Mention Flores, and many would automatically think of Labuan Bajo, the gateway to the Komodo National Park. But the island of Flores has so much more to offer! This stunning and almost untouched paradise island stretches from Larantuka in the East to Labuan Bajo to the West, covering over 360km of land! So, the question is, what lies in between?
Flores’s population of 1,831,000 (2010), as is the island, is split into eight regencies from west to east, each with its own unique language, dialects and capital cities. West Manggarai (Labuan Bajo), Central Manggarai (Ruteng), East Manggarai (Borong), Ngada (Bajawa), Nagekeo (Mbay), Ende (Ende), Sikka (Maumere) and East Flores (Larantuka) are each unique destinations with fascinating history, culture, background, landscape and history. Even the weather differs in each region!
So many districts and so little time! To help you with your travel expectations, here are a few highlights for what each city/district can offer:
Labuan Bajo is not only the launch pad to view the Komodo Dragons; take some time to visit these distinctly round ceremonial houses in the villages of Todo and Wae Rebo. Liang Bua is also located in Manggarai, a limestone cave where a spectacular archaeological discovery of the “Homo Florensis” were made by a team of Indonesian and Australian archaeologists. While you’re in Manggarai, don’t forget to visit Lingko, the Spider-Web Rice Fields.
Ende is the capital city of Ende regency, and is home to the world-renowned tri-crater lake, Mount Kelimutu. Ende is also where Indonesia’s first President lived while he was in exile. His home is now a museum, called the Bung Karno Museum.
In the historic district of Sikka, the village of Sikka Natar awaits as well as the 100-year old Pasar Geliting, an old Catholic Church and the Bikon Blewut Museum. Sikka is also famous for Ikat weaving and remains one of East Flores’ most important and famous weaving centres. The capital city of Sikka is Maumere, which used to be one of the finest diving sites in the world. Sadly, the sites are now marred due to chemical and bomb fishing.
Larantuka, the capital of East Flores, is also known as the City of 1000 Churches, Naples of the Orient, Italy of Flores and Spain of the Lesser Sunda Islands. The city has a strong colonial Portuguese influence as it was the Portuguese trading centre of South East Indonesia and the centre of sandalwood trading.
If you head to Larantuka a week before Easter, you’d get to witness an important religious celebration called the “Holy Week”. It centres on two religious statues, one of Jesus Christ and one of Virgin Mary, which were brought to Larantuka by Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century.
To find out more on Flores’s fascinating districts, click here and do leave a comment on our Facebook page and Instagram accounts to let us know what you think. Join us next week as we Rediscover Hidden Paradise and be sure to tag #floresplus to be featured!
Newsletter – Flores Plus Magazine
Rediscover Hidden Paradise
Flores Plus Magazine’s weekly newsletter is filled with important and interesting bite-sized information on everything you’d need to know about Flores and its surrounding islands, both above and underwater, from the Komodo National Park to the Komodo Dragons, Mount Kelimutu to the Drum Houses in Ende, spiderweb rice fields, pink beaches and thundering waterfalls to fascinating ceremonies, myths, traditions and village lives of the local people. Flores Plus is part of the PT. Trijaya Dewata family, a premier publishing and media brand in Bali and Indonesia. Established in 1996, it has decades of experience with multiple titles in three languages published over the years. With the launch of Flores Plus, the company now will lead the way as one of the pioneers of tourist media in Flores and Komodo. Available now in English and soon in Japanese, the magazine has a strong online presence and engagement via its website, daily e-newsletters and social media platforms which are updated daily.