Labuan Bajo, which was once considered a quiet fishing village is rapidly growing into a thriving tourist center. This dusty town is located on the western tip of Flores, Indonesia is the jump-off point of access to Komodo Island. Even though travellers don’t spend a lot of time here, the real draw to this small town is its promise of Indonesian-style adventure. To simply put it, Labuan Bajo is the perfect start-off point if you’re looking to explore the Komodo Island.
It doesn’t matter if you want to sun bathe at some of the most pristine beaches, hike through the lush green forest and take in the panoramic tropical views, dive in some of the world’s most stunning underwater spots or simply go island hopping. The gateway from Labuan Bajo to Komodo offers plenty of interesting things to do. Below are some of them but first things first.
How to get to Labuan Bajo
Getting to Labuan Bajo is actually quite easy especially if you’re coming from Bali. There are seven flights per day flying to Labuan Bajo Airport from Denpasar, Bali. The flight takes about one hour and fifteen minutes. Also known as the Komodo Airport, the Labuan Bajo Airport is located less than a mile outside of the city so it’s easier to hail a cab.
Alternatively, you can take a four day boat-cruise from Lombok to Labuan Bajo if you’re on a budget. This way you get to take in the beautiful scenery along the shoreline. You can also take a bus to Labuan Bajo, just make sure to book in advance.
What to do while in Labuan Bajo
The Island of Flores prides itself of a natural beauty that is truly incredible. This makes it an ideal place to take day tours. There are a plethora of remarkable places to visit here so ensure that you plan to spend at least a day exploring the area. You can take one of the Komodo day trips available and visit the Manta point, Padar Island, Pink Beach and the Komodo Island.
Put on your hiking shoes and head to Padar Island for some of the most breath-taking views or swim with the Manta Rays as you dive or snorkel at one of the many Manta points. For more adventure, go in search of the largest lizards in the world, the Komodo Dragon at Rinca Island or the Komodo Island which happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a novice or professional diver, when you visit Indonesia you have to go diving. However, if you need help with getting started then the Komodo Island is the best place to get certified.
Komodo Island also offers amazing day trios for divers of all levels. Get to explore the warm waters surrounding the Northern part of the Island and see the amazing coral. Dive at the cooler southern region of the island and swim with mantas, whales and a myriad of other amazing fishes.
Visit Mount Kelimutu as you explore more of Flores
To experience the beauty of Mount Kelimutu, you have to take a short flight since it is located on the other side of Flores. Also ensure that you’re there before sunrise if you want to witness the volcanic lakes change color.
While the urban areas of Flores is a sight for sore eyes, the real deal is the small villages scattered across the island where the true Indonesian culture thrives. Check out Ngella village which is renowned for its textiles ad ikat weaving or the ever so friendly village of Doka to see and buy local handcrafts. If you have time, stick around and watch some traditional song and dance shows.
Being the gateway to Komodo and other islands, the town of Labuan Bajo offers travellers with endless possibilities for exploring the beautiful archipelago of Indonesia.