Labuan Bajo has become my bucket list from August 2018 but I made a vacation to this island in October 2019. Labuan Bajo is one of the beautiful small ports on the island of Flores and is the entrance to the Komodo National Park (TNK). Not only come to see one of the wonders of the world, namely Komodo, but also you can explore the amazing place. Travelling to Labuan Bajo was quite a challenge for me because I tried to plan the trip by myself. Well, here is the story of my vacation for 4 days in Labuan Bajo.
How to get to Labuan Bajo?
There are three options to go to Labuan Bajo like by plane, boat and bus but the plane is the best option. Staying in Bali? Lucky you because the easiest way to get to Flores Island is to fly in from Bali. There are daily flights linking Labuan Bajo to Bali's Denpasar Airport. The flight from Bali to Flores Island is incredibly scenic so make sure you book a window seat!
Flights will take a total journey time of one hour. On average there are eight flights per day from Monday to Sunday with multiple airlines. I was flying under clear blue skies so there wasn't much in turbulence. I love the moment when the plane is landed because the landscape of Labuan Bajo is so amazing. The airport in Labuan Bajo is new and it was never crowded so the queues were not crazy. I was out of the airport and you can choose the way into town. First, you can book transportation from your hotel if they provide it or second, you can use the airport taxi and charge you Rp 50,000 for one car.
Where to stay in Labuan Bajo?
1. Escape Bajo
The first day in Bajo I chose to stay at this guest house. The whole hotel was also spotless and pleasant. It has nice interior combining concrete and wood, giving minimalist yet modern feeling. For me, this is the best budget hotel I've ever been to. The price only 175,000 in rupiah, it was very worthy. Location was up on the hill and five minute walk to the center of town. The one good deal from this hotel is they have free shuttle to/from the airport.
Escape Bajo has seven rooms, consisting of six private rooms with double / twin beds, and one dormitory room with a capacity of 3 bunk beds. As for the dormitory room, inside is equipped with a locker and safety box, as well as two bathrooms and two toilets outside the room. Safety box is also provided in a private room. I stayed in dormitory room and more than I expected. This room is amazing -- beds that are much bigger than average (somewhere between a twin and queen), privacy curtains, fluffy blankets, towels, good air conditioning. There is free bottled water and a small but decent included breakfast.2. Le Pirate Boatel – Floating Hotel
The first time I arrived at hotel and so in love with the vibe. They have been magically renovated traditional wooden boat into an epic hotel. This boatel located 10 minutes from Labuan Bajo’s harbour and they provide pick up and drop off for free but on a fixed timetable so organise these before you arrive. If you require one outside of the timetable, they provide as well but not for free.
Le pirate boatel has two floors, the first floor there is ten back to back water front private cabins with their own deck, hammock and swim ladder to the ocean. The cabins are clean, and face the sea. The rooms are small so you won't have much space for 2 people, they have got a comfy double bed, under-bed storage, plugs and a fan. There are no private bathrooms here, located in the back of the boat. They made separated for male and female bathroom shared amongst the boat's occupants.
Upstairs is the restaurant, bar and a deck with bean bags and beach chairs. The rate you pay includes daily breakfast but if are looking for dinner and lunch as well need additional charge. The bar is open until late. It’s a great spot to relaxing, breathe the fresh air and meet other travelers.
3. Seaesta Komodo Hostel & Hotel
My last day in Labuan Bajo I stayed at Seaesta, located in the middle of Labuan Bajo. They have dormitory room that offer you the luxury of privacy whilst staying on budget. Every dormitory room contains 8 generously-sized, comfortable beds each with privacy curtains, bedside shelf, individual light and locker. They also provide water refill. Shared toilets and hot water showers are featured, located outside the room.
If you stay in here, you have to hit up to their restaurant & rooftop bar with a lagoon-style pool. This is the nicest part to enjoy your meal, whilst overlooking a stunning ocean view. Their restaurant menu was inspired by the Mediterranean and the Middle East meet Indonesia, you will find a range of dishes, from small plates to hearty meals and sharing platters. At rooftop bar, they have many choice for drink like cocktails, smoothies, coffee and beer. All available to satisfy whatever kind of mood you are in..The other made this hotel special is they have gym area, yoga class & game place. All this facility are free for guest.
What to do in Labuan Bajo?
Labuan Bajo is the main travel hub of Flores, It is the gateway to Komodo Island. It is being one of Indonesia's top destinations. Its home to an alluring archipelago with lush, volcanic landscapes and a fascinating history. It's the perfect destination for thrill seekers looking to get off the beaten path. The island boasts some of the top dive sites in Indonesia and challenging hikes past active volcanoes. Here is my guideline to travel in Flores Island, Indonesia!
1. Visiting and Island Hopping
My time in Labuan Bajo was spent island hopping. You need to find a boat to do island hopping. At the first, I thought I am going choose tour agent but then after I got some information about how local people hard to compete with tour agent in tourism industry and I decided to choose a local boat for exploring Labuan Bajo island hopping, indeed to support them. Here are some of the most popular islands you can easily visit from Labuan Bajo.
- Sebayur island
- Kelor island
- Kalong island
- Padar island
- Pink beach
- Komodo island
- Taka makasar
- Manta point
- Kanawa island
2. Snorkeling and diving
The main activity while on vacation in Labuan Bajo is water activities such as snorkeling and diving. My vacation this time only got to do snorkeling. I really want to do diving but my vacation time in Labuan Bajo is so short and maybe I will do it if I come back here again. The island around Labuan Bajo is one of the dive highlight in Indonesia. My personal experience, I visited Bajo on October 2019 and I had good snorkeling everyday and I was surrounded by plenty of mantas at manta point. It was amazing and made me want to come back there as soon as possible.
3. Dinner at Kampung ujung
It is a short walk from my hotel to the Kampung Ujung, if you want something fresh with the cheap price, this is the place. The place is average, don’t expect a proper restaurant, you’ll find basic side street food stalls here but don’t worry it is tasty. A lot of fish, shrimp or squid, and you can choose to grilled or fried your meal. But be aware the price for local (indonesian) and foreigner is different. You must ask first the price. Even not much but still having differences.
4. Chill in the café
I walk around Labuan Bajo town and noticed were a lot of small cool cafes - gelato place, and also coffee shop, both right near my hotel. This is a list of the place that I visited:
- Escape Bajo
- Bajo Taco
- Atlantis on the rock at Plataran Hotel
- Le pirate café
Well, it’s time to going back to Bali! I got off the plane with sun on my skin, salt in my hair, and a smile on face. What a super happy way to spend a few days. I wish I had more time explore the island around Labuan Bajo and do diving. I learnt so many things about Labuan Bajo culture and experienced new things during the journey. I met many nice local people sharing their life experiences. I saw different side of Indonesia in Labuan Bajo.
Written by The Travellist team for The Voice of Flores.