When people envision Bali, they dream of paradise, in every sense.
Every sense, of course, unless your idea of paradise is a white, sand beach with sparkling, turquoise waters.
The Bali beach reality is often rocky or grey sand with cloudy, cool waters. Not exactly the stuff paradise daydreams are made of.
And, while I love the beaches of Canggu and Uluwatu for beautiful sunsets- the waves are rough, more ideal for surfing than a tranquil swim.
Fortunately, Indonesia has plenty of alternatives, some of which are quick and easy to reach from Bali.
Home to breathtaking Komodo National Park, ace diving and some of the most awe-inspiring scenery I’ve ever seen, Flores is captivating.
I’ve penned full guides for what to do in Labuan Bajo, and the best day trip to take to see the region’s most beautiful sights-
If you’re looking for quick inspiration to plan a trip to Flores, or add it to your Bali holiday, search no further.
Five Reasons to Fall for Flores
An Island with Tri-Color Beaches
A tri-colour beach viewpoint made famous by Instagram, hiking Padar Island is on everyone’s list of things to do in Komodo.
It’s a tough climb to the top- best to start early am- but once there, you’ll be rewarded with an incredible view of rugged landscape, sparkling sea and colourful beaches.
The way up is mostly steps (hundreds of them), and some rocks at the top. Bring water, and wear sunscreen. Even in the morning sun, it was a blazing hot climb.
Once you get to the top though, and find yourself looking out over the rocky terrain, with pink, black and white sand beaches in eyesight, you’ll understand why everyone raves about Padar.
A Pink Beach With the Softest Sand and Gorgeous Snorkeling
Some travellers complain this beach isn’t ‘pink enough’, so our expectations were low, which may be why we were so impressed.
The beach is unquestionably pink, especially where the water touches the sand. And, if you tired of lounging on the soft sand, you can go for a swim or snorkel in the clear waters.
The lower part of the beach is full of coral, so watch your step getting on/off boats and walking up onto the shore.
The Chance to Spot the World’s Longest Lizard
Ah, the reason most people head to Komodo- for the chance to see the world’s longest lizard, which can reach 3 meters in length and only lives on two islands (Rinca and Komodo) in Indonesia.
As part of the day tour I recommend, you’ll trek Komodo island for ~40 minutes, during which time your guide will be on the lookout for dragons. Although we only spotted one baby dragon during this portion of our visit, the trek was still a cool experience- we enjoyed learning about the island’s ecosystem.
When we visited, because it was mid-day, most of the dragons were sleeping near the guard office, which made them easy to find at the end of the trek.
And lest we be disappointed, on our walk back along the beach to our boat, we spotted another, which was awake and walking around. In total, we saw four big dragons, and a baby one, plus a bunch of deer.
You’ll be assigned a guide to take you around the island, be sure to heed their caution and directions- Komodo Dragons are usually quiet during the day, but remain a predator- their toxic bite can be fatal.
A Pristine Sandbar in the Middle of the Sea, Perfect for Lounging
I never thought a sandbar would take my breath away, but this crescent shaped beach in the middle of the sea is stunning- the perfect spot for relaxing and snorkeling.
If your boat captain allows it, climb up to the top of the boat for stunning panoramic views.
It’s some of the purest, white sand I’ve ever seen. And, surrounded by shining aquamarine sea, it’s an unbelievable spot.
An Opportunity to Swim with Sea Turtles and Mantas
Manta Rays are common in Komodo National Park. They can be spotted year-round by snorkeling or diving. For the best chance of seeing them, I’ve heard visiting between September and December is optimal. We visited in late-October, and saw three on our snorkel.
Snorkeling with these gentle creatures was nothing short of incredible, a definite trip highlight.
One note here- mantas move quickly, be ready to jump (literally) off the boat when your guide instructs you to so you don’t miss them.
One you’ve had your fill of mantas, it gets even better. A beautiful coral garden with several sea turtles weaving in and out?
Although we didn’t dive in Bajo (long story), we did spot plenty of sea turtles and fish while snorkelling at ‘turtle bay’.
Komodo National Park is renowned as one of the world’s most beautiful dive sites. Because of a strong current in the park, dynamite fishing is impossible, so many of the coral reefs have remained intact.
Penga Kecil and Karang Makassar are the most visited reefs. Expect to see small reef sharks, turtles, loads of fish and sea stars in all kind of colors and sizes, dolphins, and even whales sharks.
Bonus: Great Tasting Indonesian Brew
Anytime I visit a country known for its coffee production, I take advantage of every chance to try locally sourced beans. These places in Bajo didn’t let me down-
- Carpenter Cafe & Roastery: Brewing Flores, Sumatra and Java beans, this cafe was my favorite because, 1) air-conditioning, 2) friendly staff, and 3) blazing fast wifi. Also, delicious coffee drinks with beans sourced from around Indo
- Labajo Flores Coffee: Good coffee option, next to Red Whale’s office
- Bajo Bakery: Great pick for breakfast, including your first cup of brew
Have you ever been to Indonesia? Would you visit Flores as part of a trip to Bali, Lombok or Java?
Enjoyed this post? Pin it.
Other Posts You May Enjoy
- The Ultimate Bali Planning Guide
- A Complete Guide to Flores: 72 Hours in Labuan Bajo
- The Ultimate Guide to Jungle Paradise in Ubud
- Every Cafe You Must Visit in Ubud
- Chasing Waterfalls Near Ubud
- 10 Things You Can’t Miss in Canggu, Bali
- 15 Cafes in Canggu for Your Smoothie Bowl & Latte Fix
- The Best Day Trip to Take in Indonesia
- 5 Spas in Bali I Loved Enough to Return to Time After Time
- The Ultimate Guide to 3 Days in the Gili Islands
- 5 Sights in East Bali That’ll Take Your Breath Away
- The Best Places to Workout & Zen Out in Bali
- A Magic Day in the Mountains of Munduk
- The Best of Uluwatu in One Day
- A Night at Munduk Moding: An Eco-Luxe Hotel With One of Bali’s Best Infinity Pools
- Going Off the Beaten Path in Bali, Finding Serenity in Seririt
- Seeing the Best of Breathtaking Nusa Penida on a Day Trip from Bali
- Three Luxury Hotels in Bali That’ll Take Your Breath Away
- Four Spots for Tropical Coworking in Bali, Fast Wi-Fi Guaranteed
- The Ultimate List of Everything You Need to Backpack for a Year