the indonesian island of flores is wonderful! however, since it’s not very touristically developed, compared e.g. to bali, we’ve found it fairly hard to come by information for independent travelers, like times and prices for public busses or boats etc.
here are some bits of information that were *not* easy to find out even while we were on the island:
komodo national park: staying on komodo island
almost anybody will try to sell you a 1 or 2 day trip to komodo island and surrounding sights. be aware that you’ll likely only have about an hour on each island, so any real hiking or quality time looking for dragons is more or less impossible. there are official hiking routes taking up to 5 h round-trip, and you can even get a guide for the day and arrange any length of hike.
if you want to stay on komodo island (there are homestays in komodo village, and a cabin that’s run by the rangers), there are several options. in order of descending easiness and price, you can…
. charter a boat to the island (really expensive, about 1,000,000 IDR one-way).
. book two 1-day tours – one that has komodo island as its last stop, where you stay on the island instead of going back, and another one for your desired pickup day. it’s about 450,000 p.p. and day (negotiable), and you get to also see some of the other amazing sights, like padar island, snorkeling with mantas etc.
. take the public boat to komodo village, which according to a national park ranger leaves from labuan bajo harbour every day around 11 a.m.. (we only learned about these details after three days of asking litterally everybody for the public boat, and receiving only charter offers of 2,000,000 IDR). it should be less than 100,000 IDR per person.
if you do try to go and stay on komodo island, you can contact national park rangers fani (+628236164323) or usman (+6281239566140) via whatsapp or phone call.
for organised tours and related information, eka (+6281236998824) from harmony guesthouse in labuan bajo is a very motivated and helpful contact for information. he was the only one providing more information than just the standard packages.
make sure you stock up on suncream in bajo (or before)! we unsuccessfully tried stores in ruteng, bajawa, and riung, and finally found some in a bigger store in ende. be aware that the altitude of ruteng and bajawa, and the excellent snorkelling in riung, may increase your typical sun cream needs.
public busses across the island
gunung mas busses to ruteng leave bajo at 8:00, 10:00 and 11:00 (and probably other times). to catch the connecting connecting bus to bajawa (leaves ruteng at 14:00), you need to take the 8:00 from bajo. price to ruteng: 110,000 IDR, price from ruteng to bajawa: 90,000 IDR.
there’s also a public bus from labuan bajo direct to bajawa, leaving at 6:00 (around 100,000 IDR). tickets are reportedly sold near to the military base on the main harbour road, when walking towards the night market area.
the public bus from bajawa to riung costs 50,000 IDR with gemini. it usually leaves around midday (12:00-13:00), but was 6 (six!) hours late when we went. staff at our hotel wasn’t surprised about the initial 1 h turned 2 h delay, but 4 h more definitely seemed unusual/rare (none of us thought it would still go that day, and after several breakdowns we finally got there around midnight).
a private car with driver from bajawa to riung apparently costs around 700,000, as the road is in quite bad shape (4 h for 70 km).
a public bus ticket from riung to ende was <50,000 IDR (don't remember the exact amount). the bus leaves at around 7 (be ready at 6) and picks you up at your hotel (impressive given its enormous size). travel time was about 4 h, and the journey ended at the west bus terminal in ende. to continue on towards moni/kelimutu etc., you need to continue to to the east bus terminal (bemo/ojek) and catch a bemo or bus (2-3 h, around 20,000 IDR p.p.?). from moni towards maumere, wait by the side of the main road and flag down a bemo or bigger bus. unfortunately the price has escaped me.