Rice terraces of Ruteng, Flores, Indonesia, Southeast Asia.

Indonesia //

Flores

A fertile, mountainous barrier between the Savu and Flores seas, Flores comprises one of the most alluring landscapes in the archipelago. The volcanic spine of the island soars to 2500m, and torrential wet seasons result in a lushness that marks Flores apart from its scorched neighbours. It also differs religiously – 95 percent of islanders are Catholic. The most spectacular sight in Flores is magnificent Kelimutu, near Moni, northeast of Ende. The three craters of this extinct volcano each contain a lake of different, vibrant and gradually changing colours. In the east of Flores, high-quality ikat weaving still thrives. At the extreme west end of the island, Labuanbajo has some fine coral gardens and is also the port for ferries to and from Sumbawa. All of Flores’s major towns are linked by bus, but these can be slow, crowded and unpleasant. A number of private operators, including the recommended Gunung Mas, run faster, more comfortable travels (cars and minibuses) around the island, to strictly observed schedules, with hotel pick-ups – well worth the few extra rupiah.