Travel Tips

TRAVEL TIPS ON FLORES

Visa requirements

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.

In recent years the Indonesian immigration regulations have been considerably simplified. Entering without obtaining a visa in advance is possible now for citizens from 63 countries  at certain air- or seaports in Indonesia. The visa will be issued directly on arrival at the entry point and is therefore called ‘Visa on Arrival’. It costs USD 25 and allows you to stay in Indonesia for 30 days. Since January 2010, you can extend this type of visa in Indonesia for another 30 days, which will cost you an additional USD 30. As a prerequisite for the visa on arrival, the passport must be valid for at least 6 months upon entry, and the applicant must also have a return ticket. It is time-saving to bring along the required amount of USD in cash upon entering Indonesia.

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If you are planning to stay longer or if your country of origin is not listed in the 63 nations that are allowed to enter with a visa on arrival, you have to apply for a visa at the Indonesian embassy or consulate in your home country before entering Indonesia. There, you can inform yourself about the required type of visa and the current regulations.

Besides the visa on arrival, the following types of visa are currently issued :

Tourist visa: valid for 60 days, non-renewable
Social and cultural visa: for research, study visit, seminary participation, journalism and visiting relatives of Indonesian nationality; valid for 60 days, can be extended four times (a month at a time) in Indonesia
Limited stay visa: issued primarily to workers at a company

All types of visa except the tourist visa can be extended in Indonesia at an immigration office (Kantor Imigrasi) against a fee. The processing takes two days up to a week. You should not exceed the maximum stay on of your visa under any circumstances as it is an offense against the Indonesian immigration regulations. Depending of the length of the overstay, the punishment ranges from massive fines up to imprisonment.

If you want to extend your visa in Flores, you will have to visit the immigration office in Labuan Bajo & Maumere:

Kantor Imigrasi Kelas III Labuan Bajo

Jl. Gabriel Gampur, Labuan Bajo, Flores, NTT, Indonesia

Phone. +62 385 421 34 / +62 8123 8554 899

Kantor Imigrasi Kelas II Maumere

Jl. Adi Soetjipto No. 24 Maumere 86111, Flores NTT, Indonesia

Phone. +62 382 21150/51

Fax. +62 382 211 80

Shopping

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 larger local markets where you can find fresh agricultural produce, 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. The Florinese shopping malls are still very small and basically limited to Maumere and Ruteng.

Of all Florinese products, the ikat-cloth which is sold in locally different forms, colors and styles, is definitely the most meaningful, valuable and unique souvenir.

List of markets (including the respective dates and best places to purchase an Ikat
List of souvenir shops
List of minimarkets/ supermarkets

Telecommunication

With the current insufficient network facilities, a fast reliable internet and mobile connection still is somewhat of a luxury in Flores. While you can find internet cafes as well as a fair mobile network in the district capitals and the larger towns, be prepared to be cut off from mobile communication in remoter areas. Telkomsel is the most reliable mobile provider in Flores.

Money

In Flores, only Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) is accepted for cash payments.  In general, the payment in Flores is cash-based. Money transfers are usually not possible, as using international accounts is not very common yet. There are ATMs in the district capitals which – depending on the Bank – accept the major credit cards (Visa/ Master) where you can get cash. The ATMs of BNI (National Bank of Indonesia) are the most reliable. The banks will also change your foreign currency into IDR. In Labuan Bajo, you also have the option to change your money at local money changers. Be sure to check about their exchange rates and fees before the transaction. Travellers Cheques are rather difficult to change.

Here is a list of all Banks and ATMs available in Flores:

BNI

Bank Mandiri

BRI

Bank NTT

Do’s and Don’t’s

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’t’s for Flores:

Dress conservatively! 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. Arrogant visitors who do not reply the smiles or greetings will find it hard to get close to the local people.

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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 as offensive. Avoid touching men, women or even children’s head as well as this is considered as offensive.

Stay calm and live the slow pace! Westerners often appear to Indonesians as rushed and stressed people who loudly express their dislikes. Most of the Indonesians, however, try to avoid confrontations and affective behavior. Therefore, getting angry and shouting around if things do not go your way is not a solution and will not bring you any further. On the contrary, it will be interpreted as a sign of weakness and lack of self-control. Thus, try to stay calm and relaxed instead, even if it can be difficult sometimes.

Code of conduct in Florinese villages

You will certainly visit some traditional villages during your journey through Flores. Wandering into a village is comparable with entering a private house. Thus be polite and first introduce yourself to the so-called kepala desa (village head) or another senior person of the village. And please consider a few small but important issues:
• Please do not hand out sweets, money, or toys to children. No matter how well-intentioned, such behavior teaches children to beg, encourages potentially dangerous commercial relationships between children and predatory adults and destroys the general discipline in the villages.
• If you would like to take pictures of people or their personal property, please be polite and ask for permission. It is usually not a problem. On the contrary – the local people would be thrilled if you sent them copies of your photos.
• Please do not stroll around unaccompanied in local villages and farmlands. The community members are happy to escort you during your visit.
• Please help to keep the villages and traditional lands clean. Please take your waste with you or dispose it appropriately. Do not leave any batteries in villages, as there is no safe way to dispose them there
• Overnight visitors are asked to respect the local moral codes, which include that unmarried men and women must sleep in separate accommodations.
• If you happen to be served food or drinks, do not refuse, as this would be an insult to your host. You do not have to eat or drink it all, but at least have a taste to show your appreciation. Before you start eating or drinking, wait for your host to give you a starting invitation.

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