« The crew is great and so will the trip be, no matter what happens. »
Mid-break from school is about to come. Great. Finally. I want to travel. I need to travel. I know many people can relate to a little peer pressure to do awesome things during their exchange semester. The pressure is there whether you want it or not.
In social media you see these guys traveling to the Philippines, other guys are in Singapore or having a road trip in Lombok. And you’re sitting home thinking whether you should go eat or order a wet burrito with GoJek. I mean, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Quite the opposite. But you can’t help but feel sometimes like you should use every minute on this island wisely. Meaning: travel, experience, have fun…. All the time. But it’s not possible and it’s not fun either to do something all the time. The best days in Bali is when I just enjoy the weather and do absolutely nothing.
But the mid break is coming and I really want to travel. It’s the only chance during the exchange to make longer trips. So the plan is: let’s escape the silent day to Gili. Then to the main island Lombok to surf. Then back to Bali. Rest for a few days. Still, I have one more week of my study break left. I need to do something.
This feeling can also be helpful because it pushes you to look up what cool options you have. I often would feel like surfing and chilling in Canggu but this might be my only chance to do this trip – ever. So let’s go. To the Komodo Island! Call and text my friends. In no time I have a random group and a rough travel plan. We’re good to go. Let’s fly to Flores for 5 days and see the Komodos. With the awesome musician and surfer couple Emma and Joska. The happiest and most extroverted Mexican you will ever meet, Ana-Sofia. The crew is great and so will the trip be, no matter what happens.
Ana-Sofia where are you, on the way to the airport or what? We are already here. Oh, you thought the flight is tomorrow? Cool, maybe you should hurry up! (I might have told her the wrong date earlier).
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I like flying. Especially short flights with astonishing landscapes. Flying inside of Indonesia is cheap, nice and easy. Highly recommended. We land in Labuan Bajo, check in to a hostel and take a look around. We book the famous komodo-tour that every single travel agency is willing to book for you. « We meet tomorrow 5:30 am in front of the agency and then go, ok? ». Excitement grows. The only place in the world where you can meet these huge ancient dinosaur geckos – komodos. I wanted to do this trip ever since I knew about them. Maybe we will never come back from the Komodo island.
We wake up early, go to the agency and hop on the boat. I always love the feeling when you are already on an adventure before the world wakes up. At first, we sail to Padar Island, the most photogenic little island I’ve ever visited. And Indonesia is full of these kinds of small islands. Around 17 000 islands, just pick one.
After Padar we start the engine towards the Komodo island. We enter the island through a huge bridge. Walking the bridge while looking over the thick jungle full of more than 4000 Komodo lizards. The entry reminds me of Jurassic Park. No going back anymore. At first we see only little baby komodos chilling in the trees. They live in the trees until they are big enough – otherwise bigger komodos will eat them. We go further to the jungle and see some teenager komodos running in the bushes. Still not huge. We keep on walking while the tour guide is telling about Komodo’s living habits. Finally, we arrive in a big jungle plaza. I’m looking around and all of sudden I spot a human size Komodo chilling under the tree. Wow, they actually exist. I run closer and take around a million photos and just stare at them in awe. Don’t go too close the guide is telling me. The komodo’s bite will kill you. It wouldn’t be the first time someone dies here. I decide to stay a few meters away. After the jungle plaza we head back to the beach. I’m impressed with the komodos even though I expected to see some epic fights between the giant animals. I guess I’ve watched too many nature documentaries. Or movies.
We leave the island and the komodos and head to the famous Pink beach. It’s not as pink as in the photos but well – it’s still a nice beach. We snorkel and chill a little bit. Just recovering from the meeting with the komodos. After that, we start the journey back to Labuan Bajo. On the way, we stop snorkeling in epic spots. And when I say epic I mean it. It’s impressive to see mantas pass under the boat but it’s the next level to be underwater while 2 times human size manta passes you from 1 meter away. We swim with the mantas. « SHARK, SHARK, COME BACK » – our guide is yelling at us surprisingly peacefully. I’m not sure if it’s just daily stuff for him to see people get eaten by sharks or maybe it’s his way to tell it’s about the time to go home. I don’t see sharks anywhere but I won’t risk it either. Back to the boat and back to Labuan Bajo.
Labuan Bajo is surprisingly rich with different dishes and entertainment. Every single night something is happening. Movie theater or a local band playing some jazz tunes, you pick.
On the 3rd day we decided to sleep long, eat good, check out waterfalls and come back early to enjoy a crispy Bintang while watching the sunset. Good decision. For the next day we want some more boat action so we booked a private boat for the whole day.
Wake up. Buy some ice. Go to the boat. Fill the bucket with ice and refreshing drinks. Play some reggae tunes. Ready to go. I’ve already decided this day is going to be great. We were just basically cruising around the whole day and enjoying the view, music, weather and atmosphere. We decided to stop at a super tiny island straight from the photoshopped travel catalog. You could walk across the island in less than a minute. White sand, turquoise water and no one else. Yup, we’re gonna stay here. For the rest of the day. Jumping backflips from the boat, snorkeling, chilling at the lonely beach and just goofing around without any plans. Definition of a relaxing day. Definitely one of the best days of the semester. Next morning we fly back to Bali with burned skin and happy state of mind.
This trip was a proof that Indonesia truly is one of the most versatile and beautiful countries I’ve ever visited.
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This text was written by our former Bali student Benjamin!