15 Best things to do in Flores (Indonesia)

The Indonesian island of Flores means “flower”, although that’s a bit of a misnomer as there are no tulips or roses here. Instead, many people come to this island adjacent to Lombok for its underwater landscape, which is said to be one of the best diving sites in the world. So you can look forward to crystal-clear waters and pristine sandy beaches, and an abundance of underwater life that calls Flores home, including sharks, turtles and rays.

Many tourists to Indonesia have never been to this far chain of islands, but if you have the time, it’s worth a visit to the country. In addition to diving opportunities, you can spend time in the national park or marvel at the colorful lake, which is also home to the ferocious Komodo dragons. In short, whether you want to explore land or sea, there is plenty of time to keep you busy in this fascinating world.

Here are the best things to do in Flores…

1. Visit Komodo Island

Komodo Island

Komodo Island is home to a national park and arguably the most famous attraction in Flores.

The park is known for its terrifying inhabitants, the Komodo dragon is actually a large lizard.

You can go to the island to see these amazing creatures, but you’ll need a guide to make sure you don’t get too close, as the dragons have poisonous saliva in their mouths, so you don’t want to risk being bitten.

2. Admire the lakes of Crimea

Colored lakes in Crimea

One of Flores’ star attractions is Kelimutu, which is actually a volcano, although that’s not the main attraction here.

The reason people flock to Crimea is because of the three crater lakes nestled within the mountain, each shimmering in a different color.

The lakes are blue, red and green, and the difference in hue is said to be the result of different gases bubbling beneath the surface.

Visitors here can hike to the lake and even camp near the crater so you can wake up early and watch the spectacular sunrise on the edge.

3. Go trekking on Padar Island

padar i.

Komodo Island often steals the show in Flores, but if you’re in the area, a trip to Padar Island is also well worth a visit.

The biggest attraction of Padar Island is the beach, which has three separate areas on the island, black, white and pink.

Padar Island is easily accessible from neighbouring Labuan Bajo and you can hike around the island following various trails.

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If possible, plan to cross in the morning, go hiking when the weather is slightly cooler, and then go for a swim at the beach in the afternoon.

4. Marvel at Cancar’s cobweb fields

Cancar, spider web paddy field

Flores is known for its fields, although not rice fields in the traditional sense.

The fields in Flores are called lingko or spider web fields because the rice terraces are arranged in the form of spider webs, each part of which is assigned to a different family in the area.

Depending on the wealth of the family, the bigger their cobwebs are, one of the best places is in Cancar near Ruteng.

As the Cobwebs are located in the countryside, the best way to get around is to hire a driver who will know the perfect vantage point from where you can admire this amazing feat of design.

5. Go to the water at Kanawa Island

kanawa i.

Located off the coast of Labuan Bajo, Kanawa Island is an underwater paradise if you like diving.

The waters here are teeming with marine life, with chances to spot turtles, rays and sharks, and you’ll find colourful reefs and coral gardens swaying in underwater currents.

The island is perfect for anyone who wants to get away from the crowds and enjoy a secluded and unspoilt location.

6. Diving in Komodo National Park

Diving in Komodo National Park

The main attraction of Komodo National Park is the Komodo dragon, so much so that many people don’t even realize that you can also dive and snorkel here.

It’s a shame as the waters here are known for manta rays and lots of fish, although a caveat is that the currents here can be strong and changeable so this is a recommendation for experienced divers rather than beginners The place.

7. Take a photo at Blue Rock Beach

Pengjagawa Beach

Penggajawa Beach is sometimes called Blue Rock Beach, although you may also hear it called Green Rock Beach.

The reason is that the beach is not composed of sand, but blue and green pebbles, which means it is one of the strange and beautiful natural phenomena in Flores.

The main reason to come here is for the spectacular views, although this is not really a beach for sunbathing, so if you want to relax on the sand then you better look elsewhere.

8. Explore Bidadari Island

Bidadari Island

A great place for a day trip from Flores, Bidadari Island is a small island with beautiful coral reefs located just offshore and great for snorkeling and diving.

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While swimming here, you can see hundreds of colorful fish as well as other underwater creatures such as sea snakes and octopuses, and there is even a luxury resort on the island if you want to stay longer.

9. Watch the Caci dance

kaki dance

The aborigines of western Flores are known as the Manggarai people, and they have a wealth of fascinating traditions and celebrations unlike anything you might see in other parts of Indonesia.

One of them is the Caci dance, in which two men dance and try to beat each other with whips, while dressing up as animals.

The dance is accompanied by drums and is not meant to be a serious fight, so don’t worry you’ll actually see a violent attack as it’s more of a ritual spectacle.

The dances take place in local villages and usually don’t follow a set schedule, so your best bet is to find a local guide who can tell you when the next one is happening.

10. Hike to Wae Rebo

Wei Ruibo

The main reason to go to Wae Rebo is to visit the traditional villages inhabited by the Manggarai people, although in this case the journey itself is part of the experience.

The hike, which stretches over 10 kilometers, will take you through vast jungles and rugged cliffs, and you’ll also pass cascading waterfalls, where you can stop for a refreshing dip in one of the clear pools at the base.

Once in the village, you will get to know the way of life of the locals and can enjoy some typical food and music, and even spend the night in a round hut still built in a traditional style.

11. Swimming at Sano Nggoang Lake

Sanoangong Lake

Flores is a landscape of lakes and towering peaks, the deepest of these lakes is Sanoangong, which reaches a depth of 500 meters.

Many tourists choose to visit the lake as part of a day trip, and you can hike through a lush forest to the area, dotted with hot springs along the way, a great place to stop and swim in the warm waters that are said to have medicinal properties.

The lake is about 35 kilometers from neighboring Labuan Bajo, so if you leave early in the morning, you can get there and back in one day.

12. Snorkel at 17 Islands Marine Park

17 Islands Marine Park

Flores has many marine parks, one of which is the 17 Islands Marine Park, a vast expanse of azure waters full of fish and turtles.

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If you want to get away from the water then you can sunbathe on the white sandy beaches here, or you can hike through the jungle in search of resident flying foxes and fruit bats.

Most of the islands in the 17 Islands Marine Park are uninhabited, so you’ll need to hire a guide to take you around the island, checking out coves and inlets along the way, and stopping anywhere you like.

13. Explore the Hobbit Caves

Liang Bua - The Hobbit Cave

The Hobbit Cave, known in Indonesia as Liangbua, about a half-hour drive from Ruteng in Flores, is one of the most stunning archaeological finds in Indonesia.

The cave is located within a larger cave complex that was not discovered until 2003. It’s called The Hobbit Cave because it contains a collection of small human skeletons thought to be around 18,000 years old.

There is some debate about the exact age of the fossils and skeletal remains found here, which would change parts of evolutionary theory, but whatever the story, the cave is still a fascinating place to stop and learn some history.

There is also a small museum next to the cave explaining the cave in archaeological and historical terms.

14. Visit Celaya Island

celaya i.

Celaya is one of the most famous islands in Flores and one of the big islands that everyone recommends visiting this part of Indonesia.

There is a coral reef offshore which means if you want to snorkel or dive you can see a wide variety of marine life and it is not uncommon to see large numbers of sharks and turtles here.

The island itself is also well worth exploring, and you’ll find a fine fishing village at one end where you can stop for local food and drinks.

15. Climb the mountain of love

Bukit Sinda Hill

Ai Shan is just outside Labuan Bajo and people flock here to watch the sunset.

From the top of Love Hill, you can see tropical forests, picturesque hills and the azure waters of the beautiful Flores Sea unfolding before you.

If you are visiting Labuan Bajo, it is best to visit the town first and then get here in the early evening so you can fully enjoy the stunning sunset views from the rest of Flores.

Where to Stay: The Best Hotels in Flores, Indonesia
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