The saving grace of this muggy, crowded transport hub is its spectacular setting. The eye-catching cones of Gunung Meja (661m) and Gunung Iya (637m) loom over the city and the nearby black-sand and cobblestone coastline. The views get even better just northeast of Ende as the road to Kelimutu rises along a ridge opposite misty peaks overlooking a roaring river and gushing with ribbons of waterfalls in the wet season. Throw in the jade rice terraces and you have some of Flores’ most jaw-dropping scenery. Which may be why Sukarno was exiled here in the 1930s, when he reinvented himself as a playwright…kind of.