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There’s only 3 more days in 2019, time flies, but it’s still not too late to write about the diving trip at Komodo Islands that I went back in September. This is the first part of the trip – a visit to view the famed Komodo Dragons.

Welcome to Rinca Island, here be dragons
Welcome to Rinca Island, here be dragons

Since there’s no direct flight from KL to Labuan Bajo, the Western fishing town of Flores closest to the Komodo National Park, we took the flight from KL to Bali, and then Bali to Labuan Bajo.

A note though, never fly Lion’s Air if your life depends on it. Other than the plane being old (which is acceptable), the service level is downright bad. On our return flight the computer system broke down and the ground crew refused to check us in manual method until the plane landed, which delayed things further on an already delayed flight, almost made us missed the connecting flight back to KL.

Anyway, back to dragons.

My dive trip was arranged by Melanie from Flow Dive Centre in PJ.

After spending a night at Labuan Bajo, we headed on to our liveaboard (more on that boat in next post), and the first destination was Rinca Island – one of the three largest islands included in Komodo National Park.

a bit of forced perspective doesn't hurt any dragon
a bit of forced perspective doesn’t hurt any dragon

All visitors to Rinca island must be accompanied by a local guide, and it was obvious from the get go that it’s for our own good, preventing stupid tourists such as us to get ourselves into trouble with these magnificent creatures. These things looks almost like your usual monitor lizard but just, wayyyyy bigger, like size of a crocodile.

There were some pretty sad looking deer around the park too, and we were told that these were dragon food, which kinda explained how they look the way they did, dohhh.

a guide is definitely mandatory for dragon sightseeing
a guide is definitely mandatory for dragon sightseeing

The guide did his best in explaining to us about Komodo dragons, their behavior, life cycle, and even helped us take some pretty neat photos. Wikipedia does a better job than I ever can, so I’m not going to even attempt, check out the entry here.

The tour lasted some 2-3 hours, we walked around the foot path to the top of one of the hills, where more dragons were loitering around. The view on top was quite neat, worth it.

the pink beach is due to all these coral bits (I think)
the pink beach is due to all these coral bits (I think)

As a bonus, we also got to stop by a tiny island comprises entirely our of sand – and they’re pink! Yes, the famous pink beach of Komodo National Park.

pink beach island
pink beach island

The pinkness of the beach is from a sort of red coral bits making up part of the sand. Makes for a good photo if you pump up saturation a bit, otherwise they’re not exactly overwhelming to be honest. One of those things that looks better on instagram than in real life, oh well.

map of komodo islands

Some diving photos and what we managed to see underwater on this trip to come, it was a very tiring and overly satisfying few days of diving.

Disclaimer:
I am blogging on behalf of Visa’s Travel Happy campaign and receive compensation for my time, but the thoughts, words, and promotions on this page are mine, not Visa’s.

For my birthday back in 2011, Haze took me to Bali. It was a rather awesome trip and we did quite a lot in the few days we spent on the Indonesian island.

Fast forward 2014, and we decided to head there again to do and see some of the things we missed the last time around, only this time we decided to go cashless – with the help of Visa.

beautiful resorts, quirky people, great food
beautiful resorts, quirky people, great food

First of all, why Bali?

The decision is simple, the largely Hindu island has plenty to offer and remains a pretty affordable travel destination despite its popularity. On top of that, they are lots of resorts and hotels to choose from, covering the whole spectrum of budget. A simple online search reveals over 3,000 hotels and resorts on the island smaller than the state of Negeri Sembilan.

getting wet at waterbom, and marvelling the mantas at Nusa Penida
getting wet at Waterbom, and marvelling the mantas at Nusa Penida

The last time around, we did the following:

  • had a massage at one of the resorts
  • went to Waterbom, a waterpark
  • went diving and managed to see mola-mola and manta rays
  • rented a bike and rode up to the volcano
  • visited monkey forest
  • visited many art galleries
  • drank cafe luak
  • visited kuta beach
  • tried bebek begil and babi guling

For this trip, I’m keeping my options pretty free. We will certainly rent a motorcycle to get around (traffic isn’t the best), perhaps take a day trip to see/swim with dolphins, or dive the Liberty wreck. Finally going to see what Tanah Lot is all about could be in the list as well.

monkey forest, paddy field, motorbiking, chicken on bicycle, art
monkey forest, paddy field, motorbiking, chicken on bicycle, art

Secondly, why cashless?

Well, I’m always a bit wary of carrying a bunch of foreign currencies when it comes to traveling. Furthermore, it is always a bit messy when it comes to tracking your expenses when everything is based on a currency you aren’t familiar with (I track all expenses on my phone). Using the Visa card for these purposes only seemed logical.

For the time when cash is needed (such as eating street foods), withdrawal can be done at the local ATMs too.

I also found out that there’s Visa travel assistance services that provides pretty neat services such as emergency cash provision, emergency card replacement (1 business day)

Additionally, there are also offers exclusive to Visa that you can take advantage off when traveling. These include discounts and upgrades for participating hotels and car rental services, discounts on shopping, restaurants, and more. Definitely something to check out, the offers are unique to each destination.

I got my tickets booked, and can’t wait for our Bali trip 2.0!

To find out more, Click Here.

p/s: This post is brought to you by Visa.

Haze and I are in the midst of a 5 day trip to Bali and I scheduled in a day for diving with Bali Scuba. We did 3 dives today and it was beyond awesome, I came here with a purpose and got what I bargained for.

This majestic manta was shot at none other than the famed Manta Point dive site at Nusa Penida just earlier today.

manta ray at nusa penida

More on diving at Bali later and the whole travel experience for sure. 😀