Flores Island and its Real-Life Dragons
Indonesia 10.04.2015 Transindus
Flores Island offers impressive scenery, a charming town and of course, the chance to see Komodo dragons in the wild. With so much on offer and newly developed infrastructure, it is only a matter of time before Flores becomes a must-visit destination for many.
It was the Portuguese who gave the island its name in the 16th century when the colonists were overcome by the lushness of the terrain. They called it Flores, meaning Flowers, highlighting the natural beauty of the place.
The Kelimutu National Park may be the smallest in the area, but it is among the destinations on Flores that should not be missed. It is home to three lakes that look especially stunning as the sun comes up each day. They are known as the coloured lakes, as each one is a different hue - varying from turquoise to orange.
On the west coast of the island, Flores' main town features a picturesque harbour and makes for a comfortable stay. There are some homely guesthouses, cafes and restaurants to serve the growing tourist numbers, who use the town as a base before setting out to see Komodo dragons.
Here be dragons
The Komodo National Park lies just to the west of Labuanbajo and represents one of the main reasons to visit this part of the world. It is unclear as to why these huge monitor lizards are not more widespread, but this makes seeing them on Flores all the more special.
Individuals can grow up to three metres in length and are omnivorous, even eating their own offspring on occasion. A special bacteria in the Komodo dragons' mouth causes a septic infection in the creatures it bites, which can then take as long as two weeks to kill its victim. Meanwhile, the lizard lies in wait.
Diving and snorkelling
If the nature on Flores is incredible, then this also extends to the waters that surround it, with some of the richest marine environments to be found anywhere in the world. Explore this underwater world more extensively with a diving or snorkelling trip from one of the island's stunning white sand beaches.
Komodo National Park is a popular option for underwater excursions and is home to in excess of 1,000 species of fish. Add to this the 385 varieties of reef-building corals, 105 types of crustacean and 70 species of sponges and it is easy to see why this habitat is so revered.
Larger creatures, such as dolphins of which there are ten types present, have made the reef their home, along with six species of whales and several varieties of sharks and rays. Visitors may even catch a glimpse of green and hawksbill turtles and dugongs while exploring beneath the waves.
Backdrops don't get much more impressive than the one boasted by the village of Moni. This community is surrounded by rice fields and ringed by volcanic peaks reaching up to the sky. There is even a glimpse of the sea off to the distance to make the picture complete. The atmosphere in the town is easy-going and the highlight of the social calendar is a weekly market held on the local football pitch.