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Epic Flores – dragons, diving & trekking in Indonesia

May 16 2017 Written by: Pedro O'Connor Photography: Pedro O'Connor

Indonesia, a very close neighbour to Australia, is made up of 17,000 islands brimming with unique cultures and magnificent scenery, yet most people only know about Bali.

I recently experienced the Komodo Islands and Flores, gateway to Komodo National Park. This amazing, relatively undiscovered destination in eastern Indonesia is far away from the madding crowds and bustle of Bali and home to deserted beaches as well as some of the best snorkelling and scuba diving on the planet.

 

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This epic journey included trekking to find the Komodo dragons, the world’s largest living lizards and hiking to the summit of Padar Island for panoramic views over the Komodo Islands. We watched sunrise over multi-coloured volcanic lakes, strolled through century old rice paddies and across sandy beaches meeting local villagers.

 

 

This is me cruising to Pulau Besar (island in background) to go diving in a cave created by a 1992 earthquake along the north coast of Flores. The diving is world class and home to the biggest Gorgonian fan corals and largest array of colourful soft corals I have seen.

 

 

The Komodo Islands offer breathtaking world-class diving, luxury accommodation, hiking through spectacular landscapes and authentic, unforgettable cultural experiences. A wonderful way to explore this beautiful part of the world is onboard a luxury phinisi, a traditional Indonesian boat.

 

 

For travelers seeking a cultural component to their Indonesian odyssey, a scenic one hour flight from Bali takes you to Yogyakarta in Central Java, home to the spiritual heartbeat of Indonesia and well worth a visit. Here, Java’s arts and traditions are at their brightest and most visible.

The verdant rice paddies and bamboo groves in this region are surrounded by towering rugged volcanoes – The Ring Of Fire. Step back in time at the Sultan’s Palace and watch sunrise from the stupa atop the 8th century Buddhist monument and UNESCO World Heritage site, Borobudur.

 

 

Clip clopping through the local villages on a traditional horse drawn cart, or Andong, is a relaxed way to soak up the atmosphere of village life. Cycling through the paddies and seeing locals go about their daily lives is an opportunity for memorable interactions that bring smiles to everyone’s faces.

 

 

Indonesia is an ideal ‘trip of a lifetime’ for multi-generational family travel or a group of likeminded friends seeking an unforgettable getaway.

And another bonus; the flight time is only 6 hours from Australia so no jet lag!

Let Epic show you the real Indonesia.

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