Ocean lovers and adventurous travelers, this ones for you! Nestled in the middle of the Flores Sea, only 1 hour flight away from Bali, lies tropical paradise: welcome to Flores. Officially, we need to say 'East Nusa Tenggara'. Because this area consists of more than 500 islands. If you're looking for an ultimate island escape, you should definitely have Flores on your travel route when planning your trip to Bali. Flores is one of the most magical trips we've ever made.
Wondering why? Check out these 20+ photos to inspire your trip to Flores!
And also this video of our girls trip island hopping in Flores with Le Pirate Explorer (our first ever trip to Flores, best of memories!).
Island hopping to white sandy beaches on deserted islands (blue lagoon vibes and all!), snorkeling with manta rays, spotting dolphins and other magical sea life, sleeping on a boat and private island, visiting the pink beach, swimming with baby sharks, hiking at sunset... it's island life to the fullest. Not to mention, you won't have signal most of the times. So digital detox it is.
We have been to Flores many times and we're falling in love with this island paradise over and over again. Our very first time we stayed at a little bungalow resort on Kanawa Island. An incredible off the beaten path, remote experience. After that we went island hopping with Le Pirate Explorer (on this boat you also sleep!). Still awing over these memories.
And recently we were lucky to be the first ones to stay at Le Pirate Island. A private, uninhabited island in the middle of the Flores Sea. Le Pirate created an incredible little tropical vacation vibe, where you sleep in tropical glamping style huts on the beach, spend your days lounging around from sunrise to sunset, at the bar sipping coconuts (or something stronger, why not), getting cozy at movie night under the stars, kayaking over the clear turquoise sea or spotting dolphins from your bed.
Anyway, enough about our trips!
Let's get you ready for your most magical adventure of a lifetime, here are our best tips + travel route for Flores to get you inspired!
1. Getting your ticket from Bali to Flores
There are 9 daily flights from Denpasar (Bali) to La Buan Bajo (Flores). As soon as you know your dates, make sure to book them as these local planes are small, so they get full fast. We mostly book about a week before, but of course the sooner the better.
We always go to Skyscanner to compare flights, but you can also use Traveloka or Tiket.com. We usually fly with Garuda Airlines and since recently Air Asia also flies this route. You will leave from Ngura Rai Airport in Denpasar on the domestic terminal (make sure to let your taxi driver know).
2. Arriving + How to get a taxi + Luggage + Money
After less than 1,5 hour flight (take a window seat, the view is amazing!) you will arrive on the main island Flores at La Buan Bajo. The airport is super small, so you'll walk from the plane to the luggage pickup and then you'll continue your way outside.
For a smooth travel flow we usually arrange our transport with the hotel that we're staying at. But if you want there is a taxi stand at the arrival hall and outside are plenty local drivers at the airport that are happy to bring you.
If you travel with a big suitcase, we recommend to pack a small bag or trolley for on the boat or island and stall your big suitcase at Le Pirate Bajo hotel. If you can leave this in Bali it's even better, it will be lots more comfortable to travel with carry on luggage only. For instance you can ask your hotel if you can leave your suitcase there and pick it up when arriving back in Bali.
At the airport and in the center of La Buan Bajo you can withdraw cash. But we would suggest to draw cash in Bali or on the airport in Denpasar, just to be sure to have some before arriving. And otherwise you can pay at most venues with creditcard as well.
3. How much time do you need?
It's totally up to you how long you would like to spend in this isle of paradise. We would suggest a minimum stay of 3 nights, but the more time you have the more relaxed the adventure. You can exclusively sleep on the boat and go island hopping for days or combine it with a stay on the private island of Le Pirate. Le Pirate Bajo is the perfect stopover for your transit before or after an island hopping cruise (depending on your arrival and departure time of your flight you can decide to stay here or hop on the boat straight away).
We made a Flores travel route below for some inspiration!
4. When is the best time to travel to Flores?
The best time to go to Flores is is April to June, when the temperature is nice and the ocean is calm, or either between September and November. July and August are usually peak months, but also a perfect time to travel here weather-wise. Still, mother nature has its own agenda so be ready for adventure at any time. Like we ended up in a big storm two years ago that unexpectedly hit the islands (with Eve being pregnant, so quite an adventure it was... check out our vlog about it here!)
5. Things to do
As you know we are the biggest sea lovers. And the reason why we love Flores and it's surrounding islands so much - besides the beautiful, rich culture and traditions of the friendly people of Flores - is that this region is one big ocean paradise. Deserted islands, pink beaches, untouched nature, breathtaking sunrises and even more amazing sunsets. Sailing across the ocean, jumping in clear blue waters, snorkeling with manta rays, spotting dolphins, baby sharks, sea turtles, star fish... its absolutely magical. And if you dive you can discover even more of the magical reefs and rich underwater life. Optional is to sail to Komodo National Park!
The best way to experience this is to discover Flores by boat. You will get on board at the harbor of La Buan Bajo and sail from there across the Flores Sea. You can customize your travel route, and add islands to your schedule depending on how much time you have. And you can either sleep a few nights on the boat or if you'd rather snuggle up in a resort or hotel, head over to one of the islands, like Le Pirate Island or The Seraya on the island called 'Burung Kecil'.
6. Where to stay
There are plenty of options nowadays for your island escape to Flores. You can go from local home stays to luxury resorts or either spend your nights on the water while sleeping on a boat.
We personally love to recommend our friends Le Pirate as they are offering a complete island experience including a hotel on the main island (ideal stopover before or after your island hopping, as it's close to the airport), the island hopping and cruising on the Pirate Explorer and sleeping on Le Pirate private island. We have made so many beautiful memories here that we just would like everyone to experience this. Forget about Maldives, put this on your bucketlist!
Any more questions? let us know in the comments.
Now let's get to planning your trip!
Inspiration for your Flores travel route
So we would always to suggest 3 or 4 nights minimum when traveling to Flores. As most travelers combine a trip to Flores on their Bali Holiday, they usually don't spend a whole week here, especially if you're also planning to visit other islands like the Gili- and Nusa Islands. So we noted down the ideal travel options for 4 nights - if you have more time just add more days on the boat or at Le Pirate Island, or at La Buan Bajo to explore more of Flores mainland.
The ultimate island escape: 4 nights
Day 1: arrival & checking in at Le Pirate Bajo
You will arrive at La Buan Bajo and get into the taxi from Le Pirate to the Le Pirate Bajo hotel in town. You'll check into your room and after that you can explore town or hangout at the restaurant or small pool on the rooftop.
Tonight you will sleep at the hotel.
If you arrive early in the morning you can also skip this night and get on the boat straight away. When you arrive at the hotel from the airport, you can relax for a bit at the restaurant and wait for the team of Le Pirate to take you to the harbor.
Day 2: boarding Le Pirate Explorer & island hopping
Ahoy! Today you will board Le Pirate Explorer to get island hopping or cruise to Le Pirate Island. The team will bring you to the harbor (about 5 minutes walk from the hotel), and a small boat will take you on board of Le Pirate Explorer cruise.
The rest of the day it's all about you and the sea. With the Island Explorer cruise you'll go island hopping, snorkeling, swimming and enjoying a full day salty.
Tonight you'll sleep in your cabin on the boat.
If you'd rather spend all nights on the Island or if you can only spend 3 nights, you can book a daytime cruise only and get back on the sand for your nights. Just book all your nights at Le Pirate Island and get in touch with the team to book your additional boat time!
Day 3: Off to Le Pirate Island
Today you'll cruise to Le Pirate Island!
In the afternoon you will be dropped of at Le Pirate Island. Where you'll spend the rest of the day and sleep in your tropical hut on the beach.
Day 4: Le Pirate Island
Today you'll spend the whole day on Le Pirate Island!
Day 5: departure & back to Bali
Early morning you'll be picked up at Le Pirate Island with the boat to return to La Buan Bajo. Depending on the time of your flight, you can hangout at the hotel Le Pirate Bajo before taking a taxi to the airport. You can arrange this with the team there. If you have a few more hours to spend, make sure to walk around town and enjoy some local souvenir shopping.
Check availability for your short island escape to Flores here!
We hope this guide has been of help to plan your trip to Flores. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below, or if you'd like to share any of your own experiences!
More inspiration for your next Bali trip you can find in our Bali Island Guide (of ons Nederlandse We Like Bali boek) here!