Sky blue and dark blue crater lakes at Kelimutu in Flores

Flores, Indonesia – 14 Things to Do, Food & More

This post was last updated on July 7th, 2020 at 11:06 am


Flores is one of the lesser-known islands of Indonesia, but it’s definitely worth a visit. The island is a lot less touristy than, for example, Bali or Sumatra. For those looking for complete relaxation and beautiful natural phenomena, Flores is the ideal destination.

 

Akisoto on Flores

We came to Flores because we went on a boat trip between Lombok and Flores (recommended). Our first impression of Flores was not that great. We arrived in Labuan Bajo, which was even a bit disappointing.

 

However, that quickly changed when we rented a scooter and explored the area.

 

Flores has stolen our hearts with deserted beaches, unspoiled nature, super friendly people, and a beautiful interior. Because it is so far off the beaten path for most travelers, it is much less crowded here than islands such as Lombok or Sulawesi.

 

And that is precisely the charm of this beautiful island.

 

Our Tip – Check out our blog about our boat trip from Lombok to Flores.

 

 

Yellow fields and green hills on Flores Island
Yellow fields on Flores

 

Gateway to Flores: Labuan Bajo

We have to be honest; Labuan Bajo is not going to win any prize when it comes to beautiful cities in Indonesia. However, it is one of the nicest places in Flores. You can dive and snorkel along its impressive coastline.

 

In addition, the Komodo National Park is located on the “other side” of this city.

 

Labuan Bajo has not yet been taken over by tourism. It is the gateway to Flores because many travelers arrive here by boat or plane.

 

Our Tip – Want to know more about the city? Check out our Labuan Bajo page.

 

14 Fun Things to Do in Flores

Flores is rapidly changing into a haven for those looking to escape the busy tourist scene in Indonesia. With its beautiful interior, deserted beaches, and various sights, Flores has a lot to offer.

 

These are the 10 things you have to do in Flores.

 

1. Spotting Komodo Dragons

If you want to get a glimpse of a living dragon, you should definitely visit Komodo National Park. They are not real dragons of course, but the famous Komodo dragons are still an impressive sight.

 

A trip to Flores is not complete without seeing these huge reptiles in their natural environment in Komodo National Park. They only live in a few places around the world so this is your chance!

 

It is a fascinating experience and interesting to see how these animals live. If you are lucky you will see monitor lizards, although they are hardly ever seen. At the Komodo National Park, you can also find the Rinca Islands, with ranger stations, and where you will find beautiful nature and beaches.

 

Our Tip – Want to know more? Check out our Komodo National Park page.

 

Komodo Dragon on a beach on Komodo Island with blue ocean in the background

 

2. Go to the Water Cave at Rangko Bay

This whole experience was quite off the beaten track! But because we love traveling, we had to visit this water cave. No tour operators go there, you really have to do this on your own. Time for an adventure! The drive to this cave alone is an adventure. In general, the roads in Flores are very good. Except for the road to the water cave, this is anything but asphalt, but when you drive your scooter carefully, it ‘s not a big problem.

 

In any case, you train your arm muscles, and you are rewarded with the most beautiful views! A win-win situation. From Labuan Bajo, you drive to Rangko Bay to the northwest. Once there, you need to find someone to take you on a boat to the water cave. Hilarious because they are all “chuck chuck” boats. This means they make a loud noise and you have to put your fingers far in your ears to be able to muffle the sound a bit. Anyway, after reading this blog you’ll probably just put earplugs in your bag when you visit the water cave 😉

 

The boat ride is pretty entertaining, especially when the boat experiences some waves. You’ll be on the water for about twenty minutes and then you dock at an uninhabited island. A short trip through forests and a short climb then brings you to the water cave! It is beautiful and the sun reflects on the crystal clear blue water. Time for a dip in the water!

 

Blue water and sunshine at the water cave in Rangko Bay on Flores

 

3. Visit One of the Many Villages

There are many old villages where locals still follow ancient traditions and rituals. You really go back in time here and almost all villages are in a beautiful setting. Most villages can be visited on a tour.

 

Bajawa

Bajawa is a laid-back village at an elevation of 1,100 meters. It is surrounded by volcanoes and is a good base to visit other traditional villages. Mount Inerie is a volcano you can visit. There are also hot springs here.

 

Riung

Riung is a small, remote village surrounded by rice fields, old fishermen’s houses, and coconut trees. The coastline in particular is very impressive. The view here is spectacular. It is very quiet and you will find very few paved roads.

 

Moni

Moni is a picturesque village, surrounded by rice fields, situated at the foot of impressive volcanoes. The village has a nice view of the sea. In the evening there’s a beautiful starry sky here. It is near Kelimutu.

 

Wae Rebo

On Flores, you witness authentic Indonesia, with small traditional villages all over the island where they have little knowledge of modern life. By far the most interesting village is the remote Wae Rebo. This tiny settlement consists of seven traditional huts and is hidden in the mountains. Life is primitive and simple as if time stood still.

 

You can only get there on foot and you have to travel a long steep road through the jungle. During this four-hour hike, you will pass through thick rainforest, past beautiful viewpoints, and waterfalls. Once at the top, a bright green valley with seven traditional cottages awaits where you will spend the night. An unforgettable adventure.

 

Traditional Houses with animals in Wae Rebo Village

 

Our Tip – There are several tours to Wae Rebo to book, varying in number of days. A 3-day tour costs approximately 2,900,000 IDR p.p. (~ US$197) for a group of 4 people. Check out Discover Indonesia for more info.

 

4. Go Diving and/or Snorkeling

Flores, and in particular Labuan Bajo, are known for great diving and snorkeling spots. The underwater world is really impressive. You will find coral reefs full of color and life, where sharks, large schools of fish, and manta rays live.

 

It will come as no surprise that many travelers come here to dive.

 

Komodo National Park is also known for its beautiful underwater world. Getting your PADI costs around US$365 p.p.

 

Manta Ray in blue water with coral on the seafloor - Snorkeling in Flores

 

5. Hike to Kelimutu Volcano

Kelimutu volcano is located in the middle of Flores. The three crater lakes at Kelimutu are very impressive to see. These lakes change color regularly. The lakes keep changing between black, green, and red.

 

To this day, researchers have not yet figured out how the water completely changes color so often.

 

Kelimutu is located in the Kelimutu National Park. You can easily reach this park with a rental car or taxi. It is very impressive to visit the top of the volcano. You can take a tour with a guide or go out there by yourself.

 

Our Tip – You can read more about this volcano on our Kelimutu page.

 

Brown and blue lake at Kelimutu crater in Flores
The different colored lakes at Kelimutu

 

6. Book a Tour to 17 Islands Marine Park

On the north coast of Flores lies one of the best-kept secrets of Indonesia. 17 Islands Marine Park is a beautiful “park” with, as the name suggests, 17 beautiful islands.

 

It is ideal for a day of snorkeling in crystal clear turquoise water or relaxing on pristine white sand beaches on uninhabited islands.

 

Hire a local guide, who knows the best snorkeling spots, prepares a delicious lunch and you will have the time of your life!

 

7. Explore Beautiful Rice Fields

Everyone knows the rice fields of Ubud or Sapa (don’t forget Banaue!), But the rice fields in Flores are perhaps just as special! Here, you will find rice fields in different shades of green, all of which are located in the interior region of Flores.

 

The rice fields are spread all over the island, so unfortunately there is no one place to go. The best way to admire them is to rent a scooter and drive around.

 

Renting a scooter in Labuan Bajo costs about 50,000 IDR per day (~ US$3.40).

 

8. Visit Padar Island

Komodo Island is the island to visit around Flores, but a trip to Padar Island is also worthwhile. This island is perhaps even more beautiful, and more important; the view from the other islands around Padar is really beautiful.

 

It’s easy to get to Padar Island from neighboring Labuan Bajo. On the island, you will find a number of routes that you can walk. It is an ideal day trip from Labuan Bajo. In the morning you can hike around the island when it is nice and cool (don’t forget the viewpoint!) And in the afternoon when it gets warmer, you can go to the beach to rest or swim.

 

Various tours can be booked to visit this island. Unfortunately, you can’t go to the island yourself unless you have your own boat. If you book the boat trip from Lombok to Flores you will already visit this island and you do not have to book a separate tour.

 

Count on about 650,000 IDR p.p (~ US$44) for a day tour (incl. Komodo Island) with a group.

 

Green hills and bay of Padar Island near the Komodo National Park
Padar island is very beautiful

 

9. Swim in Sano Nggoang Lake

Flores is an island with picturesque lakes and one of the deepest lakes is Sano Nggoang, with a depth of 500 meters. Many visitors choose to visit the lake as part of a day trip and you can hike to the area through a section of the beautiful forest.

 

You will also find a number of hot springs spread out along the way. Here you can stop for a dip in the warm water which is said to have medicinal properties.

 

The lake is about 35 kilometers from Labuan Bajo, so you can go there by scooter.

 

10. Snorkeling at Kanawa Island

Kanawa Island is located off the coast of Labuan Bajo. It is a kind of underwater paradise if you like diving. It is a popular spot for divers and snorkelers. The water here is teeming with life and colorful coral.

 

If you go underwater you have a good chance to spot turtles, rays, and sharks.

 

The island is perfect for anyone who wants to get away from the crowds and enjoy a remote and unspoiled island. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful islands in Indonesia.

 

White sandy beach with a clear blue ocean at Kanawa Island
Kanawa Island is the perfect place to relax

 

11. Explore the Surroundings of Labuan Bajo

If you don’t have that much time in Flores, but still want to see some things, rent a scooter. With a scooter, you can quickly (and cheaply) see a lot of the area, and there is quite a lot to see. Around Labuan Bajo are caves, deserted beaches, unspoiled bays, and beautiful fields.

 

It’s really worth just touring around!

 

The Love Hill

The Love Hill lies just outside Labuan Bajo and travelers and locals flock here for the sunsets. From the top of Love Hill you can see tropical forests, hills, and the azure waters of Flores.

 

If you visit Labuan Bajo, a visit to Love Hill is definitely recommended!

 

Our Tip – Renting a scooter in Labuan Bajo costs about 50,000 IDR per day (~ US$3.40)

 

Green hills and a clear ocean at Labuan Bajo

 

12. Explore Koka Beach

Exploring the totally non-touristy Flores on your scooter is definitely recommended. Stop along the way at deserted beaches, nice villages, and beautiful viewpoints; all the ingredients for a beautiful scooter ride. One of these nice places where you can stop is Koka Beach. From Maumere you can reach this beautiful beach in less than an hour and a half. The great thing about this beach is that you are probably (almost) alone here. The beach is stunning with beautiful rocks and you can also enjoy snorkeling here.

 

13. Visit the Pemana islands

Flores is blessed with beautiful sandy beaches that you will often have to yourself. In addition, there are countless tiny islands around Flores, where you can relax. A few kilometers north of the harbor town of Maumere, for example, are the Pemana Islands, an idyllic island group where you can snorkel and dive.

 

Pulau Besar is the main island, with some places to stay and small villages. The nearby islands of Pulau Babi and Pemana Kecil have extensive sandy beaches, beautiful bays, and an amazingly beautiful coral reef where you can snorkel for hours.

 

14. Admire the Spider Rice Fields

There’s a great spot to visit with a scooter on Flores. In the direction of the town of Cancar, west of Ruteng, there are beautiful “spider-fields”. These rice fields with their round spider web structure are very unique! Every family in the community has the right to work on a specific piece of land.

 

The best view is from above. It takes a while to find the right hill. Again you pay a very small price to enjoy the view. The rice is harvested twice a year. There are both young and old locals helping in the rice fields. It is hard work and the yield is low.

 

Spider web ricefields at Meler village on flores

 

Green and lush rice fields on Flores in a spiderweb structure

 

Food & Drinks

In Labuan Bajo, you will find everything you need: ten very good and nice restaurants, bars, supermarkets, and a wonderful spot where you can drink a decent cup of coffee with air conditioning (yes, you will need it!). There is one large main street and behind it some smaller streets and the harbor. As for the food and drinks: we tried a lot of them and they were all finger-licking good!

 

To start your day well, kick it off at Happy Banana. Here, you really have to try the homemade bircher muesli. You can also go here for dinner, delicious sushi! Really in all shapes and sizes, surrounded by wonderful jazz music and cool air conditioning. Le Pirate is also a nice and cozy place to sit, they have comfortable couches and tasty dishes from all over the world. They also hold a movie night once a week which is great! On the roof terrace under the stars with a cold Bintang in your hand watching a movie, what’s not to like?

 

There are two delicious Italian restaurants. La Cucina is located in the main street of Labuan Bajo and is a small, cozy restaurant with chef Luigi and four-dollar pizzas. And there is “Made in Italy” where you can dine romantically with an amazing menu. Prices are higher here, but the whole experience is well worth everything!

 

View of the ocean while eating a local Indonesian dish in a restaurant in Labuan Bajo
Lunch with an amazing view!

 

Accommodations in Flores

There are plenty of hotels and guesthouses in Flores. You can easily arrange a guesthouse on the spot, but you can also find more and more online. You can already get a room for a few dollars. The vast majority is very simple, but the hospitality is generally super. Do you want something more luxurious? Then there are also a number of excellent mid-range hotels, for which you do not pay that much.

 

Here are some of our recommendations for different types of budget:

 

 

How to Get to Flores

Flores is an island so you can get there in two ways, by boat, and by plane. Both options have advantages and disadvantages.

 

By Plane

The easiest and fastest way to get to Flores is to fly to Labuan Bajo. Some places from where you can fly to Labuan Bajo are Jakarta, Denpasar, and Kupang. Some international flights also arrive here.

 

Our Tip – A one-way ticket Denpasar – Labuan Bajo costs less than US$55.

 

By Boat

A boat is also an option but not an easy one. Boats only leave a few times a week and are often overcrowded. In addition, it is an uncomfortable journey.

 

Transport on Flores

On Flores itself, a rental car with a driver is the most popular mode of transport, because buses run irregularly and are often overcrowded. Alternatively, you can also rent a scooter or motorbike, which allows you to discover the island at your own pace.

 

Boat Trip Lombok – Flores

A fun way is to take the boat from Lombok to Flores. You are then three nights, four days on the boat, and sail along beautiful islands. The environment here is impressively beautiful and it is a boat trip that you will never forget!

 

It comes with a price, but you get so much in return!

 

Our Tip – Check out our blog post: boat trip Lombok to Flores.

 

Best Time to Visit Flores

Indonesia has two different seasons: a dry season and a wet season. Flores is located on the easternmost side of Indonesia, which means it has a long dry season that runs from April to October.

 

The rainy season usually runs from December to March.

 

The best time to visit Flores and Komodo Island is from May to October, during the dry season. The best months for diving are June and July. The sea temperature is suitable for swimming all year round.

 

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