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Around the world travel, Backpacking, Bucket List, Indonesia, long term travel, Moni, Southeast Asia, Travel

Moni, Moni, Moni

From Labuan Bajo, we made our way to Moni. Fortunately, we had done some research and found out that to travel by private car would cost little more than public bus and would save us an overnight stop in the middle of the journey, so we set out at 8a.m. for the 14-hour drive to Moni. We had picked up another passenger, so it was me and my two frenchies in the backseat. Luckily, we all took turns sitting in the dreaded middle seat. But truly, no matter where you sat in the car, you couldn’t sleep. The roads were too windy, it was too hot, and our driver proclaimed about 3 hours into the drive that he was tired…well, someone had to stay awake, especially on these roads!!


We stopped for a lunch break after about 3 hours, then a coffee break after 5…bad idea. It was over 100 degrees. We had already sweat through our clothes, but we decided to sip hot coffee, nonetheless ?? We continued on for another 4 hours, getting some sort of relief as the sun set. We had made it 12 hours, and after our dinner break, we had just 2 more to go. Unfortunately as we left dinner, we got a flat tire, which held us up a bit, but it was fixed quickly and we continued on.


We arrived in Moni around 10:30 that night and found a room at a small guesthouse, where we arranged motorcycles for 4:30 a.m. the following morning, so we could watch sunrise at Kelimutu. Kelimutu is an area where three lakes of different color sit next to each other. The Indonesian people consider this to be an extremely spiritual area, and believe that the spirits that have entered the lakes are what cause the various colors.


We trekked for about 30 minutes from base to see the lakes at sunrise, which was a nice reward for the 4am wake-up call and we spent some time soaking in the views. On the day we were there, one lake was bright blue, one was green and another was almost black.


The boys decided they were going to walk back to the inn, but I decided against that, and walked back to base. Unfortunately, there were no motos to take back to town, so I decided to sit and wait for the guys to pass back through. I guess I was going to walk afterall. As I sat waiting, a tour guide, Dino, from Labuan Bajo that we had been talking to at our inn recognized me and offered to let me hitch a ride back to town. I had breakfast and settled in for a nap, as the guys spent the next 3 hours trying to find their way back. They told me I had made a wise deicision. I don’t know if they were regretting their decision to walk, or if they were just relieved they didn’t have to hear me bitch the whole way home! As you can probably tell, after climbing two mountains and numerous other early morning “sunrise treks,” I was getting a little burned out on all the walking.
From Moni, we packed up and made our way by local bus to Maumere, where there is an airport with flights back to Bali. To travel back by bus and boat would have taken days, the flights were cheap and with only about a month left of this portion of my trip, time was of the essence. We booked flights for the following morning, and organized our last happy hour in Flores, which consisted of cold beers, street food and time to reflect on what an adventure Indonesia had been.


Of all the countries I have visited, the many islands of Indonesia afford travellers the opportunity to get right into the heart of the country and off the tourist path (once you’ve stepped off the tourist circuit in Bali.) Indonesia can feel primitive at times, and sometimes I felt a definite lack of infrastructure, but a little bit of patience in this part of the world can make or break a traveler. So with enough time and patience, an open mind to a much slower and simpler way of life, and an arse of steel to endure all the 10+ hour car journeys, there is much to be enjoyed in this vast land.