FAQ'S GETTING THERE/ROUTES/WHEN
The quickest way is by airplane from Denpasar, Jakarta, Surbaya, Kupang or Makassar.
It depends on what you want to do before you come to Flores. If combinated with other islands in NTT, for example Sumba or Alor, Jakarta is an option with good connections to Kupang, the hub for other islands further east, but Denpasar is ok as well. Also Makassar on Sulawesi has flights to Maumere.
From Jakarta there are also direct flights to Labuan Bajo wit Batik Air (Lion Group), Citlink and sometimes Garuda. However, the most used airport to get to Flores is Denpasar, Bali.
From Europe the best time to buy tickets for the high season (July and August) are 8 to 10 months before. However with prices going up and down during the pandemic this isn't always that strict anymore.
The best time to buy a ticket for the Christmas period is between March and May.
For other months you best can search for a ticket 2 to 4 months in advance. The cheapest months are usually February to May and September to November.
I suppose for other continents this is more or less the same.
Flores has 6 airports, from east to west: Larantuka, Maumere, Ende, Bajawa, Ruteng and Labuan Bajo
If you want to go to Komodo NP only you can fly to Labuan Bajo. There are flights from Jakarta, Denpasar, Makassar and Kupang. Carriers are Batik Air, Citilink, Garuda Indonesia, NAM Air and Wings Air. For the classic route from east to west Maumere is the most convenient one. There are flights from Denpasar, Makassar and Kupang, served by Batik Air, Citlink, Garuda Indonesia, NAM Air, Transnusa and Wings Air. Timetables and carriers are prone to change often.
Ende is less convenient as there are no direct flights anymore between Denpasar and Ende, all flights are with transit in Labuan Bajo or Kupang. Also Ende is the most difficult airport on Flores as the runway is sandwiched between the sea and a mountain. This airport is most prone to delays and cancellations in particular when the weather is bad. So if you are on a tight schedule don't use Ende airport.
The difference in traveling time between Ende to Moni or Maumere to Moni is half an hour more when coming from Maumere town or 45 minutes more when coming from the airport. Also, when starting in Maumere you have the chance to enjoy Koka beach, the most beautiful beach on the mainland of Flores.
If you want to start in Bajawa there are flights Denpasar-Labuan Bajo-Bajawa with Wings Air or from (Jakarta) Kupang with Wings Air.
Yes, there are.
All other connections are via Kupang on Timor.
Outside the months July and August, the Idul Fitri period at the end of the Ramadan (check the calender first) and around Christmas and New Year about 1 to 2 months in advance will be ok. Do not buy tickets far in advance as routes and schedules are changing frequently.
In June 2018 the news came that all Indonesian carriers have been removed from the European Commission's airline blacklist. There is no need to avoid carriers like NAM Air, Transnusa or Wings Air.
Batik Air 20 kgs
Garuda Indonesia 20 kgs
Lion Air 20 kgs
NAM Air 20 kgs
Wings Air checked in luggage has to be paid
*best at the same time when purchasing your ticket; costs for checked in luggage at the airport is double price
Yes you also can travel by boat to Flores in different ways.
a. there are tourist boats from Lombok which sail to Labuan Bajo. A few companies are Perama Travel based on Bali https://www.peramatour.com/
and Wanua Adventure based in labuan Bajo http://wanuaadventure.com/
However due to the pandemic since March 2020 there are far less tourists these companies stopped offering these trips. When they will be back again not sure, but I do not expect before 2023.
b. you can travel from Makassar (Sulawesi) to Larantuka or to Maumere with a Pelni ship https://www.pelni.co.id/ (the website is not to easy to navigate)
c. Pelni also offers touristic trips from Denpasar to Labuan Bajo or the other way around Pelni promo Denpasar to Komodo
d. You also can travel with ASDP, a smaller ferry from several islands in the area.
Below the most used connections between (islands belonging to) Flores and other islands in NTT (Nusa Tenggara Timor) Sumbawa and Sulawesi with ASDP and other companies with wooden or fiber boats.
Jampea (Selayar islands, Sulawesi)-Labuan Bajo
All of the above information is prone to change frequently in particular due to the pandemic.
Since the pademic the visafree exemption is no longer availabe for most nationalities
a. you can buy a visa at the airport (VOA = Visa On Arrival) for Rp 500.000 (around 35 US$ or 33 euro)
In November 2022 Indonesia introduced eVOA, the same electronic version of the VOA which can be applied online.
You need to make an account first.
See also homepage
Both VOA and eVOA are extendable at one of the immigration offices (for Flores in Maumere or Labuan Bajo) and since 28 January 2023.
If you want to stay 60 days and don't want to bother with extension then you can apply for a Touris Visitor Visa Single Entry 60 days via both an embassy abroad or online via the Molina website.
The dry season is roughly from May to October, however you still can expect some rain, especially in the highlands around Ruteng, Bajawa and Moni.
The rainy season should start in November until April with the months January, February and March as the worst. However seasons on Flores, like elsewhere in the world are not so strict anymore these days.
In the rainy season it can be difficult to climb mountains or sometimes not possible at all. The rainy months are also not so attractive for diving and snorkling. You also can expect floods and landslides. But on the other hand in the rainy season Flores is at its most beautiful as the most dry parts of the island like north coast, around Labuan Bajo, Komodo National Park and the far east in Larantuka and Adonara will turn into green again. When traveling during the months December to April ad a few extra days to avoid disappointments as boats are more likely not to sail and peaks of volcanos are covered with a thick fog. To spot komodo dragons the months between September and May/June are the best.
The more or less classic route on Flores is from Maumere to Labuan Bajo or the other way around. The (by me) so called semi-classic route is from Maumere to Labuan Bajo via Riung.
A full trip will cover the far east including Larantuka, Adonara and Solor.
Most visitors do the classic route but since the b-roads have become better the last couple of years you als can choose for parts of the north coast. But also smaller roads in a not so good condition are worthwhile and rewarding as you see the island even more pure. If you have the time of course.
This partly depends on how many days and which part you want to visit. The sections on the mainroad between te towns like Maumere to Ende, Bajawa to Ruteng etc. are an average of 4 hours non stop. Other sections like Maumere-Moni and Moni-Riung or Bajawa may take shorter/longer.
Please do not underestimate the traveling times. The average speed on Flores is 35 kilometers/hour on the mainroad. Roads off the Trans Flores are often potholed and bumpy and the speed is sometimes only 10 to 20 kms/hour. Also check this part Transport by road about halfway the page.
Trips to Flores can be made in a few days only up and until 3 to 4 weeks (and even more). If you are in a hurry you can fligh a part of the trip (which is a shame as you miss the beauty of the island). So it depends on your time an interests actually. Within one week you can see the highlights. With 10 to 14 days you have more time to take it easy and you can start in Larantuka (airport Maumere as the route via Kupang is more expensive and takes more time). Three to four weeks gives you the chance to explore even more and you could consider to combine public transport with travels (shared car or minibus) and private car and go off the beaten track. If you need advise, please contact me.
More concrete? Below the possibilities for an overland trip which is not yet including your trip to Komodo National Park.
Check also these parts