Deborah Dickson-Smith meets antiquated dragons and learns of centuries-old devotions within coo-ee of bustling Depasar and party-hard Kuta.
Bali has turn roughly as famous for party-hard tourists as it is for a healthy beauty and charming festivals though usually subsequent door, another pleasing island sits quietly.
Flores is a universe divided from a discord of Bali, nonetheless it takes usually 90 mins to get here from Denpasar. The island shares Bali’s healthy beauty, with distinguished volcanic landscapes, pleasing beaches and fringing coral reefs – and it has a possess charming festivals. But outward a collateral of Labuan Bajo, you’re doubtful to find many in a approach of nightlife.
On a initial night in a little pier city of Larantuka on a island’s easterly coast, we conduct to a roof tip bar. If this was Kuta, I’d design to find a few sharp-witted Aussies in Bintang T-shirts holding advantage of Happy Hour prices. Instead, we find an English diplomat dressed in a orderly pulpy linen suit. He’s here to declare a eremite festival that’s equal to Bali’s festivals in philharmonic though opposite in each other way.
Similar to Mexico’s Day of a Dead, Semana Santa is a week-long Easter jubilee that combines normal Catholic Easter devotions, adopted during Portuguese allotment in a 16th century, with internal traditions.
The festival, that attracts thousands of Catholic pilgrims from Flores and a surrounding islands, starts with Rabu Trewa or Shackled Wednesday, when people accumulate to urge in chapels via Larantuka, and a whole city goes into mourning. On Maundy Thursday congregations reason a Tikamturo ritual, scheming a track for a following day’s 7km procession, by planting candles along a route.
At a Chapel of Tuan Ma (the Virgin Mother) a box that has been hermetic for one year is delicately non-stop by a Conferia, and a statue of Tuan Ma is bathed and dressed in anguish clothes.
Good Friday is a apex of a week’s rituals, when statues of Jesus and a Virgin Mary are carried to a beach and on to a boat, that is afterwards followed via a brook by hundreds of fishing boats.
The statue of Tuan Ma is pronounced to have been found on a beach of Larantuka by a child in 1510. According to fable a child saw a pleasing lady who smiled during him, indicating to 3 difference on a shore, that after Portuguese priests deciphered as: “Reinha Rosario Maria” or a Mourning Mother Mary.
Heading west from this philharmonic in Larantuka, a seashore of Flores is dotted with primitive beaches and during a eastern tip, a island of Komodo and a antiquated residents: Komodo dragons.
The best approach to try that seashore is by vessel – from a circuitously heart of Labuan Bajo, burst on to a live-aboard “Phinisi” schooner. It takes a few hours to get to Komodo Island, though along a approach there are large islands and beaches to explore, including a pleasing Padar Island and a famous Pink Beach.
The coral reefs of Flores and beside Komodo are quick apropos Indonesia’s many renouned scuba-diving destinations, a underwater turf being each bit as sundry as a islands are above water, with perfect precipice walls, pinnacles, channels, sandy prosaic bottoms, and underwater plateaux.
This different medium supports an even some-more different fauna: some-more than 1000 fish class and hundreds of corals and sponges, all from little anemone fish and midget seahorses, to dugongs, sharks, manta rays, turtles and dolphins.
On Komodo Island itself, we will be greeted by a famous antiquated residents roughly immediately as park rangers uncover we around. The rangers are armed with a prolonged wooden hang to keep a dragons during bay, though there’s frequency a need for them – a dragons good fed in this stable environment.
Depending on how many time we have and how enterprising we feel, there are a series of walking trails of varying lengths around a island. Along a trails there are several spots where a dragons are famous for unresolved around, so we are flattering many guaranteed to see during slightest one. The views from a tip of a volcanic peaks are flattering spectacular, and good value a bid – even in 90 per cent humidity.
So, on Flores and Komodo, not usually do we get white sandy beaches and primitive coral reefs, we get to transport behind in time to declare 16th-century festivals and antiquated creatures. Win-win.
Air New Zealand flies from Auckland to Bali seasonally from $654 one-way.
Grab a joining moody to Labuan Bajo. To get to a islands you’ll need a boat, that can be hired during a pier or pre-booked by a vessel sinecure association or debate operator.
Flores Komodo Tours
A National Park price of NZ$11-16 per chairman can be paid in a National Parks’ Office in Labuan Bajo or on attainment on a island.
The best time to revisit is during a shoulder seasons of Apr to Jun and Sep to November, as they are cooler though still sunny, with fewer tourists. If we revisit between Apr to Jun we also have a aloft possibility of spotting whale sharks.