1. Where is Flores?
Flores (Flowers in Portuguese) is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, a group of islands in the eastern half of Indonesia. Its land area is about 20 times bigger than Singapore but its population is only one-third that of Singapore. It is located to the east of Bali (about 500km as the crow flies), west of East Timor and south of Sulawesi. The peoples of Flores are almost entirely Roman Catholic Christians whereas most other Indonesians are Muslim – the result of its past colonization by Portugal.
2. What are the highlights in Flores?
Flores has long been a springboard to Komodo National Park – home of the famous Komodo dragons (largest lizard in the world) – but the island has much more to offer. The western end of Flores with its archipelago of beautiful Savannah islands – Komodo, Rinca, Padar, Kanawa, Seraya – offers some of the best diving and snorkeling spots in Indonesia. Heading east, highlights include the UNESCO Heritage Site of Wae Rebo – a remote highland village which is only accessible via a 4 hrs uphill trek, Liang Bua Cave dubbed as “Hobbit Caves” where remains of miniature humans (Homo floresiensis) were found and the traditional Ngada villages of Desa Guru Sina, Desa Langa, Desa Bela, and Desa Lina Tiwa. Further east are Riung 17 Islands Marine Nature Reserve and the tri-coloured Kelimutu Lake which changes colour at different times of the day. The volcanoes dotted island with its numerous mountains (Mount Mbeiling, Mount Inerie, Mount Ebulobo), waterfalls (Cunca Wulang, Cunca Cami) and hot springs is a trekking paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
3. When is the best time to visit Flores?
The best time to visit Flores is during the non-rainy season from March to November. All the national parks including Komodo and Kelimutu National Parks are opened 365 days a year but be prepared for muddy roads and cloudly skies if you visit during the rainy season from December to February.
4. Why Flores?
Flores means Flower in Portuguese and it is indeed endowed with unspoiled nature and rich cultural heritage. Unlike heavily touristed Bali, the local population in Flores is not dependent on tourism for their livelihood. Coupled with its rugged and mountainous landscape that has hindered access to the island’s interior in the past, Flores has remained pretty intact pretty intact from the negative aspect of tourism. Flores is largely devoid of tourist horde and you can have large portions of it as a traveller to yourself.
5. How to get into Flores?
There are no direct flight between Singapore and Flores. The most convenient way to enter Flores is via a transit flight from Bali. Garuda Indonesia and Wings Air offer daily connection between Denpasar In Bali and Labuan Bajo in Flores. The flight time is about 1hr 20 min.
6. How is the road conditions in Flores?
Major towns and destinations in Flores are connected by paved roads which are well maintained and relatively free of potholes. However, due to the mountainous terrain, the roads are generally narrow, steep and winding with average driving speed around 30km/hr. Most other roads in Flores are unpaved with potholes. One needs a four-wheel-drive or car with good suspension to travel on these dirt roads.
7. How is the telecommunication network coverage in Flores?
Telecommunication including 3G is readily available in most part of Flores including Komodo National Park except in more remote places like Wae Rebo. Many hotels and restaurants offer free wifi services for their guests. A local pre-paid sim card with 2-4 GD data bundle typically costs less than 150K IDR. Telkomsel has the best coverage in Flores and their simcard brand is called SimPATI.
8. Is tap water drinkable in Flores?
Tap water in Flores is not fit for direct drinking. Generally you would have to buy bottled mineral or distilled water from supermarkets or convenient stores though some hotels do provide free drinking water.
9. What are the food choices in Flores?
Labuan Bajo has a quite a diverse dinning scene with wide selection of western restaurant bars and warungs (small eateries serving local food). Cheap and fresh seafood is readily available along coastal towns while in Flores interior, food is usually more locally inclined but some hotel restaurants do do serve delicious western food.
10. What are the general recommendation for vaccination and immunization?
The vaccination and immunization required depend on the length of your stay, the activities you plan to undertake as well as your personal health conditions. Since most vaccination and immunization have to be done a few weeks in advance before departure in order to be effective, it is important for you to consult your doctor early. There are some risk of Malaria and Dengue in Flores. Kindly refer to these links for more info: https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/index.html https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/