Here is another cut and paste from Thorn Tree.
Another excellent report from Emma.
Emma has another great report on this website about West Sumatra from March 2006 trip.
Report on trip - West Timor, Kelimutu, Gili Air...
accomodation , trip , report
Just got back from a 3 month trip to Indonesia and thought I’d write a bit about places I stayed. Hope this is useful to other travellers.
I flew into Indonesia from Darwin (Australia) to Kupang (West Timor) using Air North. An excellent air-line, and a good option for Australian’s wanting to get to eastern Indonesia, or other people who want to travel along Indonesia then have a quick 1.5 hour flight down into Australia.
I really liked Kupang. It’s a rough and ready place, but very vibrant and beautifully situated next to the sea. The art-work in the bemos is amazing…it must cost them about a year’s salary to decorate their vehicles (and put in the obligatory booming sound system, of course).
Edwin’s bar, L’Avalon, is a great place to hang out. A few expats go there. It looks like it’s about to fall into the sea (as does a lot of Kupang), but the views and the vibe are great. Free broadband internet too, which is a rare thing in Indonesia. Edwin is very knowledgeable about the local area.
The best food I had was at the Timor Pantai, a big hotel along the beach-front. The restaurant has great views, and cheap, tasty food. However, I wouldn’t recommend staying at the Timor Pantai. The service is crap, and my air-con broke down twice in one night. My room got so hot I thought I’d have a cold shower, only to discover the water wasn’t on either. When I complained the next morning they insisted I pay full price for the room.
I left Kupang on a bus for Soe, which is three hours into the hills. The bus ride is lovely, taking you slowly into the hills, past traditional villages with the bee-hive shaped huts. On the way back, I caught a 6am bus and the views over the mountains as the night mist was lifting were serenely beautiful.
In Soe I stayed in a very neat little bungalow owned by the former king and queen of the area (at least, that’s how the only English speaker in town, their son, described them). I think it cost 60,000 per night. The family is lovely, and made me feel very welcome. I can’t remember exactly what it was called, but I think it was Nopes Royal Homestay. It’s listed in the LP guide books. There is only one bungalow, with a double bed.
Soe itself is fairly dreary. If you need to use internet while you are there, head to the building connected to the telecom tower on the main street. The area around Soe is very rural, with a landscape fairly similar to Australia’s north – lots of gum trees!
I flew from Kupang to Ende and then went up to Kelimutu. Almost hard to believe how different Flores is from Timor. The lush green-ness of the place just smacked me in the face as soon as I got off the plane – gorgeous. The drive up to Kelimutu was beautiful – mountains, rice paddies, waterfalls, rural villages…it doesn’t get much better than that!
Kelimutu is also a very scenic, serene, place, situated in a valley, overlooked by Kelimutu. I stayed one night at a guesthouse along the highway, but it was bloody noisy, because trucks come along there and whine their way up the hill. So, the next two nights I stayed at a beautiful place off the highway. It was called Palm Bungalows (e-mail robertid
plasa.com, phone 085292858791).
To get there from the main Kelimutu village walk down along the valley until you get to the hotel that looks like a construction site (can’t miss it, an eye-sore), turn right and walk along this road over a river, then up a small incline Palm Bungalows is on the left hand side. Three lovely, large bungalows with a good size bathroom and little balcony. The owners are very friendly and the views wonderful (but lots of roosters crowing in the morning!) 50,000 per night.
I was planning to stay for three weeks but disaster struck – I got sick and had to leave and go to Bali. I was so sad, because I just loved Flores, and I didn’t even get to go up Kelimutu!
I caught a bus to Maumere, a three hour ride that was full of twists and turns, mountains, rivers, little village churches etc. From there, I bought a ticket to Denpasar. The flight was great, because the plane flew fairly low along the coast-line up to Bali and I had a lot of fun trying to work out what I was looking at.
After three weeks recovery in Ubud, I headed for Gili Air. It happened in a very unplanned kind of way, I just happened to be in Padangbai, saw the boat about to leave for Gili Air, and thought I’d try it out for a few days. I ended up staying there 6 weeks!
After hearing lots about the Gili’s on this forum, I expected it to be like an island Kuta, and that I wouldn’t like it very much. But, I loved Gili Air. I wasn’t there in peak season, when it might be much busier, but I found it such a relaxing place to stay, with very friendly locals and not too much touting from salespeople.
I stayed one night at Luckys, which is on the West Coast. They had 50,000 bungalows, and air-conditioned ones which were 100,000. I stayed in a 50,000 bungalow which was basic, but OK. (The bathroom had a shell-shaped sink that hadn’t been moulded properly and looked like something out of Alien. I nearly screamed the first time I saw it, it looked like it was going to jump up and eat me!!)
The food at Luckys is really lovely – some good Lombok dishes, cooked very well. The problem with Luckys was that it was a little bit too far, for me, from other restaurants and the few shops on Gili Air – a good 20 minute walk. So, I moved to Gili Air Santai Bunalows. They are on the east cost, looking directly over to Lombok. The views from the restaurant are fantastic – I spent many an hour lazing in the cushion or the hammocks just looking over at the mountains of Lombok.
The bungalows range in price from 50,000 to 120,000 – but that’s low season prices. They go up a fair bit in high season. They have a website, so you could check that out if you wanted to go (www.giliair-santay.com). The bungalows are lovely, and well-maintained. They have hammocks and mosquito net and a shower. The whole place is managed very well and a really friendly place to stay. The restaurant is also excellent.
The internet on Gili Air is terrible. Really, really slow – if it’s working at all. So, if you have any serious internetting to do, or airline tickets to book etc – do it before going to Gili Air!!
Just a little recommendation for Warji House, a quiet, budget place to stay in Ubud. Warji House is in Gang Beji Ayu, just off Monkey Forest Road (down a little laneway at the North/West corner of the soccer field). Because it’s in the lane-way it’s very quiet – I loved it. The family that run it are very warm and welcoming. There are 4 or 5 rooms, the cheapest is 50,000 per night, the other, with hot water are around 80,000.
Phone +62 85 9351 30581.
There are a few budget places in these little lanes…if you turn right at the Beji Ayu spa it leads directly into a set of rooms set in huge grounds. A friend of mine stayed there and enjoyed it (can’t remember what it’s called, sorry!). Hot showers, clean rooms, breakfast – 60,000 per night.
Ok…I think that’s all. Any questions, just reply to this posting!
Nice trip report Emma, thanks for taking the time. Makes me want to get back tomorrow - so many places, so little time!
Great report, Emma, thanks for that. Wish I could go soon! Flores sounds well worth visiting based on your report.
Good one Emma, pity about the illness :-(
I wonder if the King's son is the same one I met....he ascertained that I was single then hinted he would like to take me to meet his sister. He even gave me his father's phone number.
My kids at least were amused by the thought of having Prince Derek of Niki-Niki as their father!
That son must be Pae Nope.
I met him in 1999, and found him a very nice guy.
It's worth noting though that in places like Central Maluku and Timor "raja" (lit: king) is pretty much what would be called a village chief elsewhere in Indonesia! ;-)
Wow, this is really good travel writing. You should publish it. I liked the part when you saw your room bathroom sink for the first time. It looked like from alien and you wanted to scream about it. Very funny.
The internet connection at Gili very slow probably you access it on midday where people use telephone connections at same time. You should try it at midnight, I bet it little faster. But, I agree with you about all online booking and internet search should done before go to Gili.
#4 - Pae Nope, that's the chap. Nice guy as you say and very good English.
He gave me a faded picture of his mother and father (Nesi Nope) - one of those little gifts you make sure get home safely.
Thanks for all these comments! Yes, the guy in Soe was Pae Nope - he was lovely, and extremely knowledgable about the local area.
I mentioned my illness in my report, which I also had when I was staying with the Nopes. To try to help, Pae drove me out into the countryside to visit the local Christian healer who prayed over me, very loudly. It was an interesting cultural experience, even if it didn't help me feel any better. The healer comes regularly to the Nope house to pray for their financial, work, and marital problems!
I forgot to mention in my report that I also saw a local healer on Gili Air, who treated me for a headache by putting honey in my eye. (KIDS - don't try that at home!) It stings like buggery - I could feel my corneas slowly burning off as honey-colored tears ran down my face. It took five minutes before I could open my eyes again (and could see...to my relief).
I have an on-going chronic illness, and am always being dragged off to local healers by concerned Indonesian people. It's become quite an interesting part of my travel, because it gives a real insight into the local culture and beliefs around illness.
Another brilliant report. Thank you so much. I, too always enjoy your travel writing.
If any of the above posters have not read Emma's other report on West Sumatra.
I have cut and pasted it onto Indahnesia.com so it will not be lost and will be doing the same with this report.