Flores is one of Indonesia’s lesser visited Islands. Usually, the main reason people are drawn to it, is because it is the easiest place to access Komodo National Park, most boats leave from Labuan Bajo Port- to see the Komodo Dragons, snorkel with manta rays, enjoy the pink beaches and hike around Padar Island. Flores Island itself is famous for Kelimutu National Park, with its volcano and 3 intensely coloured crater lakes- which is also the main reason I wanted to explore the Island.
After spending the night at Wae Rebo Village, we hopped back in the car and headed towards Bena Village. Getting to this traditional little village was estimated to take around 10 hours! It was not the most pleasant journey- the roads on Flores are extremely under- developed making it a really bumpy ride more or less the entire ride there! We crossed over some bridges that, I can honestly say I’m surprised held the car, I was actually scared. But we made it safely, and sometimes these experiences turn out to be the best memories!
Bena Village is a perfect example of a still occupied, traditional village. It is in such a unique location, with superb views of Inerie the volcano. We arrived here just after sunrise and really enjoyed the peace and quiet. Bena is known to be the most famous and most visited village in the Nada district, so I’m glad we beat the crowds!
The village has quite an impressive design- with two parallel rows of traditional roofed houses and two pairs of shrines, that are highly visible in the centre, it makes it incredibly unique and I’ve never seen anything like it. Bena has turned into a signpost for Ngada culture.
After our morning at Bena Village we had a quick breakfast and continued on our way, another 6 or so hours until we reached the closest town to Kelimutu National Park. Along the way we noticed the sky start lighting up from the sunset, so we pulled the car over to have a look. We sent the drone up and immediately were surrounded by a bunch of curious kids. They were so adorable and loved chasing after the drone, so we had a bit of fun with them and it was such a beautiful experience.
Mount Kelimutu, is probably the most amazing natural phenomenon in Flores. With it’s tri-coloured crater lakes and the beautiful mountains surrounding it- it’s been a dream of mine to visit this place and see it with my own eyes! We woke up at around 3:30am and drove to the car park, where we then walked for about 30 minutes through the lush forest full of birdsong, before entering the lake area to watch the sun rise! The views were insane and it was the perfect way to end our Flores road trip.
We had such an incredibly busy 4 days, driving from Labuan Bajo all the way to Kelimutu National Park. Islands like Flores are the main reason I started travelling in the first place - being able to visit local communities in places that only existed to me in books and documentaries before. Meeting people from different backgrounds and learning from their joy of life! Travelling off the beaten path is what feels most pure to me, and even as an outsider looking into the different cultures, we are always welcomed with open arms! It is easy to get lost in the comforts of places like Bali, where it allows you to feel like you’re travelling while still having comfort and convenience, but it’s the real and tiring adventures that are going to leave you with the stories to tell the future generations.