I’m wrapping up my Flores posts to highlight how to travel Flores in the space of a week. Originally I had intended to spend 2 weeks there, but my trip was cut short when I realised I needed extra time to apply for an East Timor visa in Kupang, West Timor.
[The coast of Flores. And the answer to why bus travel takes so long.]
Even at two weeks I thought I was going to be rushing it. My friend Stuart recommends 18 days in Flores. Having finished travelling there I would say that too, but for many of us 2+ weeks would be a luxury.
If you don’t have 2+ weeks you can still see a lot in a week, and in the process see two of the great travel highlights of Indonesia (Komodo and Kelimutu).
For illustration purposes I’ve set Bali as the starting point seeing most visitors to Indonesia do so via Bali. This of course can be done from either direction.
Day 1: Bali to Labuan Bajo
Fly into Labuan Bajo and get a tour boat planned for a 2 day/1 night trip. Here is the boat tour I booked.
Day 2: Labuan Bajo to Komodo National Park
Depart Labuan Bajo for Komodo National Park. View Komodo Dragons, go island hopping and snorkelling coral reefs. Sleep on the boat.
Day 3: Komodo National Park to Labuan Bajo
Another full day exploring Komodo National Park, returning to Labuan Bajo in the afternoon, just in time for another sunset show.
Day 4: Labuan Bajo to Bajawa
Long travel day consisting of ten hours in a bus. Look for the blue Gunung Mas buses when booking a ticket. They are a reasonably spacious minibus and more comfortable than the older Bemo style buses.
Day 5: Bajawa Day Trip
Spend the day touring the area around Bajawa, including visiting some of the traditional villages and visiting a hot spring.
While most towns have since been concreted over there still remains some villages in Flores that have kept their traditional buildings. One of the villages I visited was Bena.
Day 6: Bajawa To Moni
An eight hour bus day to get to Moni. I got the local Bemo bus which made me realise how much better the Gunung Mas bus was, so try and book that one.
Day 7: Moni > Kelimutu National Park > Ende > Home
Get up at ridiculous o’clock and grumble about getting up so early, then realise it was totally worth it when you see the sun rise over crater lakes and mountains.
You will be back in the village of Moni by 9am, so time to pack up and get a bus or private car to Ende (about 2 hours away) and from there fly back to Bali or onward destination in Indonesia.
If the thought of two long bus days has put you off, you could instead fly from Labuan Bajo to Ende and skip the Bajawa section. I would then spend more time in Labuan Bajo, either by opting for a 3 day boat trip or doing some day trips from LB to other beaches.
If you just want to get to one place stay put you could easily spend a week exploring the area around Labuan Bajo.
Flores Travel Resources
Labuan Bajo Hotels: Search for cheap hotels in Labuan Bajo and Flores.
Flights to Labuan Bajo: Compare the cheapest flights with Skyscanner.
World Nomads covers your health and travel belongings. Find why it’s worth getting travel insurance.
Flores Guide Books: Research Flores and Indonesia before you go.
Oh my gosh…these are some sinfully gorgeous pics!
Helen G. Dickerson says
The picture are gorgeous! Beautiful, i hope to visit someday. Thank you for sharing them and letting us see a peek of the tour you had.
I’m curious about Indonesia in general since I’m the kind of person who wishes a beer when they’re banned — like here in the LOS some days. Is alcohol basically a no-no in Indonesia?
James Clark says
It depends where you go in Indonesia as the availability varies as much as the nation. In Jakarta you can find bars serving alcohol. In Bali not only is it readily available but you see be foreigners (cough *Australians* cough) walking around with beers in their hand. Go to regions where it is mostly christian (like the Batak region in Sumatra) and alcohol is also sold. On the other hand in Banda Aceh alcohol is prohibited due to sharia law, though I saw in touristed places beer was secretly sold at the back of the fridge.
Nice little overview… Thanks
I’m heading to Flores with my son in January but we only have 10 days, so it will be a bit rushed but we can’t wait:)
Had a visual fun reading your Flores trip! Please can I ask, if me and my husband want to see Komodo island/Rinca, Pink Beach, Bena village Bajawa, and Spider Rice Terrace, how many days you think we need? and how is the route? Thank you so much in advance;)
Thanks for the post. I had not considered going to Flores but it looks like an easy side trip from Bali.
Thank you for sharing. I’m going back to Indonesia this weekend and have exactly one week – dedicated to Flores!
Your photos make me very excited, looks like such a beautiful spot!
Ramon Andhika says
Hi James, May I know where is that last photo of mountains was taken? Great stuffs and thanks for sharing!
James Clark says
Hi Ramon, yes that is Kelimutu National Park. Thanks!
Ramon Andhika says
Thanks James. Appreciate it!
Hey James! I’m also visiting Flores later this month for one week. It’s kinda hard to find anything about the rates for the transport around the island. Do you still remember how much you paid for the transport with Gudung Mas Bus? Greetings from Nusa Lembongan, Tina
James Clark says
sorry I don’t have! I usually write that kind of information down as well so I’m not sure why I didn’t. I just checked the Travelfish pdf and it says 150,000.
Just added this magical island to my bucket list!
Smell Like Home says
Yess Flores is amazing !!!
We just did a road trip from Bali to Ende by car last year : )
Clarice Zhang says
Hi, it seems like you didn’t go by any tour packages, and that you DIYed the trip yourself. May I know how you got from Labuan Bajo –> Ende / Kelimutu and back? Did you take a flight, bus, or? Please advise!