First Published on November 8, 2016
My last trip to Indonesia was discovering a world beyond Bali. There is no doubt that Bali is beautiful but wandering beyond it to explore the hidden gems of Flores Island was even more enthralling. Given my own experience, I would definitely recommend that one looks at including Flores, if they are headed to Indonesia.
Here are my 10 reasons as to why Flores needs to be your next Indonesian destination –
1) Meet the Komodo dragons
What is a visit to Indonesia if you have not met their most exclusive inhabitants – the fearful, fascinating and unusual Komodo dragons. Flores is possibly the most famous being the only lair to these beasts. Pull your socks up, stick close to the ranger and get ready for a trek to spot these dragons. The Komodo dragons are known for its several unusual traits – having a forked tongue, with poisonous saliva, a speed that puts most of us to shame and yes – for being a direct descendant of the dinosaurs. 🙂 Get to know more about these dragons and my own adventure with them through this link.
2) Trek up Padar Island
The Komodo dragons are not just the only reason that one needs to head to the Komodo National Park. And they are not the only reason why the Komodo National Park made it to list of the 7 natural wonders of the world. Padar Island, definitely, is one more reason for the same. A short and fun trek up this lovely island allows you to set your sights on some amazing work of nature – the tri-colored beaches of Padar Island. White, Black and Pink beaches, all bordering this secluded island. A sight that only Flores can treat you to.
3) Fun at Pink Beach
A girl’s dream – pink beach is really Pink! The pink beach owes its color to the red coral that breaks and washes up the shore.
The contrast of the clear blue water against the contrasting pink shores is quite a gorgeous sight to behold. Just stroll around the shores or opt for an open water snorkeling experience here. The sights below that clear water will not fail to amaze you. Why, take a look at what I found under water!
4) Dive & Snorkel in Flores
Pink beach is just the beginning of your snorkeling experience in Flores. There are plenty of unique dive spots and secluded beaches for these water activities. Manta Ray Point promises you a great swim or dive with the gentle mantas while the white coral covered Mawun beach is a perfect spot for some diverse and colorful underwater snorkeling experience. In fact, the water at Mawun beach was so clear, that we did not need to even snorkel to see the corals. 🙂
5) The Cunca Wulang waterfalls
Experience a little bit of the Indonesian forests and hills with a short trek down to the Cunca Wulang waterfalls. 30 kms from Labuan Bajo, these amazing waterfalls cascade down the hills to several fresh water rivulets and ponds.
The trek to the falls itself is a beautiful experience, with narrow, slippery paths that require you to step over a maze of overgrown roots and swing over the low branches of trees. For me, that trek itself was a high. For the rest of my troop, the high jump into the fresh water river from a designated spot near the Cunca Waterfalls was an amazing experience.
6) Mesmerizing sunsets of Flores
No matter where you are in Flores – Labuan Bajo, Komodo, Ende or Maumere, you are bound to be treated to some really mesmerizing sunsets. Each day, each location gives you a different high. Some sombre, some vibrant and some just tranquil – each sunset weaves a different mood and story for you. For me, the end of each day in Flores was just perfect.
7) Tri-colored magic of Kelimutu
Mount Kelimutu with its gorgeous craters and its accompanying legends are definitely one of the top reasons to visit Flores. Remember to catch the first rays of sun at Kelimutu or if that is too early, catching the last ones is not such a bad idea. The bright colors of the volcanic fluid, along with the swirl of clouds over it, create the most unforgettable and magical moments for you. Discover all about Kelimutu through this post of mine.
8) Traditional villages of Flores
The little tribal villages around Flores are perfect places to experience the traditional Indonesian culture and lifestyle. Be it the remote and unique huts of Wae Rebo or the warm hospitality of the Melo villages, you are bound to be enchanted by the locals here.
Catch the Caci dance while you are here and remember to take home those local treats from these villages. Wae Rebo and Melo are accessible from Labuan Bajo while you can head to Wologai village from Ende. You can even visit the Sikka village near Maumere for their traditional textile making classes.
9) Relax at the Koka beach
While there are numerous beaches in Flores that one can enjoy, I particularly mention Koka beach for its unique shores. The warm blue waters and the soft sands with beach shacks seem ideal for a day picnic with family.
The beach forks out to two shores separated by a cliff but each as accessible as the other. And as you can see in the pictures, our little family of bloggers had an amazing time – so much that we wanted to go there again the next day!
10) Charm of small towns
Flores islands are not as big or touristy as Bali. The towns – Labuan Bajo, Ende and Maumere are quite small – so much that you can just walk around the main areas and cover it all. There is a certain warmth and charm that I found in these towns, that seem unique only to them. Indonesia is best experienced here with its little thrifty stores, cute little restaurants, serene shores and virtually – no traffic. Definitely one key reason to head to Flores.
I am sure you are quite convinced now that you need to visit Flores. Message in and let me know which is your favorite reason to head here.
Getting to Flores:
- The three main towns that you need to consider for Flores are Labuan Bajo, Ende and Maumere
- This is the town that you need to plan for if you are keen on Komodo National Park, Cunca Waterfalls, Wae Rebo and Melo.
- There are plenty of flights from Bali to Labuan Bajo.
- You can either rent a bike or just walk around Labuan Bajo to explore it.
- To get to Komodo Island, refer to the getting here section of this post.
- For Cunca Waterfalls and the traditional villages, you will need to hire a car from Labuan Bajo. These are easily available through the various tour operators and hotels in Labuan Bajo. You can even book these tours online.
- To visit Koka beach and Mount Kelimutu, Ende is a good option.
- You can get to Ende by flight from Bali or Labuan Bajo.
- To get to Kelimutu or Koka beach, you can opt for a car or one of the organized tours from Ende. The same can be found online.
- Wologai village is the other place that is accessible by road from Ende.
- There are regular flights from Bali and Labuan Bajo to Maumere. Click the respective cities for the various flight options and their fares.
- Maumere is an alternative stop for Kelimutu and Koka beach. I have shared on how to get here in this post.
- Sikka Village and the Statue of Virgin Mary are the other attractions that can be reached through Maumere.
Travel Tips for Flores:
- You can visit Flores any time between April to November. December to March is a little rainy . August is generally, the peak tourist season.
- Stay is not too difficult in any of the above mentioned towns of Flores. You can get a hotel or a home stay in any budget. Based on my own experience, I can suggest the following –
- Labuan Bajo – Sylvia resort for a comfortable stay by the beach. Le Pirate Hotel for a little bit of a back-packer, a little bit of luxury and a little bit of a theme stay. This one amused me with their decor. Review coming up soon!
- Ende – Grand Wisata Hotel for a comfortable one night stay.
- Maumere – Coconut Garden Beach resort. Truly delightful and amazing by-the beach experience. Their unique huts and eco-friendly decor stole my heart 🙂
- Breakfast is not too elaborate in any of these hotels. Vegetarian options are available but are quite limited. Hence, do prepare accordingly.
- There are quite a few restaurants in these small towns for your meals. Here are three that I definitely suggest –
- Mediterraneo in Labuan Bajo for its continental dishes and mouth smacking desserts
- The Plataran for its unique ship like restaurant. A perfect place to have a meal by the beach in Labuan Bajo
- Pari Koro restaurant in Ende for its simple and elegant decor with lovely Indonesian food.
- Most of the attractions that I mentioned, will require you to get in touch with tour operators for transport that can take you to these places. All these are available easily along the streets of these small towns. Alternately you can book them online. In Labuan Bajo, we had taken the help of Oradive center in Labuan Bajo and were quite happy with them.
P.S: I was a part of the Bloggers’ trip organized by Skyscanner