Just a short hour flight from Bali, Labuan Bajo is located at the western end of Flores in the Nusa Tenggara region of east Indonesia and serves as the springboard for any trip to Komodo National Park. Once a sleepy fishing village, this city is undergoing massive growth, currently ranked as the fastest growing regency in Indonesia.
Labuan Bajo now offers a host of new restaurants and accommodation. Choose between Greek, Italian, traditional Indonesian and Western cuisine. Getting around is simple; ojeks (motorcycle taxis: IDR 3.000-5.000) and bemos (shared taxi-cabs) pass every 5 minutes if you get tired of walking. You can rent a motorcycle for around IDR 75.000 per day. ATM's are plentiful throughout town.
If you are willing to explore the surrounding areas, you will be rewarded with beautiful treks, numerous waterfalls, caves, beaches, spider-web rice fields and a beautiful jungle landscape. For those with more time, you can make your way to the east of Flores where you can visit the tricolour lakes and Mt. Kelimutu.
P.S. The sunsets here are out of this world.
Labuan Bajo is the transit hub for the region and can be accessed by daily car-ferry service from the island of Sumbawa and by weekly or bi-weekly passenger ferry service from Bali and Sulawesi. There is daily public bus service from Ende and Maumere and all of Flores. In addition, there are several daily flights between Labuan Bajo and Bali and other destinations.
Numerous airlines run routes into Labuan Bajo, with about 7 different routes per day. Most airlines arrive via Bali but as of November 2016, Garuda runs a direct route from Jakarta. Airlines currently servicing Labuan Bajo Airport (LBJ) are Garuda, Nam Air, Lion Air, Wings Air and Kal Star Aviation. AirAsia has announced trips from Kuala Lumpur - Jakarta - Labuan Bajo beginning in January 2017. Prices range from about IDR 850.000 - 2.200.000 round trip, depending on the season.
The ferry from Sape (E. Sumbawa) runs daily, and usually arrives around 15-16.00 in Labuan Bajo. The return ferry departs around 08:00. Like many Indonesian ferries, this is a mix of trucks, buses, cars and passengers. The cost is about USD 5.
Pelni passenger ships arrive from Makassar or Lombok (and Bali). Pelni has two ships calling on Labuan Bajo every 2 weeks. The Tilongkbila departs for Bima, Lembar (Lombok, 24 hours) and Benoa (Bali) every other Thursday and returns the following Sunday to go to Makassar and other destinations in Sulawesi. The Willis departs for Bima – Benoa – Surabaya every other Saturday and returns Saturday one week later to go east to Marapokot and Maumere. The cost depends on the class of cabin purchased but ranges from USD 16 to 50.
There are also small boats that offer tours between Labuan Bajo and Lombok and Bali. (Please be very aware that these boats rarely offer even the most basic of safety features. There have been several boat accidents that highlighted the dangers of booking such trips. While these trips may seem like a great bargain – please consider how much you risk. There are rarely life jackets, life rafts, navigational equipment or even radios!)
Blue Marlin Komodo, Jalan Soekarna-Hatta, Labuan Bajo, Nusa Tenggara Timur 86552, Indonesia
+62 (0) 385 41789/ +62 (0) 812 3766 496;
© Blue Marlin Komodo 2017