Known widely through the ancient animal called Komodo, Flores offers actually beyond an ordinary trip on islands you would have experienced. Prepare yourself well before encountering challenges and adventures through the island’s modesty with this Flores island travel guide, if you really want to hit Flores land.
An Overview of Flores Island
Before jumping to 101 insights for your following Flores Island trip, walk through the helicopter view of this magnificent yet humble island.
Where Is Flores Island Located?
Know that Flores Island is not part of Bali. Instead, Flores, Bali, and West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) are part of the lesser Sunda islands, situated in the east of Java island.
Flores is administratively part of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province, and also one of its largest islands.
This island is spread and divided into groups of islands, including Komodo, Rinca, Lembata, Adonara, and Solor. The former two surely are the most popular islands among both domestic and global travelers.
Flores island is quite tremendous with a large area of around 13.540 km, and Mount Poco Mandasawu has its highest peak. Expect to meet and greet the island’s beauty and indigenous culture while walking through its modest infrastructure, just like most of the seemingly untouched yet developing eastern part of Indonesia.
Parts of Flores Island
The vast area of Flores island consists of eight regencies from the west to the east. They are the following:
|Manggarai Barat (West Manggarai )
|Manggarai (Central Manggarai)
|Manggarai Timur (East Manggarai)
|Flores Timur (East Flores)
Each of the regencies has its own masterpiece of tourist attraction for you to opt-in in addition to the already-well-known Komodo, Rinca, and Padar Island.
Flores Island Transformation
To let you learn a bit deeper, this Flores island travel guide allows you to take a glimpse of the island’s transformation.
While the development was taking place, the most developed part of Flores was Labuan Bajo and Komodo National Park. Hence, there you will easily find more and more luxurious lodgings, hot places to hang out watching the sunsets at the end of the day, with a large variety of food to eat.
On the other hand, for other islands, you may expect to have fewer amenities compared to Labuan Bajo.
Despite those conditions, the nature’s richness of Flores island will capture adventurous travelers’ hearts right away. So much so, you may end up enjoying a ‘rough’ yet slow trip in Flores.
Putting aside all of the facts, due to an increasing number of tourist traction to see Komodo, the Indonesian government was considering the limitation of tourists on Komodo Island by the end of 2022.
Animal Conservation (Komodo, and other natural inhabitants of Komodo Island) is the most critical point, which motivated that consideration, especially since Komodo is one of the world’s heritage objects which is claimed to have a high Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).
Otherwise, they examine the possibility to increase tourist capacity for trekking on Padar Island. Chances are that in the future, along with more proper and adequate facilities, there would be a digital transformation implemented to welcome visitors from online reservations to e-ticketing.
Generally speaking, Labuan Bajo has been targeted as a super-priority tourist destination in Indonesia for several years ahead.
The Alpha and Omega of Flores Island Travel Guide
Now, let’s pack out some essential insights about Flores island before loading your carrier for the trip ahead. Make sure that you exchange your currency for the Indonesian rupiah before taking your flight to the country!
Choices You Have to Get to Flores Island
After calculating your holiday span, budget, and your general travel preferences, you need to set which city in Indonesia would be your point of departure heading to Flores.
Let’s scan the following information about transportation availability according to your travel plan. you can reach Flores island by land and sea, or by sea only.
1. By Air
Flores Island welcomes you through three main airports: Labuan Bajo (LBJ), Ende (ENE), and Maumere (MOF).
a. Flights to Komodo Airport, Labuan Bajo
If you plan to reach Flores through Labuan Bajo – Komodo airport, you can set three major cities in Indonesia as your point of departure:
- through Jakarta: there are daily connecting flights with domestic airlines you can choose from, i.e: Air Asia, Batik Air, Citylink, Garuda Indonesia, Super Jet Air, and Wings Air,
- through Surabaya: several choices of connecting flights served by Lion Air, Super Jet Air, and Batik Air.
- through Bali: several options of daily direct flights provided by Batik Air or Air Asia; and connecting flights with 1 transit served by Super Jet Air.
b. Flights to Maumere, Flores
In case you are from Kupang or Makassar in Sulawesi, thankfully there are direct flights to Maumere. You may opt to land in Maumere from Jakarta or Bali If you want to experience connecting flights to Kupang/Makassar riding Wings Air or Lion Air, available only on some of the weekdays.
c. Flights to Ende, Flores
Want to look around Ende before going to the main city in Flores? Ende can be your alternative. Since there are connecting flights from Bali as well as heading to Ende, you can take this as an alternative flight. In another way, you can also choose to go to Ende from Kupang with a direct flight by Citilink or Wings Air.
Note that you may encounter some flight delays or other local issues that cause the flight schedules to change without prior notice. Your adventurous adventure to Flores island starts right at the moment, be patient!
Do not only stick with only information as stated in this Flores island travel guide. As an independent traveler, you need to take initiative to check on the flight schedule and availability. Afterward, make the reservations through the airline’s official website, or traveling apps such as Traveloka or Tiket.com.
2. By Ferries and Boats
When the weather is mostly nice and you want to get a new travel experience, sailing with ferries or boats from Bali to Labuan Bajo harbor, Flores can be an option. There are national ships served by PELNI with several classes. You can expect to get large dormitories, kiosks, cafeterias or restaurants.
The schedule may vary according to the operators. Yet, in general, the sailing duration will take one to two nights to get to Labuan Bajo.
3. By Bus, Ferries, and Boats
You can choose to get to Flores Island by land and sea when you have a long travel span and would like to stay in Bali first, then explore Lombok before jumping to Flores island.
You will undeniably taste the adventure by taking a bus or taxi service to catch boats or ferries from one harbor to another one. This alternative requires a lot of patience since the schedule can be quite erratic.
How to Get to The Center of Labuan Bajo
Prior to touching down at Komodo Airport, Labuan Bajo, plant in your mind this Flores Island travel guide information about which kind of local transportation options you have to go to the center of Labuan Bajo.
Particularly, if you are staying around Labuan Bajo, you can go to the central city from the airport and the harbor by taking a taxi service. At the airport, you may also opt-in with a shuttle bus provided by DAMRI.
The shuttle bus by DAMRI allows you to stop at several points including popular hotels like Hotel Marina Labuan Bajo and Hotel Puri Sari, tourist attractions such as Bukit Sylvia, Kampung Ujung, and Puncak Waringin.
If you land on Maumere or Ende, you can take a cross-regencies-shuttle bus like Gunung Mas Bus, or Peduli Trans Bus. The shuttle bus covers various destinations, such as following:
- Ruteng – Aimere – Bajawa
- Ruteng – Ende
- Ruteng – Maumere
Prices are also different for each destination, it ranges from Rp120.000,00 up to around Rp300.000,00.
Ferries and airplanes are also available at this rate but the costs will surely be higher than the bus, with a shorter trip duration.
Local Transportations in Labuan Bajo
Once you settle and are ready to wander around, you can choose to ride a bemo (a traditional public transport), or ojek (a motorcycle taxi) which operational hours normally stop at 9 pm (Central Indonesia Time/WITA).
Cars and/ or motorcycles for daily rental are also available mostly in Labuan Bajo. The car rental type MPV costs around Rp750.000,00 for 12 hours. Meanwhile, motorcycles/scooters take around Rp90.000,00 to Rp150.000,00 per day.
Moreover, some speed boats are available for a visit to nearby islands, like Rinca and Taman Island from Labuan Bajo. All you have to do is to check the schedule with the operator and choose the most fitting, pay, and go.
Outside Labuan Bajo, transportation is dominated by 4×4 wheel vehicles, so prepare to rent a car with a driver to help you get around the regencies you travel to.
Flores Island Travel Guide: Where to Stay?
The lodging types in Flores are quite various. You can find guest houses, homestays, and hostels up to the resort types especially in Labuan Bajo as the center. Other regencies in Flores primarily have guest houses and bungalows.
1. Labuan Bajo
- Saesta Komodo Hostel and Hotel: located in the heart of Labuan Bajo. Choices of the bunk-bed dorm or regular rooms.
- Bintang Flores Hotel: beachfront hotel, situated a bit distance from the city center with a gorgeous pool and tasty breakfast.
- Sudamala Resort Seraya: a great place with a relaxing view and privacy. Offers not only a warm welcome and helpful staff, but also activities around the resort.
- Sun Rice Homestay: modest homestay with rice field and sun view. They serve Asian breakfast.
- Ara Garden Inn: strategic location, 2 km away from the Ruteng airport, the tourist attraction is about 1 km, more than 10 places to eat in 1 km distance.
- Cinnamon Guest House: spacious room, reachable natural tourist attractions like Wolobobo Hill and Kampung Tradisional Bena.
- Bajawa Roo Hotel: fully equipped rooms, money exchange service at your disposition.
- Riung Guest House: the only option in Riung at the moment, with clean and tidy rooms, also breakfast included.
- Mahakali Lodge: strategic location for a stop by before visiting the Kelimutu volcano, nearby restaurants to eat, and tourist attractions reachable within a 10 km distance.
- The Geckos: nearby hiking track, a short distance by motorcycle from the Kelimutu National Park, breakfast available for vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan variants.
- Dasi Guest House: adequate room size, self-service coffee, and tea, mountain view with nearby tourist attractions, and local-taste restaurants.
- Hotel Beng Goan II: very helpful staff, nearby the Maumere airport and local shops, about 5 km to reach Danau Kelimutu (Danau Tiga Warna)
- Eco Dive Resort Alycastre: beachfront resort with a travel sustainable concept, located around 30 km from Maumere airport with various activities offered.
Sightseeing in Flores Island
The most vital point you want to see in Flores Island travel guide reveals! Spot the tourist attractions you can explore.
1. Labuan Bajo (Komodo Island)
- Manta point: you can watch the mantas in the sighting spot, or by diving and snorkeling with the guide,
- Visiting Komodo dragon on Rinca island,
- Kayaking and watch the sunset on Pink Beach,
- Padar Island for a breathtaking view after trekking before catching the sunrise,
- Going to Melo Village, Liang Ndara, and watching the Caci fight dance.
- Capturing the unique shape of spider-web rice fields,
- Indigenous cultural exposure in Wae-Rebo village.
- Relaxing in the Malanage or Mangeruda hot springs,
- Walking around the Ngada tribes’ traditional villages (Wogo, Luba, Bena, Tololela, and Gurusina),
- Guided hike to Mount Inerie or the Wololobo Hill.
Roam in the 24 spots of 17 islands Riung Marine Park for snorkeling, barbecuing, or just taking some photographs.
- Watch the sunrise at Kelimutu volcano,
- Admiring Lake Kelimutu,
- Discovering the Murudhaekale waterfall,
- Coffee plantation tour at Kebun Kopi Tani, and Sao Kopi Wolopaku.
Learning history through a visit to the House of late President Soekarno’s exile, Tenun Ikat museum.
Cooling of the body in the Murondao waterfall.
Water sports in Koka, Waiawara, Kambing beaches, and Pangabatang island
Best Time to Visit
A little yet a necessary thing to jot down throughout your Flores island travel guide and preparation is to pay attention to the timing, including the climate and tourist season. Identically to many other tourist destinations around the world July and August are commonly peak seasons.
Flores island is quite drier than Java Island. Whilst in the rainy season, the road is normally going to be somewhat impassable and might block your trip planning.
Therefore, you may set your Flores trip between April and June when the weather is cooler, less likely for rain, and the water is more serene, with greenery ready to feast your eyes.
Aside from it, for highland trekking and hiking, the weather is more convenient between September and November.
Ready to Experiment with The Unexpected Flores Island?
Just because you are adventurous, does not mean you come unprepared. In addition to this Flores island travel guide, do your research. Afterward, make sure you come equipped with the necessary travel documents, including a driving license.
Besides, learning daily conversation in Indonesian and/or the local language hopefully will help you get along with your surroundings during your stay.
Last, when you are unsure about going to an area or only have a little time for a vacation, don’t hesitate to contact a traveling operator and join a group or private according to your needs and budget. Wish you an exciting trip to Flores Island!