AND TOURIST INFORMATION
On Flores, transport
options are public bus (bone-jarring!) or a hired car and driver. There's a
lot to see and do on the island, but much of it is inaccessible without a guide.
Hire a freelance guide, with a car and driver, by asking around at hotels in
Maumere or Labuanbajo or Ende.
The cost of a private
tour, is negotiable but reasonable -- US$350 (Rp.3,400,000) is a good rate to
travel the length of the island for five days, including guide, driver, car,
and gas. You'll see and learn so much more in the company of a guide, who will
speak several of the island's five main languages alongside Bahasa Indonesian
and English. Ask other travellers for recommendations, but don't put much faith
in official guide licenses - getting one takes bribery, not skill.
Visitors from most
western countries are allowed entry into Indonesia without a visa for stays
of up to two months. Check before departure, Australian's need a Passport valid
for at least 6 months.
Despite the political
turmoil elsewhere in Indonesia, Flores has remained a tranquil backwater. You
do need to be quite careful about what you eat and drink, since it's a poor
island with poor sanitation. Stick with bottled drinks or boiled water, and
eat only thoroughly cooked food.
Take at least half
of your money in cash (US dollars are best) since credit cards are useless,
and travellers' cheques can be changed only in large towns like Maumere
and Ende. Moni-Wolora is so peaceful there
is no money changer, closest is Ende 1.5 hrs by road.
tricky. Phone service seems okay in Maumere and Ende,
but is unreliable (or nonexistent) elsewhere. Postal service is glacially slow.
You'll do much better to carry your treasures home with you. Some villages have
no Post Office or Telephone - mobile phones only work in Ende