Maumere, the capital city of the Sikka district, is a main entry point for visiting Flores. In contrast to Labuan Bajo, there are still few tourists in Maumere and has kept its charming atmosphere – a mix of a dusty, busy town and a coastal paradise.
From Maumere you can explore plenty of exciting places in just a one-day trip. The surrounding areas are full of natural attractions and cultural highlights, hidden in either nearby or remote villages.
There are plenty of small islands that are easily reachable from Maumere. The Pemana Islands, a chain of islands, are located about 7km from Port Sadangbui, Maumere. Island hopping combined with snorkeling on a beautiful coral reef, as well as relaxing on fine, sandy beaches are perfect things to do there.
Maumere’s Port Sadangbui is one of the biggest harbors in Flores and therefore a central trading point. Boats from all over Indonesia, especially from Java, anchor here and turn the harbor into a busy coming-and-going of people and goods that is exciting to watch.
If this is not bustling enough for you yet, make a visit to the traditional Alok Market. Pasar Alok (pasar means ‘market’ in Indonesian) is open every day. Tuesdays are special, though, because the market transforms from a place of transactions into a hub for social gatherings – crowded with sellers and buyers from throughout Sikka, and with products ranging from everyday items to unusual goods that are not on display on regular days. The market usually lasts for only a few hours, starting from the break of dawn to midday at the latest. If you are keen on seeing traditional bartering make sure that you are at the market no later than 7am. Please do not expect a hustle bustle on a Sunday there, because this is the day when the majority of the people go to church.
The Bay of Maumere
The Bay of Maumere used to be among the world’s most interesting dive spots. Even the renowned World Championship of Underwater Photography was held there, until a massive earthquake followed by a tsunami hit the area in 1992. In the meantime, the surrounding reef has recovered quite well from the damage and offers excellent diving in mild currents again, with a healthy population of gorgonias and sponges, big groupers lurking in crevices, antias, and butterfly fish. Swarms of tuna and carangids patrol the big blue depths in seek of their prey. The charm of Maumere Bay for divers definitely lies in the details: In a single day, you can do excellent muck dives for rarities, wall, drift, as well as wreck dives.
The Bikon Blewut Museum
If you want to get a glimpse of Florinese cultural and natural history, prehistory as well as marvel at some unique and sometimes curious objects of art and daily life, Maumere’s Bikon Blewut Museum is the place visit. It is situated on the campus of Sekolah Tinggi Filsafat Katholik in Ledalero, which is a well renowned Roman Catholic seminary. The 6km distance from Maumere to Ledalero can easily be covered either by public or private transportation. Opening hours are Monday to Saturday mornings from 7am – 1pm.
As Maumere is the largest city in Flores, you will find a large variety of accommodation, restaurants, and shops here.
How to get there
Maumere is reachable by airplane (Frans Seda Airport), public buses, and boats. There are direct flight connections with Batavia from Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport. Public buses, coming from either east or west, stop in Maumere. You can also go by a public ‘Pelni’ ferry from Bali to Maumere. Visit www.pelni.co.id for the latest schedule.