Hymms and Hills
Trip Start Nov 12, 2011
47Trip End Aug 18, 2012
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Where I stayed
Arriving at the airport in Labuan Bajo, the main Western port city on the island of Flores, we realized why this little town has two daily flights from Bali. The greeting sign reads "Komodo – Labuan Bajo, Flores". This is the main tourist hub for exploring the Komodo National Park and the easiest place to book tours to see the pre-historic beasts themselves. The plane itself had been full of other tourists as well. It seems that more and more people are choosing to hop over to Flores during their vacation in Bali.
Very unlike ourselves, we had actually booked our accommodation in advance and had someone from the hotel pick us up from the airport. It was a welcome change from our usual routine of landing in a new place and then trying to find a place to stay. Sukhia said that this was what she wanted to do from now on, we'll see…
We checked into Golo Hill Top Hotel which, it turns out, is the highest rated hotel on Flores according to Trip Advisor. The price is a bit steep for my liking (about $28 per night) but we can always move right? The hotel is about a 15-minute walk outside of the town of Labuan Bajo and sits, you guessed, on top of a hill overlooking the ocean and some nearby islands.
After a night of sleep, we awaken on our own (no roosters or morning call to prayer from any local mosque) and wander over to the hotel restaurant for our complimentary breakfast. The fried eggs, freshly baked rolls with homemade apricot jam, coffee in a French press and fresh fruit plate are all delicious. As we eat our breakfast, we stare out at the nearby islands and listen to the distant sound of waves crashing on the beach below. The hills are lush and green speckled with trees and the water is the light shade of blue that makes you want to do nothing more than plunge into its depths. As if being brought in on the slight breeze that is cooling us, we begin to hear music coming from somewhere below the restaurant. We are treated to a choir singing hymns in perfect harmony and savour every note along with our breakfast and the view. We asked one of the two Dutch female owners of the hotel where the singing was coming from. It turns out that it is a mission/rehabilitation centre that welcomes in Indonesians who are differently abled, blind, or otherwise unable to take care of themselves. Every Sunday morning, those living in the mission sing hymns along with the missionaries. Their voices, along with the landscape, were both beautiful and surreal.
Later that day we ventured into town and negotiated our way onto a 3-day dive charter set to head out to explore the Komodo National Park in two days. We stayed in town for dinner and dined at a restaurant called 'Made in Italy’. We had heard about this restaurant from just about everyone we had met who has been here, each one saying that it is by far the best restaurant in town. Fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, bruschetta served with a soft and doughy bread stick, and pizzas baked in a wood fire oven. No wonder we had heard so many good things about the place. The pizza was by far the best we have had in Asia and we found ourselves possibly deciding that it was better than any place at home too (even Nicli Antica!). All in all, an excellent first full day on Flores.
Next stop – Komodo National Park
Nothing to add, Sacha covered it all. Just that I am really enjoying Labuan Bajo, Flores and am glad we gambled on booking our return ticket for 3 weeks from now, we won that round.