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Two weeks in Flores, Indonesia

Posted by collierconnell on 28/9/2017 at 21:36

Hey everyone, I'm looking forward to a 2 week speed trip through Flores, Indonesia traveling from Labuan Bajo to Maumere in 13 days... My main question is about the bus system as we're running a bit of a budget.

Do the buses between the major cities run with any consistency going west to east or is it only a select few that run a few random times a day? I'm slightly worried about getting from Denge (post Wae Rebo) onto Ruteng for example, as it looks as if it's off the trans-Flores highway.

The tentative idea is to spend a tiny bit of time in LB (fly in, then single day scuba), do the recommended 3 days in Wae Rebo, then press on and hit Ruteng, Bajawa (for Gunung Inerie), Ende, Moni, and finally reach Maumere in time to fly out. Is that plan completely crazy or can it be managed given the questionable state of transportation..? If it's crazy to cram it all, what would you recommend I scrap?

Thanks for the help! All helpful suggestions/advice/knowledge is warmly welcomed

#1 collierconnell has been a member since 26/12/2016. Posts: 2

Posted by flijten on 29/9/2017 at 05:25

Contrary to, for instance, Java and Sumbawa, Flores does not have an extensive inter-city public bus system. Getting around is still fairly easy though with there basically being two options:

1. A travel, privately owned shared mini-vans
2. A Bemo. Not like the Ankutan Kota city transport, more like a very full Java bus.

Travels usually do pick ups at your hotel and drop offs at the next hotel (unless you get out earlier than their final destination) while Bemo's leave from a terminal or a set street or corner. Adding up ojek's or angkot to get to these terminals and corners from and to hotels, the difference in price between travels and bemo's is not as big as it may look!

I used both and both options are relatively comfortable. I remember paying 30k to get from Ende to Maumere. But a travel from a reputable company (use Gunung mas!) is no bad deal either. I spend 80k to get from Labuan Bajo to Ruteng and that got me chair that didn't need to be shared, leg room, place for luggage in the back etc. Both are fine, but the further east you go on the island, the less decent travels are to be found, Gunung Mas doesn't seem to be going much further then Ende for instance.

Travels and Bemo's go daily and usually a couple of times. Especially in the morning there should be not trouble getting out of your current location. In case of the travels it makes sense to call them up front so they can pick you up and you're guaranteed a place. In case of Bemo they will squish you in anyway :D
From Denge an ojek to the main road, then flagging down anything that passes seems your best bet, but I didn't do this in person, so I can't guarantee anything there.

The third option is taxi's and shared taxi's but they tend to be up in the hundreds of thousands so even sharing makes it a more expensive option than travels and bemo's.

About your itinerary
Your plan is not completely crazy, but it is busy :) All major stretches (LB -> Ruteng, Ruteng -> Bajawa , Bajawa -> Ende, etc are around 4 hours or more of travel. This means that with packing up, settling down, finding accomodation, etc these days are more or less not usable for loads of activities. Taking off the three days in Wae Rebo leaves you with 7 days to see the other stuff in. Taking out arrival and leaving, a day in Labuan Bajo for diving and you are left with about a full day and a bit per location. This is fine but not overly spacious. I think I spend about 17 days on Flores without Wae Rebo, but I stayed in Labuan Bajo longer for diving and the islands (3 or 4 days) and I had a day or three in Maumere for diving as well, it didn't feel rushed so I think you'll be fine as well.

Gunung Inerie
Do it! It is a relatively short but steep climb. Especially once you hit the parts with scree the combination of steepness and loose rubble makes it not for the faint hearted, and you do need to be careful, but it is a great view!
That's about it, enjoy this gorgeous island!

#2 flijten has been a member since 19/12/2016. Location: Netherlands. Posts: 80

Posted by amnicoll on 29/9/2017 at 05:37

minor point but Flores is in Indonesia

travel is simple on most of Flores. I too highly recommend Gunung Mas for bus along the trans Flores highway -book the day before to be safe. There are other similar services as well as slow and uncomfortable local buses

I also highly recommend the shared taxis which when I was there were about the same price as the private bus and unlike other places did not wait until they were full to leave

You have enough time and Flores is a great place

#3 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by gecktrek on 30/9/2017 at 01:03

hey, after wae rebo, you'll probably only have 8 days to get to maumere, so you might have to pick and choose what you see from that point. transport-wise, either a bus or a 'travel' leave in the mornings (can be booked through your accommodation) and takes between 3-4 hours between main towns... so it is doable if you plan it out.

#4 gecktrek has been a member since 24/3/2013. Location: Australia. Posts: 178

Posted by collierconnell on 30/9/2017 at 10:09

Many thanks for the responses -- this is all very helpful.



#5 collierconnell has been a member since 26/12/2016. Posts: 2

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