Living in Singapore you sometimes wonder why we don’t spend more time cruising around the islands on Malaysia and Indonesia – sun, salt, sand – what’s not to love? One of our Bali-based mates and mum of three, Jen Tighe, is of the best holiday planners we know (she even made a business out of it with her Bali villa-booking business Good Living Asia), so we asked her to spill the beans on the latest secret gem she has found in Indonesia, the islands of Flores. A family holiday on a live-aboard boat, cruising unspoilt islands? We’ve just found some serious inspiration for our next short break from Singapore with the kids…
Jen, tell us about Flores!
Flores (the Spanish word for ‘flowers’) is a a group of islands situated to the East of Bali and Lombok and is set to be Indonesia’s next ‘big thing’. These islands are home to the Komodo National Park, the Komodo dragon, incredible snorkelling and diving experiences and some of the world’s most stunning beaches and crystal blue water. The islands themselves are quite Jurassic and dry-looking, which suits their local inhabitants the Komodo dragons.
A Jurassic island with dragons? You have my kids’ attention. So what is there to do in Flores?
We decided to go on a liveaboard boat rather than stay in a resort or hotel as that way we could see more of the islands and get further into the national park where the reefs are unspoilt. So we cruised around, dived into the clear blue water, snorkelled with mantas and just explored the area. It was totally relaxing with just enough action for the kids.
We explored Komodo Island’s Pink beach – a stunning beach where the sand turns shades of pink from the pink coral that washes ashore. (It’s one of only seven pink beaches in the world!) We swam at Manta Point, where for four months of the year you get to snorkel with the mantas, a truly amazing experience; and we climbed Mount Kelimutu, a volcano with three stunning three lakes – but you need to be fit, brave and have more time for that one.
What was the food like?
Food is relatively basic everywhere; for us being on the liveaboard boat, that may have been the low-light, but this was the last thing on our minds after a day spent snorkelling with mantas… and nasi gorengs always work for our family. Icy-cold Bintangs help too!
Where do you stay?
Personally I think a liveaboard is the best option. This way you get to stay out there in the national park areas and closer to the beautiful snorkelling sites. But, if a boat is not for you then Seraya Resort is really lovely and can help with day trips to see the amazing attractions around here.
How do we get there?
Fly to Bali and then catch a flight to Labuan Bajo. The jetty is only a 10-minute drive from the airport.
Any tips for people wanting to explore the area?
Pack lots of sunscreen and very little else! Let the kids jump off the side (or top!) of the boat; it will turn out to be a huge highlight for them. Don’t stay too long at Labuan Bajo – it’s better to get onto another island or boat.
How long do you need to go for?
Three nights on a liveaboard will get you to all the fantastic places.
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