Monday, October 17, 2016

Things to do in Labuan Bajo


Apart from the famous Komodo Island, there are many other interesting places worth exploring here and here is a list of things to do in Labuan Bajo, Flores which is located in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Many may only know Komodo Island which is located about an hour from Labuan Bajo and after visiting Flores twice in the last year, I can now share with you on the many other things to do around here. 

Your main gateway into Flores is also the city of Labuan Bajo or Ende where there are direct flights available from Jakarta and Bali and most visitors would fly into Labuan Bajo for the opportunity to see the Komodo Dragons or for their diving trips here. As I have personally visited Flores twice, once with the #TripofWonders and recently in September 2016, with Skyscanner Indonesia therefore, on both trips, I managed to see quite a bit of Flores Island and also Labuan Bajo where I can now share my experiences with the would be visitor here. 

Things to do in Labuan Bajo
Komodo Island Tours
1. Komodo National Park - This is the number one place to see the the worlds largest lizard called the Komodo Dragon. There are four islands that are home to the Komodo Dragon but only two are open for visitors, which are Komodo Island and Rinca Island. You can book day trips to these islands or even book an overnight live-on-board boat experience to a number of islands. Prices range anywhere from IDR 600,000 to IDR 2,000,000 per person, depending on the type of Komodo Island Package you choose and most people would do a 2D/1N live-on-board trip. 

Pink Beach at Komodo Island
2. Pink Beach - One of them most unique beaches in the world are found here in the Komodo National Park and imagine pink sand.

There are around nine pink beaches located around the national park where most Komodo Island tours will bring you to the most popular one on Komodo Island.

The Pink Beach at Komodo Island is also perfect for photo shooting and social media and in general, this place attracts all walks of life , so coming here on a weekend will surely be crowded. Snorkeling here is quite amazing too as the marine life is very impressive. Some even take a 15 minute hike up the main hill that overlooks the pink beach for that epic landscape photo. 

3. Komodo Island Hopping - For the sun seekers, photographers and explorers, there are a number of beautiful islands located around the national park here and visiting them can be arranged with your boat or tour operator. Note the price is slightly different when you book a multiple island hopping package in Labuan Bajo too. It is always best to ask about the prices and islands you are visiting before you confirm the trip. 

4. Sembilan Island Stingless Jellyfish - I have heard about this place but never got a chance to visit it due to the time constrain, but the tour operators offer a visit here where at Pulau Sembilan or Nine Island, there is a small pond in the island that is home to a species of sting-less jellyfish where you can snorkel and see them. Truly amazing and this is one my next place to visit in Flores.
Padar Island
5. Padar Island Photography - Hands down the most epic photo you will get at the Komodo National Park. Padar Island is part the the national park and many visitors come here to trek to the top of the island for their epic photo and mesmerizing view. The trek up is around 30 to 40 minutes, depending on your fitness level and once up there, all your tiredness will vanish. The Padar Island photo went viral a few years ago after an epic photo of someone standing with the amazing view went viral in Indonesia. Now, hoards of local and also foreign tourist, some even dressed up, make their way here to get that epic photo taken at the top of Padar Island.

6. Manggarai Cultural Village - A very ethnic cultural village located in the highland of Flores, which is around one hours drive from Labuan Bajo where you can see the Manggarai tribe perform their traditional dances (Caci Dance) while sampling some of the local food and also local Flores Coffee. Suitable for culture lovers, this experience would take you around three to four hours and needs to be booked by one of the local tour agents in Labuan Bajo.
A beautiful Labuan Bajo Sunset
7. Sunset Watching at Labuan Bajo - The best place to see the Labuan Bajo Sunset is from the many beaches or some of the modern beach resorts and bars that face the west. For me, I have seen beautiful sunsets from the hotels I have stayed at, namely the Sylvia Waicicu Beach Resort (www.sylviaresortkomodo.com/) which I highly recommend, Le Pirate Bajo Hotel (https://lepirate.com/labuan-bajo/) for hipsters and for the family traveler, Laprima Hotel (Email reservation@hotellaprima.com) by the sea.

Other sunset watching places in Labuan Bajo are Atlantis Beach Club or Paradise Bar which sits on a hill overlooking the bay where you can have cocktails or a drink just before dinner. For those wanting a magnificent and beautiful view, you can explore towards the Sylvia Resort where there are a few hills behind the resort where you can walk up or drive up there. The view from up here is simply breath-taking and you can see both sides of the island from up here.
Street life in Labuan Bajo
8. Exploring Labuan Bajo Town - To be very honest, this place is just developing in terms of tourism therefore the main street is probably the only place you will be exploring. The main road called Jl. Soekarno Hatta goes one loop around the main town area as it is one way and near the old harbor area, there is a great night market selling all kinds of fresh local Indonesian food and also seafood worth exploring. For the main street area where hotels are also located at, you can find some local and international restaurants, cafes and even a French Bakery next to a Mexican Restaurant! There is also a spa, banks with ATM machines, pharmacies and general stores so this is your one-stop place to get items and so on. 

10. Try the Flores Coffee - This is one of the top coffee produced in Indonesia and you can find the local Flores Coffee at some of the local cafes here. One coffee joint in Labuan Bajo which stands out is the Cafe In Hit Coffee Shop, located just next to Le Pirate Bajo Hotel. Here you can get some really good latte and cappuccino (some say it's perfect) for your daily fix apart from the iced latte and frappes and also some interesting salads and sandwiches. Prices are very affordable for now too.

Bird Watching in Labuan Bajo
9. Bird Watching in Labuan Bajo - For the avid bird watcher or birder, Labuan Bajo and its surroundings offer some pretty interesting species of birds to spot or photograph. In total, there are over 10 endemics in Flores and around 280 plus species of birds throughout the island.

In the city area of Labuan Bajo, you can easily spot Eagles, Kingfishers, Drongos, Flowerpeckers, Pigeons and many others. As I am still an amateur bird watcher, I can easily say that I spotted at least 30 species of birds during my last trip in September 2016 and thus, I highly recommend bird watching in Labuan Bajo, Flores. 

10. Diving at Komodo Island - Scuba divers will be in for a treat as the Komodo Islands are one of the best places in Indonesia to dive and most operators in Labuan Bajo are professional and offer all kinds of diving in Komodo, ranging from day trips to live on boards which are a plenty. Personally for me, I did a Komodo day trip dive because of the time restriction we had so we visited three of the most popular dive sites - Pink Beach Dive Site, Manta Point and Batu Bolong where all three are fascinating. Each of the dive sites offered a different kind of diving in Komodo with unique seascape and marine life.

Photos of Labuan Bajo

Below are various photos taken around Labuan Bajo town and its surroundings in September 2016.
A panoramic photo of Labuan Bajo. Click to see full image.
Local boats at the Labuan Bajo port
Manggarai People from West Flores, near Labuan Bajo
Various tour packages in Labuan Bajo
Local wet market in Labuan Bajo
Sylvia Resort in Labuan Bajo
To get to Labuan Bajo, you can fly directly from Bali via a number of airlines, namely Wings Air who does two daily flights and only takes an hour from Denpasar. Alternatively, you can check Skyscanner for the cheapest flights as I checked from Kuala Lumpur to Labuan Bajo, it cost only RM1,700 with three stops. But if you fly direct to Bali and connect to Labuan Bajo, it could be cheaper too.

If you are also heading elsewhere in the country, you can also read my other article on places to visit in Indonesia to give you some idea as I have personally visited all of the places listed in that article due to my previous trips around Indonesia. 

If you are heading to see the dragons, you can also read my article on how to get to Komodo Island which I wrote about a few months ago. As I personally think that Flores will be the next destination to explore in 2017, I highly recommend you start thinking about heading here early before the main commercial tourist start to flood the place and prices will start to rise. So with this list of Things to do in Labuan Bajo, I hope you get the chance to visit this amazing place soon.

Author:

Malaysia Asia is a multiple award-winning travel blog site with information on unique and interesting places around Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, Southeast Asia and the World. Malaysia Asia is also under MyAsia Services, a Digital Travel Solutions Company based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest. We are also not your regular travel bloggers. 

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