The highlights of the Indonesian island Flores
Extra info, july 2019: the island Komodo will be closed in 2020 for visitors. This is to give the animals some rest and to help increase the numbers again. Other places in Komodo National Park will be open for visitors. So you can still swim and snorkel, visit the beaches on the islands and see the komodo dragons on the island Rinca.
Indonesia keeps surprising me every time. Each island has its own identity, its own atmosphere and its own highlights. Like Flores. This island is not yet discovered by too many people, so you won’t see a lot of other travelers while you explore the beauty of this place. But this amazing island won’t stay undiscovered forever, because more and more people want to spend some time here. Earlier I shared five reasons why you should visit Flores. Are you convinced? Yes! Then this blog will help you, because I share some of my highlights of the island.
What to do on the island of Flores in Indonesia?
1. Labuan Bajo and the Komodo National Park
The port town of Labuan Bajo is located on the west side of Flores and is mostly used as the beginning and/or the end of a trip around the island. in my opinion the village is not that interesting, but you should definitely go to the nearby Komodo National Park.
The islands Komodo and Rinca are THE places to spot some prehistoric dragons.
Just kidding, but it’s true that those animals are pretty impressive. I’ve heard stories of lost komodo’s on the mainland of Flores, but most of them are living in the national park on the islands. It’s the only place in the world to find them! These animals can be dangerous, so you can only visit the islands with a guide. You have no guarantee that you will see them, because it’s not a zoo. But the guides know a lot about these creatures, so they will do everything they can to find at least one.
Also the underwater world of Komodo National Park is incredible: turtles, reef sharks, colorful fish and with some luck even manta rays are swimming around here. If you have some time left, try to stay on Kanawa Island. This islands seems to be a tropical paradise. There is accommodation for only a few people, so you don’t have to shere this place with a lot of people. Jump into the water and explore the beautiful reef around the island. Or just relax in a hammock. You have to book your stay in advance, because Kanawa Island is quite popular.
2. Travelling back in time: traditional villages
In the mountainous landscape of Flores you will find some traditional villages. Here you have the feeling as if you’ve traveled hundreds of years back in time and just discovered an old civilization. You are welcome to visit these villages, but usually you have to ‘register’ on arrival so they know who you are. While the people sit on their porch, chew on chewing tobacco or make new sarongs the kids will welcome you.
You will see a lot of canvases with coffee and cocoa beans to dry in the sun. The houses in these villages are decorated with bull heads and woven ikat fabrics. While it may seem a bit awkward to walk around you will feel welcome from the start. It’s useful to speak some Indonesian, because only a few people in those towns speak English. If you feel like you intrude the village, you can also visit with a guide. Near Bajawa you will find Bena and Luba. The traditional village Wae Rebo has to be impressive too, because it’s even more remote. You can only reach this place by foot.
3. Rice fields, but different
Indonesia is famous because of the beautiful rice fields. These come in all shapes and sizes, also on Flores. The rice fields of Cancar, near the village of Ruteng, are in my opinion very special. From above it looks like a giant spider web. If you climb the little hill you will see it for yourself. It’s a bit hard to find, but some local kids are offering to help you find the best viewpoints for a small fee.
4. Sunrise at Kelimutu National Park on Flores
This was actually the reason why I wanted to go to Flores: the mysterious crater lakes of the Kelimutu volcano. These three lakes are fascinating, because they change color over the years. It had something to do with the minerals in the water, but it’s still a mystery. When I was there the lakes were kind of brown, dark blue and turquoise, but they can also be light blue or black as ink.
The best time to see the crater lakes is early in the morning. You will have to leave before sunrise, so the best place to stay is Moni, at the foot of the volcano. It’s breathtaking to see how the world awakens, the different colors in the sky and the reflection of the first rays of sunshine in the water. Beautiful! Don’t forget to bring some swimwear, because you can also visit a hot spring. On the road from Moni to the entrance of Kelimutu National Park you will find the Waturaka Hot Springs.
How can you travel to Flores in Indonesia?
There are direct flights going from Denpasar (Bali) to place on Flores like Labuan Bajo, Ende and the capital Maumere. If you want to fly from Lombok or Java to Flores you will still first go to Denpasar most of the times. I traveled from Bali to Flores and back by scooter and that was totally awesome! I could stop wherever I want, whenever I want. Also, Flores has a lot of mountains and it’s easy to get motion sick in a bus or a car. On the scooter I was totally fine.
You can rent one for just a few euros a day. Before renting it’s useful to say you’re going to Flores, because it’s likely that you will get a scooter with a better and more powerful engine. It’s also possible to go to Flores by public transport, although you will have to be quite flexible, because it’s not that easy. If you have any questions about Flores or traveling through Indonesia, please let me know! Ask your question here in the comments or just send me an e-mail!
If you have any questions about Flores or Indonesia, please let me know in the comments!