Going back to Indonesia I had a great adventure waiting: meeting up with Leon on the island known by Lonely Planet as "Indonesia's new big thing": Flores. With a week to spend here before crossing the big waters to first Australia and then New Zealand our itinerary were planned around Komodo National Park and the fishing town Labuan Bajo. A colorful destination that with it's fascinating Komodo dragons, it's amazing in-land and under-water nature is very popular and with numbers of visitors rising.
Labuan Bajo - Getting There
I flew from Copenhagen to Denpasar on Bali and from here directly to Labuan Bajo in the West part of Flores. Besides being the starting point for exploration of Komodo National Park this fishing town is known to be a tropical gem combined with an authentic village society under rapid development.
Leon sailed in from his surfing adventures on Sumbawa island and as he landed after midnight he and the only other foreigner onboard crashed out in the local ticket office. Miguel, Leon's new mate is traveling on a 150-200 dollars/month budget while writing a book, not sure about what maybe ultra budget traveling...
To my luck Leon had checked in to a home-stay before picking me up in Labuan Bajo airport on a scooter.. No hard floor-sleeps for me in this round. The airport is only 5 min away from the town and there's a semi-fixed price for taxi rides of 50.000 IDR.
As a visitor you'll mainly be concerned with the main street of Labuan Bajo. A typically busy, lively and dirty Indonesian street a long the port and water-front. And a street that has everything you need: street food, restaurants, shops, tour guides for the national park exploration and "traaaaansport" offers everywhere.
Labuan Bajo - Where To Stay
The main street hosts a large number of accommodation options but make sure to choose one which is off the main street or away from the busy and noisy down-town.
After checking out several options we stayed at Manta Manta guest-house - a nice, clean and affordable guesthouse with good wifi and a view of the ocean if you choose the superior rooms. Price was 200.000 IDR/night. It's off the main street going up a little hilly pathway.
5 Things To Check Out in Labuan Bajo
We didn't spend heaps of time in this little charming and lively port town but we quickly got a good overview of the downtown and found our favorite Labuan Bajo spots. Here's some recommendations for spots to visit
1. When you get hungry...
Visit the night market near the port for fresh seafood & veggie dinner with a lively vibe and lots of happening.
Or during the day visit Warung Mama for traditional Indonesian style padang food in nice roof-top settings
2. When it get's too hot, dusty & messy...
Visit the upscale resort Laprima which is on the main road but 2km out of the centre on the beach. In low season you can stay here for 650.000 IDR/night or just visit the pool for the day for around 50.000 IDR. They do massages to!
3. When you need a sunset drink
Find the local wine store on the main street and get a local bottle of Plaga wine made with Australien grapes but produced in Indonesia and enjoy it on your balcony. Or head to Paradise Bar for a Bintang or a cocktail
4. When you need a (sweet) treat...
Visit Bajo Bakery that besides serving local Flores coffee and lattes, offers good quality European bread and yummiest muffins, cheesecakes and other sweet treats. The owner is from Switzerland and has brought good European baking recipes to the land of sweet white artificial baked goods.
5. When you want to connect (even more) with nature...
Grab scooters and visit the cute Waecicu beach for a quiet beach session and a refreshing swim. It's approximately 5-7 minutes drive from the town centre
I really like Labuan Bajo and highly recommend you to plan to spend some nights here before and/or after your Komodo National Park Exploration. Next post up I'll share our Komodo & sailing adventures!
Enjoy your visit in Labuan Bajo beautiful travelers... Oh and watch out for monkeys when you take your selfies!