Riung Flores or the 17 Islands Marine Park is another national park that I visited on my 19 days journey exploring Flores island. It is located in Riung region on the Northeast of Flores in Ngada regency.
The place is less touristy, and something that you must see if you have time to explore this hidden gem on Flores Island.
The marine park is a cluster of 24 small islands from Toro Padang island on the west to Pangsar island on the east, among those islands only Rutong island and Ontoloe island which are mostly visited and popular.
The islands have beautiful white sand beaches and are also empty. The islands are surrounded by beautiful underwater gardens with colorful fishes and many kinds of living corals.
The number of 17 is taken as personification of the beauty of a girl who once lived at Riung, but some others believed it was named to commemorate Indonesian Independence Day.
To go to Riung first you have to go to the capital city of Bejawa in Ngada regency. If you use air transportation from Bali you can choose to land on Labuan Bajo, Bajawa or Ende.
How To Reach Riung Flores
There are 4 ways to get to Riung from Labuan Bajo, by plane-landing at Bajawa, car, taxi, bus, and by ferry go to Jampea then to Riung.
By plane from Labuan Bajo to Bajawa will take 1 hour, by taxi and car will take 4 hours to reach Bajawa, by ferry will take 23 hours because it has to go to Jampea then travel to Riung. From Bajawa to Riung it will take 3 hours to travel on land.
If you use bus or public transportation from Labuan Bajo or Ende to Bajawa, make sure that you stop at Ndao bus terminal, then continue with another bus that goes to Mbai, once you are at Mbai take another public transportation to Riung.
The National Park Fee
The park is open 24/7, so you can visit it at any time. The ticket fee to enter the park is Rp.100.000.-. This ticket is only if you want to visit the small islands and snorkeling.
To enter the Riung region is free. But one thing to remember is, there is no beach at Riung, to visit the beach you need to go to the small islands.
Things To Do in Riung
1. Islands Hopping. To do this you need to rent a boat that you can find easily around the area. But, the price depends on how many islands that you will visit. And usually the price is already included with the park fee, lunch at the beach and snorkeling gear.
Fruit bats Flipping above the Mangroves at Riung Flores
2. Camping. You can camp on the island. Most people will camp at Rutong island. The island has a beach that is nice to swim in with a beautiful underwater garden. And also there is a hill on the island that is accessible to go to the top of it.
3. Snorkeling. You can do this by renting a boat and ask the captain to drop you to snorkeling spot at the area.
Things That You Need To Prepare
- You need to prepare some cash before you go there. When I was there, there is ATM at the place.
- There is no Hospital. The only place that exists if you have a problem with your health is a public medical clinic.
- You might be find a little hard for accommodations and restaurant at Riung. So make sure that you book it before you are arrive at the place.
- If you choose to take the boat trips, bring enough water and use Eco-sun cream.