In pictures: The ‘flower’ of Indonesia
A WORLD AWAY from the famous Bali island of Indonesia is another world undiscovered called Pulau Flores, otherwise simply known as Flores.
While Bali is bursting at seams activities to do, places to see, things to eat, and tourists from just about anywhere in the world, Flores still sees very few tourists.
The name Flores (derived from the Portuguese word for “flowers”) is a bit of an irony as it is not particularly known for colorful blooms.
However, it is one of the best places in the region to go diving as the island’s underwater world is home to elegant manta rays, gentle turtles, the occasional shark, and colorful schools of fish.
The spot is only recommended for seasoned divers, though, as the currents here can be swift, strong and unpredictable.
If exploring the unknown beneath the crystal clear waters to discover the coral gardens is not your cup of tea, then sink your toes in the pristine powder white sands as you stroll down the beach instead.
If you have got a bit of an adventurous streak (and why would you not, after making it this far down Indonesia’s chain of islands?) be sure to visit Kelimutu, a volcano close to the small town of Moni.
Kelimutu may look like any seen-one-seen-them-all volcano but at the summit is a surprise that will be a feast for your eyes.
Three tri-colored crater lakes lay nestled at the top of Kelimutu, and each one sparkles with a different color as the result of the different gasses bubbling away under the surface.
The westernmost lake, Tiwu ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People) is usually blue; Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) is typically green; Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake) is usually red.
According to folklore, the lakes are a resting place for departed souls and those who have died will be sent to different lakes depending on their merits in life.
Then, make a pitstop at Bena, one of the traditional villages in Flores that is untouched by modernization.
Situated about 16 kilometers from Bajawa at the foot of Mount Inerie, the village boasts two rows of centuries-old traditional high thatched houses along a ridge as well as impressive stone formations and ancestral shrines.
After grabbing a cup of Bajawa coffee, take an hour’s hike from Bena to Tololela, a traditional village with altitude 650 meters above sea level located in the Manubhara village.
Like Bena, the Tololela compound is home to rows of authentic wooden houses topped by straw roofs.
Feel free to walk around and talk to the locals to learn about their culture, but remember to ask for permission before taking pictures and not just stick your camera into their faces and spaces.
There is so much beauty left to be discovered on Flores, a fascinating island on in this part of the world.
Take a look at what else it has to offer:
Getting there: The easiest and fastest way to reach Flores is by air from Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali. There are daily flights from Denpasar to Labuan Bajo (90 minutes) or Maumere (about an hour and 25 minutes).
For more information, visit the Flores Tourism website.