Do you find yourself day dreaming about travelling to an island paradise with no cars, no parking inspectors, no kids, no nothing but sunshine, crystal clear water, white sand, pink sand and palm trees? Of course you do – who doesn’t? Well let me fill you in on a little secret, you will find all that and a whole lot more on the island of Flores and the stunningly gorgeous islands that surround it.
This picture perfect island is a 1hour flight away from Bali and well worth a trip if you can afford the time. Garuda and Lion Air fly there daily so its super easy to get to once your in Bali.
Make sure you book a window seat because as the plane descends and makes its way to Labuan Bajo Airport – you will not believe the blue waters that lay beneath you, with islands scattered as far as the eye can see. Stunning I tell you – S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G.
Flores is Indonesia’s “Next Big Thing” and it’s easy to see why. Many long time expats of Bali have made the move over as this picturesque paradise reminds them of the Bali that they knew 20 years ago. Peaceful, pretty and perfect. It is a gorgeous and fascinating island where you can swim & snorkel in the pristine waters – I have been lucky enough to visit Flores 3 times and each time is better than the last.
We base ourselves at the Jayakarta Labuan Bajo – which is a big old style resort about 5 minutes from the center of town, it is by no means a luxurious resort – but perfectly positioned with huge big comfortable rooms all with balconies overlooking the Flores sea and with all the modern day amenities that you could possibly need.
More and more eateries keep popping up but our favorites are Mediterraneo Inn which overlooks the harbor and is one of the more popular places in town, serving up delicious pasta’s, pizzas, and seafood, this place is great for dining or just hanging out and enjoying a cool cocktail or a cold beer.
Another must try is Made In Italy – delicious homemade pasta and other Italian dishes and a fantastic wine list – open for lunch and dinner this café / restaurant is definitely worth a visit.
Once a small fishing village, Labuan Bagjo in Flores is now a bustling epicenter of tourism as word gets out about how beautiful this island is. Labuan Bajo (Flores) is the perfect base for the diving and sailing boats all leaving regularly for trips to Komodo Island, which is famous for the Komodo Dragons and nearby Seraya island which is fabulous for diving and snorkeling.
You will see scattered throughout the port huge big Penisi’s which are available for hire for a couple of days or a week or two – get a group of friends together and do it – you will think you have died and landed in heaven.
We get the hotel to negotiate with one of the smaller operators in town to take us out on day trips and depending on your negotiating skills usually costs about $60 – $100 per person – please be aware that for this price you are not chartering a luxury cruiser – these boats are basic – but that’s all you need. Pack up a picnic or ask the boat owner to fill the boat with beer and soft drinks and food for you. It’s a fun adventure that you will remember forever.
Once you cruise thru the harbor, the water gets bluer and bluer by the minute and you will see islands scattered everywhere all surrounded by white sand and palms. The boat will stop at islands allowing you to get off and take in the stunning scenery and snorkel in the crystal clear waters – they can all organize snorkels, flippers, etc. for you.
Be sure to add Komodo Island to your day trip – the world’s largest lizard, the Komodo Dragon, is found in this national park. These crazy prehistoric looking creatures can grow up to 3m long and yes, can be deadly if you get too close. But don’t stress, you will have a park ranger to trek the island with and he knows all the spots to take you and will explain the fascinating history as you walk behind him, carrying a big stick (just in case a Komodo dragon should pop past) and I can promise you – you will spot Komodos on your way thru. A once in a lifetime opportunity that cannot be missed.
Komodo also is home to the famous Pink beach – yes people – pink sand like you will never see again in your life. They are best seen in the morning and later in the afternoon as if the sun is too bright – the sand appears more white than Pink, there are only 7 Pink Sand beaches in the world – and Indonesia has 2 of them – how lucky are we !
Each island just gets prettier and prettier and you will want to stop at each and every one and wonder around – kind of wishing that you could be stranded there forever – as long as someone could drop off food and wine to you on a daily basis of course.
There are multitude of luxury boats to cruise around on – check out The Luxury Bali they represent a host of super yachts as well as gorgeous old style Penisi’s or if your budget doesn’t stretch that far – look into Le Pirate Explorer which is just about start operating out of Flores.
And of course, it goes without saying that the sunsets are pretty spesh – be sure to make your way to the Sunset Bar at the top of the big hill, grab something cold and watch what takes place – i know i use this word all the time – but it is truly spectacular.
Slowly starting to become busier, Flores provides an incredible adventure for those looking to slow down and get away from their crazy city life. This island escape will provide you with lifelong memories.
Snob Tip : Don’t Miss It !!