Flores is a most fascinating and beautiful
island. Long hidden in the shadows of its more famous neighbor Bali, the
island of Flores is finally emerging as a unique destination of its
own. So, after visiting the lair of the Komodo dragons, take time to
marvel at some of the wonders of Flores. Here you can swim in pristine
lakes and waterfalls, dive at one of the 50 spectacular dive sites, go
kayaking among craggy coasts and mangrove shores, explore mysterious
caves and be warmly welcomed by the island’s people in their rituals,
dances and daily life.
Until recently, many tourists have only been familiar with Labuan
Bajo, the small port located on the western-most tip of the island, and
the taking off point for a visit to the last natural habitat of the
prehistoric Komodo dragons, the islands of Komodo, Rinca and Padar.
Situated in the province of East Nusatenggara, Flores is a long
island that contains some of the world’s best kept secrets. A chain of
volcanoes stretches the length of this 450 km long and narrow island,
creating complicated V-shaped valleys and knife-edged ridges – terrain
that was near impenetrable until recently and has separated the island
into many distinct ethnic groups.
Administratively the island is divided into 8 districts; West
Manggarai, Manggarai, East Manggarai, Nagekeo, Ngada, Ende, Sika and
East Flores. Further east are the adjacent islands of Alor and Lembata.
Here you will find some of the world’s most exotic underwater life.
Divers can swim along with huge manta rays, dolphins and dugongs, while
whales can be seen passing Flores’s east coast during their migration
The island itself is surrounded by sparkling white beaches, where one
beach even has pink sand. Mt. Kelimutu, near the town of Maumere, has
three different coloured lakes that can change colour from time to
Besides Komodo dragons, Flores has been in the world’s limelight with
the discovery of the Flores hobbit, or homo floresiensis, a new
hitherto unknown prehistoric human species, whose remains were found in
the caves of Liang Bua.
This island is indeed ancient, having been untouched for centuries,
once inhabited by prehistoric men and still living prehistoric animals,
as well as containing remnants of a petrified forest.
At the easternmost tip of the island, Larantuka is famous for its
Easter-week rituals that still continue the old Portuguese traditions
brought here some 500 years ago. While at adjacent Lembata , islanders
hunt whales manually, harpooning precariously from small boats.
Transnusa in cooperation with Aviastar operates 10 flights weekly
between Denpasar (Bali) and Labuan Bajo, which includes twice daily
flights on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
The airline also has 3 weekly flights to Maumere from Bali using Jet
BA3-146 with 82 seats capacity. Additionaly Transnusa flies Bali-Ende –
Kupang(Timor) – Ruteng on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and Kupang
(Timor)- Labuan Bajo daily. Transnusa also serves Kupang – Larantuka.
Batavia Air has started operating
Surabaya-Denpasar-Kupang-Maumere-Kupang flights using B737-200 aricraft.
Flights to Maumere are 4 times weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays
While Merpati flies Kupang-Maumere., and Garuda Indonesia flies only
Jakarta-Kupang (Timor) from where you can connect on local airlines to
If you have one week to spend here, travel agents can take you by
road across the island,
from Labuan Bajo to Ruteng, and on to Bajawa, Ende, Detusoko, Kelimutu,
ending up in Maumere, from where you take your flight out.
Ruteng is a small, cool town in the mountains. This is where you will
find the unique formation of spider web rice fields at Lembor and
At Bajawa is the traditional village of Bena, where, according to
megalithic tradition handed down through generations, people pay respect
to their ancestors who are believed to dwell in the conical thatched
roof huts called “Ngadhu” and “Bhaga”, symbolizing the spirits of their
male and female ancestors. Note the huge boulders of stones and stone
seats planted in front of their houses ,note unlike the ones seen in the
villages on the island of Nias in North Sumatra.
Onekore by the the town of Ende, is famous for its beautiful ikat
weaving. From here stay overnight at a missionary guesthouse at
For adventurous types, take the drive up Mt. Kelimutu, where visitors
must still walk another 1.5 km. then climb 127 steps to the edge of the
crater, from where one has a panoramic view of the three lakes,
currently green, blue and black. When Dutch geologists discovered the
craters in 1914, the colours were red, blue and white.
At Maumere enjoy the pristine beach and snorkel to your heart’s
content before taking your flight out. Maumere offers great diving.
There are 40 wonderful dive spots in the marine gardens in the Bay of
If you only have a few days to explore West Flores you might want to
try one of these attractions:
In the Komodo National Park itself, besides watching the dragons you
can find numerous species of birds including imperial pigeons, sunbirds,
egrets, quail, and exotic mound-building megapodes. There are also
horses, wild pigs, crab-eating macaques, flying foxes, besides snakes,
cobras and vipers. Its flora includes orchids, lontar palms, bamboo,
soursop, tamarind and custard trees.
In the waters of the park live a rich variety of cetaceans, including
whale sharks, marlin, tuna, whales and dolphins. There are colourful
corals, nudibranches, giant clams, turtles, and a plethora of reef and
Many tour operators run liveaboard tours for divers out of Bali.
When you get back to the mainland hike through canyons, watch clear
water cascade down boulders into pristine pools that just invite
visitors to plunge in.
Not far from Labuan Bajo are the limestone formations known as Batu
Cermin, or Mirror Caves. There is also the Snake Palace, or Istana Ular,
that has an amazing collection of pythons and bats. Make sure that you
have a local guide with you and obey the customs here, since people
believe in a mystical relationship between the snakes and the local
people. Here you can also see petrified large trees.
Do not miss the legendary Caci or “Whip fight Dance”, that combines
ritual, legend, mysticism and music in one single colourful spectacle.
As a newly emerging destination, the island of Flores has limited
accommodation facilities, there are now a number of starred
accommodation at Labuan Bajo and Maumere, and also small hotels and
In Labuan Bajo there is the four star Bintang Flores hotel. A number
of smaller hotels are the Puri Sari Beach Hotel, the Bayview Gardens
Hotel, the Gardena Hotel, the Golo Hilltop Hotel, the Waicicu Eden Beach
Hotel, and smaller accommodations, called “losmen” (for accommodation
facilities see www.floreskomodo.com)
At Maumere the favoured hotel is the Sao Wisata resort, which offers
de luxe, superior rooms and standard rooms. Sao Wisata is located some
100m from Manly beach. Or may wish to stay at the Sea World Club which
offers facilities for divers. .
A number of companies from Bali also offer live-aboards on phinisi
Best bet is to contact a travel agency specialized in offering all
inclusive tours of Komodo and Flores, operating in Flores or from Bali
See list of Travel Agents.
Quoted from :
Supported by : JavaTourism, Lintang Buana Tours