Sunset On A Hill, Exploring Gili Lawa Darat with Travel Society

It’s been a while I know. Not gonna blame my busy schedules this time, because in the past, no matter how busy I was, I would still manage to find time to write something. So what’s the excuse now? Nothin. I think I simply lost the excitement and passion in crafting a worth-reading post for you.

Hence, the absence.
Hence, the lack of posts.

Is it normal to get dull in what was once a sharp area in your life?
Is it normal to lose it along the way?

As a creative person, I know it is very possible. So what to do if that happens to you? If doing something that you once claimed as an ultimate passion became a boring routine?

You pause. You stop for a while. And then you force yourself to continue after you had the rest that you needed. Because deep inside, you know it’s still in there. Somewhere. You just need time to find it again.

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Anyway, enough with the self-contemplating mode. Through this post, I’m gonna continue the series of Labuan Bajo exploration that I had with Travel Society. The trip covered a lot of things, from hiking to hilltops to swimming in the turquoise oceans, from greeting a manta to meeting a komodo, from sunrise-watching to sunset-hunting. Yeap, the trip to Labuan Bajo did offer plenty of interesting activities.

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While sunrise-watching had to be done from the top of Padar Island, which was marvellously breath-taking, sunset-hunting awaits you from the top of Gili Lawa Darat. The entrance of Komodo National Park was made out of two islands facing each other with the blue oceans between them, literally creating a natural gateway. Gili Lawa Darat is one of the islands, with golden savannah, and plenty of hills with different heights to watch the sunset.

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I was completely tired, because it was our third day living on board. My energy was already spent on hiking, trekking, walking, swimming, snorkeling, you name it. By the time I got there I felt like I had no energy left to climb another great height. So I settled for the lowest hill in Gili Lawa Darat, which required only 10 minutes of trekking. It was so easy and it was breezy. You can encounter plenty of deers every now and then during the hike.

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I couldn’t describe in details the whole experience of watching the sunset at Gili Lawa Darat. All I could remember was sitting comfortably on the sand, enjoying the wind, staring at the gleaming ocean and thinking about nothing. It was priceless indeed to have a moment like that, being out in the open air instead of being stuck in a traffic and chasing deadlines. Gili Lawa Darat is the best spot to unwind and rest, thank you Travel Society for taking me there.

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Cheers to next post!

HG. (@gersonhenry)

 

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Taka Makassar: Swimming In A Private Pool With Travel Society

At first, I was confused when the tour guide from Travel Society told me that the next spot on our itinerary was Taka Makassar. The only Makassar I know is located in South Sulawesi, which is still far up to the north side of Labuan Bajo. Are they the same thing? Apparently not. This one is way smaller, even smaller than a soccer field.

Yeap, you can easily take a walk and finish circling the sandbed island within 10 minutes or less I guess. There was no hut, no tress, nothing. This particular beauty offers you a place to unwind, do nothing and just enjoy serenity. Taka Makassar is best for swimming and snorkeling, although you can’t expect to see too many fishes here since its surrounded with shallow water.

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A little bit further to the sea, however, if you’re lucky enough you might find some Manta rays and swim along with them. They are easy to find in this area due to the strong currents. If you are not a good swimmer don’t try jumping into the ocean without a safety vest or a companion because it’s dangerous. I wasn’t lucky, there was no single Manta to be found when I was there. But I was happy enough to just swim in this crystal-clear private pool with a seemingly endless blue sea around me.

Scroll down to see more photos from Taka Makassar.

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Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

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SUN-KISSED LAZY DAY AT PINK BEACH, FLORES – WITH TRAVEL SOCIETY!

As most of you (might) have noticed, I’ve been posting a series of my first encounter with the “oh-so-amazing” Labuan Bajo with Travel Society. What do you think so far? A lot of my friends and Instagram’s followers kept on giving me the same respond, which either:

“I literally want to visit Labuan Bajo soon after seeing your posts!”
or
“Is it really that beautiful?”

I mean, YES. My whole perception of the touristy spot in Indonesia changed from the moment I witnessed the untouched beauty with my own eyes. Especially, when I put my feet for the first time on the soft cotton-candy sands in Namo Island, Flores.

All the girls from my travel group was immediately fell head over heel with the pink beach. Camera was out, snapgram-ing was a necessity. The pink hue apparently was a result of erosion that happened to large numbers of pink coral that can be found in the sea of Flores. The tiny particles then got carried away onto the beautiful islands and created a pampering view.

We spent a good few hours just playing on the beach, swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing on the beach. It was definitely a good time indeed! Here’s some good photos from the Pink Beach!

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

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Sunrise Watching From The Top Of Padar Island with Travel Society

March has been so fun for me as it’s filled with plenty of traveling. I started out this month in Bali for a friend wedding. Few weeks later, I’m drafting this post from Juanda Airport, Surabaya (again, for a friend wedding.). And next week, guess what.. I’ll be flying back to Labuan Bajo for office outing!

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Dawn.

I’m so thrilled about this Bajo trip when the HR team in my office announced it a few weeks ago. I mean, who wouldn’t want to come back to Bajo? Those beautiful islands and priceless experience. If you haven’t been to Bajo, I highly recommend you to book your seat right now for an open trip with Travel Society. Seriously, my trip with them last September was beyond fun!

Particularly that sunrise-watching moment at Padar Island. The whole trip includes living on board for 3 days. Padar was the first place we visited on the second day. I remember waking up super early, brushed my teeth, washed my face, and started to climb up the Padar hills vigorously.

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Serenity.

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The View Was.. Put Any Word That Best Describe Beautiful To You.

I’ve witnessed sunrise before from the top of Rinjani, from the top of Bromo and Sikunir, and even from an apartment in Sydney. None of them provide an ocean view, unlike this one. The trekking was not difficult because they already made a clear path for you to go up. But at one point, as you reach the higher ground, it will become a bit steep and rocky, but still feasible to be done. At least, most of the people in my open trip group who were first-timers in trekking, managed to get on the top safe and sound.

Not a single word could nearly describe a sunrise-watching moment. Like I could throw in some beautiful words, it won’t mean a thing unless you’ve seen it yourself. I’m just gonna let the photos do the justice.

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Hello, Sun!

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Local Guide

I don’t care if you are the adventurous type or not, if you are into traveling or not, this particular activity should be on your bucket list, because it’s so worth-trying (time and penny included)!

If you’ve seen a sunrise before, or quite an avid sunrise-hunter, what’s your best experience? Who knows we might bump into each other on the top of any hill one day. 😉

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Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

Meeting The Dragon Clan at Rinca Island with Travel Society

Although I was born and raised in this county, and have Indonesian written as my nationality on my passport, I’ve never traveled and explored this beautiful country, at least not until two years ago. The idea of traveling and spending a great holiday was always filled with images of going overseas, or at least, to Singapore and other ASEAN countries.

Thank God for Instagram, I was finally exposed to the idea that traveling domestically is worth more my time and money than actually going overseas. Some of my friends who have visited Europe and other beaches in the world admitted that Indonesia has some of the greatest views. Especially the eastern part of this country.

One of the remarkable trips I did recently was a sailing trip in Labuan Bajo with Travel Society. I’ve shared few posts before, and this time I’m gonna post about the third island that we visited during the trip, Pulau Rinca.

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Welcome to Rinca!

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Parking Lot

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Entering The Nest

This island is filled with the Komodo dragons, the largest species of lizard that can only be found in Indonesia, and would creep you out just by looking at its enormous size. The large ones are actually not that dangerous, because due to their heavy weights they don’t move around that much. You will find plenty of them just laying around on the ground.

However, the local guards did not encourage us to walk separately from the group. There are also the littler ones who can run really fast, and could bite you. Scary, huh? They could also smell the scent of blood from women who are on their period. Yeap, they are carnivore! But don’t worry about stumbling upon a hungry komodo, because their lunch is scattered everywhere.

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Meet the dragon!

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Selfie Attempt #1 with the Dragon Clan

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Selfie Attempt #2 With The Dragon Clan. I was actually scared thinking that they might have run to me and eat my legs or something.

Guess what their lunch menu is! The first time I entered this island, I saw so many beautiful deers roaming around freely. The thought of them living so free like this in their natural habitat is just wonderful. That was until the local guard told me that, they are here mainly to be served to the komodo as lunch. Gulp. Poor thang.

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Lunch Menu

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And another one 😦

The unique thing about the Komodo is that their existence is slowly becoming a rarity due to cannibalism. The male would only come meet the female during mating season, which is like once a year. He would then neglected her with so many kids to be taken care of. The bitter female would then eat her own children simply to survive. Or, perhaps out of bitterness because her kids would remind her of that scumbag male who left her alone. LOL.

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Headband: Topman, Floral Shirt: The Collin Gangstas, Bag: Herschel Supply, Shorts: H&M

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trekking at Kelor Island and Snorkeling at Manjarite with Travel Society!

Before I started babbling about how beautiful Labuan Bajo is, I’d like to apologize for the lack of posts lately because my workload have been crazy for the past month. Finding time to actually blog was a rarity for me, even up until now. But here I am trying to fill you up on what’s hype and worth trying in your twenty something!

So, if you’ve read my first two posts about my trip to Bajo with Travel Society, those two were only giving you like 20% of the details. Hence, I’d share more in few other upcoming posts. As a starter, here’s a blog post about the first two islands that we visited in Labuan Bajo!

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It took only about 30 minutes from Labuan Bajo to Kelor Island. The minute I saw the white sandy beach, I immediately wanted to jump off of the boat. I kept on reminding myself not to forget wearing my trekking sandals, because the last time I didn’t wear sandals in Belitung, I got injured pretty bad.

The hike to the top of Kelor Island was a total challenging, particularly because it was noon and the sun was like right above our head. I could feel my skin burnt while trying to keep my balance during climbing the steep hill. However, as I’ve said in my former posts the view from high places is always worth the climb!

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Just like in Rinjani, I was one of the fastest in the group, even when I haven’t been exercising for like months. Perhaps is the impatience in me, or perhaps it’s just that I have long legs – I don’t know – but I managed to get to the top before the rest of the pack. So when some of them have finally arrived, I was already deciding going back down and play at the beach.

Again, climbing down a hill is always harder and tougher than going up. The sandy floors were a little bit slippery. I was so nervous that I might lost my balance and fell. Minutes later, I was already on the beach. Unbuttoning my shirt and dived right into the super clear turquoise-ish water. It felt so refreshing after burning few calories going up and down that hill in the middle of a hot sunny day!

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A little bit tips, if you are happen to visit this beautiful island in the future, make sure you are wearing proper clothes and comfy sandals or trekking shoes. Anyways, after Kelor our guide took us to Manjarite Island (about an hour away from Labuan Bajo). Everyone changed into their swimming suits and started to swim in the sea enjoying the beautiful underwater world.

Sigh. Writing about this only makes me this home-sick feeling towards traveling and being out in the open space.

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Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

First Time Living On Board For 3 Days With Travel Society

How do I survive Jakarta’s crazy hustle? By constantly trying something new every now and then. I remember this urge of keeping myself from insanity of living in concrete Jungle like this started to pop out last year. From then, I (seem to) subconsciously walked into the path of exploring this and that.

For example, I signed up myself for a muaythai class (something I thought I would never enjoy doing). End of last year, I joined a broadcasting class to expand my network and develop my public speaking skill. That’s only the simple regular things that you can do as well. But I didn’t stop there, I took it extremely.. from climbing Rinjani, to hiking Kawah Ijen alone. From flying to New Zealand alone, and spending only a day in Bali recently. Not forget to mention, living on a ship for three days in Labuan Bajo last September on my 30th birthday.

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The perks of living on board for three days: breath-taking views everywhere you turn.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, yes this is in Indonesia.

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This reminds me of a set from Game of Thrones.

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Good life!

At first, the thought of living on a ship in the middle of an ocean was kinda creepy for me. I literally couldn’t imagine myself floating around in darkness with only few centimetres of woods that separate me from the deep ocean. Add to that picture is the super humid air and mosquitos!

BUT, the curiosity of simply doing it and giving it a try is just beyond containable. Besides, I’ve bought the ticket to LabuanBajo, so cancelling the trip was not even an option.

Fast forward to my first encounter with my “above-the-water-hotel” for three days at the port of Labuan Bajo. It was a two storeys motorboat, with two small bedrooms (at the lower deck) that has air conditioner, and would fit for 6 people. It was not really that spacey, but it was comfy enough for you to sleep.  The captain and guide were uber friendly, and the crew cooked really delicious home-made Indonesian foods! Travel Society did not only serve us breakfast, lunch and dinner, but also afternoon snacks. Yaaas!

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Our guide, Stefanus, and the captain.

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I kid you not, they taste GOOD! And, they serve different menu every day.

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I stopped capturing photos during the next meal time, because I was too focused finishing them.

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One of the afternoon snacks: fried banana with sweet condensend milk and meses. This is very very very luxurious after a day of snorkeling!

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Enjoying the afternoon breeze from the upperdeck, captured by: Janice.

I slept at the upperdeck using only mattresses, pillows and blankets with about 5 other people (they were all my friends by the way). Okay, the island-hopping trip was fun. The breeze was very enjoyable. The view was amazing especially during golden hour. Until the night came and it was time to sleep.

Apparently, all the picture I had in mind were false. First of all, the boat stayed quite near to the beach along with other boats. And, the best part is, it has genset (diesel generator)! So the lights were on, I could charge my laptop, powerbank, camera battery. There was no mosquito. And, it was not humid. In fact, it was rather breezy at night we had to use a blanket to keep ourselves warm.

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The upperdeck.

How about the bathroom? Now, this is a fifty-fifty perspective. Some of my friends were okay with the bathroom, some of them were not. There was only one bathroom with limited clean water to be used. It was not a dry-floored bathroom so you can had to wear your flip-flops while doing everything in there (for some people this might be annoying, but I was fine with it).

Overall conclusion? If you are up for a bit of adventure and new experience, just go for it! Besides, it’s only a three-day and two-night experience. The whole memory that you can collect and bring home would last longer than that. (insert a wink emoji).

Btw, here’s some tips if you are going into a sailing trip like me:

1. Pack lightly! The rooms are not that big to contain a huge suitcase, besides it’s three days of swimming you only need swimwear, shirts, toiletries, and towel!

2. If you’re a guy, you don’t need to bring too much underwear. I only packed three swim shorts (one for each day), and wear it all day so that I jump into the water anytime.

3. Aloe vera gel or sunblock is a must! I got quite a bad sunburnt on the first day.

4. If you’re a heavy-muncher like me, there’s no harm in bringing extra snacks!

5. Last one, brings a cable connector so you can charge multiple devices at the same time at night. There’s not much to see at night, so you might wanna bring a speaker to play your favorite Spotify playlist. Or like me, to binge-watch Game of Thrones before sleep haha.

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Enjoying the boat life, a little bit too much.

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)