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flores

ISLAND HOPPING: Flores

flores, komodo, island hopping

Do you find yourself day dreaming about travelling to an island paradise with no cars, no parking inspectors, no kids, no nothing but sunshine, crystal clear water, white sand, pink sand and palm trees? Of course you do – who doesn’t? Well let me fill you in on a little secret, you will find all that and a whole lot more on the island of Flores and the stunningly gorgeous islands that surround it.

This picture perfect island is a 1hour flight away from Bali and well worth a trip if you can afford the time. Garuda and Lion Air fly there daily so its super easy to get to once your in Bali.

flores, island hopping Make sure you book a window seat because as the plane descends and makes its way to Labuan Bajo Airport – you will not believe the blue waters that lay beneath you, with islands scattered as far as the eye can see. Stunning I tell you – S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G.

Flores is Indonesia’s “Next Big Thing” and it’s easy to see why. Many long time expats of Bali have made the move over as this picturesque paradise reminds them of the Bali that they knew 20 years ago. Peaceful, pretty and perfect. It  is a gorgeous and fascinating island where you can swim & snorkel in the pristine waters – I have been lucky enough to visit Flores 3 times and each time is better than the last.

flores, indonesia, islands

We base ourselves at the Jayakarta Labuan Bajo – which is a big old style resort about 5 minutes from the center of town, it is by no means a luxurious resort – but perfectly positioned with huge big comfortable rooms all with balconies overlooking the Flores sea and with all the modern day amenities that you could possibly need.

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More and more eateries keep popping up but our favorites are Mediterraneo Inn which overlooks the harbor and is one of the more popular places in town, serving up delicious pasta’s, pizzas, and seafood, this place is great for dining or just hanging out and enjoying a cool cocktail or a cold beer.

Another must try is Made In Italy – delicious homemade pasta and other Italian dishes and a fantastic wine list – open for lunch and dinner this café / restaurant is definitely worth a visit.

flores, island hopping, snorkelling Once a small fishing village, Labuan Bagjo in Flores is now a bustling epicenter of tourism as word gets out about how beautiful this island is. Labuan Bajo (Flores) is the perfect base for the diving and sailing boats all leaving regularly for trips to Komodo Island, which is famous for the Komodo Dragons and nearby Seraya island which is fabulous for diving and snorkeling.

You will see scattered throughout the port huge big Penisi’s which are available for hire for a couple of days or a week or two – get a group of friends together and do it – you will think you have died and landed in heaven.

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We get the hotel to negotiate with one of the smaller operators in town to take us out on day trips and depending on your negotiating skills usually costs about $60 – $100 per person – please be aware that for this price you are not chartering a luxury cruiser – these boats are basic – but that’s all you need. Pack up a picnic or ask the boat owner to fill the boat with beer and soft drinks and food for you. It’s a fun adventure that you will remember forever.

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Once you cruise thru the harbor, the water gets bluer and bluer by the minute and you will see islands scattered everywhere all surrounded by white sand and palms. The boat will stop at islands allowing you to get off and take in the stunning scenery and snorkel in the crystal clear waters – they can all organize snorkels, flippers, etc. for you.

Be sure to add Komodo Island to your day trip – the world’s largest lizard, the Komodo Dragon, is found in  this national park. These crazy prehistoric looking creatures can grow up to 3m long and yes, can be deadly if you get too close. But don’t stress, you will have a park ranger to trek the island with and he knows all the spots to take you and will explain the fascinating history as you walk behind him, carrying a big stick (just in case a Komodo dragon should pop past) and I can promise you – you will spot Komodos on your way thru. A once in a lifetime opportunity that cannot be missed.

komodo dragon, flores

Komodo also is home to the famous Pink beach – yes people – pink sand like you will never see again in your life. They are best seen in the morning and later in the afternoon as if the sun is too bright – the sand appears more white than Pink, there are only 7 Pink Sand beaches in the world – and Indonesia has 2 of them – how lucky are we !

Each island just gets prettier and prettier and you will want to stop at each and every one and wonder around – kind of wishing that you could be stranded there forever – as long as someone could drop off food and wine to you on a daily basis of course.

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There are multitude of luxury boats to cruise around on – check out The Luxury Bali they represent a host of super yachts as well as gorgeous old style Penisi’s or if your budget doesn’t stretch that far – look into Le Pirate Explorer which is just about start operating out of Flores.

Flores

And of course, it goes without saying that the sunsets are pretty spesh – be sure to make your way to the Sunset Bar at the top of the big hill, grab something cold and watch what takes place – i know i use this word all the time – but it is truly spectacular.

flores, komodo, sunset

sunset, flores, komodo

 

Slowly starting to become busier, Flores provides an incredible adventure for those looking to slow down and get away from their crazy city life. This island escape will provide you with lifelong memories.

flores

Snob Tip : Don’t Miss It !!

 

 

 

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ISLAND HOPPING : Nusa Lembongan

Oh my SNOB,  Nusa Lembongan is pure perfection – this small friendly chilled out island has such a relaxed vibe and is only 12 kms away from Bali meaning it  provides a great weekend getaway or the perfect long stay holiday away from the hustle and bustle of  home.

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Where to start !  So much to see So much to do…. or if your a bit like me, not to do – i come here to relax and do nothing.

This island is a short 30 minute boat ride away from Bali, but when you land it feels like you have stepped back in time – it is literally Bali 30 years ago. We love Lembongan – i mean whats not to love. White soft sand beaches, crystal clear blue waters, no traffic, friendly smiling locals, grass roof huts on the beach, palm trees everywhere – it is pure paradise. As your boat transfer makes it way up to the shore, your will be in awe at the gorgeous vista that literally takes your breathe away.

There is a great selection of accommodation on the island, from home stays, to huts on the beach, to resorts and the most stunning and luxe beach front villas. The Snobs always use The Lembongan Traveller when making our bookings – these guys have the island covered and know everything that is happening.  Wherever you stay – I guarantee you will  be no more than a 5 minute walk to one of the gorgeous beaches that surround this island, if not ocean front where the big blue bay will be right in front of you.

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The snobs love  Villa Lago which is private 4 bedroom villa situated right on coconuts beach and is STUNNING – (check out our review here ).  We also love our stays at Batu Karang  Which is a beautiful boutique resort that is carved into one of the hillsides that you cant miss when you arrive on the island.  You will do nothing but relax if you decide to stay here, the staff will make sure of that. The only resort of its type on the island, this place has it all including 3 huge pools, one with a swim up bar (hello cocktails). The rooms are super generous, all with 4 poster beds, and outdoor bathrooms all with generous size stone bathtubs, big balcony’s  and nearly all have a 180 degree view looking over the spectacular Lembongan bay. The 3 bedroom penthouse is perched high at the top of the resort and the views are stunning – especially when Mt Agung pokes his head out from behind the clouds to say hi.Our favourite villa rooms are #17 and #18 – right at the top and a 3 step walk to one of pools. Karang has a great restaurant, Muntings, offering local and western food – all of it delish.

view from the top at batu kerang

There is so much to do on Lembongan – Love to surf – well this place is famous for its superb surf breaks like Playgrounds, Lacerations and Shipwrecks. The  snorkelling and scuba diving is amazing – all in crystal clear waters – there are some fantastic snorkelling spots – the locals know them well – we book Captain Nemo’s every time – his fishing boat is fairly new and comes equiped with snorkelling gear and fishing rods – he knows every nook and cranny and can take you snorkelling at Mangroves, Crystal Bay or The Wall – where you will feel like you are swimming in an aquarium.  Snob Tip – snorkel in the afternoon, and head back at around 4pm – and I  PROMISE you will see dolphins splashing around. They come out to play once all the big boats have headed back to the mainland.

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Want to kick back, relax, take in a pizza and sip on a cocktail – The Deck is the perfect place for you. This super cool cafe and bar is situated right below Batu Karang on the boardwalk and is as waterfront as you can get – any closer you will get wet. This place is a favourite with everyone who visits the island, the pizzas, panini’s, pies, home baked cakes, fresh juices, healthy smoothies and promise – best coffee you will get on the island. The un-obstructed view on the lower deck is quite simply ahhhhmazing – perfect possie to sip cocktails and take in all the activity that is happening on the bay and of course when the sun sets – this is one of the best spots on the island to watch it all go down. Staying on the other side of the island ? No Problem – Batu Karang offer a free pick up and drop of service to your accommodation.

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Nusa Lembongan definitely offers something for everyone, whether you just want to lie around, read, sunbake and swim – but if you want to explore – there is so much to see. You can hire a scooter or even a buggy to get around the island on. Head over to Dream Beach where you will find a small but fun beach club with a two tiered pool looking out over this beautiful beach. You can stay at one of their Beach Huts – we haven’t done this – its a bit back packerish and the reviews on trip adviser are not great – but a visit to their beach club is well worth it.

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Another place worth a visit is Sandy Bay & Sunset Beach – this pretty place is home to the Sandy Bay Beach Club. A great place to wine, dine and just lay around and watch the waves crash onto the sand.  . It is situated (again) right on the beach and has a cool little pool with day beds surrounding it. This place is fab for breakfast, lunch and dinner offering a great selection of bbq’d seafood, burgers and of course lots of local selections. The wine list is fantastic and is served nice and cold. Must try : the coconut prawns. Again Sandy Bay Beach Club offers pick up and drop offs right to your door.  Be sure to check out The Walking Tree Boutique at the front as you enter Sandy Bay Beach Club and if you need a mani, pedi or a massage the lovely ladies at Glo Spa right next door will be happy to oblige and can even come to where your staying if cant be bothered leaving your pool side position.

sandy bay beach club

 

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This island is perfect for families with so many activities to keep them busy, paddle boards, SUP, jet skies, cliff jumping, fishing, the list just keeps going on and on. Lembongan provides everyone, young and old, single or taken the perfect holiday destination.

We have so much more to share you on Lembongan; swimming with the mantra’s, scuba adventures, exploring the neighbouring islands Nusa Penida the largest of the three neighbouring islands  & Nusa Cenengan – which we will do shortly – but us snobs promise that you will fall in love with Lembongan, we did, thats why we keep going back whenever we can.

The Lembongan Traveller can help you with everything, from accommodation, to dining out, to scooter hire, everything you need – TLT can help – contact them or us if you need any further info or suggestions.

Snob Tip : If you are coming to bali – make sure your itinerary includes lembongan – you would be crazy not too.

 

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NUSA LEMBONGAN : Villa Lago

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People always say to me “why do you need a holiday? You live in Bali” yes it is true that I live on an beautiful island where its sunny and hot for nearly all of the year – surrounded by beautiful beaches, beach clubs, surf, sunshine and a spectacular sunset to take in with your significant other and a mojito every single night.

But when you live and work here – trust me you do need to escape the constant hustle and bustle that constantly goes on around you. And our go to escape is Nusa Lembongan – just a 30 minute boat ride from Bali – this island is pure paradise !

From the minute you step off the fast boat and your feet touch the soft white sand– you can literally feel any worries / stresses / tension disappear immediately from your body as the excitement of what you are seeing takes over you. This island is like pure magic – and I promise you – you will feel it.

There is a great choice of accommodation available on Lembongan – beach huts, resorts and villas – however, when we travel to Lembongan, one of the places we love to stay is Villa Lago.

The gorgeous friendly staff will meet you on the beach the moment the boat pulls up – each of them filled with big smiles – they will carry your suitcases along the winding path that leads to Lago. It is along this short walk that you will be totally awestruck by the spectacular views out to Lembongan Bay.

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But wait …. Its all about to get even better – when that gate opens and you walk up that stone staircase….you will literally think you have died and arrived in heaven. Villa Lago is quite simply, spectacular.

Lago takes in jaw dropping views of the stunning bluer than blue Lembongan bay – other wise known as “playground” this is a true beach front villa – any closer and the waves from Coconut Beach will be lapping at your toes. I never ever get tired of the stunning outlook at Lago, it is truly mesmerizing. And to make it even more perfect – the view is bordered by a gorgeous “I want to dive in there right now” infinity pool and a lush manicured to perfection tropical garden. Heaven I tell you – HEAVEN.

The gorgeous open plan living is modern but with a very Balinese / Beach feel – the living areas have every up to the minute modern-day convenience that you would expect from this luxury beach pad. Something sweeps over you when you walk in – you really feel like the place is yours – its so very comfortable without being over the top – given that you are staying in a first class villa. And in true island style – it is an open villa – meaning wherever you are in the living / kitchen / dining area – the jaw dropping view is in sight – again HEAVEN.

There are 4 air-conditioned bedrooms, each one beautifully decorated in a subtle beach theme. 2 are downstairs and the other 2 bedrooms upstairs which your get to by an outside staircase – again – stop – and take in the view. Each bedroom faces the bay – so no matter where you are in this villa you have a stunning outlook – there will be no fighting over rooms here – everyone of them is GORGEOUS and each are extremely generous in size – all with their own bathroom – some with baths – all with outdoor showers – you will feel like you are in a tropical rainforest when you are taking a shower ! Not that I think you will use it –there is an entertainment room with a flat screen TV, dvd, Playstation – all air-conditioned. A dedicated massage room, bales where you lay back and read your book. Villa Lago has thought of everything – and this is exactly why we love our time here.

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You will spend your day lounging in the pool looking out to all that is taking place in front of you, boats coming and going, surfers taking on Lacerations, Stand Up Paddle Boarders paddling past, the heads of snorkelers bobbing up in the bay. Then – the best part comes when the sun goes down – at villa lago you have front row seats to one of the most beautiful shows on earth – sunset – get ready it is amazing. And, if you are super lucky Mt Agung will pop out from behind the floating clouds to say hello – providing the most spectacular backdrop.

The beautiful staff are there to look after your every need – nothing is a problem for them. They can book you a boat to go snorkeling, make dinner reservations, order delicious take out from The Deck Café, organize a masseuse to relive your muscles of any tension – they are there to ensure your stay is Lago is an amazing one. And they do a fabulous job. Breakfast time is included and the staff lovingly make your breakfast and serve it to you every morning with their usual big smiles.

I can guarantee you will spend your days lazing around or in the pool taking in the beautiful surrounds, but if you do want to venture out, Coconuts beach is literally 30 steps away where you can swim in the blue water, lie in the white sand, hire a board for surfing or SUP, snorkel or even take in a nasi goreng from the locals situated right on the beach. The Deck café is a short stroll away – famous for their beach shack which just out over the water proving a spectacular vista. This place has great cocktails, food and coffee. If you want to explore a bit further – there is much to see and the staff at the Lago will be happy to help with suggestions. Everything is easy here.

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There is something about this island that puts you in total relax mode the moment you arrive, the chilled out vibe, the friendly faces, the sunshine, the beautiful blue water, there is no and I mean NO traffic, the gorgeous beaches – everything is easy here – you will forget about your iPhone, your emails, your everything – you will step into island time very easily on this island paradise.

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Villa Lago has absolutely everything you could want or need for a short getaway or an extended holiday as does the island of Nusa Lemongan. I can guarantee you, no matter how long you are staying for you will wish that you were staying longer.

Want to visit Lembongan or stay at Villa Lago – contact our friends at  The Lembongan Traveller  they will help you with everything from boat transfers, massages, snorkelling and of course accommodation.

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