Flores actually means ‘Flowers’, but what awaits you in this island next to Lombok is crystal clear waters thats perfect for diving enthusiasts.
Should you come in the low season, you can have the entire place to yourself.
Compared to Bali and Lombok, Flores can seem a long way to travel in Indonesia, and as such many visitors here don’t make the effort to explore this part of the archipelago. This is a mistake, as Flores offers an array of unique diving opportunities and is also known for its wildlife. Flores is the home of the mighty and fearsome Komodo dragons, so if you want to explore the best of both Indonesian marine and wildlife, then this is the place to visit.
Flores is most famous for its Komodo dragons which are actually large lizards. The dragons reside in Komodo National Park, and you will need a guide to show you around as the saliva of these amazing lizards is toxic. For something a little intense than a trip into the dragon’s den, another hidden gem in Flores is the Kanawa Island, which is said to border one of the most beautiful underwater kingdoms in Indonesia. Certainly if you fancy the opportunity to see rays, sharks, and turtles, then this is not to be missed. Flores is also famous for Mount Kelimutu, which has three stunning crater lakes at the summit, all with a pool that shimmer a different color.
There are several ways to get to Flores depending on your budget, although many of these will rely on your traveling to Lombok first.
You can choose to fly, either directly from Bali or from Lombok. Alternatively, you can also take a bus, which will then board a local ferry before continuing on to your destination in Flores. Finally, there is also the option to simply take a boat directly from Lombok to Flores, which is often the cheapest and easiest option if you are already in Lombok.
International access ATMs are only really available in big towns in Flores, so if you are heading out to any of the islands, or more remote areas, then you really need to make sure you have some cash with you. This is also true of money changers, and as these are limited, you will often not be quoted the best rates. As such it is better to change money before traveling to Flores.
The climate in Lombok is similar to that in Bali and Lombok. The weather is always hot however the seasons are separated into wet and dry seasons. High season lasts from July to August and since accommodation is limited in some areas of Flores, it is prudent to book in advance. Low season runs from October to April and coincides with the rainy season, and if your main purpose is to dive, then this can be a challenging time to visit. Shoulder season is blocked around May, June, or September, and you will find clement weather and fewer visitors during this time.
Getting around Flores will mean using a boat if you want to travel between the different islands. When getting around on land, you can hire a motorbike or car, or try and travel on public transport on one of the local buses, although these can be difficult and confusing to navigate. You can also try using bemo, which are like mini buses.
Flores is a big place, so depending on where you are, food options can vary. In the bigger centers such as the main area of Labuan Bajo, you can expect a wide range of places to eat, from Indonesian warungs (small cafes) to larger restaurants and also some places serving western fare. If you head out to more remote areas or to the many islands, then you can expect fewer choices. Pork and alcohol are both served in Flores in contrast to Lombok where these can be hard to find in Muslim owned establishments.
Although it may look close enough on a map, Flores feels like it is a world away from places like Bali, and the pace of life here is infinitely slower and more relaxed. In the off season, it can feel as if you have wandered off the tourist trail completely, and it is well worth the slight effort that it takes to get here. For anyone who wants to get away from it all and enjoy some of Indonesia’s best national parks and underwater attraction, Flores is highly recommended.