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Car and driver through Flores - a report

Bowness-on-Windermer...
posts: 15
reviews: 18
Car and driver through Flores - a report

I flew to Indonesia with no real plans. By the time I'd landed in Jogja I had decided to make my way to Bali, fly to Maumere, Flores and fly back from Labuan Bajo. I bought the flight tickets (Lion Air) in Jogja and then emailed Teddy Aimbal (he'd been recommended on some forums) asking if he could arrange a car and driver. He responded promptly and a week later he greeted me at Maumere airport with a car and my driver (Teddy is a guide not a driver). Teddy was also meeting others who had hired a car and driver but they were taking Teddy along as a guide. We were all going along the same route so we more or less travelled together and Teddy was quite happy to act as a guide for me even though I wasn't paying for him. Having Teddy along made a huge difference.

Whilst a driver would stop at an attraction and leave you to make your own way around, Teddy he would show you viewpoints that you'd never find and answer any questions. You might fancy a coffee stop and he would usually find somewhere nice to get a coffee and he seemed to everyone on Flores. Deciding on hotels was much easier as Teddy knew the hotels better than the driver. Teddy was a rare type of guide - the sort that is there when you need him and fades into the background when you don't. No wonder that he is used by a Canadian Tour company. Of course he speaks fluent English.

I definitely recommend taking Teddy along if you are hiring a car and driver. Sure it's going to cost a little more but you will get far more out of your trip and it in terms of the overall cost of your trip it is probably not that significant. And the money goes direct to the local economy.

Teddy's email address is teddyaimbal@yahoo.com

san francisco
posts: 55
reviews: 6
1. Re: Car and driver through Flores - a report

We are planning to do a very similar trip in October. Wondered if you could tell us the approximate cost and number of days it took to tour from Maumere to LBJ. How did the payment work? Did you pay 1/2 at the beginning of the tour? Did the price include hotels? Did you have to pay for the guide/driver meals/hotels separately?

Thanks!

Bali, Indonesia
Destination Expert
for Ubud, Pemuteran
posts: 4,821
reviews: 82
2. Re: Car and driver through Flores - a report

Hi Roger:

Thanks for posting the driver and guide information but your trip report would be much more helpful if you related what you enjoyed, where you stayed, what you did, and so forth.

I have my own drivers I use in Flores but others might benefit from a personal account of your trip highlights rather than just a drive/guide recommendation.

Glad you had a good trip, please let us know what you enjoyed about it!

Bowness-on-Windermer...
posts: 15
reviews: 18
3. Re: Car and driver through Flores - a report

Five days seems about right to go from Maumere to Labuanbajo - first night Maumere, then Moni, two nights Bajawa to see the villages, Ruteng and then Labuanbajo. I paid 3 million for the five days - this included car and driver, petrol, driver's hotel and food and also included the cost of the driver driving back to Maumere. I paid for my own hotels - between 150,000 to 250,000 per night. If you want a guide with you (strongly recommended) I'm guessing that it would be between 300,000 to 400,000 per day. The people I was travelling with hired Teddy and I didn't ask the cost.

I arranged all this at a week's notice with Teddy so I didn't pay any deposit. I simple gave Teddy half the 3 million when I met him and the rest at the end. If you want to be certain that a car is available when you arrive and you're booking a long time ahead it might be useful to send a deposit.

One of the highlights of the trip in Flores was the friendliness of the people - seems to be true of all Indonesians - I don't think I've met more open and friendly people (out of the 50 or so countries I've visited). It was also really nice to have a guide along. It felt more like a five day trip through the island meeting his friends since the drivers and guides seem to know everyone on the villages they pass through and coffee stops were frequent.

Kelimutu was good - the lakes were blue (not red or any other colour) but it was a nice sunrise experience. I walked up with one of the coffee sellers and was his first customer of the day. The hot springs in the evening in Bajawa were memorable as was the visit to one of the arak distilleries (just a hut really) where the driver and guide stocked up with supplies (for their friends they told me).

The nicest accomodation was the Santa Maria convent in Ruteng - the cleanest rooms and a beautiful environment and the cheapest room.

Of course the visit to Rinca island to see the Komodo dragons was unforgettable. I just visited one of the tour operators in Labuanbajo and paid for a ticket in a shared boat for the next day. The people I was travelling with had a private charter boat arranged by Teddy to go to Komodo and Rinca islands over two days sleeping out on the beach.

I hope this is useful.

san francisco
posts: 55
reviews: 6
4. Re: Car and driver through Flores - a report

thank you so much for the valuable information! very helpful!

New York City, New...
posts: 1
reviews: 79
5. Re: Car and driver through Flores - a report

I recently went on a 5 day 4 night road trip around Flores with Teddy and was extremely disappointed with him as a guide. It's true that he has gotten a lot of really good reviews on various forums this year but he really fell short of meeting our expectations. He put in very little effort from day 1, and really did the bare minimum in terms of guiding. He provided little to no information regarding where we were and what we were doing each day. It was only when we asked questions that he would give us any information at all. He made absolutely no effort to get to know us during our time together and just slept in the car most of the time. Maybe he feels like he gets enough work these days and doesn't have to put in any sort of effort with his clients anymore.

I was especially excited to visit a coffee plantation as per our itinerary, however there was no visit at all. Instead, all Teddy did was point out some coffee trees on the side of the road as we were driving past! What a disappointment.

Having Teddy as our guide was a total waste of money.; in my opinion just a driver would have been sufficient for this trip. Perhaps it is worth spending more money to have a driver AND guide if the guide actually does their job. And maybe Teddy is a good guide if he actually puts some effort into his work. But we certainly did not see it.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
posts: 6
reviews: 44
6. Re: Car and driver through Flores - a report

We hired Teddy last May for six days. We thought he was great. His driver was excellent and very safe on what could be some dangerous roads. Teddy had a lot of great information and stories to tell. We saw some other groups that were traveling across Flores with a driver, and most had issues with their driver that we completely avoided. We had a great time with Teddy. Teddy's email is teddyaimbal@yahoo.com if you are thinking of heading to Flores.

Kitchener, Canada
posts: 1
reviews: 2
7. Re: Car and driver through Flores - a report

My partner and I travelled across Flores with Teddy and the trip was fantastic! We started in Maumere and had some time to visit places in the area, Sikka, and other beach destinations. After that, we stopped at the popular spots along the way to Labuan Bajo (Kelimutu, Riung, Bajawa, Ruteng, Weraebo), and finally Rinca and Komodo. Since we were travelling during the rainy season (Flores in February), some of the sights were difficult to see/visit, but Teddy was very accommodating, and he helped make the best of it even with some bad weather. Yopi, the driver, was also excellent navigating along the roads in Flores, especially during the periods of rain. Teddy was great at answering our questions, and had so much information about the island, people, history, and culture of Flores. Flores is such a beautiful island, and we definitely recommend a tour with Teddy. The experience and information that we gained from hiring a guide rather than using public transport, or just a driver is immeasurable. Highly recommended!

Teddy's email is: teddyaimbal@yahoo.com and ph: +62 81 337 189 807

8. Re: Car and driver through Flores - a report

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