The penultimate destination on my Bali to Flores and back solo motorbike tour was the little town of Bajawa, in the highlands of Flores. Unlike Ruteng, it was more than just a waypoint. It serves as a base for exploring nearby traditional villages.

As great as the independence of having your own motorbike is, I was starting to get tired of the difficulty of finding sites. I had already missed a lake outside of Ruteng, as well as the spiderweb rice terraces. I figured since Bajawa is a popular tourist destination, I would pop into a tour agency and splurge on a guide to take me to the villages.

Well, it turned out that Bajawa isn’t touristy at all! There are no tour agents. I would be on my own to find the villages.

On the way back to Bali I found the excellent, free information office, staffed with friendly, helpful guys who speak English. They provide a hand-drawn map. They could most likely be hired as guides.

The church is across the street from the mosque.
The church is across the street from the mosque.

Bajawa is a traditional town. Besides some overpriced, basic hotels, there is no tourist infrastructure.

The weather is cold and rainy. I needed my puffy jacket at night.

It turned out that finding the villages on my own wasn’t a problem. I just asked the locals for directions!

I later figured out how to hire a guide. When you walk around town, guys on motorbikes parked on corners will ask where you’re going. They’re not just being friendly. These ojeks, or motorcycle taxis, can be hired for the day to take you where you want to go. But they don’t speak much English. Driving to the sites on my own worked out fine.

What's for dinner? Masakan Padang again!
What’s for dinner? Masakan Padang again!
Terry
I'm Terry, former cubicle-dweller, and now traveler, photographer, writer, and entrepreneur. I quit my job in 2014 to travel to US national parks, then to South East Asia. I write about independent, flexible, long-term, budget travel. Sign up to my newsletter to get the latest news on what I'm up to. I hope you join me on my trek around the world.

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