Backpacking Flores Indonesia any time soon? Looking for the ultimate Flores itinerary? Awesome, you’ve come to the right place! After spending 2 weeks in Flores, we can share what we got up to and what we consider to be the best Flores Itinerary for 1 week, 2 weeks or 10 days. We also include the best places to eat, where you should stay, and all of our top tips, so that you can spend less time planning and more time enjoying this beautiful island in Indonesia.
If you are thinking about wandering off the beaten path in Indonesia then Flores Island is a great place to start. While Labuan Bajo and the Komodo Islands attract a lot of visitors each year, the rest of the island remains somewhat untouched. Leaving it down to the real intrepid backpackers among us to get out there and explore.
If you’re someone who believed that Indonesia comprised of only Bali, and perhaps Lombok, you are not alone. In fact, Indonesia is made up of over 17,000 islands, each offering a unique travel experience for backpackers. The mysterious Flores Island is East of the Indonesian archipelago, but is often disregarded in favour of its more popular neighbours.
It’s a pity, as backpacking Flores feels like a real adventure. Boasting smouldering volcanoes, candy pink beaches, world-class diving, and deadly Komodo dragons, it’s truly unlike anywhere else in the world.
Anyhow, we’ve got a lot to get through, so here’s our guide to backpacking Flores, including the best Flores Itinerary for 1 week, 2 weeks, or 10 Days.
Backpacking Flores Indonesia – The Best Flores Itinerary
*Don’t leave home without any backpacker essentials with our free printable packing list.
How to Get to Flores, Indonesia
Flores forms parts of the Lessa Sunda Islands in Indonesia. It’s Western neighbours include Bali and Lombok, while on the East is Lembata Island.
By Air – The cheapest and easiest way to get to Flores is to fly. You can get a direct flight from Bali to Labuan Bajo, which is west of the island. Or alternatively, you can take the same route as we did and fly direct from Bali to Maumere, which is far east of the island. After that, we travelled throughout Flores, ending our trip in Labuan Bajo and flying back to Bali from there.
By Boat – The more adventurous route involves a 4-day sailing adventure from Lombok to Flores. This four day/three-night adventure allows you to island-hop your way to Flores while spending your nights sleeping aboard a boat. We haven’t experienced it for ourselves, but many backpackers claim it to be one of their favourite travel experiences.
Flores Itinerary Highlights
For those who don’t have time to read through the entire Flores itinerary, here are some of the highlights you can enjoy on this remarkable Island.
- Encounter the Komodo Dragons on Komodo Island
- Visit the tri-colour lakes of Mount Kelimutu
- Discover one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Asia on Padar Island
- Visit a traditional Ngada Village in Bajawa
- Experience the thriving underwater world in the Komodo National Park
- Go Island Hopping in the 17 Islands National Park
- Hike the prodigious Mount Inerie in Bajawa
- Visit a Candy Pink Beach in Labuan Bajo
- Stay with a Local Family and Immerse in Flores Culture
Backpacking Flores Indonesia – Itinerary
This 2 week Flores itinerary covers from East to West. But it is possible to travel in the opposite direction. We spent just over 2 weeks backpacking Flores, but it’s definitely doable in a shorter amount of time. Just pick the places that sound most interesting to you and make them a priority. But do keep in mind that the roads are not in great condition. so travelling from place to place can sometimes take an entire day.
Days 1-2: Maumere
We Recommend: 1 Night
If you are planning to see all that Flores has to offer, we recommend flying into Maumere & working your way west. Maumere was once the epicentre of tourism in Flores, famed for its diving opportunities; however, following a devastating earthquake and tsunami in 1992, the coral was destroyed and tourism took a nosedive.
While there isn’t too much going on in Maumere itself, we enjoyed the pretty beaches and slow-pace of the coastal town. But you’ll only need a night or so, before moving on to the next destination.
Things to do in Maumere
According to trip advisor, Koka Beach is the number 1 thing to do in Maumere. However, it’s probably worth mentioning that it isn’t in Maumere at all. In fact, it’s a 90-minute drive away. However, this remarkable beach is more than worth the journey.
Hosting a backdrop of palm trees, pristine white sand and crystal clear water, Koka Beach is a hidden gem in Flores that isn’t to be missed. There was not another tourist in sight when we were there and only very few locals.
After having fun on the beach, we suggest taking the short hike up to the viewpoint. Here you’ll find jaw-dropping panoramic views over the beach and surrounding forested area. For more information, check out our guide to visiting Koka Beach.
Places to Stay in Maumere
Budget – Asli Homestay – There isn’t much in terms of cheap accommodation or hostels in Maumere; however, we did find this charming little homestay located just a short ride away from the main town. The rooms and facilities are incredibly basic; however, you are made to feel like family by the owners. It’s a great opportunity to connect with locals and understand the culture.
Luxury – Capa Resort – If you’d prefer a touch of luxury, Capa Resort is one of the best hotels in the area. Boasting the most amazing infinity pool overlooking the ocean, it’s worth the money for the views alone. Although, if you’re on a tight budget, you can enjoy the pool for free if you buy a drink or food. The food is delicious and it is also one of few places in town with wifi!
For more places to stay in Maumere, check the latest prices here.
Days 3-4: Moni
We Recommend: 1-2 Nights
An important addition to any Flores Itinerary, Moni is a small village with a big heart. Surrounded by awe-inspiring landscapes, the mountain village has a certain charm that is incredibly endearing.
The main attraction here is the prodigious Mount Kelimutu, famous for its tricolour lakes that periodically change colour. Having said that, we also enjoyed spending time in the village itself, simply soaking in the tranquillity.
Things to do in Moni
Indonesia is one of the most volcanic countries in the world, so it seems you’re never too far away from one or more of these explosive natural wonders. Flores is no different, and a belt of 17 volcanoes dominate the landscapes.
Sitting at a height of 1,639m, Mount Kelimutu is one of the most accessible volcanoes in Indonesia. However, the Tri-Colour lakes at the summit, also make it one of the most interesting.
The three volcanic crater lakes periodically change colour due to fluctuation in oxidation-reduction rates. Depending on when you visit, you can expect the lakes to be different shades of green, blue or even red!
Unlike other volcano hikes in Indonesia, such as Mount Inierie in Bajawa, and Mount Batur in Bali, the hike to the Kelimutu lake is really easy. So it’s an adventure that can be enjoyed by all the family. For more information, check out our guide to hiking to the tri-colour lakes of Kelimutu.
If you are searching for food, coffee or any kind of ‘vibey’ atmosphere in Moni, then Mopis Bar is a popular hangout for tourists and locals alike. Not only is the food delicious, but you can expect a friendly welcome and a cosy ambience. You should also visit at night when a local band play live Reggae music pretty damn well. It’s also a great spot to meet other travellers, which is handy if you are looking to share the cost of transport for your next destination.
So, don’t expect Niagra Falls or anything, but the waterfall in Moni is a nice peaceful spot to visit all the same. The waterfall is easily accessible from the village. You’ll just have to ask at your guesthouse or one of the locals to point you in the right direction.
Getting from Maumere to Moni
Shared Taxi – To travel from Maumere to Moni it is recommended that you organise a shared taxi to reduce the costs. This can usually be organised through your homestay or guesthouse. The journey time is approx. 3 hours and as a guide, we paid IDR 100,000/pax.
Places to Stay in Moni
Budget – Angi Lodge – New build bungalows with an amazing view, complete with on-suite western style bathrooms.
For more places to stay in Moni, check the latest prices here.
Days 5-7: Riung
We recommend – 2-3 Nights
Riung, set in the North East region of Flores, is another undiscovered gem on the island. Home to the astonishing 17 Islands, this recognised national park is truly a sight to behold.
Despite the name, there are in-fact over 20 islands that make up this tiny archipelago. Each their own remote paradise. We were mesmerised by the azure waters and awe-inspiring views that prevail here.
Most visitors erroneously miss Riung off their Flores itinerary, but we highly recommend you do not make the same mistake!
A boat tour around the magical 17 islands is one of the highlights of our time in Flores. We could have easily spent an entire week living off the grid here.
To learn more about this magical place in Flores, including where to stay in Riung and the cheapest way to book a boat tour, check out the full blog post: A guide to the magical 17 Islands in Flores
Days 8-10: Bajawa
We recommend – 2-3 Nights
Your next stop is Bajawa. Bajawa is a must-visit destination for those seeking a raw & authentic Flores experience. The rural landscapes are dotted with traditional villages, while the prodigious Mount Inierie towers over the countryside.
There are a number of adventurous things to do in Bajawa, including hiking to traditional villages and climbing volcanoes or chasing the local waterfalls. Combined with the rich culture that exists here, Bajawa should undoubtedly form part of your Flores Itinerary.
Things to do in Bajawa
There is a lot to cover in Bajawa, therefore we have put together a complete guide to the region HERE; however, for the purpose of this Flores blog here are some of the top things to do.
Visit a Traditional Ngada Village
Bajawa is the cultural centre of Flores. Here you can find a number of traditional villages where Ngada culture prevails.
The Ngada culture is unique for a number of reasons. First of all the traditional houses are pretty damn cool and look awesome amidst the astounding landscapes. But I aslo imagine the religious practices, will seem quite bizarre to some.
Bena is the most popular Ngada village to visit. Bena is famous for its striking traditional homes and megalithic formations. Megaliths are used to communicate supernaturally with deceased family members, often by animal sacrifice.
The skulls of sacrificed animals adorn the village and are a stark reminder of the cultures animist religious practices.
The captivating landscapes encompassing Bajawa make for endless hiking opportunities. With hikes suitable for all capabilities, this is an activity that can be enjoyed by all.
The easier hikes involve visits to local villages. Whereas the more challenging include hiking the prodigious Mount Inierie. Either way, I suggest to check with local tour operators before you hike, as it isn’t always recommended to hike alone.
How to get to Bajawa
By Air – Daily flights are available to & from LABUAN BAJO. Check traveloka.com for the latest schedules & prices.
By Bus – Public Buses run daily from MONI, RIUNG or LABUAN BAJO. Enquire with the local tourist office or your guesthouse for the latest schedules & prices.
*We used the public bus from Riung, departing daily at 6 am. Despite being advertised as 2 hours it actually took almost 5. The price was approximately 50,000 IDR each.
By Private Car – If you want to avoid being on a crowded bus next to a brood of chickens then a private car is another option from MONI or RIUNG. Enquire with the local tourist office or your guesthouse for more information.
Where to Stay in Bajawa
Budget – We recommend CINNAMON GUESTHOUSE. Conveniently situated in the heart of the town, they have cheap private rooms with either en-suite or shared bathroom.
Mid-Range/Luxury – We recommend MANULALU. Situated alongside Mount Inerie, you are rewarded with a stunning view overlooking the whole of Bajawa. You will literally have your head in the clouds!
For more places to stay in Bajawa, you can check the latest prices HERE.
Days 11 – 14: Labuan Bajo
We recommend – 3-5 nights
Our final stop on this Flores Itinerary is Labuan Bajo. Labuan Bajo is rapidly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia and for good reason. A gateway to the breath-taking Komodo National Park this was one of the highlights of our Flores trip.
The Komodo National Park encompasses some of the most remarkable islands we’ve ever laid our eyes on. Some boasting white, black, and even pink sand beaches. Others with endless mountain landscapes with views that rival most in Asia. Not to mention being the only place in the world where you’ll find the extraordinary Komodo Dragons.
You’ll definitely want to spend at least a few days in Labuan Bajo, so if you’re short for time, my advice is to make this spot a priority.
Things to do in Labuan Bajo
There is a lot to cover for Labuan Bajo, therefore we have put together a complete guide HERE; however, for the purpose of this Flores blog, here are some of the top things to do.
Komodo National Park Tour
With the Komodo National Park boasting some of the most extraordinary islands in the world, it is no surprise that a Komodo island-hopping tour is one of the top things to do in Labuan Bajo.
If you want to encounter Komodo dragons, enjoy the iconic view at Padar Island, or swim at a candy pink beach, you will need to book a tour.
With tours ranging from half a day through to 5 days +, there are options suitable for all budgets and interests. For more info, you’ll want to check out our complete guide to Komodo National Park Tours, which includes how to go about booking your own tour!
The waters surrounding Labuan Bajo are known for their world-class dive sites, and diving remains one of the top things to do in Labuan Bajo.
Although we aren’t keen divers ourselves, we had a taste of the underwater world when snorkelling around the National Park. We were delighted at the abundance of marine life that could be found in such shallow waters.
We spotted sea turtles, manta rays & a school of barracudas, therefore, can only imagine how bountiful the dive sites would be.
How to get to Labuan Bajo
By Air – Daily flights are available from Bali (Denpasar) airport. For cheapest prices check out skyscanner.com
There are also daily commercial flights from BAJAWA, which will get you there in less than 45 minutes. For the cheapest prices check out traveloka.com
By Bus – Visit the local tourist office in BAJAWA for bus timetables & prices to Labuan Bajo. Be prepared for a long journey of between 12-15 hours.
Where to Stay in Labuan Bajo
Hostel – La Boheme Hostel – A quirky hostel with dorm or private accommodation available. A huge drawcard here is the 24hr free banana pancakes available! They also organise daily group tours.
Luxury – Sunset Hill Hotel – Luxury rooms with spectacular views over the bays of Labuan Bajo.
For more places to stay in Labuan Bajo, you can check the latest prices HERE.
Additions to your Flores Itinerary
While we have covered all of the placed we visited during our time backpacking Flores. There are other places on the island that you might want to consider adding to your Flores Itinerary.
Ruteng is another interesting spot where you can visit the ‘hobbit cave’ and ‘spider web fields’. Or if you would like to explore a traditional Flores mountain village, Wae Rebo appears to be a fascinating spot.
Things to Know Before Backpacking Flores Indonesia
Here I’ll list some of the travel tips that we accumulated during our Flores Road Trip. Hopefully, they will help you have a hassle-free time on the island.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Flores is from mid-April to mid-October during the dry season. Flores’s dry season provides warm temperatures without too much rainfall and humidity – ideal for outdoor activities and island hopping tours. Having said that, the wet season often only sees short downpours. So if you don’t mind a few showers, it can sometimes be the best time to go! If you have your heart set on spotting the Komodo Dragons, you may want to avoid June-August when they are in mating season.
Getting around in Flores will be the most challenging part of your trip. The distances between each place aren’t all that far; however, most of the roads are in terrible condition. Meaning it can take an insane amount of time to travel even the shortest of distances. It’s something to consider when planning your Flores Itinerary, as you will need to factor in travel time.
In regards to transport within Flores, you are limited with your options. That’s why I’ve broken it down for you throughout the itinerary. There isn’t much tourist infrastructure in place yet, so you are limited with your options.
The local buses an experience in themselves. Don’t be surprised to find people overflowing onto the roof, or to be sharing your seat with somebodies farm animals. I suggest getting the earliest bus you can, so it’s not you who ends up on the roof. To check the bus timetables, you can pop into the local tourist centres of each town.
It’s worth noting that some of the bigger towns, such as Bajawa and Labuan Bajo, do have airports. If you don’t plan on covering the island extensively, this could also be an option.
Compared to many other places in the world, Flores is an extremely safe place to travel; however, there are still some precautions you should take to protect yourself and your belongings.
First of all, petty thefts such as pickpocketing and bag snatching are not uncommon. We suggest keeping your belongings close to you at all times and use a small padlock or compartmental bag to keep your valuables safe. When travelling at night, avoid being alone in parks or dark areas.
Common scams pose another risk to tourists, and we advise being vigilant at all times. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut and walk away from the situation. We encountered some instances where locals gave us incorrect information regarding bus timetables. They are usually looking to make money by taking you themselves. Be clear on your route before setting off and always have an offline map handy.
In some areas, it is difficult to find anybody who speaks English. It is good to learn some local phrases but also have a translation app downloaded on your phone.
With that, don’t even think about going to Flores without travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. If the unlikely event that something goes wrong, you’ll want the best cover money can buy.
For this reason, we always recommend World Nomads for travel insurance. They are affordable, offer a variety of packages and add ons, and allow you to make amendments to your policy while travelling. Say, for example, you go scuba diving or hiking a mountain, World Nomads will amend your plan accordingly. It’s a super handy feature that we’ve used numerous times including the time we trekked to Annapurna Base Camp.
If you need further convincing, read our article on why you need travel insurance. Or get an on-the-spot quote from World Nomads using the form below.
Staying Connected in Flores
WIFI is extremely difficult to find in the more rural areas of Flores. We made the rookie error of arriving without a SIM card and having no internet made planning our travels very difficult. It is also near enough impossible to buy a tourist sim card in Flores unless you can find a local who will register it for you. The shops here do not offer the same services as in Bali or Lombok.
If, like us, you rely on the internet when you travel (let’s face it, who doesn’t anymore), we have the perfect solution. After coming home to too many hefty phone bills and buying countless international sim cards, we were desperate for an affordable solution. That’s when we discovered TravelWifi. TravelWifi’s portable pocket wifi allows us to quickly and securely connect when we need it the most. Click the link for more information on coverage, packages, and the latest offers.
What to Pack
Unsure of what you might need to pack for your adventures in Flores, Indonesia? Don’t worry, we have got you covered. Check out our backpacker essentials, for a packing list of items that we carry with us on every adventure.
As travellers, it should always be a top priority to travel responsibly. We already leave a substantial carbon footprint just by flying to our travel destinations, so that’s even more reason to make a positive impact when we get there. There are many small steps you can take to becoming a responsible traveller. Read our guide on eco-travel to learn more.
More on Flores, Indonesia
Planning a trip to Flores? Check out our other articles to help plan your trip.
- A Guide to Komodo National Park Tours
- Pink Beach, Indonesia
- A Guide to the 17 Islands, Riung
- Kelimutu Volcano, Flores
- Labuan Bajo Itinerary & Guide
- Love Hill, Labuan Bajo
- The Best Restaurants in Labuan Bajo
- Bajawa Itinerary & Guide
- Koka Beach – A Flores Hidden Gem
- Spotting Komodo Dragons in Labuan Bajo
Did you enjoy our Backpacking Flores Itinerary?
Well, that concludes Backpacking Flores Indonesia – The Best Flores Itinerary If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comment section below.
Stay adventurous and Happy travels.
Charlotte & Natalie x
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