It may be only a 90-minute flight east of Bali, but Flores remains a mystery to travellers.
Most of those visiting Flores went for one reason: to see a Komodo dragon.
The dragons are the largest lizards on earth and are known to eat buffaloes, baby lizards and, occasionally, people.
Komodo dragons live on only two islands on Flores’ western tip, Komodo and Rinca Islands.
They are part of Komodo National Park, another hot spot heralded in the New7Wonders of the World.
The warm waters between Komodo National Park and Labuan Bajo, the ramshackle harbour town servicing Komodo Airport, are in pristine condition. They are home to more than 20 wordclass dive sites, including Manta Point, the second best place to swim with giant manta rays after Queensland’s Lady Elliott Island.
Dolphins, marine turtles and whale sharks are also common, along with carpets of brightly coloured coral reef.
Fancy a trek? Try Mt Kelimutu in Central Flores. After completing the dawn ascent to the 1713m-high peak, visitors are treated to views of multi-coloured lakes that vary from red to blue to green according to the seasons.
“Being named as one of the New7Wonders brought great attention to Flores and a sense of anticipation,” says Richard Collins of the Komodo Yacht Club.
“We’re all wondering what’s coming next.” Garuda (www.garudaindonesia.com; 1300 365 331) flies daily from Bali to Komodo Airport on Flores from $140. Blue Marline Dive Komodo (bluemarlinkomodo.com; +62 812 3775 7892) in Labuan Bajo has a dive centre, rooftop restaurant, dorms for $20 a night and modern suites for $95 a night.