Reward for the Bus Ride from Hell, or 17 Islands National Park

17 Islands National Park

17 Islands National Park

My last post was a tale of my arduous 45 mile (75km) bus journey from Bajawa to Riung on the island of Flores that took a staggering 6.5 hours. It led to a few interesting comments that fell into one of three categories:

  • Empathy
  • Sympathy
  • Greyhound

Almost anyone who has done a budget or backpacking trip has been on a long distance bus. Commenters shared their stories of pain and suffering proving that Tragedy + Time = Comedy.

The iconic and infamous Greyhound bus of the United States featured high on the list of horrible experiences by a few commenters. In the USA, most people travel by car or airplane, or perhaps train in the northeast. A cross-country flight isn’t much more expensive than a Greyhound bus ticket but gets you there in hours, not days. People who use Greyhound are usually off the grid and off their medications. The bus stations are strategically placed in the highest crime area in each city and the bus drivers hate life about as much as they hate their passengers.

Note to readers: if ever in the United States traveling, give Greyhound a wide berth.

At this time, I’d like to tell all my readers not to feel too sorry for me. Yes, it was a bus ride from hell, I almost snapped and yelled at people and nearly sweated to death, but I did get to use the bathroom in a random house and experience a unique bit of Indonesian culture.

Oh, and I almost forgot, there was a good reason for going to Riung in the first place. We visited 17 Islands National Park and had a day of snorkeling, swimming, eating fresh fish on the beach and cruising around on a boat. The photos below will attest that the suffering was worth it.

17 Islands National Park Photos

Click any photo for a slideshow view


Does anyone still feel sorry for me? 


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Boat in 17 Islands National Park

33 Comments on “Reward for the Bus Ride from Hell, or 17 Islands National Park

  1. Must admit, my sympathy for you has some what subsided! What an incredibly beautiful place! WOW!

  2. Despite the clouds, and the ordeal to get to this place, 17 Islands National Park looks really beautiful and relatively spared from mass tourism. Some places really demand us to have the patience even to get there, but the reward is often priceless.

    • It is certainly spared from mass tourism. There are only a handful of hotel rooms there. I am glad we went although I think a person could skip it on a trans-Flores trip.

  3. That’s certainly a tale of two different blogs. Beautiful place.

    As for your question, I’d start feeling the sorry if someone had forced you to do it!

  4. Yeah, OK…I’ll feel sorry for you. All that way, all those hours…and what, no Starbucks? Travel is tough on a guy’s soul some times, eh.
    LOVE the photo of the plate of fish (except the head part) and rice with the boat behind!!! Excellent composition and depth of field.

  5. Oh my, the images are absolutely breathtaking! Yeah, certainly worth the suffering before that 🙂

  6. Wow, wow and trippel wow. No – definitely do not feel sorry for you anymore! 😉

    • Yes, it was worth the pain and suffering in the end. Then we had about 15 more hours of buses to cross the island and needed more beaches after that!

  7. “People who use Greyhound are usually off the grid and off their medications.” – OMG – dying over here. So accurate- I think I was both. I might have to write a blog post about it…lol. Beautiful destination for you – love the photos (except the bats. The bats are cray-cray) and can definitely see how the bus ride was totally worth it.

    • Greyhound is the worst! We should start a blogging challenge where people write about their Greyhound bus experiences. Maybe we could get Southwest Airlines to sponsor it.

  8. Yep, I felt sorry for you right up until this post. I love the above mentioned idea of starting a “Greyhound Horror Story Blog” Such a wondrous place at the end of the bus trip from hell. Next time, please take me with you in person, your wife and my husband will understand.

  9. Bama and I very nearly went here… although we dropped it in favour of an extra day/night in Komodo. After your harrowing bus ride I’m glad you found something as beautiful as this! The ominous storm clouds definitely add something to the photos.

    • James, in Hong Kong you asked us if it was worth it, and it is hard to say. Komodo was more beautiful, but 17 islands was still a great trip. Although we suffered like crazy getting there, we felt a stronger connection with Flores than any other island due to those miserable bus rides and meeting friendly locals on the way.

      At first I was a little sad with those clouds, but I am glad we had those now. It gave a sense of drama I haven’t seen in other photos. By the way, it poured like the end of times were coming that night.

  10. Gosh that really does sound like the bus journey from hell!! But what a stunning reward – and fabulous photos – thank you!

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