FAQ'S GETTING THERE/ROUTES/WHEN
The quickest way is by airplane from Denpasar, Jakarta, 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 Labuan Bajo and Maumere.
From Jakarta there is also direct flight to Labuan Bajo wit Batik Air (Lion Group). 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 10 to 12 months before.
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 3 to 5 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, Transnusa 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 Garuda Indonesia, NAM Air, Transnusa and Wings Air.
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.
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 and Transnusa.
Yes, there are.
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 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. See news earlier this year. There is no need to avoid carriers like NAM Air, Transnusa or Wings Air.
Batik Air 20 kgs
Garuda Indonesia 20 kgs
Lion Air checked in luggage has to be paid
NAM Air 15 kgs
Transnusa 10 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/
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
If you intend to stay no longer than 30 days you don’t need a visa. You get a stamp at the airport, at the seaport or at the landborder.
If you intend to stay 31 to 60 days there are two options:
a. you can buy a visa at the airport which is extendable at one of the immigration offices (for Flores in Maumere or Labuan Bajo). This is not advisable if you intend to travel, unless you will be on the same spot for a week or so.
b. you can buy a visa at one of the embassies or consulates abroad; this visa is 60 days valid.
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 untill 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.
As there is actually only one good road on the island, the Trans Flores Road from Larantuka to Labuan Bajo, most visitors stick to the classic route. If you have time enough other roads off the main road although in bad shape are very rewarding as you see the island even more pure.
This partly depends on how many days and which part you want to visit. The sections 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 travelingtimes. 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 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 untill the full 30 day visafree period (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