Bajawa, Flores: The Ultimate Travel Guide to an Unforgettable Adventure!
Bawaja should not be missed during your trip through Flores. This part of fall Flores is truly a gem. One of the most special places in Indonesia. This is the place to dive into nature while soaking up culture. Who says you can’t do two things at once? Here it is certainly possible!
In this article
- To do
- Travel time
- Practical information
- The nicest accommodations
- How do I get there?
- Our opinion
What to do in Bajawa
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During a day tour, we managed to tick off quite a few must-sees and holy moly, WHAT A PLACE! From traditional villages to chilling in hot springs. Wondering what all Bajawa has to offer? Here’s an overview with a few gems you absolutely shouldn’t miss.
- Inerie volcano
- Bena Village
- Visit a waterfall
- Mini Kelimutu
- Wawo Muda
- Tololela Village
- Natural hot springs Malanage
Inerie (Inierie) volcano
Our first stop was at a viewpoint with a beautiful view of Inerie volcano. Indonesia is home to numerous active volcanoes. Inerie is a stratovolcano with the perfect cone-like shape. Volcanoes come in all different shapes and sizes, but Inerie has the perfect shape for me. The volcano is 2,245 m high, making it the highest volcano on Flores. What a picture. You can also climb the volcano. What a picture.
The perfect place to admire the volcano is on Wolo Bobo Hill. Wolo Bobo offers fantastic views of the fields and villages around Bajawa, as well as the Inerie volcano.
During our second stop, we visited a beautiful waterfall where an ancient sauna once stood. There is no one here at all and the waterfall is really beautiful. You can also visit the Ogi waterfall. This waterfall is very well known in the region, but because of this it is also a lot busier and quite a long drive. This allows you to see less in a day. That’s why we decided on this option. And here I was very happy.
Wawo Muda / Mini Kelimutu
After visiting the waterfall, we left for Mini Kelimutu, also called the Wawo Muda lakes. The “real” Kelimutu is a giant volcano found near the town of Ende. This volcano is known for its tri-colored volcanic crater lakes. Mini Kelimutu is less impressive but still very special to visit. It has been named Mini Kelimutu because the area consists of mini crater lakes, all with different colors. Visiting this area, however, is not without danger. This is because the water is boiling hot and often we had to cross slipping stones to get across. But the surroundings are beautiful.
Lunch in a traditional village
The owner of the hotel took us to his family for lunch. The traditional villages of Bajawa are very beautiful but often crowded. This made a visit to the owner’s village extra special. We were truly guests here and were welcomed with open arms. All together on the floor, we eat a simple noodle soup. The owner also gets some meat to go with it. As a curious food addict, I can’t resist asking what it is. He says Flores Goat and asks if I want a piece. I take a bite and ask if it is not a dog, since this is very common in this area to eat. He smiles kindly and it indeed turns out to be dog. If you prefer not to eat dog food (which is my preference), it is always wise to double check.
Traditional villages of Bajawa: Tololela & Bena
After a good (but mostly a little strange) lunch, we left for the first traditional village, Tololela. Yes, indeed, try saying that 10 times in quick succession. Not only is the name great, but the village is beautiful. Surrounded by the beautiful mountains of Bajawa, you will find this traditional village. The houses all face each other and in the middle you will find a clearing. Here you will find male and female totems called Ngadu and Bhaga. The number of totems indicates how many families/clans live in the village. At some houses you will find horns at the doors, this indicates that an important person lives there. People also bury family members right in front of the house so they can keep their relatives close to them. Such villages have countless traditions and rituals. Women are weaving, some dogs are walking around and children are playing. What a beautiful place.
The second village we visit is one of the largest traditional villages on Flores, which is Bena. Bena lies at the foot of Mount Inerie and is surrounded by lots of rocks and greenery. It is one of the most visited villages in the Ngada area. A lot busier, then, but definitely worth a visit. Indeed, the scenery is breathtaking, the people incredibly friendly and the village with its traditions is very impressive.
Cool off in natural hot springs
What a top ending to the day, a little chilling in natural hot springs. Just outside Bajawa you will find Malanage hot springs, also called Wae Bana Malanage. A unique place, because at this spot cold water from the river and boiling water come together, giving you all kinds of different water temperatures. For example, some parts are freezing cold and others are incredibly hot. You can relax here and recover from the day. It really was the perfect finale for us.
We had it way too relaxing here, so unfortunately no pictures.
Many people who visit Flores only visit Labuan Bajo and Komodo islands. Truly a great area not to be missed. But if you have a few days left, visit the rest of Flores as well.
Best time to travel to Bajawa
The period from June to September is the dry time of year in Bajawa. This is a perfect travel time to visit Bajwa. During this period, you’re most likely to have good weather and clear blue skies!
But, do you like the greenest green you’ve ever seen? Then the period from November to March, the rainy season, is your cup of tea! Yes, you may need to bring an umbrella (or two), but the lush landscapes you get in return are well worth it.
Which budget do i need in Bajawa?
Exactly how much rupiahs all this beauty costs? Here is a small indication.
1. Transportation: A ride by cab, bemo or van will cost you on average between 20,000 and 50,000 Rupiah (€1.20 – €3) for a one-way trip, depending on the distance. Going for a rented scooter? Then count on about 75,000 to 150,000 Rupiah (€4.50 – €9) per day, excluding gasoline.
2. Food: ]A meal at a local eatery often scores you for about 15,000 to 30,000 Rupiah (€0.90 – €1.80). Dinner at a more upscale restaurant? You’ll pay around 50,000 to 100,000 Rupiah (€3 – €6) for that.
3. Accommodation: From simple homestays to some more luxurious hotels, you’ll find it all in Bajawa. For a budget-friendly homestay, you will pay about 100,000 to 200,000 Rupiah (€6 – €12) per night. A more luxurious place to sleep will cost you around 300,000 to 600,000 Rupiah (€18 – €36) per night.
4. Sightseeing: You can of course explore on your own, but with a local guide you often see and learn much more. For a day trekking we paid about 150,000 – 400,000 rupiah (10-25 euros p.p.).
- Always have some cash in your pocket, as cards are not accepted everywhere.
- Don’t be afraid to bargain when renting scooters or taking cabs.
- Always keep some room in your budget for unforeseen expenses – you never know!
So, there you have it – a quick look at your possible expenses in Bajawa. All that remains now is to book that flight and enjoy your trip!
Practical information about Bajawa
- Money matters: On Flores, ATMs do hide-and-seek. Therefore, bring enough cash with you for security when you visit Bajawa.
- Visa: you can get a visa on arrival for 30 days.
- Vaccinations: Give your immune system a head start and check that you have had all the necessary vaccinations. Get advice from a doctor or travel clinic. No one likes being sick on vacation.
- Travel insurance: Does your continuous travel insurance have your back? Top! If not, make sure you are covered. It’s like an umbrella – you hope you don’t need it, but when it rains you’re glad you have it with you.
- Sun Protection: The sun in Indonesia is no child’s play. Don’t forget your sunscreen, hat and sunglasses. The sun’s rays are lurking!
- Travel sickness pills: The roads in Flores can be an adventure for your stomach. Be sure to have travel pills on hand, as the boat rides can also be intense at times.
- Appropriate clothing: Don’t forget your “modesty clothes,” especially when visiting religious sites. And put on comfortable shoes when hiking. No one likes blisters, right?
- Communication: Although English is often spoken, a little Bahasa Indonesian can work wonders. Start with “Terima kasih” (Thank you) and see how far you get!
Every trip requires proper preparation. With these tips in your pocket, you can have a smooth and enjoyable time in Flores. Prepare, stay alert and above all, enjoy!
What are nice places to stay in Bajawa?
Accommodations in Bajawa often consist of simple homestays. Our preference is often for this. That way you get to know the locals and traditions a little. Still, after some hostels and guesthouses, we decided for a hotel in Bajawa : Bajawa-Roo. Simple, but an incredibly nice and pleasant place. The owner is a friendly, enthusiastic man with whom you can spend the whole evening chatting in no time.
After chatting and eating at the hotel for a while, we were spontaneously invited to a wedding by the owner. Full-throatedly, we answer Yes. So hop in the back of the jeep and go with it. We arrived at a giant tent with hundreds of people. The weddings here are a little different than in holland anyway. It was a super nice evening with lots of raki, dancing (lots of dancing) and food.
How to get to Bajawa?
Transportation on Flores is a piece of cake. Just stand by the side of the road, put your thumb up and wait for a cab, bemo or van. There is only one road – so no hassle with maps. If you go left, you go west. If you go right, you go east. Easy peasy!
Think this is a little too much adventure for the early morning? No worries, you can also just arrange a cab through your cozy homestay or luxurious hotel. Many people also choose to hire a private driver for several days.
And then we have the last, and perhaps the most fun option: rent a scooter and explore the island at your own pace. Feel the wind in your hair and enjoy the freedom to go wherever you want.