Guide to Labuan Bajo, Indonesia

22 Sep Guide to Labuan Bajo, Indonesia

On the westernmost tip of the Island of Flores, the town of Labuan Bajo sits peacefully as a small fishing site with surprisingly comprehensive tourist facilities. This is due to the extraordinary interest of travelers on the Komodo dragons nearby.

To most travelers and to westerners who own many businesses here, the developing town is somehow favorable and even romantic. The view on wooden cottages with thatched roofs camouflaged by shrubberies and towering trees up in the sloping township, overlooking an idyllic harbour, make an evening conversation with traveling partners an unforgettable experience. For some adventurers, Labuan Bajo can be an ideal getaway.

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Labuan Bajo is also the launch point from flores to visit the Komodo Island National Park.

Getting There

Labuan Bajo is accessible by air and sea.

By Air:

Flying to Labuan Bajo is possible as the Komodo Airport is open for operation. Transnusa Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Merpati Airlines and Lionair are directly connecting Labuan Bajo with several cities in Indonesia, such as: Denpasar, Kupang, Ende, and Mataram.

From Komodo Airport to town:

Komodo Airport is located 2km out of town. There is a taxi stand by the baggage claim that has fixed rates for all nearby hotels. The estimated fare from Komodo Airport to a hotel in Labuan Bajo is 60,000Rp.

By Boat:

  • The ferry from Sape (Rp 56,000) runs daily twice and usually arrives around 16:00 and in the afternoon. The ferry from Labuan Bajo to Sape leaves at 9 in the morning.
  • A speed boat connects Sape with Labuan Bajo and vice versa three times a week:
    • Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from Sape to Labuan Bajo
    • Monday, Wednesday and Friday from LB to Sape

The travel time takes 3 hours per trip. Tickets are about 130.000 rp per person. Call Kapal Cepat Express Bahari 0823 592 87 257 in Sape, or 0822 373 68 767 in Labuan Bajo.

Getting Around

The town is quite small and can easily be traversed on foot (in 10-15 minutes). Motorcycle Taxis pass every 5 minutes if you get tired of walking. Never pay more than 5,000 RP during the day and 10,000 RP during the night. They’ll take you anywhere within a 15-20 minute radius (e.g the airport). Just walk away if they try to charge you more, they’ll quickly call you back.

You can rent a scooter too. It is quite difficult to rent a scooter as there are only a few around. Simply ask your hotel manager or a local travel agency to arrange for a scooter. Renting a scooter costs 80,000 to 90,000 IDR per day.

Cars can be rented only with a driver due to the difficult road conditions. A rental car with a driver and petrol starts from 800,000 IDR – 1,500,000 IDR per day.

You may request for scooters and car rentals here: http://www.floreskomodoexpedition.com/travel-information/car-and-motorbike-rental.html

Information on Exploring Labuan Bajo

Due to the difficult road conditions, and unfamiliarity of travelers to the waters of Labuan Bajo, it is highly recommended to get a local boatman or a to engage with a private tour operator as you explore Labuan Bajo. “Tour operators” are in fact your chauffeurs sailing you from one island to another, and you will not have to worry about being coerced into buying things you don’t want, or going to places you don’t like.

What To See and Do

Day 1: Padar Island, Komodo Island, Pink Beach

Labuan Bajo is a small town and the port is located right at the center of all the attention. At 6am, arrive at Labuan Bajo Port. If you have made prior arrangements with a local boatman, he will be expecting you in the morning. If not, you will be joining a “tour” with other travelers.

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  • Snorkeling (Near Padar Island)

    The Journey from Labuan Bajo to Padar Island is 3h long. Along the way, the boat will stop off at a couple of snorkeling spots that have crystal clear water. Snorkeling gear is provided by the boat.

  • Hiking ( in Padar Island)

The trek in Padar Island is easy. The trek starts once you reach the shores of Padar Island. This trek is more about the views than a tough hike. From start to finish, the hike takes 20 minutes.

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  • Komodo Dragons and Hiking (in Komodo Island)

Entrance Fee: Rp 20,000

In Komodo, you can choose between different trekking routes. A short trek takes around 1h. The medium trek takes about 1.5 hours. It passes a waterhole where the Timor deer and wild pigs often come to drink. Sometimes, dragons can be found there lying around and waiting. You will climb Sulphurea Hill and Frigate Hill, where a magnificent view across the islands, bays and beaches awaits.

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alila-purnama-komodo-island

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  • Pink Beach (In Padar Island and Komodo Island)

Padar Island features a natural phenomenon that you should not miss: a pink beach. This peculiar beach gets its color from red coral fragments. It is definitely a great place to spend some time by just laying back or enjoying the underwater world with your snorkeling equipment.

Another pink beach smaller in size can be found on Komodo Island as well. The shallow reef begins just in front of the beach. Being deep enough to snorkel at low tide and not too deep at high tide, it is one of the best snorkeling spots in the park.

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Day 2: Bidadari, Seraya, and Kanawa Islands

  • Bididari Island

Pulau Bidadari, which means ‘angel island’ in Indonesian, is a small, charming island located northwest of Labuan Bajo. This island is a water lover’s paradise. Its crystal clear and calm waters make it an ideal spot for swimming, snorkeling, and especially learning how to dive. Bidadari Island, reachable by way of a short 15–20 minute boat trip, is a tiny island. Its 14–15 hectares are covered with hills and trees, and it is almost completely surrounded by beautiful beaches.

  • Seraya Island

Only 10km from Labuan Bajo lies the small but charming Seraya Island. Around the small fishing village that is located on the southern tip of the island, you can get an impression of the bagan style of traditional fishing with its bamboo structures erected over the open sea.

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Day 3: Labuan Bajo

  • Batu Cermin Cave

Mirror Rock Cave, Jl. Wai Kasambi Rt. 06 Rw. 01 Kel. Batu Cermin, 86754, Batu Cermin, Komodo, Kabupaten Manggarai Barat, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Indonesia

Directions: From Labuan Bajo, Head south and turn left toward Jalan Bukit Cinta. Drive along Jalan Bukit Cinta and turn left.

The Batu Cermin Cave is one of the few tourist attractions in Labuan Bajo that is actually close to the city. The caves are located in a natural canyon between steep cliffs. The highlight of the site is the Batu Cermin caves, which means Mirror Rock caves in Indonesian. The caves get this name, because of the crystals in the rock that reflect the sunlight. The best time to visit the caves is between 9-10 am in the morning when the sun comes through a hole in the rock illuminating the crystals.

  • Rangko Cave

Rangko Village

Get there by motorbike or hire a driver. There is no public transportation to Rangko cave. The trip is about 1h. On arrival, you need to take a local boat to get to the beach of Rangko cave. The trip takes 10 minutes.

Rangko is a favourite spot in Labuan Bajo. The cave is filled with clear brackish water and it’s possible to go swimming in the cave. At about noon, the sun shines directly into the cave lighting it up and reflecting off the water. To reach the cave, you need to take a one hour drive from Labuan Bajo to a small village. From the village it’s a 10 minute boat ride to an isolated beach and then a five minute hike uphill to the cave.

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Where to Eat

  • Paradise Bar

Jalan Binongko, Kabupaten Manggarai Barat, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Indonesia

Directions From Labuan Bajo Port: walk North along Jl. Soekarno Hatta until you see Paradise Bar. The bar is located near Blue Parrot.

Opening hours: 11am – Late

$

Paradise Bar is the only bar that is opened until late and has a fantastic view of the sunset. Every Saturday, live music is being played.

  • Happy Banana

In front of Mandiri Bank, Jl. Soekarno Hatta, Labuan Bajo, Nusa Tenggara Tim. 86554, Indonesia

Directions From Labuan Bajo Port: walk south along Jl. Soekarno Hatta until you see Happy Banana.

Opening Hours: 930am – 11pm

$

A concept Sushi Bar which serves Japanese fusion cuisine. Dishes to try: Salmon tartar, Sashimi

  • Mediterraneo

Jl.Soekarno Hatta | Flores, Labuan Bajo, Flores 86554, Indonesia

Directions from Labuan Bajo Port: Mediterraneo is located directly in the port.

Opening Hours: 8am – 11pm

$$

Mediterraneo serves Italian and Mediterranean Food. Dishes to try: Kingfish Spaghetti, Ravioli and organic Rucola salad with parmesan cheese and tomato.

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  • Burger Time

Jl. Puncak Waringin, Labuan Bajo, Flores 86554, Indonesia

Directions From Labuan Bajo Port: walk south along Jl. Soekarno Hatta until you see Burger Time.

$

The Best Burgers in Labuan Bajo. Don’t forget to try the Onion Rings and Garlic Parmesan fries.

  • Fish Market

There are a lot of really nice places to eat in Labuan Bajo, but if you want to eat freshly caught fish served with delicious sauces then I would recommend visiting the fish market in Labuan Bajo. The market is located along the seafront of Labuan Bajo on the outskirts of Labuan Bajo. The food here is really delicious and there’s an interesting mix of people (you’ll find a mix of expats, backpackers and locals).

Where to Stay

  • Komodo Resort and Diving Club

Sebayur Island | Komodo, Labuan Bajo, Flores 86754, Indonesia

$$$

Luxury Villas by the beach. Diving tours and lessons are available here.

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  • Puri Sari Beach Hotel

Jl. Pantai Pede Kecamatan Komodo, Labuan Bajo, Flores, Indonesia

$$

A Beach retreat on the outskirts of Labuan Bajo. For visitors who value a quiet and calm stay.

  • Bayview Gardens Hotel

Jl Puncak Waringin, Labuan Bajo, Flores 86554, Indonesia

$$

A standard hotel with great views over the seaport

  • Le Pirate Bajo Hotel

Jl. Soekarno Hatta, Labuan Bajo, Flores 86554, Indonesia

$$

Chic and Stylish hotel which provides boat charters too.

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  • Laprima Hotel

Jl Pantai Pedeh no 8 Manggarai Barat, Labuan Bajo, Flores, Indonesia

$$

Standard rooms with great views of the sea. The hotel also serves BBQ meats at night.

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