Written by Junanto Xu
Edited by Beverley Lennon
Tired of the usual adventures across mountains, waterfalls and jungles? Are you yearning for some exciting times to a place that is yet to be discovered?
If you are a self-claimed “true traveller” and think you’ve seen it all, wait till you step on Komodo Island and West Flores – they are sure to prove you wrong!
Komodo Island is a UNESCO world heritage site, the land where giant lizards roam freely, one where manta rays are your swimming partners and where the beach has a big dose of pink!
Curious? Want to find out more? Join us and embark on a thrilling adventure with sceneries straight out of a science fiction movie!
Of course you will get to see the Komodo Dragons but this trip is much more than meeting the giants! In 5 days 4 nights, this must-do itinerary lets you discover the best beaches, sightseeing spots, snorkeling locations, hidden caves and of course meet the superstars – the Komodo Dragons!
Pick up your sword and shield (or camera and backpack) and let’s rumble!
If you’re boarding an international flight, the island can be reached via Jakarta or Bali. From either of the two cities, you can then take a domestic flight to Labuan Bajo in Flores, this is the hub for Komodo Island tours. A flight from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo will take about 2.5 hours whereas the trip from Bali will only take one hour. Another alternative route popular among those with plenty of time is a multi-day trip by boat from Lombok – Bali’s sister island.
Welcome treat with a seafood feast and visit to a hidden gem!
You have finally landed in charming Flores! What’s a trip to an island without indulging in local seafood feasts and exploring places only locals know about? You’ll end the night with a delectable Italian dinner; stepping out of your comfort zone but not too much either!
We can’t possibly think of a better way to start this trip than dedicating it to seafood. Head over to Tree Top and we hope you secure a seat on the top floor, as you’ll get to feast your eyes on endless ocean views, dotted with sailing boats. This is a guaranteed treat for both stomach and eyes!
We recommend you to order their grilled fish, chili crab, and chili squid, These delicacies are freshly caught daily so you can expect a real sea-to-table experience!
Photo Via Ajunalit
Swim in a hidden natural pool inside a cave – Rangko Cave (1.5 – 3 hours)
This lesser-known cave is a short boat ride away from Labuan Bajo and is bound to make your eyes glow with it glittering clear waters.
You can enjoy a refreshing dip in the cave as it is home to a natural underground pool, but locals do not recommend to stay for long as it can get dark, spooky and dangerous!
Tip: Get there by noon to relish on the sun rays piercing through the azure waters!
Photo Via Maximilianbrlr, Titusfirm, Thelittlefrans
Italian Cuisine at its best – MadeInItaly (1-2 hours)
Italian isn’t only found in Italy; you know that, but we bet you never expected an Italian Restaurant in Flores!
MadeInItaly is well-known for their exquisite Italian dishes. They spoil their customers with classy ambiance, upscale interiors and authentic Italian cuisine (with a twist of course!). Regular guests claim that their pizza as the ultimate highlight, so make sure you try out their specialty!
Photo Via Sandradewi88, Linifeb
One of our friends stayed here and found this funky hostel very value-for-money. Where else can you find ocean views at affordable rates?
You have to hike up a small hill to get here, but it’s all worth it. You’ll be able to enjoy the stunning views from most areas within the hostel – be it in the morning when you get out of bed or when you have your breakfast in the restaurant!
Come join other adventurers here!
Photo Via Meivinmalelak_official
Giant lizards, a pink beach, and manta rays – real adventure awaits!
Ahoy! The big day has come! Today, you get to meet dinosaur-esque creatures! Head to the harbor to meet your sea captain and sail to Padar Island, this hilly island will leave you in awe!
Next, you get to go to Komodo Island and meet the superstar of the trip, the Komodo Dragons! Finally, explore renowned pink beach and make new friends underwater as you get to dive with manta rays!
Recommended starting time: 05:00 am
Note: Do pack your lunch beforehand!
“♫ I’m on top of the world, hey! ♫”: Padar Island (1.5-hour ride, 2 hours trekking)
First stop of the day – Padar Island! This is where you get to relish on panoramic views of majestic green hills, azure waters and a spectacular stretch of white sand beach; all at once!
We deem it as a “postcard-perfect place to see before you die!” Make sure your phone camera roll is empty and that your digital camera has an extra memory card. Go forth and explore this way-too-beautiful island and let your eyes explode with its gorgeousness.
Photo Via Zonderzooi
Meet the World’s last dragons! – Komodo Island (30-minute ride, 3 hours trekking)
Update: Komodo Island will be closed temporarily from January 2020 for a year, to improve its conservation efforts and increase the population of the Komodo dragons
Step into Indonesia’s Jurassic Park (Komodo National Park) and witness the giant lizards roam and rule the island. The park was selected as one for the New7Wonders of Nature and is home to the closest relative of the dinosaur!
Prepare your weapons (camera or selfie sticks) and capture this magical moment. Share your victorious moment.
Photo Via Paketwisataid, Traveler_ntt, Anuakbar_
Bask in the glorious Pink Beach (30 minutes to 1 hour)
Yet another good reason to visit the Komodo Islands! Pink Beach is one of the seven pink-sand beaches in the world!
Once again Mother Nature worked her magic to surprise you. The pink sand contrasting with the clear blue sea water is second to none; it is indeed a rare sight from heaven!
This beach does not need to scream for Instagram likes, it’s every Barbie’s ultimate paradise!
Photo Via Hendrickhartono, Corryyulin, Vivianysf
Escape from the real world and discover one underwater! This thrilling experience lets you enjoy swimming with giant manta rays at the Manta Point. Those unique creatures are known to get real close to fellow swimmers, but we do not recommend you to touch them!
Besides the winged sea creatures, the vibrant marine life of turtles, corals, and school of fishes at this popular diving site will also leave you in complete awe!
Photo Via Wildbonde
For Day 2, we recommend you to either charter a boat or cruise via the tour agencies below to travel from island to island:
a. Alba Cruise
Photo Via Albacruise.co_
Note: Looking for a unique boat experience? This fixed itinerary tour package by Le Pirate will suit your every need: https://lepirate.com/daycruise/
Photo Via Zoe-Yee
Price Range: From Rp. 650,000 (Approximately USD $44) per day.
Contact: +62 361 845 2780
*Note: There are also local boats (which are cheaper) available from island to island but we do not recommend them as there are no fixed timings, they have longer travel times and safety might be an issue.
Chill at Paradise Bar (1 hour)
Paradise Bar is a seaside sensation with ocean views and great “dinnertainment”. Get your hands on their signature hotpot or barbeque menu (only available on Wednesdays).
As the night goes on, enjoy a local band performances belting out classic hits and if you’re feeling like it, feel free to contribute a song or two!
Photo Via J_anandary, Kimmylioe
Escape to nature and immerse in local culture!
We know you’re a bit worn out from last night’s activities, so today’s schedule is more relaxing, yet memorable. Wake up whenever you feel like it and head to a striking waterfall to cool off before venturing to an ancient village to learn the genuine Flores way of life.
We recommend you to spend the night in a small town called Ruteng to make the next day’s trip easier.
Note: Do pack your lunch beforehand!
No trip in the tropics is complete without a visit to a waterfall! Nestled in a tropical rainforest, Cunca Wulang is an exotic waterfall and canyon that is bound to please every nature lover!
Jump from the clifftop and dive into the azure blue water, exactly what you need if you are looking for some adrenaline rush! And if you happen to be a canoeing enthusiast, you can also opt to start a canoeing adventure!
Photo Via Emilyhemily, Alexsmith_
When we talk about local villages in Flores, Wae Rebo might be the first that comes to mind, but getting to Wae Rabo involves at least 5 hours of hiking – pretty inconvenient especially if you have limited time.
A tour to Todo Village is a good alternative to appreciate authentic village experience at a fraction of the price and distance!
Todo Village is not your typical ancient village, this is an ancient ROYAL village where centuries of historical events have slowly shaped and transformed the land, sprinkled with myths and legends.
The sight of the surrounding vistas and unique traditional thatched houses adorning the site create a magnificent view that is bound to triple impress you!
Photo Via Javaindoecotourism, Pergidulu, Henry_susanti
This little cafe is loved by visitors who have had too much local food (yes it happens!).
Their signature sizzling beef steak is something that never goes wrong, though their fried rice is succulent too! You can even request to get your coffee packed for home.
If you are still keen for a local delicacy, you should absolutely gulp down their Gado-Gado (local vegetable salad with peanut dressing sauce)!
Photo Via SporeanGranTurismo, Charly.yudha, Wilwa_Tikta, Christian_from_DE
We know it’s not easy finding a comfortable stay in a small town, and after so much travelling and adventure in Flores, what can be more refreshing than sinking down on a clean comfortable bed, free of bugs and dirt, be blessed with hot water, good WiFi, and friendly staff?
At Revayah Hotel, you can enjoy these little comforts before you hit the road again the next day.
P.S. Most hotels in Ruteng are pretty basic and budget, so this is slightly pricier but worth it!
Photo Via Conny_sahetapy, Murzillo
Pay a visit to the dwarves and Spider Man’s home!
Time to explore Ruteng! Start your day with coffee and everything will fall into place. Today you get to visit a cave with deep history and an unusual natural scenery. In the evening, travel back to Labuan Bajo and have a luxury dinner to celebrate the end of your trip.
Is your daily good mood sponsored by coffee? Treat yourself with a warm hug in a mug at this traditional little cafe! All you need is a cup of local Flores coffee and some local breakfast items to keep you going through the day.
If you are not rushing for time, you might want to engage a conversation with the cafe owner as he is a huge coffee enthusiast and will be glad to share the stories behind his coffee making!
Photo Via Zhanggveejpg, Ecominimalist, Verritah, Ariya_sradha
Rumour has it that a dwindling-sized population used to live in this cave! The site has since then attracted numerous curious archeology lovers and travellers!
The history dates back to 100,000 years ago, where experts believed a group of people measuring only 106 centimetres and weighing around 30 to 40 kilograms were living here, deep in the dark cave.
Although research is still ongoing, many uncertainties still remain but for now you can visit it and witness a place where human evolution took place. Who knows, you might spot some small-sized, hairy-legged humans?
Photo Via Pinaytraveljunkie
Lunch amidst lush greenery – SpringHill Resto (1.5 – 2 hours)
Don’t we all crave for some good old “Chinese”, even while on vacation? SpringHill Resto masters this rich and complex cuisine with delicious dishes that not only feel like comfort food but also taste heavenly!
If you’re keen for some local delicacies instead, their Babi Guling will not disappoint as this is their specialty and is said to be an absolute must try! While waiting for your dishes, you also get to stroll in the scenic gardens and enjoy fresh green views amidst nature!
Photo Via Qordycjn
Visit Spider Man’s home: Spider Web Rice Field (30 minutes to 1 hour)
On your way back to Labuan Bajo, don’t miss out on dropping by this unusual rice field that is shaped like a spider web.
Besides taking in the striking green views, you’ll get to know more about the traditional communal agricultural system of the indigenous Manggarai people – they are the ones behind the spider web rice field!
Photo Via Asteriska, Backpackerbypeter, Bavarian_travellers
Your last night calls for a luxury treat! Atlantis on the Rock is the best choice.
Settle in at sunset time for drinks and munchies and as the sun sets low, you can opt for their seafood options (best paired with wine!). This open-air restaurant offers magnificent views of the ocean but does not compromise on service as well!
P.S. We also heard that sometimes, on clear nights, you can even see the Milky Way at Atlantis!
Photo Via Thalassa_pinisi, Agyldharmawan
Bid farewell and plan your next trip back!
No time for tears, it is your last day in Flores and you don’t want to let this tropical escape go to waste! Enjoy a last snorkelling session with Nemo, Dory and friends before your flight back!
Spend your last few hours with a private getaway to Pulau Bidadari. These almost-transparent waters are home to healthy coral gardens and rich marine life, including black tip reef sharks (that don’t bite!).
Photo Via Arieritonga
Recommended private charter boat for Pulau Bidadari (with snorkelling gear):
1. Komodo Tours
2. Komodo Heaven Tour
How can you leave Flores without another seafood feast? Come to Bajo Bay Fisherman’s Club and chomp on their mouthwatering seafood with stunning bay view.
No seafood could go wrong here! But if you’re really hungry from the snorkelling at Pulau Bidadari, order their grilled seafood combo which comes with humongous prawn, spicy squid, and scrumptious fish!