In our blog post Happiness in Indonesia is all about celebrating life you can read all our findings talking to the locals. In this blog post, we share why you should put Flores on your bucketlist.
Indonesia has got 17.000 islands and we would love to visit all. But, we have time and budget constraints so we choose Bali and Flores. Bali because it is more developed and very spiritual. Flores because it is one among the economically least developed parts of Indonesia and consists of a blend of Christian and Muslim. Why you should put Flores on your bucketlist you can read in this blog post. Everything about Bali you can read here.
Flores is one of the least developed and therefore purest islands of Indonesia. It is also one of the most beautiful islands and the best starting point to explore all natures treasures nearby. We only spend one week on the island which was too short to enjoy it to the fullest. That’s why we added some highlights based on the recommendations from the locals and we still have some places in and around Flores that are still on our bucket list.
Why you should put Flores on your bucketlist
How to get to Flores
We flew from Denpasar (Bali) directly to Labuan Bajo, the capital of Flores. From the airport, it is only a few minute by taxi to the center of this little town. Besides of working on our blog and relaxing a bit, we did two activities on Flores: a day trip through Komodo National Park and a scooter ride from Labuan Bajo and back.
Day trip Komodo National Park
Maybe the number one reason to go to Flores is to go on a day trip to Komodo National Park. It still is Indonesia’s unspoiled treasure! In Labuan Bajo there are so many companies that offer (multi)day tours that it is hard to choose. Most important thing is to compare the prices a bit. We booked through our hotel Le Pirate and this was probably a bit more expensive but very well organized.
Many companies offer day tours out of Labuan Bajo, so you can easily explore the hills of Padar, chill with the dragons on Komodo Island, relax on Pink Beach, and snorkel at Manta Point.
The day trip we choose went to Padar, Komodo Island, Pink Beach, and the highlight of the day: Manta Point. The trip starts early (around 5:30 a.m.!) from Labuan Bajo.
Stop 1 – Padar Island
The first stop you make is Padar Island. After a 30 minute hike uphill you have the most amazing views you can imagine. Every picture is insta-worthy. The hike is a bit of a challenge but it’s worth it.
Stop 2 – Komodo Island
The second stop is Komodo Island, the place to meet the world famous Komodo Dragon. For us, this was a little disappointing. We had to pay a lot extra to have a guided tour of the island and this tour only took 20 minutes. We saw three Dragons, that were really impressive, but the walk over the island is definitely not worth almost EUR 20 per person extra.
Stop 3 – Pink Beach
The third stop of this day trip is Pink Beach. From a distance, you can see some pinkish glow at the beach and when you see the sand from real close you’ll see shiny read pieces in the sand. Very impressive. Pink Beach is also an amazing spot for snorkeling and we even saw a family of clownfish.
Stop 4 – Manta point
The fourth and final stop of the day is Manta Point. This is one of our most magical experiences of all. There were so many mantas in the water and we swam with them for over an hour. The water is so clear and blue that it is almost unreal. We didn’t want to get out of the water!
Two day trip from Labuan Bajo to Ruteng and back
Flores is still an underdeveloped part of Indonesia. However, the roads from Labuan Bajo to Ruteng are extremely well. We had a few days of very sunny weather and decided to rent a scooter and drive to Ruteng and back. Driving through the island of Flores is an amazing experience. The surroundings are beautiful, the people in all the villages you pass are friendly and giving you high fives all the time.
Please note that the roads are hilly and with a lot of sharp turns and it is a 125km journey that will take you 4 to 6 hours. We recommend you to at least stop at the Wae Rebo traditional village and the incredible Spider Ricefields in Cancar. The most amazing view over a number of these Spider Ricefields can be found at Cara Village situated on a small hill 17km west of Ruteng in Cancar.
We spend the night in Ruteng in D-Rima Homestay with the Ricardo and his family. The bedroom and shower are not 5-star but this great family and their hospitality are five-star plus experience. In Ruteng the Kopi Mane Inspiration coffee shop and restaurant. They have the best coffee and delicious and very cheap food! It’s kind of an oasis that you will have in the middle of the Not-Much-Too-See in Ruteng.
Other highlights according to the locals
We were short on time so we couldn’t visit all bucket list items on Flores. Next time we go there we certainly also go and visit the Kelimutu National Park also known its tri-colored crater lakes. This is probably the most amazing natural phenomenon in Flores. Beyond that, the ‘steaming mountain’ is also the island’s most famous tempat angker, or mystical, haunted place.
Where to sleep, eat and chill in Labuan Bajo
To warn you upfront … sleeping in Flores can be exhausting. The Muslim community is a minority on Flores but there are many mosques on the island. Even in the middle of the night, it will call out for prayer and it is loud! As Labuan Bajo is not very the options for hotels are not as affluent as in Bali. Besides that, the reviews and ratings of the hotels are not more than average with prices that are above what you’re used to in Bali.
We spend all our nights in Labuan Bajo in Le Pirate. This is a place to fall in love with. A rooftop bar with a small pool. A big and relaxing bar, restaurant and chill out place on the first floor, more than decent rooms, very good food and drinks and the nices staff you can imagine. They also have a boat you can stay on, just check out their website.
Another oasis in Flores is Molas. Here we spend a few days blogging, chilling and having breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They even have a pool and free towels so we sometimes even spent our whole day here. The wifi is very good and yes … they have a spa that will make you relax to the max! Last but not least is Le pirate
If you want something else than Indonesian food go to Happy banana. You don’t expect to find sushi and poke bowls hearing this name but they have the best! They also have some good wines and fresh coconut water!
Why you should put Flores on your bucketlist