Flores. Most of you probably never heard about this island. It is an island in East Nusa Tenggara, a province on the eastern part of Indonesia. There are hundreds of smaller islands surrounding Flores, and most of them are uninhabited. Since a decade ago, more tourists from all over the world started coming in to enjoy the beauty of the islands. The sea, the land, the culture, the mountains, you name it. My family and I were so excited that we finally made it there after 9 months long of waiting. Now that we went there, I can tell you first hand why you must visit Flores now.
6 Reasons Why You Must Visit Flores Now
- Flores is the island of the Komodo dragon
You are most likely seen Komodo dragon countlessly through social media, television network, or magazines. But do you know that the only places on earth where you can see them in their natural habitat is in Flores? There are 4 smaller islands around Flores inhabited by the Komodo dragons: Komodo Island, Rinca Island, Gili Montang, and Gili Dasami. Komodo National Parks are in those islands and you must go with the ranger – all the time – when you visit them in their habitat. My husband said visiting the Komodo dragons in their habitat is the highlight of our six weeks holiday in Indonesia. It’s once in a life time experience.
- Flores’ beautiful islands
Flores is surrounding by hundreds of beautiful islands, and most of them are uninhabited with unspoiled beaches and stunning view from the hill. You must do island hopping to enjoy them. You can rent a boat for a day or live on board for one, two, or more nights. Sunset is also spectacular either seen from the top of the hill, the beach, or the boat. My family spent 3 days and 2 nights on the boat and really wished we could stay longer.
- Flores has an amazing underwater life
Either snorkel or dive, you will pamper with the amazing underwater life of Flores. Colorful, different sizes of corals and fish are abundant. Diving or snorkeling to see Manta Ray is the most favorite thing to do, besides looking for sea turtles. Not to mention sea stars covering the bottom of the sea-shore. Heaven for both divers and non-divers.
- Flores’ Traditional Villages
In central Flores, you will see traditional villages where you can even spend a night in their traditional house. Keep in mind, you will spend hours on beat-up road to reach the villages, but beautiful rice fields and lush green jungle will be your view along the way. Part of central Flores reminded me of my childhood. (I was born and grew up in Sumatra, an island on the western part of Indonesia).
- Flores is home of the three colorful crater lakes
Located in the east part of Flores, Mt. Kelimutu is a volcano famous for its three colorful crater lakes: green, blue, and black. It is best seen at sunrise or sunset. But sometimes the craters covered by fogs, so you won’t be able to see the lakes after you wake up at 3.30 a.m. and hike to the top. Moni, the small town below the volcano, is also a good place for buying Flores’ ikat weaving.
- Flores is still away from the crowds
Finally! Though number of tourists came to this island is getting higher every year, I would say the island is still far from crowds. We didn’t see too many people whenever we went to places of interests, except at the volcano and the village. And it was during summer vacation! If you’re tired with the crowds and are looking for new adventures in Indonesia, Flores is a great alternative to Bali and Lombok.
Of course, my childhood friend will add another reason: because that’s where I came from.
How to get to Flores
- If you fly from Jakarta, there’s a choice of nonstop or connecting flight daily to Labuan Bajo, the hub to Komodo Islands. That’s where we started. We flew with Garuda, nonstop from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo for about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
- When you’re already in Bali or Lombok, there are more choices of airlines and times to go to Labuan Bajo.
- For a budget traveler, you can take a combination of ferry and bus from Bali. It takes two days though.