Best attractions of Flores Island
Flores Island, located in the eastern Indonesian Archipelago, is most well-known for Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site where you can meet the worldwide known Komodo giant lizards. After I visited the beautiful islands of Komodo N.P. with its stunning sea and plenty of tropical fish, I decided to explore Flores island.
I rented a car with a driver through a local tourist agency in Labuan Bajo (the base for all the activities in the Komodo National Park), and I went through extraordinary landscapes, mist-covered mountains and tropical jungle, rice terraces, local markets, traditional villages with amazing people and dormant volcanoes.
My 5 days – 4 nights trip to Flores Island
1° day: Labuan Bajo – Denge Village – Wae Rebo Village
Starting from Labuan Bajo, driving south and stopping by to take some pics now and then throughout the fantastic landscape and small villages, we reach after 5 hours the village of Denge. It’s the starting point of the hiking to reach Wae Rebo village.
Wae Rebo village is located at 1100 meters above sea level and the only remaining authentic character of Manggaraian traditional houses throughout West Flores. Between two mountains, what makes it unique is 7 traditional houses made from wood, all with a rope-bundle construction, 8 meters high, 5 floors, and a conic shape.
Each of them hosts more than one family. Trekking through the dense forest is a bit challenging at some points, and it takes 1.30 to 2 hrs.
After the welcoming meeting with the chief of the village, I have a stroll around the area until I reach a hill with a beautiful view of Wae Rebo. Later I have dinner and my night rest in a traditional house with other 20 tourists (entrance in Wae Rebo Village 225.000 IDR x night- all included).
2° day: Wae Rebo – Ruteng
After breakfast, we descend from the village to Denge where we go on our trip. We stop at Cancar village viewpoint to see the Spider web Rice Field.
The colourful rice paddies found throughout Flores Island (and Asia as well) are usually laid out in rectangular plots, or sometimes as stepped terraces, but in the west part of the island, above all here in Cancar, they form a beautifully unique shape that looks like a giant spider web.
After climbing the 100 mt–high hill and enjoying the view, we proceed to Ruteng where, before reaching the Guest House, I have a stop at the traditional village of Ruteng Pu’u.
Located 4 km from Ruteng, Pu’u is one of the most popular places to see the traditional compang, a round stone altar surrounded by a circle of stones and traditional houses. My last stop is at the colourful local market with its many stalls selling fruit, vegetables and any food.
3°day: Ruteng – Bajawa
After passing by the Tepo Rakot area with its colourful rice terraces along the slope, we have a quick stop at Ranamese lake (entrance fee Rp 5,000). Ranamese area is a mountainous natural reserve with dense forests, lush vegetation and a 21-meter deep crater lake at an altitude of 1220m.
The next stop is the small village of my driver, where I can enjoy a cup of coffee and meet his lovely family. Mangarrai people are very friendly and kind and above all always happy to meet foreigners and have a talk.
We go on with Aimere village to see the distillation process of the local alcoholic called arak and made from palm trees, then with the visit to Bena Village. Located in the Ngada district on a hilltop facing Mount Inerie, where according to a local legend the God of Bajawa tribe was enthroned to protect them, consists of two rows of 40 centuries-old houses covered with grass.
In the middle of the village, there are sacrificial stones and cult houses, which were used for ritual ceremonies and sacrificial offerings. In the afternoon we take a rest bathing in the hot springs at So’a before getting to Bajawa.
4°day: Bajawa – Moni
Driving through beautiful sceneries with green mountains and rice terraces, we reach the south coast of Flores where we stop at Nanga Penda to have a relaxing walk along the Blue Stone Beach with its thousands of pebbles in pastel shades of mainly blue and aquamarine.
It is said that these stones originated from seafloor swept by waves and stranded on the shores of this beach.
Going on to Ende, passing by green canyons tumbling into the sea, gorgeous black strips of sand and coast villages, we visit the local market with its colourful stalls, and then we proceed to Saga and Wologai, two traditional villages in the Ende district, with houses built in the traditional Lio tribe style.
Our day ends up in the small village of Moni, the base for trekking in the area and the visit to the stunning Mount Kelimutu.
5° day: Moni – Mount Kelimutu – Maumere
At 4 am, we are ready to climb up Mount Kelimutu, located at 1600 meters and known for its famous 3 crater lakes that present 3 different colours: turquoise, dark green and black.
The colour of the Lakes has changed several times dramatically over the last years because of the high concentrations of minerals inside their waters. Kelimutu means the “Boiling Mountain“, and according to the legend, the souls of those who die at a young age live in the Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai, the largest of the three and that change the colour between turquoise and blue.
Tiwu Ata Polo is where the evil souls rest and it‘s changed the colour between dark green and dark red, whereas the Tiwu Ata Mbupu is the resting place for the elderly souls with its black watercolour.
The path to reach the viewpoint for the sunrise is nothing so challenging, and it takes around 30-40 minutes. When the clouds over the 3 crater lakes disappear pushed by the wind, the view is stunning.
Back to the car, we continue our trip toward Maumere passing through the Sikka village, famous for its traditional ikat-weaving and the old church dating from the end of 19 century and having a stop on the marvellous and wild Koka Beach.
My tour on Flores Island is almost done. I’m ready to catch the flight from Maumere to Bali is waiting for me. It was a fantastic trip, and without a doubt, during a tour around Indonesia, it’s worth visiting this beautiful island and its incredible wonders.
Need to Know about Flores Island
1) When to go
The best time to visit Flores Island is from May to October during the dry season. There’s a strong wind that blows from Australia, keeping humidity levels low and making outdoor activities more bearable. I had my trip in August and crossing the mountain in the centre of Flores I bumped into short rains. The rainy season is from December to March, and humidity is high. The showers are short, but intense so you won’t have to spend the whole day inside.
2) How to plan the tour
I arranged my trip a few months in advance looking for a local agency on the web. After contacting some of them, I chose Komodo Blessing Adventure. The owner, Mr. Maxi, was always punctual and accurate in his answer. Of course, also very patient because I’m demanding when I arrange my trips. I spent 3 days around Komodo National Park, then 5 days through Flores Island.
Other tour operators that I found in Labuan Bajo:
If you have time and you decide to make the trip on your own, you can catch the local buses or rent a car.
Bus: You can book a spot on a local or tourist bus with most tour agencies and hotels on the island. Anyway, it takes time to get to the main attractions compared with a private car with a driver.
Rental car: I could see that the roads aren’t in the best condition. There are also a lot of hills, curvy mountain roads, and sharp corners, and the locals are known for driving fast. Last but not least, is the most expensive option.
2) Where to sleep
This is the list of the accommodations where I slept:
Do you need accommodation on Flores Island?