Labuan Bajo, Flores

Labuan Bajo is the capital city of West Manggarai regency and it’s located at the western most tip of Flores Island. The city serves as a gateway to explore the islands around Komodo National Park for snorkeling or diving and visit the giant dragons in Komodo and Rinca Island. It is also the main entrance to explore the extraordinary point on Flores Island and other attractive places on East Nusa Tenggara.

labuan Bajo 3In recent years, Labuan Bajo gradually turned into a busy spot due the increasing number of Komodo National Park for visitors. But Labuan Bajo itself had alot to offer, one such as the Puncak Waringin to view the fantastic scenery the main harbor of Labuan Bajo and the small islands surroundings. Not just that, unforgettable sunset view is totally worth the wait.

The area of most interest to travellers is the port and its immediate surrounds, where you’ll find all your boating needs, a wet market and plenty of travel agents, shops — even a wine outlet — and a growing number of chic cafes and restaurants. It’s really your one-stop-shop for all your travelling needs in Flores, so stock up here! Western-style food, toiletries and other modern conveniences all become rather thin on the ground after you head for the Flores interior or out to the islands. The road running from the port is one way and it is dead easy to flag a bemo or ojek, but most points are within easy walking distance. Bear in mind the bemos stop running at night, so if you’re staying at one of the edge of town places, you’ll need to get an ojek or taxi back to your hotel after dinner.

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The port is the jumping off point for Rinca and Komodo islands along with a handful of other islands in the Bay of Bajo such as Kanawa and Bidadari. Any diving or liveaboard operation with a presence in Komodo will have an office in Labuan Bajo, and there are plenty of dive operators to choose from. It also marks the completion (or starting) point of the popular Lombok-Sumbawa-Komodo-Flores boat trips. You’ll regularly see the bay with a good number of liveaboard boats at anchor, clearly illustrating the old adage that, “You get what you pay for!” when it comes to boats. The port hosts boats big and small and a new container terminal (which is sadly beginning to block the view from some of Labuan Bajo’s restaurants). Regardless of where you’re headed you’ll be told where to go to get aboard; if you’re going nowhere, take in the lovely late afternoon views from one of the elevated bars or restaurants on the slopes behind the port.

Labuan Bajo was once known as a difficult place to find a room, but it now has a pretty decent range of accommodation, from a hostel firmly aimed at backpackers, through to moderately expensive resort-style lodgings — and there are plenty more on the way. In high season, it’s probably still prudent to make a reservation in advance — at least for your first night, but note many places do not have online presences, so you’ll need to give them a call. The standards overall are reasonable and quite competitively priced; while there are a few dumps, overall Labuan Bajo is home to the best accommodation on mainland Flores.

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Labuan Bajo enjoys a particular popularity with Italians and they are very well fed. Splurge. There’s other more typical tourist fare along with a good seafood barbecue night market by the small harbour and plenty of Indonesian standards on hand.

Lastly, Labuan Bajo hosts a domestic airport, which is in a slow process of being upgraded to international. It’s also the western terminus of all transport along the Trans-Flores Highway (which runs from Maumere in the east through Ende, Bajawa (almost) and Ruteng on the way to Labuan Bajo).

For those with time on their hands, Labuan Bajo makes for a convenient base to explore outlying areas such as Waecicu and the immediate islands and beaches.

The waterfront of Labuan Bajo is sort of capital l-shaped with a fish market worthy of an early morning browse in the centre. To the northern end, there are boats to the headland (for Waecicu) and Seraya Island, while the main port (to the south) runs boats to Kanawa, Rinca and Komodo. This isn’t a strict rule though, and you could probably charter a boat to anywhere from anywhere here.

After enjoying the fantastic panoramic sunset from Puncak Waringin, drive down to the town and stop by the end where the local culinary place located. It is located in Kampung Ujung nearby the new pier special for big cruises boat. Even though it is a local food court, but many foreign travelers spending and enjoying their dinner time here.

For more information and reservation write booking@topindonesiaholidays.com

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