The visa requirements depend on the length of your stay and on your home country’s regulations. Indonesian visa requirements are prone to changes. Thus, it is important to check the respective requirements at the Indonesian embassy or consulate in your home country before you start on your journey. If you want to extend your visa in Flores, you can visit immigration office in Labuan Bajo or Maumere.
In Flores, only Indonesian rupiah (IDR) is accepted for cash payments. In general, the payment in Flores is cash-based. Money transfers are not usually possible, as using international accounts is not very common yet. There are ATMs in the district capitals which – depending on the bank-accept major credit cards (Visa/Mastercard) where you can get cash. The banks will also change your foreign currency into rupiah. In Labuan Bajo, you also have the option of changing your money at local money changers. Be sure to check their exchange rates and fees before the transaction. Travellers cheques are rather difficult to change.
In Flores you will experience a different but probably more exciting kind of shopping beyond your notions of malls and supermarkets. There are many small to large local markets where you can find fresh agricultural products, fish, meat, and many other regional products. In the larger towns you can find all kinds of small shops that sell new as well as used clothes, household tools, electronic gadgets etc. Not only will you see a range of familiar or unknown local products, you may also witness a barter transaction, which used to be the traditional way of doing business in Flores.
It definitely pays off to wake up very early if you want to have a complete culinary and cultural experience of a Florenese market. Of all Florenese products, ikat cloth which is sold in locally different forms, colors, and styles, is definitely the most meaningful, valuable, and unique souvenir. Florinese ikat is mostly hand- woven, and some of the cloth is made out of all-natural local ingredients – from the cotton to the dyeing agents. Thus, it may take up to three years to produce such a magnificent piece of art.
While visiting Flores, you will notice many cultural differences, also in matters of behavior. Visitors who respect the local customs and traditions will find a heartwarming hospitality from their Indonesian hosts and get an unforgettable travel experience. It is therefore an advantage if you consider some basic cultural do’s and don’ts for Flores
For female travelers, it is highly advisable to dress rather conservatively – a shirt covering the shoulders, and a lower body garment to the knees – especially when visiting villages and cultural objects. Unless you are on a dive boat or on one of Labuan Bajo’s beaches or islands frequently visited by tourists, you should wear more than just a bikini to swim. Best to bring a fast-drying t-shirt, a pair of board shorts and a sarong to change into if you plan to enjoy Flores’ remote waters. Please also consider that it is inappropriate for men and women to change clothes in the same place.
Smile a lot!
Probably the most important thing is smiling. Smile is an indicator for friendliness. visitors who do not reply the smiles or greetings will find it hard to get close to the local people.
Reduce the use of your left hand!
Use your right hand for bringing food to your mouth as well as to pass on and receive things. The left hand, being used to wash after going to the bathroom, is considered to be dirty. Try to avoid passing food, money, shaking hands or touching people with your left hand as it will be considered offensive. Avoid touching men, women or even children’s head as well as this is considered offensive.
December – February
REBA – THE ANNUAL HARVEST CEREMONY
The most important ceremony for Ngada district is Reba, an annually held thanksgiving celebration to show respect to God and the ancestors for being blessed with a good harvest and wealth. Reba usually lasts for three days full of ceremonies and ritual activities which involve huge amounts of food crops and livestock that had been collected in advance. Please keep in mind that this ancient tradition involves live animal offering which is believed as a sacred process in the ritual, please respect the culture and dress conservatively.
SEMANA SANTA & GOOD FRIDAY CELEBRATIONS IN LARANTUKA
Each year, the week before Easter Sunday, the town of Larantuka, East Flores, solemnly celebrates the Holy Week, popularly known here as “Semana Santa”. During this special week, the small town of Larantuka will be thronged with thousands of Catholic pilgrims from around Flores and Indonesia come here to pray and participate in this one of a kind procession. This is because of Larantuka’s unique commemoration of Holy Week which blends Old Portuguese devotion with local tradition.
TRADITIONAL BOXING ETU OR SAGI
The traditional boxing is one of Ngada and Nagekeo District’s well-preserved cultural attractions passed for generations. The word “Sagi” or “Etu” in Soa language means to fight with boxing. The boxing festival spreads in some areas such as Soa and Riung Sub Districts. Being an event for a war exercise for the warriors in the old times, Sagi also boasts a celebration of thanksgiving and hope for a good harvest. Every blood dropped from the fighter’s body marks blessing for that year’s abundant crop and is anticipated with gratitude.
KELIMUTU FESTIVAL & PATI KA DU’A BAPU ATA MATA CEREMONY
14 August is marked sacred for the Lio People of Flores. It is the time to celebrate and to honor their ancestors. Lio People believe the Kelimutu Crater Lake is the soul’s final resting place. The place where we all return once our lives’ journeys come to an end. ”Pati Ka Du’a Bapu Ata Mata” is the event where the Lio sacrifices various type of foods offering to the ancestors, showing their gratitude for the past year and hold prayers for blessings for the coming year. Annually, hundreds of people hold a pilgrimage journey up to Kelimutu. Starting from 2013, this customary ritual was officially hosted and organized under the coordination of Kelimutu National Park and the Ende’s Culture and Tourism Department.
PENTI CEREMONY AT WAE REBO
Penti is one of the major ceremonies in the Manggarai district. It is a thanksgiving celebration for the past year’s harvest and an expression of hope for a prosperous, new agricultural year. The event is filled with series of ancient rituals that usually last for one full day and night. The celebration is of such huge communal importance that all village members, even the ones living outside the village, should join these festivities. Penti used to be an annual event closely related to the agricultural cycle. It is suggested to anyone who will be coming to Wae Rebo especially to see the Penti Celeberation to be there at the latest on November 15th afternoon.