Welcome to Flores
Landscape, animals, sunsets, people, traditional villages, crystal clear waters, pristine sand beaches, lakes, waterfalls, and a huge number of underwater creatures, including sharks, turtles and mantas – all this offers Flores.
Today, Flores is mostly known as a starting point for the diving tours to the Komodo National Park. Yet the island of Flores is increasingly attracting a growing number of travelers loving original culture, nature and people.
Flores is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, in the eastern half of Indonesia. It is about 667 km long, with actually only one road called “Flores-Highway” that goes from west to east of Flores. Maumere in the east is the biggest town on the island, and in the west, Labuan Bajo is the main harbour town for tours to Komodo National Park.
Labuan Bajo is a growing tourist town combining tropical beauty with travelling amenities. Nowadays tourists can find in the town a wide selection of different accommodation types, restaurants and shopping facilities. Although, Labuan Bajo is not yet developed as far as some places on the more-known island of Bali, it has its own charm and beauty – one just needs to look around.
Flores offers lots of interesting history, culture, and countryside. Guests can swim in waterfalls or caves, climb up a volcano, sleep overnight in a traditional village, participate in ritual and dances, see how cloves or coffee grow, eat a papaya directly from a tree, or visit two of Indonesia’s National Parks – the famous Komodo National Park and the Kelimutu National Park – both designated on Flores to protect endangered species.
For all our guests who are interested in seeing Indonesia as it was, we recommend to plan a few days extra to go around Flores. Drop us a line and we reveal the secrets.
Flores – is it really a flower?
Pulau Flores is the 10th biggest island of Indonesia
Flores is located in the eastern side of Indonesia – two islands further east from Bali – and forms a part of the Lesser Sunda Islands. The name is derived from the Portuguese for “flowers”. Its current number of population is unknown; the last collected figure dates back to 2010 and shows 1.831.000. And this figure makes Flores the 10th most populous island in all Indonesia. It is also the 10th biggest island of Indonesia being 13,540 km2 big (5x bigger compared to Luxembourg, 2.586 km2), having a length of 354 km and a width of 66 km.
The history of Flores shows different invaders that have been settling in Flores. In 16th century the Portuguese traders and missionaries came to Flores. The Dutch attacked the Fortress of Solor in 1613 (an island in the very east of Flores) and at the end of 19th century after some negotiations between Dutch and Portuguese Flores became a part of the territory of Dutch East Indies. The Japanese occupied Flores during the World War II.
And finally, after the war Flores became part of independent Indonesia.
Flores is part of the East Nusa Tenggara province (Nusa Tenggara Timur, NTT) and the island itself is divided into eight regencies. Labuan Bajo is located in the West of the island and is one of the main cities on Flores.
Of course, tourism is one of the key activities on Flores (besides agriculture, fishing and seaweed production). Rice is the primary food crop on Flores, and the shape of its rice fields is totally different to the shape of Bali’s rice fields. The fields on Flores are called spider web fields. To know the strategy behind this structure of the fields, one needs to visit the countryside of Flores.
A trip to Flores will be an unforgettable and probably the most adventurous memory like no other.
This fantastic part of the world offers some unforgettable activities for every traveller
If you only have a limited amount of time, or if you just have this so-called “dry day” after your diving in Komodo, you still can experience lots of interesting things on Flores. In such case, just stay in Labuan Bajo and explore the area in short daily trips. You can either rent a car with a driver and guide or rent your motorbike and go on your own. Yet, please be careful when driving by yourself, roads are serpentine and steep.
However, a day out in the surroundings of Labuan Bajo can be relaxing, adventurous and beautiful at the same time. Waterfalls, panoramic views, caves, lakes, hike a hill, walk through rice fields or view a stunning sunset.
Just a few kilometres east from Labuan Bajo you can visit a few waterfalls that are nestled in a tropical rainforest setting. To reach the waterfalls you sometimes will have to pass through local villages, cross rice fields, climb up a hill and walk through amazing vegetation where you can see and smell vanilla, coffee, cacao or gloves. Upon arrival you will be rewarded with stunning views and refreshing swim in the fresh-water pools.
Or take a ride to some of the caves located not far away from Labuan Bajo. Batu Cermin is a beautiful limestone cave that is best to be visited in the early hours when the sunlight finds its way through the rocks inside the cave and creates a fascinating effect. Batu Cermin means “mirror rock” in Indonesian. When you will be there, you will understand why.
There is another cave that can be reached by boat only but offers to its visitors an interesting swim in a pool inside the cave. A visit to Rangko Cave is a beautiful ride through Labuan Bajo’s landscape with some great panoramic views over the bays and a pleasant ride on a local boat.
For those who love water there is an option to explore the reefs and beaches of Labuan Bajo by kayak. At the Bintang Flores Hotel where our dive center is located you can rent a 2-sit-kayak and explore the waters around.
Climb up on one of the hills around Labuan Bajo and overlook the harbour and the islands. Enjoying a refreshing drink and a colourful sunset will be a perfect end of the day.
Our experienced driver is happy to bring you to all these attractions.
Outside of Labuan Bajo
However, if you have more time and you love traveling in rural areas, meeting local people and feeling the adventures, then a trip on Flores Island is just the right thing for you.
On Flores, there are many points of interest. Yet to visit all of them (or let’s stay realistic – some of them) we recommend to plan 3 to 4 days. A tour from Labuan Bajo to Maumere might take 4 days / 3 nights. This way you would be able to see the major sightseeing such as waterfalls, the hobbit cave in Ruteng, traditional villages, Kelimutu Lake, bluestone beach and others.
Kelimutu is a volcano in central Flores Island that you can easily ascend either for a sunrise or during the day. Its tri-coloured crater lakes make Kelimutu famous and mysterious for tourists and local people. The lakes are periodically changing the colour. Of course, there are some scientific explanations about this phenomenon. Yet the myths about the origin of Mount Kelimutu and its lakes make it a sacred place for the local people.
The local people attribute different meanings to the three lakes: one is the lake of ancestors’ souls, the second one is the lake of young people’s souls, and the third one is the lake of evil spirits.
Kelimutu crater lakes are a part of the second National Park on Flores – the Kelimutu National Park. It is home to numerous hills and mountains, to some endangered plant species and animals, and to a “mini jungle” that represents the flora biodiversity of Kelimutu National Park.
Being the worldwide protected area and internationally recognised by the United Nations Environment Program, Kelimutu National Park is another gem of Flores.
A tour from Labuan Bajo to Kelimutu Lake or even to Maumere can also include a “junction” to Riung on the north coast of Flores and in the 17 Islands National Park or trekking to Wae Rebo village.
The route through island of Flores offers beautiful landscape, lots of cultural points, tropical trees; it is for sure worth seeing it.
We do not offer overland tours ourselves. However, we are happy to assist you with the organization and finding a reliable tour operator for your road adventures on Flores. You can either send us your inquiry via e-mail or WhatsApp before your arrival in Labuan Bajo, or come to our dive center for a chat.