Flores’s biggest cities are all located near the sea and Riung is no exception. A small fishing village mostly known for its marine park, the 17 Islands or Taman Laut Riung offers visitors a once-in-lifetime adventure to an untouched, rugged land that is home to a plethora of marine life.
The beautiful coastline in front of Riung is well-protected and is protected by UNESCO. Although the name might suggest the national park consists of 17 islands, in fact, there are over 20 small and larger islands. The area is home to several special species of animals like the Timor deer, monkeys and ferrets. In addition, the national park is also home to many different kinds of birds which you will be able to see on your boat tour. It is believed that a type of Komodo species lives on the islands too, but this was never confirmed.
From the pier of Riung you can arrange a boat, which will cost you between 500,000 and 800,000 Rp. or less. The final costs depend on your skills in bargaining. The park charges an entry fee of 100,000 Rp. per foreigner. Locals enter at a much lower price. The people of Riung survive by fishing, farming and small-scale tourism as it is an interesting backpackers’ destination.Riung is surrounded by a beautiful coral coast, ideal for snorkelling and diving. On Ontoloe Island, there is a magnificent mangrove forest which is the home to a massive colony of fruit bats.
We recommend being there around 6PM to see this colony of bats take to the air in large groups to feed and you will find yourself in a Jurassic-like environment! The city only consists of a pier, a market, several shops and one single ATM. So make sure you bring enough cash before embarking to Riung. Another recommendation is to have a fish barbeque dinner, we heard it is amazing!