The central highland towns of Ruteng and Bajawa are connected with Labuan Bajo via regular internal flights. Flight routes and schedules change regularly though so check tiket.com for the latest information and bookings, or with a reputable travel agent once you’re on the ground in Indonesia.
Taxis are available in major centres such as Labuang Bajo, Ruteng, Ende, Bajawa and Maumere. It can be difficult to find one to flag down though so it’s best to ask your accommodation provider to call one for you. Unfortunately, many don’t have metres so it’s a case of pot luck. If there is a metre, be sure to have the driver put it on as soon as you get in. Otherwise, negotiate a price with the driver before you head off. Most accommodation providers will be able to give you an idea of what to expect to pay so be sure to ask.
Unlike Bali, your chances of getting an English speaking taxi driver are very slim. Before you head out, make sure you write down the names and address of where you’re staying (or grab a card off the front desk) and going. Some places have English names and local names so make sure you get them both down and keep it in a safe place.
If your budget runs to it, travelling by private car is by far the most convenient way to travel around Flores, particularly if you’re travelling overland with side trips. Contact one of the local tour companies if you want to organise a driver or driver and guide before arrival. Accommodation providers in Labuang Bajo, Ende and Maumere can also organise driver/guides for you. Alternatively, wait until you arrive in Flores to organise it as there are always plenty of drivers or driver/guides waiting to meet incoming flights. You’ll probably get a better price with the latter option because the guys there meeting the flights obviously don’t have another job waiting for them.
Public buses service most of Flores Island with daily services along the Trans-Flores Highway. Connections to other towns off the highway are generally fairly regular. The bus pictured below is about as big as they get. Off the major routes, the buses are smaller and in poorer condition. Many routes where the roads are in poor condition are serviced by small open-sided trucks called mikrolet. They’re generally only fitted with bench seats, can be crowded and you’ll feel every bump and turn in the road so this option is not for everyone.
As Flores gains attention, more and more tour companies are offering a range of group or private tours. These are a good option for those that like to have everything organised for them. Many local companies have set up shop in Labuan Bajo but during the peak months of July and August it’s a good idea to book ahead. Fortunately most have an online presence so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a tour to suit you. Prices vary dramatically so shop around and don’t be afraid to haggle.
Ojeks (scooter taxis) are available throughout most of Flores, even in smaller villages. Scooter hire is also available in Labuang Bajo, Bajawa and Maumere although it’s not overly common. For Labuang Bajo, there are several tour agents along the main street that can organise it for you. Everywhere else, you should be able to organise it through your accommodation provider.