places to visit: (click on the names to know)
About: Flores Island is part of the Lesser Sunda Islands in the east of Indonesia. It is fast becoming popular with tourists after Bali. Please note that getting around Flores, is still a problem.. You either have to get around in Bemos (small vans with camped leg space or in bus. Some travelers hire motorbike to travel in the island, but the rates vary. The best option in buses is Gunung Mas, very reliable Transport company with actual real schedules, prices not too different from local buses. The buses are all pretty new, comfortable with A/C. Their Labuan bajo office is in front of SMAK Loyola (Tel. 0385-42899)
Around Labuan bajo
Komodo National Park: The main reason people visit the Flores Island. This park named after its famous inhabitant, Komodo dragon, is actually a group of islands and coral reefs to the east of Flores. You can visit from Bali as well, as part of 2D 1N trip from Bali. But if you go to see the dragon from Flores Island, you’ll get to see the crater lakes at Mount Kelimutu. However, it’s far from Labuan Bajo (the main centre of Flores Island) and part of a day tour, so be prepared to start the tour early.
Padar Island: Part of a boat tour from Labuan Bajo, start early again. There is a 40minute hike to the top of the hill but the view from there is worth millions. Ensure Padar Island is part of your Komodo National Park tour.
Ruteng: People get here to go to Wae Rebo, a small Manggaraian village, situated in an isolated, breathtaking mountain valley. Nearest motor-able road in Dengue (7hrs road journey from Labuan Bajo). From there you have to trek for 3.5hours for another 9km thourgh lush rain forests, to reach Wae Rebo. It feels like a magical village hidden behind the clouds. Definitely worth the trek to see the village.
To arrange to go to Wae Rebo, contact Mr. Yuslianus Irwan (Phone No. +62 853-3819-1030) who speaks English and comes strongly recommended.
Bena Traditional Village is well worth a visit when you are in Bajawa. It is quite a large bustling village set in a spectacular mountainous region. Go to the top of the village for the best views. The traditional houses are unique and adorned with buffalo horns and pig jaws.
Please ask permission from the locals before taking their picture, as their permission is not part of the entrance fee (which go to the village’s development) you pay to enter their village.
Riung: A small fishing village located to the north of Bajawa is famous for its coral gardens. The coast and the surrounding area of Riung have become a national conservation area. Animals like hedgehogs, monkeys, ferrets, marsupials and birds such as eagles, herons, partridges can be seen in numbers here. In Kalong, you can see the flying fox for which the island is famous.
Also boat tours when in Riung is highly recommended. The island has a rich coral life which is definitely amazing to be seen. Diving and snorkelling can be done here.
Mengeruda Hot Spring: This hot spring will definitely soothe away your aches and pains. Nice place with both hot and cold area for soaking. At certain points, there are even strong water gushing out and a natural slide for kids. Go there around evening (closes by 5pm) to avoid the crowd.
Mount Kelimutu: One of the easiest volcanoes to climb. The walk up to the top is moreorless 15 to 20minutes. The best attraction about this volcano is the crater lakes. The lake colors vary on a periodic basis from green, red, blue or chocolate. You can get to this volcano from Labuan Bajo but the distance from there is greater than from Ende. You can easily catch sunrise at the top if you start for Mount Kelimutu at around 4:30am from Ende. Alternatively, you can hire a boat to stay overnight to catch the sunrise at Kelimutu.
Mount Iya: According to many this is the most beautiful volcano in Flores. The last 5 or 6km to the top is not motor-able but can be walked in one or 2 hours, depending on your fitness level. But once you get to the top, you will find the reason of its beauty.
Please note the top is unstable and extremely slippery not to mention the winds and the gas emitting from the volcano makes staying on the top for longer moments dangerous.