Tropical beaches – for many travelers the highlight and a must have of a great trip. Especially for travelers from Europe, the US and other countries dominated by distinct seasons and long winters, an exotic beach with powdery sand, clear and warm water, lined by coconut trees is the epitome of a relaxing holiday. For some it is even the sole motivation for traveling to faraway places. During my epic journey across Southeast Asia I was allowed to discover some of the best beaches of the region and some of those I would like to share with you here on ESCapology. Be prepared for some surprises … Continue reading
My Indonesia journey was one of very different facets. It all started with about three weeks of intensive surfing on the island of gods, Bali. That I would come here for surfing was already set before I even left home. I just wanted to get some practice and finally improve my surfing which is so hard to do when you are from a country like Germany. That being said, this quest turned out to be harder than I hoped for. The waves were often either too big (and that’s massive), too small or it was too windy to go out. At the same time the crowd factor was insane. Of course, I was there during peak season so what should I have expected. But having been there already once before, it really seemed like surfing has just exploded. Sometimes the lineups were so full, that it even got dangerous paddling out. I was involved in a couple of incidents myself and witnessed a couple of more from close by. So in terms of the surfing itself, my stint on the island leaves me with mixed feelings at the least. Continue reading
Besides spotting the dragons, another highlight during my stay on Flores was supposed to be the diving. A lot of people i met on the way had recommended diving Komodo so I was pretty excited to go. Komodo is supposed to be one of the richest marine environments in the world and at the same time one of the most challenging dive destinations. I heard rumors of huge schools of fish, large pelagic fish and an abundance of colorful coral. At the same time strong currents were supposed to make the diving the mentioned challenge. Hence a good dive shop with properly educated personnel and good equipment was needed. After shopping around a bit in Labuan Bajo I found Wicked Diving. The shop made a very good impression and after getting to know the team and discussing some details, I was convinced and ready to go. True to the shops motto “No rest for the wicked!”. Continue reading
This one was taken at Paradise Bar in Labuan Bajo, Flores. I already mentioned the bar in my last post on the Komodo Dragons. I was having my well deserved sun downer on their beautiful terrace as a cute cat jumped onto the balustrade to also catch some warming sunrays. I watched a butterfly flying around when it all of sudden flew very close to the lazy cat. At one point it appeared as if the butterfly would play with the cat, aiming for its nose. The cat wasn’t too sure what to do and finally swung its paw a couple of times at the speedy butterfly. It was a moment of tension and everybody seemed to watch the cat and the butterfly for a split second. Then the insect took off again with the cat left behind, wondering what had just happened. It didn’t seem to be bothered though since it just resumed its previous activity again – snoozing in the last light of the day.
After a great trip all the way from North to South Sulawesi, it was time for a location change. I had booked a ferry ride over to Flores which would take one whole day. I was a little late when I showed up at the booking office and was only able to get the expensive first class ticket. A little reluctant I payed up without knowing that this investment was actually a very good one. I arrived at the port and instantly realized why – there were thousands of people waiting to get onto the boat. It was chaos and anarchy with everyone hectically pushing to save a good spot on the ferry. I instead could relax and wait it out because I had my cabin booked. Thank god. Once we took off, the whole extent of the situation became evident. There were people lying and sitting everywhere. There was not even space left for walking along the aisles. The expensive ticket was worth every penny and I even got to know some locals also traveling in first class who were super nice. All in all a pleasant journey to the island of Flores. But I quickly forgot about those events because I had exciting plans. Diving in Komodo National Park and seeing the famous Komodo Dragons.
Again, I am late with the Picture of the Week. Too much going on, too less time and too less places with proper internet. Time to pick it up again. This was taken on the small island of Rinca in Komodo National Park. I did an excursion to hike and hopefully spot the dragons from Flores, just two hours by boat. Originally I wanted to go to Komodo Island itself but unreal prices for the boat and actually less chances of seeing the dragons made me decide to go to Rinca instead. And it was well worth it. We did a two hour hike across the island and all of sudden this bad boy of a Komodo dragon came down the path. Even our guides were a little nervous and kept highly alert when it was passing by. For me, it was exactly what I came to Rinca for and it wouldn’t be the last specimen we would encounter during our hike. More details about my stay in Flores and around Komodo will follow soon.
After travelling down Sulawesi for about three weeks, long transportation days on bad roads and a cultural highlight in Tanah Toraja, my Sulawesi trip was coming to an end. Before taking off to Flores, I figured I would need a couple of relaxed days somewhere on the beach. Since my ferry to Flores would depart from Makassar, the sleepy beach town of Pantai Bira sounded like a worthwhile option. A five hour drive from Makassar, the town was supposed to be small, not too touristy and very very laid back. Exactly what I was looking for to top off my Sulawesian experience. Continue reading
I enjoyed my stay in Tentena and was more than glad that I decided to stop there for two nights. However, it was a stopover on my way to the region of Tanah Toraja and it’s main city Rantepao. I heard great things about the area – strange rituals, funeral ceremonies and animal sacrifices, amazing traditional house scattered throughout the countryside and and an abundance of beautiful scenery all around. My expectations were high as I got into the car that I had chartered to get there. Supposedly the public bus would have taken forever so I decided to spend a little more and have the comfort of a fast and air-conditioned car. I arrived in Rantepao in the evening. My driver dropped me off t a very nice and cheap (a rare combination) guesthouse and I was lucky to get the last room available. Good start but what I didn’t know at that point was that things would not continue as smoothly as this. Continue reading
The Togean Islands were nice and relaxing but after those three days I was ready to move on and go exploring again. I just can’t live the lazy beach life for too long. So I took an early morning ferry back to the Togean’s main city Wakai down to Ampana. From Ampana my plan was to charter a private car and drive down to Tentena. I had the number of a local driver who had told me that I would need at least four more people to make it happen. Luckily I was able to motivate two couples to come along. I arranged the rest and off we were to Tentena, avoiding a long and exhausting bus journey. Continue reading
After my memorable stay on Bunaken, it took a very long journey to make it to the Togean Islands in Sulawesi. On the way down, this trip seemed like a legit option which literally everyone here does. The islands also promised some nice diving and easy chilling on nice beaches. But first I had to take an 8 hour car ride from Manado to Gorontalo and straight after that another 10 hour ferry ride. I finally arrived in Wakai, the main city of the Togeans, at about 7 in the morning and was greeted by grey skies, rain and comparably low temperatures. Pretty unusual for this time of the year and not what I really expected but I was too tired to really worry about it. What I did expect though was a rather uncrowded place with less tourists but that didn’t go as planned either.