Flores is an island in the region of Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia and was our last stop before the island of Timor. There’s many ways to travel from island to island in Indonesia. We decided to go with the local ferries and busses all the way to Flores from Lombok. It took us 30 hours in total, with two different ferries and four different busses. The cost was in total 375.000 IDR pr. person.
We arrived in the city Labuan Bajo on Flores in the late evening and luckily enough we’ve booked the first night at a hostel. Labuan Bajo is the main city on Flores for tourism and where everybody goes to do the Komodo Island tour. Most places was fully booked, but we managed to find some good places anyway, which we can recommend:
Teus Hotel – A quiet place outside of the city center. They have four nice double rooms with private bathrooms and breakfast included. The price was 275.000 IDR. per night.
Centro Bajo Hotel – Big hotel, nice and clean and a good breakfast buffet. 350.000 IDR.
Sylvia Resort – Our luxury stay. With swimmingpool, private beach and a good restaurant. 600.000 IDR.
Siola Hotel – Local budget place right in the city center. Private rooms and with a simple breakfast. 150.000 IDR.
We also did the Komodo Island tour. You can choose everything from a one day trip on a big cruiser to liveaboard dive trips around the islands, sleeping in private cabins or on the deck. All these packages can easily be arranged from Labuan Bajo when you arrive. We chose a two day trip on a small boat, with one night sleeping on the deck. The price was 1.180.000 IDR Pr. person and all meals, drinks and fees for the nationalpark was included. There’s three islands to explore; Komodo and Rinca Island for spotting the komodo dragons and Padar Island for the most picturesque view over 3 beaches in different colours. We did short hikes on all three islands and did some snorkelling in between. A very good and memorable trip!
Other than the Komodo tour and one cave called Batu Cermin Cave, there’s not so much else to do around Labuan Bajo. You can also easily do a scooter trip out of Labuan Bajo to see the surroundings.
Driving through Flores is amazing. We had a whole month to travel east over Flores and did it mostly with local busses. There is so much to look at just through the window of the bus. First of all the beautiful nature - it’s not without reason Flores got it’s name, which means flower. The landscape is so green and lush. There’s wild nature, mountainranges and huge vulcanoes everywhere you turn your head. You’ll also drive through many small villages, with cows parked on the roadside, children playing and old ladies walking along the road with the mouth full of betel nut and laundry balancing on their head. It’s also normal to see families with two adults and three small kids on one scooter, or a truck packed to the edge with people in all ages, animals and vegetables.
The first stop on our travel through Flores was Ruteng, just four hours from Labuan Bajo. Ruteng has a number of sights close the city though Ruteng itself is not that interesting. You’ll find sites such as spiderweb-shaped ricefields, traditional villages and the cave Liang Buah, where they recently found what they call the Homo floresiensis – maybe the first human on Flores. We rented a scooter to get around and stayed for a few days in two different hostels.
Karya Hostel – Very local, very simple and very cheap! 75.000 IDR per night for a double room.
SBB Homestay – Small homestay with a very friendly owner, shared toilet, breakfast included and scooter rental possible. 150.000 IDR.
To go to the next city Bajawa, we took a Gunung Mas bus for four hours for 110.000 IDR pp. Bajawa is a nice small city with a good atmosphere, its walkable and there’s many local and western restaurants. Again we rented a scooter to be able to explore the surroundings on our own. A few kilometers outside the city you’ll find some of the best preserved traditional villages, Bena village is the biggest and the one most tourists visit, but there is many others in the area, like Gurusina village and others. They’re really worth a visit, and you can have a good talk with some of the old people who live there.
We stayed two nights in Queens Homestay in a very nice room with private hot shower and a good breakfast for 200.000 IDR.
We were so lucky to meet a local guy that worked as Ojek (scooter-taxi), who invited us to stay in his familys house. We talked a lot with him and he was so happy to invite us to come and stay in his house. His family lived in a small village called Langa outside of Bajawa, it was very simple but a good way for us to experience the real life of the locals. We ended up staying in their house for a whole week. This you will hear more about in a later article.
We travelled further on east with bus, to the city Ende. We stayed only one night, and can’t really say there’s much to do there. Next morning we took another bus to Moni, a small town in the mountains. The only reason to go there is the famous tricolor lakes at Kelimutu. It was one of the must sees for us, even though is was very expensive. (150.000 IDR pp. /225.000 on sundays) We rented a scooter to drive up the mountain, you can also hire a car or scooter with driver, or hike all the way. Scooter rental also got more and more expensive the further away we came from Labuan Bajo.
We stayed one night at Watugana Homestay, which we found on the indonesian booking app Traveloka. An okay room with private bathroom and a good breakfast for 200.000 IDR. Spend some time to look around for accommodation and food in Moni, it can be a quite expensive stay.
From Moni we wanted to go to Maumere on the northeast coast of Flores. We ended up driving with a private car, or what they call shared taxi, which you stop on the roadside and ask of a ride. It was a bit more expensive than the local bus, but much more comfortable and convenient. He drove us all the way to our hostel, 30 kilometer east of Maumere for 300.000 IDR.
We found the accommodation online; Sunset Cottage – A small bungalow with private bathroom and a good bed 10 meters from the black volcanic beach. Very calm and quite with pancakes and coffee for breakfast for 230.000 IDR pr. night. We really needed a place to relax and work on the website, so we stayed here for ten nights before new adventures waited for us in Timor.
Flores is just so stunningly beautiful and we will really recommend you to go and see for yourselves, and do it soon before all the other tourists also realize this ;)