5:30 the night was already over since we got up to see the sun rise. We took loads of pictures! In the sun this village is even more beautiful and it is very interesting to see it awaken and all the inhabitants come outside.
After breakfast we packed up and walked back down to the car. We left at about 9:40 am. Shortly after we drove off it started to rain again (it had rained almost all day the day before).
After about 1 hour we reached the Spiderweb Rice fields
and shortly after we had a short break at a crater lake to take pictures.
We were lucky that the rain had just stopped more or less for about half an hour when we climbed up to see the rice fields. In Ruteng we picked up our second driver – Joe. We spent about 10 hours in the car this day. We made the best out of it with music and jokes; at least we were good company to each other. But the long driving was quite hard and exactly the reason why I wanted to take more days for this trip, just didn´t find anyone who would invest more than 3 days and for me alone it was too expensive to rent a car (it was 800K Rp per day for the car). It is not so far, but the roads are often in very bad shape. For example on the way to Wae Rebo we went with 5 to 10 km/h most of the time. Also on better roads, due to them being very windy plus the traffic and all kinds of animals next to and on the road you hardly ever make it over 50 km/h, most of the time way less. So it takes time to get from A to B on Flores. We even had to skip the Arak factory, since we just didn´t have time anymore. When we finally arrived in Bajawa we stopped at a local warung for dinner and then went to a local home for sleeping. It was the house of Alberth´s uncle. We got two separate rooms, one for me and one for the boys with curtains as doors. We got some breakfast the next morning and only had to pay 50K Rp. all three of us together. After the inevitable pictures with the locals we took off again.
We first went to Bena Traditional Village. It is quite nice to see the traditional houses and handiwork and also the people there.
After that we finally went to the Soa Hot Springs in Mengeruda. Originally we had planned to do them the evening before. But we arrived so late, that we didn´t want to drive this extra hour one way to get to there. They cost 14000 Rp and are very nice. It is not like a swimming pool with basins, but a natural stream with some pools. Cold and hot water flowing together and you can basically choose your temperature. When you leave the basins it is more like a stream and you can play around a bit in the current and some waterfalls. We spent quite some time there, having fun, relaxing and after we got out of the water we each got a fresh coconut. From there we drove to the Blue Stone Beach. It´s pretty nice there and we also had lunch at the warung next to the beach. Clint even went for a swim in the rain. Unfortunately there are not too many blue stones left on blue stone beach since the locals collect and sell them. You see piles and piles of blue stones along the street and they are used a lot for decoration, in roads and walls everywhere around. I bet also some tourist pocket one or the other stone, but the main cause of robbing this beach of it´s specialty are the locals themselves.
We continued to Moni where we arrived in the late afternoon.
Alberth took us to the Bintang Hotel. We had specifically asked for cheap accommodation on this trip. They didn´t have dorms, just double rooms and wanted 250K per room and night. That was way too much for all of us. So we asked Alberth if there wouldn´t be any hostel in this place. He denied saying this is the cheapest place. I had my doubts about that. We asked if we could put a separate mattress in the room and share it. They agreed for 300K a night and so it was 100K per person. That was ok, but it was super tight now in the room, not one centimeter of floor space and the bathroom didn´t even have a door. Not even a flushing toilet or soap for this price! Great! Well, thank god my travel companions were really easygoing and decent, so it was no problem. They just left the room or avoided the rear part of the room when I was in the bathroom and I did the same. We freshened up and had a beer then we went for dinner and to bed afterwards. At 3 am the night was over since we went to the Kelimutu Nationpark. While driving there I discovered a hostel with beds for 50K a night not too far away from our accommodation. Thanks for lying Alberth! After paying 150K each and another 60k for the car we started our climb up to the Tri-Colored Lakes. It was just about 20 minutes’ walk. We watched the sun rise there and it was absolutely beautiful! The black lake was hidden under a thick layer of fog and the other two lakes had almost the same color that day. No red lake for us. But it was stunning nonetheless.
We passed some other hot springs on the way back, but they didn´t look very tempting and none of us wanted to go inside. So we went back to Moni, had a shower, breakfast and chilled a bit before driving back to Ende, where Clint and Andi had to catch a flight in the afternoon. It took only about 1.5 hours to get there (not 3h like Alberth had said to make us leave earlier) and so we were there way too early. The tiny airport wasn´t even open yet. So we had a last lunch together which was very nice but not exactly cheap. After that we dropped the guys at the airport. Alberth had a good time laughing about them since the airport was still not open and then he dropped me at the Anggrek Hotel not really leaving me another choice. They had cheap rooms, but they were pretty disgusting and since Juvens was coming to Ende that day and we could share the cost for a room I took the nicer one for 250K a night. Alberth and Joe took off. Alberth was supposed to help me with finding a transport to Maumere. I had asked him several times during that day and also gave him my phone number, but this asshole never got back to me. In the beginning of this trip I really thought he was a nice guy, but the longer we have been together the more his real face showed and he is also just one of those people who have the dollar signs in the eyes when they see tourists. He lied to us and always put us in more expensive accommodation apart from this one night at his uncle´s place. He was laughing about us, when something didn´t work out and didn´t keep his promises. I can´t really recommend him, plus there are also cheaper drivers around. He was recommended to us, that´s why we were willing to pay a bit more in order to get a safe and good trip. The trip was nice, the car was good and the driving always safe, but a few things left a bad taste for sure. And the way he let me down in the end definitely uncovered his false friendliness. Anyway, I was in Ende now and all the others were gone. I used the time while I was waiting for Juvens to take a nap, get some fruit, bring my laundry away and write my diary. When he finally arrived with one hour delay we walked around a bit and had dinner. The next day we went to a local market. We got there by bemo and walked back. We enjoyed a coconut on the way.
Juvens organized a scooter and we drove around for a bit. We also went to an office for the local busses and booked a bus for me the next morning. We explored a beach and some villages around, having lunch and returned the scooter. We had a nap and went for dinner.
There is not really much to do and see in and around Ende, so would have been better to stay in Moni or go straight to Maumere, but like this I had nice company at least. I had caught a cold from the aircon in the car during the road trip. That evening I felt especially bad coughing like crazy. Juvens organized some tea for me and brought it to the room. I went to bed super early. The next morning at 10 am I was already picked up and was on my way to Maumere. Juvens was flying back to Labuanbajo like 2 hours later. I was in a car with the driver and 4 other people. Luckily Juvens made sure that I could sit in front, so I was not squeezed in like the others. It was 120K for the ride and it took about 4.5 hours. My accommodation was a bit out of town directly at a beach – the Pantai Paris Homestay. Unfortunately the place was a construction side. They were also building a wall to prevent the ocean to flood the place so you couldn´t even use the beach. The owners are super nice and due to the works I got an upgrade to another room for the same price. It was still not exactly relaxing there, but once they will finish the work this will be a lovely place.
Only downside: you are quite far away from everything; there are no shops or restaurants close by. You always need to either rent a scooter or get an Ojek or Bemo to town. There is exactly one place in walking distance to the hostel – the ACB coco beach café where you could have some food and drinks. After I checked in I went there for some instant noodles and a coconut. They had two super cute puppies there and I stayed for ages to watch them.
I returned to my homestay for a shower and some computer work before returning to the beach café with two guys from the hostel for dinner. The next morning I slept in, helped myself to the free breakfast, worked on my blog and went again to the beach café for fried bananas with chocolate and cheese. Sounds weird but is super yummy! Two girls from the hostel joined a bit later and we played cards. I had to go back and pack and then took an Ojek to the airport. I had to wait for quite a while and then I was off to Bali.
Flores is a beautiful and very green island. If I ever come back, I would definitely dive again in the Komodo National Park and spend more time in Maumere with a scooter and also explore the northern part of the island. Apart from Labuanbajo it is also not very touristy and many locals don´t speak English. So it is a more pristine part of Indonesia and that´s what I like!