Forest steppe, clear blue sea, mountains in the background, and ancient lizards make East Nusa Tenggara a proper combination for exclusive small group tours.
Event without five-star hotels with thousands of rooms, East Nusa Tenggara really fits for incentive tours in small groups. The province has exotic culture, landscapes, as well as stunning flora and fauna. The tourism is concentrated in Flores Island, whose main icons are Labuan Bajo and Komodo National Park.
In addition to the remarkable natural landscape, Flores has Bena Village that attracts tourists to see the Stone Age. Bena village is located in Tiworiwu Village, Jerebu’u Subdistrict, Ngada District. It is 16 Km away from Bajawa, the capital of Ngada District. The roads to the village are fairly smooth and very easy to reach by a chartered car or motorcycle. The directions are also very clear, preventing tourists from getting lost.
The trip to Bena village is enjoyable as well. Tourists are pampered with typical views of Flores: landscape of villages with intermittent views of houses, plantations, forest, and meadows with mountains in the background. Bena village is located in the valley, looking like a set of boats when viewed from certain height. The village extending from north to south, consisting of 45 houses has various altitude levels. The locals refer to the house as sao, functioning as a center of communication for family, relatives, and guests.
The women always smile friendly when welcoming tourists. They greet the tourists while weaving or drying pecan seeds. The village is more crowded with tourists on December 27 because of a traditional ceremony of reba, a form of meeting for the whole family in every clan to discuss certain issues or plans. Furthermore, reba is also enlivened by various ceremonies to express gratitude to God for the harvest of the year as well as expectations of better harvest next year.
Almost, every home in Bena village sells woven fabrics to tourists. The locals have unique patterns in the form of jara (horse), wa’imanu (chicken’s claws), ghi’u (dynamic line), ube, ngadu, and bhaga with special meanings.
There is a cliff with roofed chair sat the end of Bena Village. From the height of the cliff, tourists can enjoy the natural landscape of Flores, with Inerie Mountain and hills encircling the village.
Komodo National Park
White sand, coral reefs, calm sea, shrubs, meadows, forests, as well as rare flora and fauna in East Nusa Tenggara are represented by Komodo National Park (KNP). This national park is a mirror of exoticism of Flores. In fact, the sand of KNP is not only white and smooth, but also pink.
This beauty is more tempting when giant lizards appear to sunbathe on the beach or suddenly walk casually in the fishing village. In addition to the alluring natural scenery, komodo about 2-3 meters in length and over 100 kg in weight is the main attraction on the islands of Komodo National Park.
KNP includes three major islands: Komodo, Rinca, and Padar. These three islands are supported by mostly uninhabited small islands with a total land area of 603 km². The total land area of KNP is about 1,817 km². The government includes the total land area of Banta Island of 25 km² and waters of 479 km². Therefore, the total land area of KNP reaches 2,321 km².
Another attraction of KNP is the impressive home of marine biota. Divers can find 385 species of beautiful corals, mangrove forests, and sea grass as a home of thousands of species of fish, 70 types of sponges, 10 species of dolphins, six species of whales, green sea turtles, and various species of sharks and stingrays.
Kanawa Island is one of the islands with complete infrastructure in KNP. Its popularity makes a cluster of islands in the Komodo National Park an island of paradise. Smooth-sandy beaches often become the location of starfish and various shells, washed ashore. The beauty of white sand increases with the gradations of sea water ranging from green, light, blue, to dark blue.
This island only has one resort that must be booked in advance to avoid running out of lodging. The inns with aging building is indeed drowned in charming charisma of Kanawa. An hour trip from Labuan Bajo to Kanawa is not a lonely trip. Pinisi ships are traveling back and forth to take tourists to various areas of KNP. Tourists can see Rinca Island with the golden brown arid hills from the distance.
Arriving in Kanawa, tourists are welcomed by a wooden deck, jutted into the sea. They can choose from three of accommodation: resort, bale-bale, or land to build a tent. Those choosing bale-bale and tents have to share a bathroom, while the resort has an open bathroom.
Clear sea and coral reefs are the main attraction of Kanawa Island. However, panoramic photos and selfies are the main daily menu of the tourists. Every corner of the island promises the beauty that allows tourists to forget about rudimentary lodging facilities such as limited water and electricity.
Tourists can climb the hill for 30 minutes to capture the beauty of the hills and the sea as well as obtain landscape photos. From these hills, the sunrise and sunset create spectacular views. The black silhouette of the mountains and the sea suddenly becomes yellowish orange in those spectacular moments.
Underwater beauty can be enjoyed by simply snorkeling because there are concentrations of coral reefs and sea grass not far from the beach. When the water recedes, coral reefs come into view creating a unique landscape. (Credit : Venue Magz)
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