The past week has been busy, with manta safaris and learning about R. Today was finally a day off, and we wanted to explore more of the unique attractions of West Flores. We decided to visit Cunca Wulang.

Cunca Wulang is a waterfall hidden within a deep canyon. It is located in Mbelling District, Manggarai Barat, and only about 45 minutes drive from Labuan Bajo.

We set off at 08.00, driving our rented motorbikes. This was the first time we had traveled so far in Flores, but the route to Cunca Wulang was quite easy with only one road to follow. Along the way we passed beautiful natural scenery and different types of vegetation. In contrast to Labuan Bajo, where all the vegetation is brown and dry, here we were surrounded by green. On the road we were very careful. For most of the journey we were on the main trans-Flores road, with lots of trucks and vehicles, and a few steep and winding corners.

Very soon we arrived at the entrance of Cunca Wulang. It was great to see how this place is developing in a positive way, with the local community managing the area and acting as guides to the tourists. Most of the tourists that come here are travelling across Flores. We paid our entrance ticket, which included two guides and a small fee to support local community projects. Our guides explained that the facilities at Cunca Wulang had been developed by the government starting in 2013. We were very interested to see this example of how the local community are working together with the government.

We made it to the top of Cunca Wulang

From the entrance, we trekked for 30 minutes and the guides brought us to the top of the waterfall. They explained that Cunca Wulang means Waterfall of the Moon, named because their ancestors could see the reflection of the moon from the waterfall. Nearby they told us that there is a cave. We were intrigued but our guides explained that we could not enter without ropes and other equipment and that it would be too dangerous.

In the rainy season the water can fill half of the depth of the canyon. The best time to visit is between May and October. After taking some photos from the top of the waterfall, we continued trekking down to the pools below that waterfall. The route was steep, but our struggle paid off. The beautiful scenery at the foot of Cunca Wulang was bathed in sunlight and everything looked so bright.

After jumping from the canyon walls, the only way out is to swim!

Our guides challenged us to jump from the six meter cliff into the waters below. Our first attempt was so frightening, I could hear my heart beating. But after the first jump we were hooked, and kept climbing and jumping again and again until our hunger made us realise it was lunch time. After lunch, it started to rain a little, and so we packed up our things and started to trek back through the forest to the entrance.

Our day off wasn’t finished yet. We continued to a place called Sylvia Hill. We have a spacial name for this place,”Budget Padar”. The views from the top remain us of the views from Padar Island. Sylvia Hill is less than 20 minutes drive from Labuan Bajo harbour, and a great place to watch the sunset. The best way to end the day!

Enjoying the view from Sylvia Hill

An amazing day off, and we’ve had a chance to explore more of the beautiful places surrounding Komodo National Park. We can’t wait to explore more, and we are refreshed and ready for a new week of learning.

Irfan Firdaus

Irfan Firdaus

Irfan ┬áis a final year student of Marine Science at the University of Brawijaya. Irfan received a gold medal in the 29th National Student Scientific Week for his research into sustainable fishing technologies with fishermen of East Java. He worked as a Site Observer for WWF where he helped to develop the Electro Shield System, […]