Destination Uncovered | Flores Island
Flores is probably the most well known island out of all of Nusa Tenggara Timor. You may have heard about it in relation to:
Komodo Dragons - the largest lizard on earth with a deadly bite to match
Home Floresiensis - a sub-species of humans found in 2003
Kelimutu Crater Lakes - mysterious crater lakes of changing colour
But, Flores is so much more than just these three already uniquely astounding points of interest. Flores is an island that spans more than 350 by 60 kilometers and this is it broken down East to West.
Labuan Bajo and Komodo National Park
Labuan Bajo is the best stepping off point to Flores Island; with flights from Jakarta and Bali only. Travellers from all around Indonesia and the rest of the world come out to see the Komodo dragons, which ironically live mostly on neighbouring island called Rinca. Divers come to Labuan Bajo to dive some of the strongest currents in the world. Dive sites are rich with coral and marine life big and small. Needless to say, this is a "must do" for a lot of people.
Wae Rebo is iconic Flores. In the last 10 years, Wae Rebo village went from seeing less than ten foreigners a year to more than 1,000. Just like other indigenous populations, the Manggarai people of Wae Rebo have gone through unprecedented change due to this influx. But is it for the better or will this once remote place go in the same direction as Boracay and Maya Beach? From Chickenfeet's point of view, as long as visitors are respectful and mindful of our 21st century inventions and we tread lightly when visiting, Wae Rebo can be preserved for its historical and cultural value while growing sustainably with changing world.
Cancar Spider web rice fields
Named for its shape and appearance, Cancar Rice Fields are not to be missed. It was created by one farmer who had a vision and is a collaboration within the whole village. Cancar is nestled amongst hills which makes for easy panoramic views and it is much larger that you would expect.
Bajawa, the ngada tribe and its villages
Bajawa is unexpected. You know when you are close to Bajawa because Mt. Inerie, a perfect conical volcano will be looming in the background. For those up for a challenge, it is a gruelling 3hours trek up in the middle of the morning for picture perfect views of sunrise. But that is not all, the Ngada people who are mostly found in Bajawa, still live in their traditional homes. Bena Village is the most famous and well kept village to visit. It is not complete without a guided tour with full explanations about history, culture, and practices. Aimere is another Ngada village, known for its arak distillery. There are about 10 different villages to visit, each with its only differences and stories.
Indonesia never ceases to surprise and amaze with its landscapes and Riung Islands is no exception. Riung Islands consists of more than 20 islands which have great snorkelling spots, white sand beaches, fruit bats, and endless coconuts!
Moni and Kelimutu Crater Lakes
Kelimutu Crater Lakes is yet another geological anomaly in Indonesia; famous because the three lakes adjacent to one another are all different colours and year to year, they sometimes change colours. The lakes have been black, red, turquoise, blue, brown, white, green and are ever changing. To access Kelimutu, you need to stay in Moni and don't forget to pick up handmade sarong with its unique motif.
Maumere is great start/end point on your mission across Flores, east to west or vice versa. If you are a diver, it is a growing muck diving spot and if you love textiles and culture, explore some of the Ikat weavers of Watublapi.
Larantuka is the most eastern city on Flores Island, best to pass through only if you are going to Lembata Island. But if you are interested in religious history, Larantuka is the only place to see a traditional Portuguese Easter Procession.