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FLORES

Flores is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, an island arc with an estimated area of 14,300 km² extending east from the Java island of Indonesia. The population was 1,831,000 in the 2010 census and the largest town is Maumere. Flores is Portuguese (as well as Spanish) for "flowers".

Flores is located east of Sumbawa and Komodo and west of Lembata and the Alor Archipelago. To the southeast is Timor. To the south, across the Sumba strait, is Sumba and to the north, beyond the Flores Sea, is Sulawesi.

The most famous tourist attraction in Flores is Kelimutu, a volcano containing three colored lakes, located in the district of Ende close to the town of Moni. These crater lakes are in the calderas of a volcano, and fed by a volcanic gas source, resulting in highly acidic water. The colored lakes change colors on an irregular basis, depending on the oxidation state of the lake from bright red through green and blue.

 

Information provided by Wikitravel

UNDERSTAND FLORES

Flores is located east of Sumbawa and west of the Solor Archipelago (which includes Adonara, Lembata and Solor) and the Alor Archipelago. To the southeast is Timor. To the south, across the Sumba strait, is Sumba and to the north, beyond the Flores Sea, is Sulawesi.

The largest town is Maumere.

Portuguese traders and missionaries came to Flores in the 16th. century, mainly to Larantuka and Sikka. Their influence is still discernible in Sikka's language, culture and religion. In 1846, Dutch and Portuguese initiated negotiations towards delimiting the territories but these negotiations led nowhere. In 1851 the new governor of Timor, Solor and Flores, Lima Lopes, faced with an impoverished administration, agreed to sell eastern Flores and the nearby islands to the Dutch in return for a payment of 200,000 Florins. Lima Lopes did so without the consent of Lisbon and was dismissed in disgrace, but his agreement was not rescinded and in 1854 Portugal ceded all its historical claims on Flores. After this, Flores became part of the territory of Dutch East Indies.

During World War II a Japanese invasion force landed at Reo on 14 May 1942 and occupied Flores.

After the war Flores became part of independent Indonesia.


CULTURE

The people of Flores are almost entirely Roman Catholic Christians, whereas most other Indonesians are Muslim. As a consequence, Flores may be regarded as surrounded by a religious border. The prominence of Catholicism on the island results from its colonization by Portugal. In other parts of Indonesia with significant Christian populations, such as the Maluku Islands and Sulawesi, the geographical divide is less rigid and Muslims and Christians sometimes live side by side. Flores thereby also has less religious violence that has sporadically occurred in other parts of Indonesia. There are various interesting churches on the island.


CLIMATE

The climate on Flores Island varies considerably due to the mountainous terrain and is subject to both drought and monsoons. Tropical all year round, and both extremely hot and dry (>40 degrees Celsius) during August and September.


LANGUAGE

There are many languages spoken on the island of Flores, all of them belonging to the Austronesian family. In the center of the island in the districts of Ngada, Nagekeo, and Ende there is what is variously called the Central Flores Dialect Chain or the Central Flores Linkage. Within this area there are slight linguistic differences in almost every village. At least six separate languages are identifiable. These are from west to east: Ngadha, Nage, Keo, Ende, Lio and Palu'e, which is spoken on the island with the same name of the north coast of Flores. Locals would probably also add So'a and Bajawa to this list, which anthropologists have labeled dialects of Ngadha.


HOW TO GET THERE

By plane

There are several airports in Flores, the main one is Maumere. The other option is Labuan Bajo Airport, which most traveler use to get to Komodo Island. There are daily flights between Bali, Lombok and Kupang. A flight is the simplest and fastest option, prices go from 1,000,000 to 1,300,000 Rupiah. The route is daily served by Garuda Indonesia and Wings Air.

By boat

Pelni ships call at Labuanbajo, Maumere, Larantuka and Ende and link the island with other parts of Indonesia. Numerous other ships also serve Flores, including the ASDP ferry from Labuanbajo to Sape (Sumbawa) and the wooden ferries from Larantuka to the islands of Adonara and Lembata in the Solor archipelago. Check the Indonesian Pelni website. but check with offices to be sure (the arrival and departure times are flexible).

A number of companies organize sailing trips between Lombok or Bali and Flores and to visit Komodo and Rinca. Passengers should be aware that these trips can cross open waters and are on boats with no navigation or safety equipment other than some life jackets (i.e. no radio, flares or life rafts).

By bus

Overland travel is a possibility as well, although it is a long haul from most places. From Lombok to Flores the journey takes over 24 hours. To Bima (Sumbawa), the bus is executive class', while the 2 hours from Bima to Sape are done in a crammed minibus. When bought separately and traveling by local transport, the journey will probably be cheaper, but it requires several interchanges and you should consider whether it's worth the extra time and hassle.

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