To encounter a unique
and welcoming traditional culture living against a stunning backdrop of live
volcanoes. The Florinese, even today build towering thatched houses and dress
in intricately hand-dyed cloth, still hunt wild boar with homemade harpoons,
still practice a startling blend of Catholicism and spirit-worship (churches
are often decorated with strings of buffalo skulls). They are welcoming and
happy to share it all with visitors.
When to go
The dry season is
from end March through to September. Roads can be completely impassable during
the rainy season however the island is lush green and more striking if you meet
the start or end of the wet.
Despite unrest in
Indonesia in recent years, Flores remains a peaceful backwater, untouched by
violence and separatist conflict. Local people are content to be Indonesian
citizens, and in fact complain about being ignored by the government and the
rest of the country. This is, partly, a blessing-in-disguise. For the Florinese,
it means a lack of development money and social services - but for travellers,
it means tranquillity, and an island that is surprised and pleased that you
came to visit. Although geographically removed from terrorism, the island is
still suffering low tourism since the Bali bombings in November 2002 and more recently in October 2005. Another
reason to go and support the local economy. For the adventurous this island
will offer no end of untouched exploration and exhilaration.