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Tucked away in the eastern archipelago of Indonesia, Flores Island is a hidden gem that promises unforgettable experiences for travelers seeking pristine beaches, rugged landscapes, and unique wildlife encounters. My two-night getaway to this enchanting island was nothing short of spectacular, thanks in no small part to my stay at the Ayana Resort, and a thrilling day trip that took me to Padar Island, Pink Beach, and Komodo Island.
Day 1: Arrival at Ayana Resort
Departing Bali for the 50 minute flight to Labuan Bajo Airport, on arrival I could already feel the tropical allure of Flores Island. A short drive through the picturesque coastal town brought me to the Ayana Resort, a luxurious escape nestled amidst lush hills and overlooking the crystal-clear waters of the Flores Sea. The resort's warm hospitality, stunning views, and top-notch amenities made it the perfect base for my island adventure.
Ayana Resort, designed to seamlessly blend with the natural beauty of Flores, offers a range of accommodations, from cozy rooms to private villas with plunge pools. My room offered breathtaking views of the ocean, where I could wake up to the sight of the rising sun and the soothing sound of the waves.
After settling into my room, I explored the resort's offerings, which included a beautiful infinity pool, spa facilities, and several dining options serving a delectable range of local and international cuisine. My first evening was a tranquil one, with a sumptuous dinner at the resort's oceanfront restaurant, complete with a mesmerizing sunset.
Day 2: Island Hopping Extravaganza
On my second day, I was all set for an adventure-packed itinerary, starting with a boat trip to Padar Island, Pink Beach, and Komodo Island. The thought of hiking up Padar Island, lounging on Pink Beach's distinctive shores, and coming face-to-face with the legendary Komodo dragons had my heart racing with excitement.
Padar Island is famous for its panoramic viewpoints, where you can capture the postcard-perfect shots of three crescent-shaped bays, each with a different coloured beach. After a scenic one-hour boat ride from Ayana Resort, I set foot on Padar's shores and embarked on a hike up to one of the island's summits.
The hike was moderately challenging but absolutely worth every step. As I ascended, the landscape shifted from dense tropical vegetation to arid, sun-baked hills. At the top, I was rewarded with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the surrounding islands and bays, all awash in hues of blue and green. It was an ideal spot for capturing the beauty of Flores Island from above, and it was clear why Padar Island is a must-visit destination.
From Padar Island, the boat whisked us away to Pink Beach, a unique natural wonder. The beach's signature pink hue is the result of tiny red coral particles mixing with the white sand, creating a dreamlike and surreal atmosphere. The underwater world here is just as enchanting, making it a fantastic spot for snorkeling and diving.
I took the opportunity to explore the vibrant marine life beneath the surface. Schools of colourful fish, coral gardens, and even a few turtles made the snorkeling experience a memorable one. Afterward, I relaxed on the pink sands, basking in the tropical sun and savoring a picnic lunch.
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly our visit to Komodo Island, home to the world's largest lizard – the Komodo dragon. This rare and ancient species can only be found in this part of Indonesia. Our guided tour ensured a safe and educational experience.
As we approached the island, we could see the rugged, prehistoric landscape that serves as the dragons' natural habitat. We disembarked and began our guided trek through the island, with a park ranger accompanying us for safety. It wasn't long before we spotted our first Komodo dragon, a massive and awe-inspiring creature, lazily basking in the sun.
The park ranger provided fascinating insights into the behavior and biology of these incredible reptiles. Their imposing size and sharp claws are a testament to their position as apex predators in this unique ecosystem. It was both thrilling and humbling to witness these incredible creatures in their natural environment.
After our guided tour, we returned to the boat, filled with a newfound appreciation for the conservation efforts taking place on Komodo Island to protect these magnificent creatures. It was a reminder of the importance of preserving our planet's diverse wildlife.
Day 3: Farewell to Flores Island
My last morning on Flores Island was a mix of gratitude and nostalgia. I watched the sunrise from my room one last time and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast overlooking the sea. My time at Ayana Resort had been nothing short of spectacular, and the day trip to Padar Island, Pink Beach, and Komodo Island was an adventure I would treasure forever.
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Travelled: October 2023