Flores Island, located in the eastern Indonesian archipelago, is mostly well-known for Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site where you can meet the famous giant dragons in the wild. After I visited the beautiful islands of Komodo NP with its stunning sea plenty of tropical fish, I decided to explore the interior of Flores island. Rented a car and a guide-driver through a local tourist agency in Labuan Bajo (the base for all the activities in the Komodo NP) I went through extraordinary landscapes, mist covered mountain and tropical jungle, rice terraces, local markets, traditional villages with amazing people and dormant volcanoes.
My 5 days – 4 nights trip:
1° day : Labuan Bajo – Denge Village – Wae Rebo Village.
Starting from Labuan Bajo, driving south and stopping by to take some pics every now and then throughout amazing landscape and small villages, we reach after 5 hours the village of Denge. It’s the starting of the trek to reach Wae Rebo village. It is located at 1100 meters above the sea level and the only remaining authentic character of Manggaraian traditional house 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 height and contained of 5 floors with a conic shape. Each of them hosts more than one family. The trekking through the dense forest is a bit challenging in some points and it takes 1.30 to 2 hrs. After the welcoming meeting with the chief of the village, I stroll around the village until i reach a hill with a wonderful view on Wae Rebo, then I have a dinner and my night rest in a traditional house with other 20 tourists (entrance in Wae Rebo Village Rp.225.000 x night- all included).
2° day: Wae Rebo – Ruteng
After the breakfast, we descent from the village to Denge where we go on with our trip. We stop at Cancar village viewpoint to see the Spider web Rice Field. The colorful 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 beautiful unique shape that looks like a giant spider web. After climbing the 100 mt. high hill and enjoyed 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 4km from Ruteng, one of the most popular places to see the traditional compang, a round, stone platform surrounded by a circle of stones and traditional houses, and at the colorful local market with its many stalls selling fruit, vegetables and any kind of food.
3°day: Ruteng – Bajawa
After passing by the Tepo Rakot area with its colorful 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, a 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 interesting distillation process of the local alcoholic called arak and made from palm trees, then with the visit of Bena Village. Located in Ngada district on a hill top facing the Mount Inerie, where according to a local legend the God of Bajawa tribe were enthroned to protect them, consists of two rows of 40 centuries old houses covered with grass. In the middle of the village, there’s a 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 were 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 colorful stalls, 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 the trekking in the area but above all for the visit of the stunning Mount Kelimutu.
5°day: Moni – Maumere
At 4 am we are ready to climb up the Mount Kelimutu, located at 1600 meters and known for its famous 3 color crater lakes: turquoise, dark green and black. The colors of the Lakes have changed several times dramatically over the last years because of the minerals inside their water. Kelimutu means ‘’boiling Mountain’’ and according to the legend, the souls of those who died at a young age live in the Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai , the largest of the three and that change the color between turquoise and blue; In Tiwu Ata Polo is where the bewitched souls rest and it ‘s changed the color between dark green and dark red, whereas the Tiwu Ata Mbupu is the resting place for the elderly souls with its black water color. The path to reach the viewpoint for the sunrise is nothing so challanging and it takes around 30-40 minutes. When the clouds on the 3 crater lakes disappear pushed by the wind, the view is really 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 for relaxing on the wonderful Koka Beach. My time in Flores Island is almost done, in the early afternoon the flight from Maumere to Bali is waiting for me. It was an amazing trip and with no doubt, during a tour around Indonesia, it’s worth visiting this beautiful island and its incredible wonders.
Check the link below and you’ll find all the information about Komodo NP and some tour operators that you can contact to arrange your trip around Flores (remember to haggle the price). You can also arrange your trip once in Labuan Bajo, the main street is plenty of local tourist agencies. Link: https://www.travelwithbrothers.com/tips-komodo/
Video of Indonesia: https://www.travelwithbrothers.com/indonesia-videos/