A GLIMPSE ABOUT FLORES
Flores offer infinite nature, culture, and adventure exploration for your holiday. Trips can arranged for three days, one week or even ten days depending on your available time.
The tour rate usually includes accommodation, meals, coach transfer, entrance fees, guides, refreshment and drinks; whereas return flight, airport taxes, porters, snorkeling/diving/ camera fees, and other personal expenses are the visitor’s responsibility. Tipping is welcome as an appreciation of services you receive.
Visiting Flores is an adventure, so leave behind any expectations of high-end accommodation, sophisticated restaurants, and modern shopping malls or transportation, as these are all usually very basic. However, don’t let this stop you from exploring the island.
Location: Indonesia (Part of Lesser Sunda Islands)
Population (as 2014): 1,994,213
Official Language: Bahasa Indonesia
Largest Town: Maumere
Temperature: 25° – 34° Celcius (temperature might drop to 12° Celcius in highlands)
Best Time To Visit: May – Augustus
HOW TO GET THERE
Until not so long ago. Flores was hardly penetrable because of the chain of volcanoes that stretches across the 450km long but narrow island. Labuan bajo in the west, Ende and Maumere in the east are the three main gateways for tourist visiting Flores. Those place have air port with daily flights to and from Denpasar, Bali.
The easiest and fastest way to reach Flores are daily flights from Denpasar to Labua Bajo (90 minutes, +30 minutes to Ende), or Maumere (2 hours). Depending on the weather, you may enjoy a spectacular view of the NTB (Nusa Tenggara Barat) and NTT (Nusa Tenggara Timur) island groups. Unfortunately changes in schedule, prices, and operating airlines are the order of the day. The most precise information about the current flight connections is best obtained via the websites of the operating airlines, at Bali Ngurah Rai Airport, or at the local travel airline agencies in Flores. Garuda Indonesia, Wings Air, Transnusa, Sriwijaya/ Nam Air and Kalstar aviation are the operating airlines to/from Flores.
If you are up to different, more time intensive, travel experience, you can choose to take a PELNI (national ship passenger service) boat from Benoa Harbor in Bali to Labuan Bajo (about 36 hrs), which operates three times a month. There are also monthly PELNI boats from Benoa to Ende (about 2 days 3 hrs). Maumere (about 3 days 5 hrs), and Larantuka (about 3 days 11 hrs). The timetables are unreliable and depend on the season. For updated information and ticket reservation, visit the website www.pelni.co.id, or contact the PELNI office in Kuta, Bali (Jalan Raya Kuta 299, +62 (0)361 763963 or in Benoa, Bali (Jalan Pelabuhan Benoa, +62 (0)361 723689.
WHEN TO GO
Each season in Flores has its charms. However, it is more comfortable to travel the island in the dry season from mid-April to the end of October. As some roads can be impassable due to ongoing heavy rains, you might not be able to reach remote destination. Please consider making advanced bookings during the dry season, especially when planning to stay in Labuan Bajo which gets pretty crowded. If you plan to intense trekking, you should definitely choose the visit Flores in the dry season, as hours of walking in the pouring rain will be more of pain than a pleasure. Even though Flores is tropical island, it is highly advisable to bring some warm clothes (jacket, sweater, etc) and appropriate foot wear for your journeys to the mountainous regions around Ruteng, Bajawa and Kelimutu.
Flores will entangle you with its impressive landscape and unique cultural features. Be aware though that it takes time to explore the hidden treasures that are spread over this 450km long beautiful island. As the roads are often steep, curvy, and in a mediocre condition, you will rarely go faster than 30 km/h. in addition, the island’s pace of life is generally slower than your usual rhythm. Thus, traveling in Flores requires some patience and some time to adjust.
ABOUT ‘TRANS FLORES HIGHWAY
The so-called ‘Trans Flores highway’ is the main road that connects Flores from west to east. Starting Labuan Bajo and ending to Larantuka, this 700 km long road twists and tumbles across the island. This route never get boring: it leads you to waterfalls, crosses mountains, and passes traditional villages. For more remote natural and cultural exploration, the Trans Flores highway offers you a good starting point for taking side roads into undiscovered areas.
BIKE & CAR RENTAL
Alternative to public transport, hiring a car with an experienced driver gives you the flexibility to stop wherever you want. Most of the cars are privately owned, and the sector does not offer international standard tourism services yet. A small number of tour operators have their own cars. So far, no cars are rented for self-driving. A motorbike is a good option for traveling around Flores as well, since some of the remote areas can only be reached by this means of transport. However, longer distances are for experienced drivers only as the roads are sometimes in a terrible condition. Motorbikes can be rented in the district capitals. Do not forget to bring an international driving license with you to rent a car or motorbike.
Within the district capitals and large towns it is quite easy and cheap to cover short distances by hopping on off Bemo (minibuses). The ojek, motorbike taxi often offered by young men who want to make an extra income, is another option for shorter distance. As it is quite popular to work as an ojek driver, you will also find these young chauffeurs in more remote places, of course the price is negotiable. For long distances, you may choose to ride on one of the many buses and trucks that bring their passengers from one town to another. It is advisable to reserve a seat in advance (preferably the front row so it will be less bumpy) at a local travel agent because the buses can get crowded. The mostly depart and arrive via public bus stations. Exact time schedules are not available, and buses will only depart once all seats are occupied.
The visa requirements depend on the length of your stay and on your home country’s regulations. Indonesian visa requirements are prone to changes. Thus, it is important to check the respective requirements at the Indonesian embassy or consulate in your home country before you start on your journey. If you want to extend your visa in Flores, you can visit the immigration office in Labuan Bajo or Maumere.
In Flores only Indonesia rupiah (IDR) is accepted for cash payments. in general, the payment in Flores is cash based. Money transfers are not usually possible, as using international accounts is not common yet. There are ATMs in the district capitals which depending on the Bank accepted credit cards ( Mastercard/visa) where you can get cash. The Bank also will change your foreign currency into Rupiah. In Labuan Bajo, you also has option to changing your money at local money changers. Be sure to check their exchange rates and fee before the transaction. Travellers cheques are rather difficult to change.
In Flores you will experience a different but probably more exiting kind of shopping beyond your nations malls and supermarkets. There are many small to large local markets where you can find fresh agricultural products, fish, meat, and many other regional products. In the larger towns you can find all kinds of small shops that sell new as well as used clothes, household tools, electronic gadgets etc. Not only will you see a range of familiar or unknown local products, you may also witness a barter transaction, which used to be the traditional way of doing business in Flores.
It definitely pays off to wake up very early if you want to have a complete culinary and cultural experience of a Florenese market. Of all Florenese products, Ikat, cloth which is selling by locally different forms, colors, and styles, is definitely the most meaningful, valuable and unique souvenir. Florenese Ikat is mostly hand woven, and some of the cloth is made out of natural local ingredients – from the cotton to the dyeing agents. Thus, it may take up to three years to produce such magnificence piece of art.
The Florenese people are skilled carvers, too. The most popular product are the Komodo dragons made out of wood which are frequently sold to tourist in Labuan Bajo and Loh Liang the Komodo island. Traditional Florenese coffee is another typical island product that you should not miss. Coffee is grown and produced in most parts of the Flores highlands. Its great taste is well known throughout Indonesia.
Do’s and Don’t
While you are in Flores, you will notice many cultural differences, also in matters of behaviors. Visitors who respect local customs and traditions will find a heart warming hospitality from their Indonesian host and unforgettable travel experience. it is therefore an advantage if you consider some basic cultural Do’s and Don’t for Flores:
♦ Dress Conservatively
Female travellers, it’s highly recommended to dress properly rather conservatively – a shirt covering the shoulders, and a lower body garment to the knees – especially when visiting villages and cultural objects. Unless you are on dive boat or on one of Labuan Bajo beaches or islands frequently visited by tourist, you should wear more than just bikini to swim. Best to bring a fast dry t shirt, a pair of board shorts and sarong to change into if you plan to enjoy Flores remote waters. Please also consider that it is inappropriate fro men and women to change clothes in same place.
♦ Smile A lot
Probably the most important thing is smiling. Smiles is an indicator for friendliness. Visitors who do not respond the smiles or greetings will find it hard to get close to the local people.
♦ Reduce using your Left hand
Use your right hand for bringing food to your mouth as well as to pass on your receive things. Trying avoid passing food, money, shaking hands or touching people with your left hand as it will be considered offensive. Avoid touching men, women or even children’s head as well as this considered offensive.
Komodo National Park is adjust as famous for its currents as it is the dragons that roam topside. It’s thought to be home to some of the most challenging recreational diving in the world.
Here some Do’s and Don’t for diving in currents:
• Do be aware that diving in Komodo National Park is for everyone and sites can be dived in many ways to accommodate all levels of experience.
• Do communicate with your dive guide both on the surface and underwater. If you are uncomfortable or have a problem they needs to know.
• Do relax to maintain a regular breathing pattern.
• Do swim close to the bottom or reef to reduce the strength of the current.
• Do listen to the dive briefing and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
• Do practice good buoyancy control and fining techniques. Courses are available to help you improve that. Don’t fin like crazy against a current. Take a break before you exhaust yourself.
• Don’t stray too far from your buddy or guide in strong current. Risk of separation and other problem can increase.
• Don’t choose your dive operator based on price alone. Safety and experience should be at the top on your list when choosing an operator.
• Don’t forget the most amazing marine life can be seen in current, such as manta! Relax and enjoy the show.
• Happy diving.