Here's where Flores is on the map
Video Guide: Exploring Flores
Named by the Portuguese as the ‘Island of Flowers’, Flores is one of the most beautiful islands in Indonesia. Among the highlights of Flores are the famed Komodo Dragon, the striking vistas of Padar Island and the three colored lakes of Kelimutu that emerge in the early morning sunshine. It’s easy to loose yourself for days as you explore the island. To help you do just that, here is Skyscanner’s video guide to discovering Flores.
Let Your Breath Be Taken Away by The Views of Padar Island
It is hard to do justice to the beautiful vistas you will see when you visit the island of Padar. It’s a 15-minute trek from the sandy beach, where your boat will berth, to the viewpoint at the top of the island’s rugged peaks. Once at the top you have a panoramic view that stretches to the horizon. Islands shimmer in the distance and the deep blue waters of the Flores Sea roll gently below you against the three colored beaches of Padar (one beach has yellow sand, one black sand and one pink sand). The best time to visit Padar Island is for sunrise.
Search for the Komodo Dragon on Komodo Island
Many tourists who come to Flores come to see the Komodo Dragons, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, that inhabit the islands of the Komodo National Park. A visit to Komodo is an opportunity to come face to face with the dragons. Led by a ranger you can trek through the woodland keeping a careful eye out for the giant reptiles. Arrive in the early afternoon for the best chance of meeting a komodo dragon resting lazily in the shade. It’s a great photo opportunity.
Discover The Wonder of The Pink Beach
After a hot hike around Komodo Island to visit the dragons you feel like you need a rest. A perfect way to unwind and cool down is on a visit to the famous Pink Beach on Komodo. The beach gets its name because of the red coral that gives the sand its distinctive hue. Yet while the beach enchants many tourists, it’s the coral reef teeming with fish that is the real highlight of the visit. Make sure to stay close to the shore though if you are not a confident swimmer as there is a strong current out of the bay.
Escape to Kanawa Island
Just a short boat ride away from Labuan Bajo is the resort island of Kanawa. It’s the perfect stopover on the return journey to port. A painted wooden pier juts out past the reefs into the deep blue sea, behind which sit a row of wooden beach cottages. It’s the idyllic tropical island getaway (a picturesque Robinson Crusoe type setting).
Amelia Sea View
If you want to see what Flores looked like before the crowds arrived you should visit Amelia Sea View. The viewpoint is located a mile or more outside of Labuan Bajo and is for the moment empty of hotel developments that will surely spring up here over the next few years. From Amelia Sea View you see the distinctive rolling hills topped with palm trees and lush tropical grass that characterize this part of Flores. You can easily spend a relaxed afternoon here sitting down and letting your worries drift off with the wind.
Experience the Intense Sunset of Labuan Bajo from Paradise Bar
While Amelia Sea View is a nice place to spend the late afternoon, it is Paradise Bar that offers the best views of sunset. Overlooking Labuan Bajo Bay the bar offers picturesque views as the sunsets turning the sky a deep orange and red. With a beer in your hand, completely optional of course, and the sound of a live band the bar is a great way to end an action packed day.
Explore the Batu Cermin Cave
On the outskirts of the town of Labuan Bajo is Batu Cermin Cave. The cave, known as ‘Mirror Rock’ in the local language, is located in a natural canyon. To reach the Batu Cermin you need to put on a hard hat and crawl through a series of tunnels that eventually open up into larger caves. If you visit the caves between 9-11 am on a sunny day the crystals in the rock reflect the sunlight. It’s a striking sight.
Rangko Cave Adventure
Rangko Cave is one of the less well-known tourism highlights of Flores. To reach the caves you need to drive for one-hour outside of Labuan Bajo to an isolated fishing village. From the fishing village you then need to rent a boat to take you up the coast to a deserted beach. Yet the journey it is all worth it when you finally arrive at Rangko Cave and descend down a ladder into a sunken lake. Try to arrive at around 1 pm when the sun lights up the waters in the cave.
Take a Dip at Cunca Rami Waterfall
As you head into the interior of Flores and leave Labuan Bajo behind you will enter the highlands of Flores. The region is famous for its rolling hills, deep valleys and cascading waterfalls. One of the most memorable waterfalls that you can visit is Cunca Rami. The waterfall is located in an isolated valley that can only be reached by following a rutted muddy track the cuts through the jungle. Even before you arrive the trip feels like an expedition with David Attenborough. It’s a real adventure and at the end you are rewarded with the chance to swim in the crystal clear waters below the falls.
Sunrise at Kelimutu Lake
The crater lakes of Kelimutu are one of the wonders of Flores. The three lakes, located just a stone throw from each other, are each different colors. This phenomenon is the result of the unique chemical composition of each lake, and the colour of the lakes change throughout the year. The best time to view the lakes is in the early morning. As the sun rises the lakes slowly emerge from the darkness, the colors of the water changing hues as the sun rises from over the horizon.
Immerse Yourself in the Culture
For centuries the highlands of Flores were largely inaccessible to the outside world. The people who inhabited the region were fiercely independent with a strong sense of cultural identity. Travelling through Flores you have the opportunity to experience this first hand, visiting traditional villages, learning about the local ceremonies and customs. If you’re lucky you may even have the chance to attend a village welcome ceremony and watch the dancers spin to the sound of local tunes.
Learn About Ikat Production at Sikka
Though a dying art in many parts of the world, traditional weaving is considered a form of craftsmanship worth preserving in Flores. The best place to see examples of the carefully woven fabric, known in Indonesian as Ikat, are the village of Sikka in the East of Flores. On a visit to the village you can see the whole process of how Ikat is produced from spinning the cotton, dying the threads through to the intricate weaving. Make sure to also visit the old church, which was constructed when Portugal colonized Flores, in Sikka.
Staying at Coconut Garden Beach Resort
There is no better way to end a trip through a tropical country than at a beautiful beachside resort. The Coconut Garden Beach Resort in Maumere is just the place. The resort is set in expansive grounds with hipster bamboo bungalows that look out to sea set between palm trees overlooking a sandy beach. It’s the perfect way to end your adventure through Flores.
This video guide was written by Firsta of Discover Your Indonesia.