​Tuesday 3 Jan, 2017. Lembor to Labuhanbajo. 16th cycling day. 5 hours 56 minutes. 63.7 km. Average 10.7 km/h. 1410 metres up, 1510 meters down. 

Monday night’s dinner with Rofenah and here family was lovely. She was the only one who could converse in English but I spent time while the meal was being prepared doing a bit of call and response with the kids, colours, counting, heads/shoulders, that sort of thing.

Rofenah trained in Kupang and spent 2007 working as a nurse in Taiwan. She returned to Indonesia and worked for MSF for a number of years before starting a family.

A nice ride into Labuhanbajo with one main hill climb. I’m conscious it’s my last in Flores and fittingly it poured with rain as I neared the top.

I passed my first accident, a bule (tourist) had come off her motorbike in the wet. I slowed to ask if everything was ok and got a pretty curt reply suggesting all was fine from another member in her group. Hati hati, I said and rode off – take care!!

Petrol sold in 1.5 litre water bottles, for Justin and the (motor)bikers.

Labuhanbajo was initially overwhelming. I tend to find that returning to cities and tourist spots after cycling through smaller towns and less frequented places disorientating.  I stayed at the first place I investigated, a nice simple bungalow you reach via the one way road system before the main drag. I suspect he misses out on customers arriving by boat but does well with bikers, motor or pedal. Run by Cornelius, 200 for couples, 150 for singles. 

I walked into town to ask about Komodo and snorkeling trips but there were too many options for me. Instead,  I returned to my bungalow for a rest and accepted my host’s suggestion, Rinca island and snorkeling day trip for 350.
I couldn’t resist having an explore at dusk and taking in the sunset, which of course can never be captured by ordinary cameras.

Wednesday 4 Jan, 2017. 
Komodo National Park was spectacular. Well, the Komodos were. Big beasts, wild, hunting monkeys, deer, water buffalo and each other for food. A guide earlier in the year didn’t give one enough space and respect and it bit his leg. Tourists screamed and ran. Came back with help. Man was rushed, back to the mainland and then to Denpasar hospital and had to have his leg amputated.

There were half a dozen hanging around the kitchen, never fed but can’t resist the smell, and we saw a couple more roaming on our short 3 kilometre walk past nesting areas and through jungle.  

Trick photography here, I’m about 4 metres back.

Snorkeling was disappointing. If I had time, I’d stay longer and spend oodles of money on a liveaboard diving boat for a couple of nights and do some scuba, it’s supposed to be great here. But I don’t. And that’s ok. Tomorrow I’m off to Sape, Sumbawa, and back on my bike, doing what I really like.


2 thoughts on “Labuhanbajo”

  1. Glad to hear you were way back from that komodo dragon!! Great photo. I think the photo that you took at sunset looks like huge ‘landscape’ komodos ready to take a dip in the sea!! I bet Rofenah’s family enjoyed your visit. The children will talk about for a long time! So you are on a ferry today ready for your next island. I hope it’s a comfortable trip….lots of love…M


  2. Nice to get another blog post Si, for me to read while waiting to board the Air NZ flight to go to Monique’s wedding tomorrow at Moana. (I must say travel seems to be getting a little more difficult as the years go by, or is it just more people and silly inventions like self check-in?.Next thing, they’ll be asking pax to take turns to fly the aircraft to save money on pilots.)

    How thrilling to go to Komodo Island and see the legendary dragons (is this where the Chinese got their dragon legends from I wonder?) The coral looks rat sh** like most coral in the populated tropics. They use dynamite to fish in many places; we just mine, ship and burn coal.

    If we want to see good coral we can still in the southern part of the GBR but the northern part lost 65% a year ago in an ocean warming incident of which there will be many more. At 2C and with acidification, there will be no coral anywhere left in the world. And 2C is a certainty by mid-century, so ‘see it while you can’ is the tourism slogan. Yet so few people seem to care enough to do anything, and they can.

    I have the laptop with me so I’ll be looking forward to reading how you get on on Sumbawa Island. Take care, love, Dad


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