FLORES motorbike tour: the conservative face of Indonesia with surprising people on the way.
after being back from quite some time spent in Indonesia, now it is time to provide you with an overview of my motorbike tour on East Nusa Tenggara commonly known as Flores. So far, Having explored in Indonesia Java, Bali and Flores, I venture to say that Flores compared to the others two is still conservative:
There is not yet a properly-developed tourist infrastructure, apart from Labuan Bajo, over the entire land, out of twelve spots checked out I found only two touristy-appealing sites: Bajawa and Moni (which is the town close to the Kelimutu crater). All the rest are mostly old-fashion villages or just not-westernized small town.
As an organized European traveler, before my journey came I drew a daft itinerary plan of the places I would have explored by riding a motorbike:
When in Flores, the rental of a (proper) motorbike is a MUST because of the following reasons:
- There is no public transportation network (only some mini-van by tour agents)
- If you like to challenge yourself with the sense-of-discovering then you have no other way then just getting a motorbike.
As you noticed above my drawn plan consisted of eleven days and I nicely fit it by including even an extra stop at Mbay, naturally depending on your time you can plan it longer and juicier, however generally speaking I would say that eleven days is a proper time to discover what great Flores offers to the motor bikers.
I am not going to drill down into many details because those are countless then especially when considering every single happening day after day, however every day was a discover of something new, as first when in the early morning (around 7:30am) I started riding the motorbike I felt very keen to say a warm ‘Hello!’ by raising the hand to almost everybody as I crossed on the road either on the feet or just riding on the opposite way, their common spontaneous reaction was a loud ‘Hello Misteeer!!!’, yes ‘Mister’ as a sign of a respectful welcome to the alien in Flores 🙂 I would say roughly the 90% of locals, even the kids, had such an energetic reaction (imagine yourselves doing the same warm salutation in Europe…) and in some cases they were even intimating me to stop for chatting with them and perhaps be offered with a baked green banana and a Kopi (coffee) as shown below:
One day being curious of a uphill concrete surface road I decided to ride up there to see what I would have discovered and well guess what?
It was a primary school building, moreover the pupils at that moment were doing some outdoor activities, they all came close to me as I was on the motorbike and naturally asked me for pictures “Photo photooo“, then also the teachers and the headmaster realized me and also they want photos with me, look at below picture to get impressed with an idea:
Naturally as usual in here I was offered with a coffee and then one lady wanted to get my Facebook contact, even the purpose was not clear to me I had nothing against that, once I left the school I thought that I could even be hosted by her so I didn’t think twice to talk to her and ask for hospitality, then she agreed with her husband to host me for one night as I was on my long way back to Labuan Bajo.
It was a great chance, even better than staying at a known traditional village, to get deeply involved on their rural village life out the ‘comfort zone’. Both wife and husband work as teachers part-time, so the 2nd half of the day they just enjoy their simple life characterized by social meetings with their neighbours which most of them don’t even have a conventional job, instead their profession is to take care of their cultivation of coffee, green vegetables and their chickens, one of their neighbors they also produce a strong alcoholic drink which I personally tried and it was even stronger than a shot of whisky!!!
Just a social consideration, the couple who hosted me told that everyone in the village was staring me because of my height above the (Indonesian) average, my long-pointing nose and the colour of my skin which sounded funny to me since most of us Europeans consider the South-east Asian people to be exotic 😀
Here below I have attached few pictures of my stay at a ordinary Flores village:
In conclusion, If I had not been enough curious I would have never get into such a situation, however life itself means a lot, we can’t always just be focused on itineraries advertised by Google maps and similars. I can proudly affirm that I got a very meaningful life lesson from the motorbike tour in Flores, especially when I consider that they don’t care at all about how many belongings they live with, the consumerism is still a way far from their habits, moreover they are truly tolerant and humble regardless the skin and the religion.
Having said that, I would encourage anybody of you to try such a life experience, if you believe that a simple lifestyle is possible at this world!
Any remarks and concerns are warmly welcomed!
PS: special thank to Enu and Chen for the generous Coffee bag roasted on your village!