The Day Before A Journey

Having spent four days on a boat waking up around 6am then diving two days in a row waking around the same time, I took a day off from ‘activity’.

Most the day I spent trying to sift through pictures and videos from the Philippines and the previous few weeks. I also took the opportunity to figure out how I’d see some of the gems around Flores. There was one site in particular that looked promising – Mount Kelimutu.

Mount Kelimutu located near the eastern coast of Flores is home to three craters. The craters, each full of water, change colours throughout the year. Each takes on a colour so thick it looks like a Dulux advert.

So I began planning how to get there. It was about 400km away. There were a few options:

  1. Fly
  2. Share a private cab
  3. Bus
  4. Scooter

Flying would be expensive at such late notice and not that fun.

The private cab was also expensive – 3.5mn Rupia (£175). It could take up to 4 people so could be as a cheap as 900k Rupia if I could find other participants. It would take about 4 days and I would need to pay for accommodation and food etc along the way. Flores is meant to be beautiful and it seemed a shame to have to see it all from a car.

The bus, I didn’t really look into, because after ruling out the first two, I was sold on how I wanted to do it.

The scooter would cost only 60-80k Rupia a day (£3-4/day) and would give me the freedom to go anywhere I wanted.

With the mode of transport decided I walked around to find a bike shop. There were two options, and I decided to go for the slightly more expensive bike, but one that was being serviced in a garage overnight. The German owner – Hans – asked the mechanics to fit larger tyres on the bike and give it a full check over because I was driving quite long distances. Hans also refused to give me any other bike except a serviced one because I was travelling 800km. If you want to do this trip or rent a bike in Flores I strongly recommend Flores Komodo Expedition.

While talking to the rental shops I formulated a rough plan of how to get there, what to see along the way and how long it’d take. I estimated it would take me 4 days, so allowed 5 days with a contingency. This was my plan:

  • Day 1: Leave Labuan Bajo and head East to Bajawa.

Along the way, I would check out a waterfall which would be just outside of the main town in Labuanbajo (but this would take me on a detour off the main round onto a bumpy road to get there).

After the waterfall, I would head towards Ruteng and stop off at the Spiderweb Rice fields. I would grab a quick bite to eat at Ruteng then continue on to Bajawa

  • Day 2: Bajawa to Moni

I would start the morning by taking a small detour to see the traditional villages, a place where a hot stream meets a cold stream and the blue pebble beach.

  • Day 3: Try to make it back to Ruteng
  • Day 4: Back to Labuanbajo

Honestly, all of that sounded quite a lot so I allowed for another day in case it rained and I was slowed down.

With the bike confirmed I tried to get an early night. After bumping into some friends that night I still had a relatively early night albeit with a few beers.

The next few posts will be about what followed.

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