Beyond Bali: Discover Flores Island
Visitors to Indonesia often overlook Flores Island, but it is actually a wonderful destination located just beyond Bali. The radar screen of island paradises in Indonesia is sweeping wider and eastward beyond the popular island sites on Sumatra, Java, Bali and Lombok.
Flores Has Surf and Turf!
With recent airport upgrades and increased flights to Flores Island’s gateway of Labuan Bajo, this up and coming destination is slowly but surely gaining popularity. Labuan Bajo also serves as the marine gateway to the island home of Komodo National Park, known for the famously fierce Komodo dragon reptiles as well as first class diving spots. Yet it is the untouched natural beauty, diverse cultures and easy accessibility that make overland trips on Flores Island the newest unique island destination in this vast archipelago.
After a boat trip to Komodo, we departed from coastal Labuan Bajo early the next morning to our next destination to the inland town of Ruteng. We made an easy but beautiful cycling trip through the terraced rice fields in blessed isolation from any other tourists. Following our cycling trip, we drove to Aimere, a sleepy coastal fishing village along Flores’ southern coast. Our local guide, Reny, picked us up for the start of a 3-hour trek to our host village for the night: Belaragi.
This isolated village up in the hills is not accessible by car and only recently begun using electricity. A year ago, a government program equipped each of the village’s 21 houses with a small solar panel with enough power for a couple light bulbs. The local tribe of Belaragi welcomed us with a traditional flute concert and the village chief slaughtered a chicken in front of our eyes to make soup. We spent the night in one of the thatched wooden houses with our host family. This was as authentic a home-stay experience as can be had anywhere in the world!
The next morning we descended from the hills by foot and continued by car via Bajawa where we enjoyed the scenery during a half-day trek through mountainous forests and small local villages. Most of the time, there are no other tourists in sight and your clients will feel like they have stepped back decades in time. Converted to Catholicism by Portuguese sea traders, most local villagers still practice a mix of ancient animist beliefs with Catholic practices.
One Volcano, Three Different Lakes
Via the natural hot springs of Soa, we headed to the north of Flores Island to some offshore islands near Riung. The fresh barbeque fish lunch on the beach was unforgettable as were the many fish and turtles we spotted while snorkeling. The next day we headed further east to the mountain town of Moni and Kelimutu National Park. An early morning trek provided us with a memorable sunrise over the incredible Mount Kelimutu volcanic crater and its three lakes of amazingly different colors.
What a way to end this fabulous soft adventure trip to Flores Island and still quickly return to modern civilization (via Ende) with a direct flight on Garuda to Bali. For more information on how to make this trip a once in a lifetime adventure for your clients, please contact us at [email protected].