My wife and I just returned from a trip to Flores. It was an amazing journey. We strongly recommend that you consider including Flores on your itinerary if you are coming to Indonesia. After reading many different posts, I came up with an itinerary to allow us to travel from Labuan Bajo to Maumere without it being too exhausting. Here is what our itinerary was (so that anyone looking for ideas can be inspired!):
Day 1: Flew from Bali to Labuan Bajo
Day 2: Still in Labuan Bajo (Day tour to six sites in Komodo National Park)
Day 3: Driven from Labuan Bajo to Ruteng (about 4 hours)
Day 4: Driven from Ruteng to Bajawa (about 4 hours)
Day 5: Driven from Bajawa to Moni (about 5 hours)
Day 6: Driven from Moni to Maumere (about 5 hours)
Day 7: Relaxed in Maumere
Day 8: Relaxed in Maumere
Day 9: Returned to Bali
The drive time included stops to see some of the sites along the way. Pak Simi, our driver, was a very safe driver. Although the road conditions were much better than I expected them to be, some of the drops along the roadside were pretty scary. We agreed on the following price for his driving:
5,500,000 for 6 days of driving (2 days for Pak Simi to come from Maumere (his hometown) to Labuan Bajo and 4 days of driving with us).
We payed the cost of fuel which came to about 700,000
We also had to cover the cost of accommodation and food for 4 days at a cost of 1,000,000.
Total cost was 7.200.000 which comes to 1.200.000 per day. I read on a few posts that one can secure a driver for less than that. I was not able to find drivers at the rate these postings are promoting. Our driver did not speak English. That was ok since I am able to get by in Indonesian. If you want more information about Pak Simi, please contact me personally.
Flores offers incredible natural beauty. Although it is getting busier by the year, Flores still has its 'untouched' charm. In 20 years, Flores will probably be another version of Bali. The time to go is NOW!!!