Capital (ibu kota) is Maumere, the biggest town on Flores. Here, the distance on Flores from north to south is only 15 kilometers. Maumere has a good beach scene east and west from town, which is populair during the weekends. The seaport (Pelni and cargo) is northwest of town. The ASDP seaport is in Kewapante east of Maumere.
Check also http://wikitravel.org/en/Maumere
Maumere has many hotels also on the beach which stretches east and west from the city. From basic penginapan to luxurious resorts
Many Padang restaurants and Jawa eateries. There is Ikan bakar (grilled fish) which is supposed to eat with your hands, near the port. Roxy is an useful supermarket.
On jalan J. Sudirman nr 1 (the road to Larantuka) there is a wineshop where you sometimes can buy imported liquors like Johnny Walker, Bacardi, Chivas Regal, Absolu Wodka etc. Wines are mostly from Australia and Italy and imported via Bali and prices start at around Rp 300.000. Unfortunately they are also out of stock from time to time, but if you are in the neighbourhood you could try your luck.
TRANSPORT (see also)
The airport Frans Seda or Waioti is 5 km east of town. There are direct connections with Labuan Bajo, Kupang, Makassar and Denpasar (Bali).
Bus long distance
It takes 4 hours to/from Larantuka. No fixed schedules. Bustickets are Rp 60.000. Sometimes the bus stops in Boru for 20 minutes (toiletbreak, eat).
There are also buses to Ende (5 to 6 hours) and Bajawa (8 to 10 hours). For Moni you can take the bus to Ende (around 3 hours).
Bus within town
Bemo or angkot. Rp 3.000
Car with driver
At the airport or via your hotel are cars with driver available. Prices vary and a price of one million per day is not uncommon. Booked via hotels be prepared for
steep prices as well. If you need a car you also can contact me. Also check
car with driver
Ojek (motorcycle taxi)
A ride should be between Rp 3.000 and Rp 10.000 depending on distance and your negotiation skills.
Sorry, no real taxi’s in Maumere but cars are available from the airport into town and to the airport from bigger hotels (like
Sylvia). A ride into town should be no more than Rp 60.000.
This is a shared “taxi”, a big car or minibus which runs from door to door. To Larantuka or Ende, which is also useful for Moni costs are around Rp 100.000 - Rp 150.000. Gunung Mas is recommended.
Pelni ferries sail to Makassar and Labuan Bajo.
Ferries ASDP (KMP Uma Kalada) to Larantuka, Adonara and Kupang (but not very convenient as the harbour in Kewapante is on the northcoast, 15 kilometers from Maumere)
WHAT TO SEE?
Traditional market in Maumere.
Ikat weaving in kampung Watublapi and kampung Dokar
Two villages, about one hour east of Maumere where you can see ikat weaving, traditional dances and try betelnut.
This is a muslim village (kampung) with houses on stilts in the Flores Sea, a few kilometers west of town. You can see village life here along the shore of the north coast and even a mosque built on water. Take care if you wander around as the small sidewalks are broken and not so steady. To get there take the road in the direction of Magepanda and follow the sign. Children will follow you asking for candy and ballpoints and ... money.
Road to Magepanda (and on to Kota baru)
This road with sea- and mountainviews is an attraction itself especially the views around Wair Nokerua. Also
an interesting spot for sunset. Further west there is a lake near the coast Tiwu Bowu (Ende regency) and a nice beach just beyond. Travel 30 minutes further west and you
will find yourself in a beautiful river landscape.
The huge statue of Mother Mary on Nilo Hill is overlooking the valley. Half an hour drive from Maumere and good to combine with a day out to Sikka, Wuring and Magepanda. From Maumere go south following the road to Ende, the junction is on your right. The small road crawls into the mountains. There is a parking for cars and motorbikes. At the time I visited Nilo there was nobody around to pay a fee or something like that. Probably you also need to buy and burn a candle. If the weather is good there are some fine views overlooking the area and Maumere town.
The town of Sikka has an old church (1899) and is 30 km from Maumere. Follow the road to
Ende to get there. There is a large sign on the road (turn left). If the church is closed they will open the door for
you. You can leave a small donation. Sikka is also known for its weaving cloth.
Following the road further west you will first meet Paga Beach where tourguides or drivers intend to stop for a break. You'd better travel a little further to Koka Beach (2 km off the Trans Flores highway) with the big black rocks just to soothe your hunger for taking photo’s. This is one of the prettiest beaches of Flores and outside weekends you will have the beach, which are in fact two bays, for yourself. You also can overnight on the beach in basic accomodation. See the hotel section.
The area west, north and north east of Maumere are famous for diving, especially around Babi island, pulau Besar, the Pemana islands and Pengabatan island. Besides east and west from Maumere in the area of Waigete (30 kms from Maumere) are guesthouses to base yourself. Pengabatan island can be done on a daytrip.