2020 just feel that it will go by quickly as the pandemic had closed the boarder for us to travel. Soon, a new year will be knocking at our door with new hope, new promises, and new plans. For the travel bugs, a new year comes with new opportunities to travel. This new year, embrace the offbeat locations, be one of the first few to explore a place – be different.
Let’s Plan for 2021
At Doodle Trip, we love to find new places to explore and help you have new experiences. Head out to Flores in Indonesia, the island which is about to become the next big thing in the country. Discover the place, before it becomes a passé.
Flores is an island in Eastern Indonesia, located east of the Komodo Island and Sumbawa and west of Solor Archipelago. It is situated in the Lesser Sunda Island Archipelago of Indonesia. The largest town is Maumere.
The name Flores was given by the Portuguese, which means Cape of Flowers. The island is a treasure of flora and fauna. In fact, the west coast is one of the few places in the world where the Komodo dragon can be found in the wild. You can head to the Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a site.
Most of the population is Catholic here and belong to the Austronesian family.
How to get to Flores
The easiest way to reach Flores is by air. Flores has many airports; the best one to use is the Komodo airport at Labuan Bajo. When you travel from a foreign country, take a flight to Bali and then a connecting flight to the Komodo airport. It takes about 1 hour 30 minutes to reach Labuan Bajo from Bali. You can also fly from the Lombok International Airport of Kupang/Timor’s airport, but the flight times will be longer.
Well, if you want a different kind of experience, take a boat to Labuan Bajo. Labuan Bajo has a centrally located port from where everything is just a 5 to 10 minutes’ walk. Speed boats are available between Sape and Labuan Bajo three to four times a week. A car ferry also runs between Labuan Bajo and Bira. It leaves Labuan Bajo on Tuesdays and leaves Bira on Sundays.
It is also possible to reach Labuan Bajo by bus, but the travel time is high. Buses are available from the centre of the town, near the school. If you are entering Labuan Bajo by bus, the bus driver will drop you where ever you are staying.
Places to see in and around Flores
When you are in Flores, there will not be a moment that will make you feel bored, we can guarantee that. Nature has unleashed its creativity at every nook and corner of Flores. While there are loads and loads of things to see, here are a few that should be on your must-do list:
You must have heard of pink pearl, but have you heard of a pink beach? That’s exactly what you can see here on Padre Island. The pink beach, which gets its color from corals, is worth spending some serious quality time. You can go snorkeling to explore the underwater life as well. The view from the top of the Padre Island hike is considered to be one of the most amazing in the world. Padre Island is the third largest landmass in the Komodo National Park, located between Komodo and Rinca Island. The hike is worth the trouble, which is definitely not much actually. You can see seven beaches from the tip.
If you are a photographer, this is your heaven. Compose the shot of your lifetime – sunrise or sunset and the pink beach.
Wae Rebo Village
A blast from the past, this old Manggaraian village will give you an experience of the Manggaraian way of life. Explore the unique Manggaraian culture, reflected truly in the bar Niang – traditional circular houses with cone-shaped thatches.
The village is tucked away in the safe corner of a dense forest. You will have to take a three-hour hike through the dense forests to reach Wae Rebo. The travel is definitely a hike lover’s dream come true.
Wae Robo not only exposes you to a distinctive culture, it is a nature lover’s paradise with unusual vegetation and orchids, palms, various species of ferns and the continuous chirping of birds. The local people here are extremely hospitable, they will take you in as one of their own. Spend the night in the bar Niang and sleep on a tikar, a traditional woven mat made out of pandanus leaf.
Komodo National Park
Spot the near-extinct Komodo dragon, world’s largest living lizard in the Komodo National Park. This extensive national park conserves wildlife in three different islands – Komodo, Rinca and Padar. Reaching the national park is as exciting as spotting wildlife there. A ferry service drops off passengers at the Komodo Island once or twice a week. In fact, there is no port, passengers have to board a small vessel from the ferry to reach the island’s only village. Certain permits are required to visit the park.
The Doodle Trip treat will take care of all the permits and fees so that you don’t need to worry about the same.
Crater Lakes at Mount Kelimutu
Every seen a lake which changes its colour from aqua/turquoise to green to red to sometimes chocolate brown? Head to the crater lakes as Mount Kelimutu and see this amazing phenomenon caused by chemical reaction of minerals. Mount Kelimutu is located in a small village called Moni village, located 150 km from the Maumere town. The three-and-a-half hour travel is made worthwhile not only by this amazing lake but also by the spectacular sunrise from the top of the volcano. There are interesting stories to be heard about this place, do remember to ask the locals about it.
Egon Volcano near Blidit village
Travel only 28 Km from Maumere to see natural smoking craters of the Egon volcano. Hear the sound of erupting gas while treating your eye to the beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding area. Hike to the top of the volcano in about three hours. In case you are not very accustomed with hiking, you can take the help of friendly guides available for hire.
Hot Spring near Blidit village
After trekking for three hours to the Egon volcano, it’s time to relax. The hot spring, located on the right after the Blidit village, is in the midst of a virgin jungle. The place is not frequented by many, don’t worry, no one will disturb you while you relax in the hot waters amidst big trees. Caress your senses while listening to the chirping and clattering of birds and monkeys.
Island Adventure, Babi Island
Island life is incomplete without a dose of island adventure. Take a boat from the Nangahale village to reach Babi Island where beautiful sandy beaches and coral reefs wait for you. Go snorkeling and explore the coral reefs rich in fishes of different species. If you are lucky, you will be able to spot dolphins as well. We recommend camping overnight in this quiet place. Lie down on the beach beneath the open sky studded with gorgeous stars – yes, just like in the movies.
Spiderweb Rice Fields
Rice fields which look like spiders – can you imagine how spectacular that will be? And that’s exactly what you can see when you travel only 20Km west of Ruteng and reach the village of Cancar. We are sure you will never be able to forget these lush paddy fields entwined like a spider web. For the best experience, tell your driver to stop at the famous ‘small house’ (yeah, your driver will definitely know this place), tip the house owner some money and take a walk down the dirt path to a ridge. Don’t forget to take a walking stick with you.
Pantai Koka Beach
Pantai Koka is definitely one of the nicest beaches Flores has to offer. There are two crescents in this beach – a perfect crescent with calm waters on the right and another perfect crescent with lively water perfect for surfing on the left. Well, getting there is as interesting as the beach itself. Travel 5Km west of Pantai Naga and look for a small road running through a cocoa plantation which is partially paved. Travel 2km through this to reach the stunning double bay. Sit and relax on the beach and gorge on some delicious snacks, grilled fish, beer, and coconut water offered by the local vendors. A nice, relaxing vacation cannot get any better than this.
Traveling around Flores
Getting around Flores is easy. You can travel in their bemos buses, which are basically small vans with seats facing each other. They link all the main towns on the island. If you don’t mind the heat and dust, travelling in a bemos will definitely give you a one of its kind experience, which is not to be missed. The island may look small on the map, but actually, it’s not. Plus, the heat and dust will make you tire easily if you walk. Don’t miss the unique experience of riding a bemos.
If you plan to undertake long distance travel, you can take a bus or a van. But hiring a car will be ideal if you want a hassle-free travel experience.
In the Doodle Trip packages for Flores, all kinds of transportation are included, so that you don’t need to bother about the same. If you want an experience of the bemos, simply inform our team. We will be more than happy to accommodate your travelling heart’s desires
Adventure sports options for you
Island travel is incomplete without a snorkeling or scuba diving experience. And Flores has a dazzling array of aquatic resources to complete that experience for you. However, the coral reefs are slowly eroding due to the unfortunate use of dynamite by fishermen, but there’s still enough to explore. A glimpse into the colourful underwater world of Flores is well worth exploring.
Besides that, plenty of canyons in various nooks and corner of the island make this a great place for Canyoning. The canyons form narrow gorges, have innumerable drops, pass through gorgeous limestone, sandstone, granite and basalt and range from easy to difficult in manoeuvring technique. Currently, not many canyoning companies can be found here, but at Doodle Trip, we do anything for our clients. If you’d like to try out canyoning, we will definitely make that one of our top-most priorities of your trip.
While you are in Flores, you will also get the opportunity to go Kayaking. You can have a once in a lifetime experience of visiting the Komodo islands and seeing the Komodo Dragons by a sea kayak. On the way, you might see a group of dolphins leaping beside you. If you’re lucky, you might actually spot a dugong too.
You can also explore Labuan Bajo with the help of a Kayak and carry the kayak on a local boat to the Rinca Island. You can spend the night at the ranger station on the island and catch the first rays of the sun. The siting is rare, but the Doodle Trip team will tell you whom to contact to get tips on their tentative location.
If you are a biking enthusiast, you can get enough opportunity in Flores for that too. Hire a bike, pedal around the island and see villages, rice fields, lakes, and forests.
Eat, drink and be merry
You will find that traditional Indonesian food is aplenty here, all of which are delicious and sure to tingle your tastebuds. For a special food experience, try out the Sunset food at Ahuwair Village, 28 km east of Maumere. The food is prepared with specially prepared sunset spice.
The special drink to try out is Kopi Ende at the city of Ende which is prepared by roasting coffee beans with ginger.
Doodle Trip is coming up with an exclusive package to help you explore this amazing place comfortably. The package is designed in such a way that you don’t need to trouble yourself with the hassle of making arrangements and planning. Rest assured that Doodle Trip will happily make all the necessary arrangements for you. All you need to do is come and enjoy the vacation of your lifetime without any worries or unwanted stress.
Stay tuned to www.doodletrip.com.