Flores Cycle Tour (Full Trip) 08 - 25 September 2017
Kelimutu Cycle Tour 08 - 17 September 2017
Komodo Cycle Tour 16 - 25 September 2017
No of days
No of cycle days
Three options available 1. Full trip
Start Larantuka - Finish Labuan Bajo (18 days). 2. Kelimutu Trip (Maumere - 280 km - Ende)
Start Maumere - Finish Ende (10 days) 3. Komodo Trip (Ende - 416 km - Labuan Bajo)
Start Ende - Finish Labuan Bajo (10 days)
Full Trip and Kelimutu Trip
Maumere - Larantuka
As we fly into Maumere on Flores' north coast the rugged topography of the island is quickly apparent. The jagged islands of Teluk Maumere bay plunge into crystal clear waters famous with divers. Aquamarine gives way to black sand beaches backed by coconut palms - all under the towering gaze of mountains dominated by active Gunung Egon volcano (1703 m).
We will be picked up at Frans Seda Airport and taken to the small East Flores district capital of Larantuka, a most scenic journey of approx 3 hours. We'll use two vehicles, an air-conditioned van for riders and a truck for the bikes and gear, which will be tarpaulined in the unlikely case of rain. We'll have a tangy fish soup (kuah ikan) for dinner in Larantuka and get to bed early in preparation for the morrow.
First thing we'll take a boat to explore the 16th century Portugese Lohayong Fort and then back to Larantuka to buy local SIM cards, use the ATM and trial our bikes around the town. We will spend some time on group riding protocols and Indonesian road rules.
Cycle day 1
53 km / Ascent 707 m / Descent 481 m / Riding Time 4 hours
Larantuka - Hokeng
The route begins and leads us through Larantuka following the coast southwestwards, affording fabulous views of white sand beaches and the blue-hued Adonara and Solor islands across the incredibly narrow straits. The islands of the Solor Archipelago are so close, in fact, it's as if you could reach out and touch them as they swell from the sea skywards. We casually make our way up and past the mountains of Lewotobi Perempuan / Female and Lewotobi Laki-laki / Male (1703 m and 1584 m respectively) to the first night's stay in Hokeng convent, near the small hill town of Boru.
Depending upon the time, we may be able to drop into the village Lewokluok where shells are interestingly woven into their ikat (traditionally-woven fabrics) made only for local use and not for export to other parts of the island. With two substantial ascents and a total ascent of approx 700 m it could be classed as an appropriate introductory day.
Cycle day 2
71 km / Ascent 451 m / Descent 696 m / Riding Time 4 hours
Hokeng - Soa
The route veers slightly westward now to Flores' north coast. Our day begins with a graceful descent past Boru before we climb around the flank Mt. Isle Wukoh. There should be ample time to enjoy the views through the old growth forest and, depending on water levels, the opportunity to take a quick dunk in a river pool along the way. After a nice 17 km descent, the road leisurely follows the coast to our beach side accommodation at Soa, 10 km east of Maumere on the north coast. The beauty of this area is breath taking. The bungalow style resort is a kilometer from the road and set a little back from the beach in tropical forest and coconut palms. With 45 km of flat riding and only one ascent 10 km / 486 m and a descent of 17 km / 481 m it should be a relaxing day.
Non Cycle day
Our luxurious beach resort accommodation will provide excellent opportunities for ocean swimming, reef snorkeling, exploring the traditional Buginese fishing village and some coastal riding around Maumere. It is also possible to go shopping in Maumere.
Cycle day 3
54 km / Ascent 631 m / Descent 600 m / Riding Time 3.5 hours
Soa - Paga
We continue southwest through forest with lontar palms and bamboo groves, over the central mountain range, exploring the traditional village of Sikka (previous capital, site of what is said to be Flores' oldest church, and some world famous ikat textiles), and we'll drop into the well kept Bikon Blewut Museum (opened 1965) and enjoy the first of two trip descents to the coastal village of Paga on beautiful Koka Beach, on to our accommodation at the Retreat Seminary of Elija The Prophet among beautiful mountainside gardens near the town of Wolowiru. There should be time for a swim at nearby beach and after dinner we'll enjoy a concert put on by a local village youth group.
Cycle day 4
48 km / Ascent 1251 m / Descent 629 m / Riding Time 4 hours
Paga - Moni
This day takes us westwards near the coast along flat terrain for 10 km, and then turns northwestwards into the mountains to the resort and trekkers' village of Moni. The route from the coast to Moni includes two ascents for a total of 26 km / 946 m and is broken by one descent of 9 km. The ride up to Moni is as scenically spectacular as it is physically challenging, with jungle, terraced rice fields, and enormous panoramic views of the famed rugged coast of Flores from high above. At 715 m Moni enjoys a pleasantly cool climate. Our accommodation will be in comfortable cottages by a babbling brook.
Non Cycle day
Moni sits in a picturesque valley below Gunung Kelimutu mountain (1639 m) surrounded by steep mountain sides and terraced rice fields. At the summit of Kelimutu there are tricolor crater lakes. The steep cliffs that plunge into the technicolor water of these lakes is one of Indonesia's scenic icons. Pre dawn, in one of our vehicles, we'll head up to the summit where we can view the lakes and Flores' narrowest point far below (only 12 km from the northern Flores Sea and the southern Savu Sea). On the way back we'll drop in at the botanical gardens.
Cycle day 5
54 km / Ascent 609 m / Descent 1174 m / Riding Time 3 hours
Moni - Ende
After a climb of 11 km / 445 m through Moni village and past Wologai village above, we will enjoy a downhill run of 39 km / 1044 m to Ende, Flores' biggest city. Words do no justice to the beauty of this descent. We glide past green mountain valleys cloaked in cloud and dotted with rice terraces reminiscent of Bali before plunging into a steep canyon. Here, as we ride along the cliffside road under the intermittent shade of old growth teaks and mahogany. We may be privy to an astonishing sight if the rains are good to us the night before - dozens upon dozens of silver cascades glistening down the rock faces throughout the canyon. As we near Ende, the canyon opens again to reveal a valley flanked by steep mountains that could easily be mistaken for the kind of terrain one would expect in Vietnam or Laos!
The Komodo Trip starts in Ende on day 9 and finishes in Labuan on day 18.
Cycle day 6
74 km / Ascent 1180 m / Descent 567 m / Riding Time 5.5 hours
Ende - Boawae
The Kelimutu Trip option finishes in Ende and those of you who've taken this option can take Garuda flight out of Ende on day 10.
The route, heading west, hugs the cliff faces of spectacular Teluk Ende Bay for a flat 41 km interrupted by 10 abrupt hillocks. We than head inland and begin to climb a testing 600 m in 13 km. The views of mountain ravines and valleys on this climb are outstanding and some warungs perched precariously on cliff edges provide some respite and a well deserved lunch. The route then undulates for 20 km its way down through padi fields and commanding views of Gunung Ebulobo Mountain (2124 m) and distant Gunung Inerie Mountain as they pierce the sky dramatically. We pass the impressive St Yohanes Berkhmans (built in 1929, is the second oldest seminary in Indonesia) before heading into the pretty village of Boawae dominated by the majestic Gunung Ebulobo volcano.
Our accommodation in Boawae, run by a grandmother, is simple, rustic and comfortable.
Cycle day 7
43 km / Ascent 1030 m / Descent 319 m / Riding Time 3.5 hours
Boawae - Bajawa
Just as our breathtaking views of Ebulobo are gradually shrouded behind forested hills, the road gives way to mighty Inerie volcano (2245 m). We climb westwards, 35 km / 866 m up through its northern foothills and then descends 7 km / 158 m to the town of Bajawa overlooked by magnificent Gunung Inerie.
Our accommodation here is with a Dutch couple who run a guesthouse. The climb in not a cakewalk, but this is a short day on the saddle.
Non Cycle day
Today we'll visit the traditional Ngada villages of Bena and Gursina and relax in a hot ‘n' cold thermal river at Malanage village. We'll have lunch in a village house by the riverside before returning to our accommodation in Bajawa.
Cycle day 8
81 km / Ascent 680 m / Descent 1760 m / Riding Time 4.5 hours
Bajawa - Borong
The route, first thing, descends a leisurely 37 km / 1170 m to Aimere on the coast. Much like the descent from Moni to Ende earlier in the trip, this is an absolute gem of a downhill with huge views of the coast and Gunung Inerie. The road is flat along the coast for 7 km, followed by a fairly tame 19 km / 444 m ascent, some of which is through shady old growth rainforest. A final descent of 21 km / 432 m to the blink ‘n' you miss it village of Borong and we are done for the day. Our accommodation here will be in a new workers hostel with one person to a room.
Cycle day 9
55 km / Ascent 1550 m / Descent 451 m / Riding Time 5.5 hours
Borong - Ruteng
This is likely the ride you'll be bragging about to all your cycle mates when you get back home. The day begins on the south coast among lontar palms and savannah grasses. The parched coastal landscape gives way to dry forests and ever more lush surroundings while we cycle north for 35 km up and over Gunung Ranaka mountain. Towards the top of this awesome 1,252 m ascent, having crossed many bridges and switchbacks, the road begins to meander its way through thick rainforest and cloud forest. This gorgeous area gives us a chance to cool down, take a quick stroll into the forest to do some river sitting, and check out the beautiful little Ranamese crater lake. After this break, it's a 19 km gradual descent into the lovely, often cloudy mountain city of Ruteng. Our accommodation is in a modern comfortable upmarket hotel.
Cycle day 10
Ruteng is known for its coffee, cool climate and more recently its hobbit cave .We'll be staying in an up-market very comfortable domestic hotel from where we'll cycle, 13 km, and back, through lush scenery that includes some healthy ascents but all in all a relaxing day in preparation for the next two days which will be demanding.
Cycle day 11
73 km / Ascent 895 m / descent 1798 m / Riding Time 4 hours
Ruteng - Lembor
Today's route, southwest towards the western end of Flores, begins with a decent into a narrow canyon past a waterfall. We are met at the end of the falls with a very sharp climb of roughly half a km and a gain of 200 meters. From the top of this climb, we enjoy impressive views of the Gunung Rank mountain as we make another gradual climb out of the valley. This is followed by an 18 km / 364 m descent past the Cancar Spider Web rice paddies. The second and true ascent of the day 11 km / 270 m passes traditional villages, offering good views of surrounding mountains. After topping out at the 1,140 m summit, the route descends 23 km / 880 m through lush pine forests before entering the Lembor area. The village of Lembor has seen better days but we'll be staying in a new and ‘best available' guest house.
Cycle day 12
64 km / Ascent approx 1200 m / Descent approx 1200 m / Riding Time 4.5 hours
Lembor - Labuan Bajo
On the last cycle day from Lembor to Labuan we will be challenged by a 1000 m ascent up Gunung Ambeliling mountain (1300 m) which includes the steepest gradients of the trip. Near the summit, we will be rewarded with vast, sweeping views of Flores' largest protected forest - a home for myriad bird species. There is one slight uphill pitch in a descent reminiscent of the descent down from Kelimutu and Bajawa before a series of hillocks for the last 20 km into Labuan Bajo. Our accommodation in Labuan Bajo will be luxurious resort style by the beach.
Last day of trip and airport transfers to Komodo airport
Finish of trip
Komodo Marine National Park Option
In the morning we'll take a local launch to either / both Komodo and Rinca islands to see the famed Komodo dragons and to enjoy swimming and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of the Komodo Marine National Park. Return late in the afternoon to our resort accommodation