Images of Flores Part Seven: Seraya Island

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Seraya Island Bungalows: Basic Accommodation with Limited Electricity and Fresh Water

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I stayed one night on Seraya Island, at the only accommodation available, Seraya Island Bungalows, operated by the owner of Gardena Hotel in Labuan Bajo. The cost of boat transport from the mainland to Seraya is included in the price of the bungalow, at Rp. 160,000 per night. The journey took about an hour, though our boat departed very late from Labuan Bajo. The amazing ride took us past many islands of all shapes and sizes, and in places the sea was crystal clear.

Seraya Island BungalowsArriving at Seraya with jumping fish leading the way through the water, I could see the bungalows lined up along the beach. There is a small fishing village on the other side of the island but no other visitor accommodation in this peaceful, undisturbed idyll.

My wooden bungalow had a double bed with a sponge mattress and a mosquito net, a private bathroom, with a sit-down toilet and a tap to fill the water buckets, and a veranda right on the beach.

Inside my bungalowWhen I say this is basic accommodation, the water only runs from 6pm to 8pm every day. Guests are encouraged to use sea water to flush the toilet and to use fresh water sparingly. Staying on Seraya certainly teaches you about water conservation! Electricity is also rationed; it is run from a generator and available for only a few hours every evening. Mobile phone signal is only available in certain areas of the island, and not in the bungalows.

Beside the bungalows was a restaurant where all meals were served; this is the only place to eat on the island and it is dependent on ingredients brought from the mainland. Fresh water is also brought from Labuan Bajo because there is no fresh water on the island. The menu was varied enough, but if you were staying for more than a couple of nights you’d quickly get bored. Breakfast was a banana pancake and tea or coffee.

Basic bathroomThe boat back to Labuan Bajo was running on a very relaxed schedule, so if you stay on Seraya and have other transport to catch you should get back to the mainland the day before.

You can find out more about Seraya Island Bungalows here.

Labuan Bajo: The Main Tourist Town of Flores

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Labuan Bajo is by far the most touristic place on the island of Flores, with its main street lined with companies selling diving and tours to visitors. If a tourist boom comes to Flores, Labuan Bajo will be just another of those South East Asian tourist places, like parts of the Bali, Lombok and the Gilis, and many of the Thai tourist islands.

Labuan Bajo main streetFor now, however, it’s not that manic and you can walk down the main road without having tours and transport sold “at” you every few metres. There is a range of eateries, from small, cheap place serving local food to restaurants stocking a range of Western dishes. You can arrange a tour to nearby Rinca and Komodo islands, famous for the Komodo dragon lizard. You can also head to some of the other islands that line up on the horizon, including Seraya Island.

If you’re in Labuan Bajo for a night or two, it’s worth heading to the seashore to watch the picturesque sunset, where you can see ships of all shapes and sizes in the harbour against a background of lump-shaped islands, all swathed in shades of golden brown.

Sunset from Labuan BajoLabuan Bajo is most visitors’ first or last stop on Flores, with an airport serving Bali and destinations in Nusa Tenggara. You can take buses, minibuses and public taxis to other parts of Flores and arrange car hire here.