Traveling to Flores – Volcanoes & Diving

Traveling Flores

Traveling Flores is not on the radar of every traveler. Yet the island has so much to offer. Although Flores is becoming more and more popular, also due to its proximity to Bali and Lombok, it is still very unspoiled in many places. Flores belongs such as the likes of Bali, Lombok and Sumba to Nusa Tenggara, which means “Southeast Islands”. The island got its name from Portuguese sailors (flower island), although there are no more flowers to be found there than in other places in Indonesia. Flores is an absolute paradise for divers and nature lovers. Besides the spectacular Komodo National Park, there are also gorgeous volcanoes like Inerie and Kelimutu and a great highland to discover. Most visitors to Flores stay in and around Labuan Bajo, mostly for diving. The further east you go, the less touristy the island becomes. The absolute majority of Flores’ nearly 2 million inhabitants are Catholics (91%). So if you start in Bali and move towards Flores you will come into contact with three different religions. Bali is Hindu, Lombok is Muslim and Flores is Christian.

Top highlights for your vacation in Flores

1 Kelimutu

Our absolute highlight from Flores is located in the center or rather the western part of the island. The Kelimutu volcano is known for its three crater lakes, which even change their colors. Two of the lakes are either turquoise or red, while the other is colored blue and black respectively. The climb is totally relaxing and is done at sunrise.

2 Komodo National Park

Another stunning highlight in and around Flores is the Komodo National Park. Whether on land or under water – the Komodo National Park has a lot to offer. Besides the world famous Komodo Island, where you can meet the dreaded Komodo dragons, there is also the beautiful Padar Island. Also the underwater world has it all and offers various diving spots. Komodo belongs to the best diving areas worldwide.

3 Bajawa

In the center of Flores is Bajawa – a small town at an altitude of 1,100 m, which is why it offers a very pleasant climate. From the evening hours it can even get a bit fresh. Especially the surrounding area of Bajawa consists of relatively many traditional villages, volcanoes, hot springs and great viewpoints that offer a breathtaking view over the Inerie.

Wae Rebo

Certainly one of the most famous sights of Flores is the “traditional” village of Wae Rebo. Somewhat isolated, the round houses are located on a plateau surrounded by mountains. Nevertheless, we decided against visiting it, because some people told us that it is quite commercial. Even to enter the village you have to pay an entrance fee. The village doesn’t seem to have much to do with traditional life anymore, which is why we decided to skip this place. Surely it is interesting to see, but our experience showed us that we would only be disappointed, because we would have lacked authenticity.

Recommended route for your trip through Flores

Since there were hardly any boats from Lombok to Flores due to Corona, we had to decide willy-nilly for the flight. Start and end point was this time Labuan Bajo in the east of Flores. First we went by bus from Labuan Bajo to Bhajawa. From there we rented a scooter and continued towards Kelimutu. The next day we went back to Bhajawa by scooter and back to Labuan Bajo by bus. A well developed road runs through Flores from the east of the island to the west.

Arrival to Flores

In principle, there are 4 ways to get to Flores:

Certainly the most comfortable option is the flight from Bali or Lombok to Labuan Bajo, but also the worst for the environment.

4 day boat trip from Lombok:
Another option is the classic boat tour from Bali. Here you drive 4 days from Lombok to Labuan Bajo and make on the way some stops like Komodo Island, Rinca Island, Manta Point etc..

Speedboat from Lombok
Before Covid, there were also speedboats that went directly from Lombok to Labuan Bajo.

Boat from Bali:
From Bali there is also a public boat, which translates to Flores. The trip takes about 33 hours and is probably the most uncomfortable but cheapest alternative. It starts in Benoa on Bali. It must also be noted that the ferry runs only 1x per week.

Transportation for your trip to Flores

As in most places in Southeast Asia, the bus is the most common means of transportation in Flores. Buses run mainly in the morning hours and connect all interesting places on the island.

Local bus:
Local buses connect all slightly larger towns and are the cheapest way to get from A to B. They offer sufficient comfort compared to the rest of Asia. Since the roads are also relatively well developed, the trip is quite doable, we find.

Tourist buses:
The tourist buses are mostly minibuses and offer a little more comfort than the local buses. The buses are of course also a bit more expensive than the local bus.

Mini buses:
Minibuses operate mainly between towns and rarely cover further distances.

Renting a scooter:
Another cool alternative is to rent a scooter for your trip through Flores. Scooters are available for about 5 € per day and offer you full flexibility. The downside: riding a scooter can get really uncomfortable after a few hours.

The best time for your trip to Flores

The best time for your trip to Flores is from mid-April to November, because then the rainy season begins slowly but surely. The beginning of the rainy season sometimes shifts a bit, but as a guideline, the information should capture the best travel period relatively well. I have experienced both the dry and rainy season in Indonesia and find that the rainy season also has a certain charm. Often the weather is quite sunny in the morning until about 2pm and then in the afternoon it starts raining like cats and dogs. The weather then cools down a bit and the smell of summer rain spreads and there are just a lot less tourists. In the higher regions in Flores like Bajawa, Kelimutu or Moni we would recommend the given period. Otherwise, it can happen very quickly that the weather puts a spoke in your wheel and you no longer have a view to enjoy.

Malaria and dengue fever in Flores

Compared to Lombok and Bali, Flores has an increased risk of infection by malaria and dengue. Therefore, you should definitely have a mosquito repellent with you and be a little careful. It does not mean that every bite has to cause the disease, but the risk exists. Dengue mosquitoes are mainly active during the day, whereas malaria mosquitoes are more active at night.

If you’re looking for more info on Indonesia in general, feel free to check out our post on it.

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We are Julian & Naomi and we love to travel the world and immerse ourselves in other cultures. We have an adventurous, spartan, sustainable and reflective travel style. In our opinion, the greatest adventures are experienced when you do things on your own and try to live like a local. The taste of a country is best captured on the road
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