At 1100 meters, Bajawa is much cooler than in the lowlands along the beach. Bring a sweater for the chilly nights. The attraction here is the traditional mangarai villages in the area surrounding the city.
All buses from Labuanbajo stop here for the night before leaving the next morning, but you might as well stay an extra day and make a tour of it. The cheapest option from Labuanbajo appears to be the Gemini bus (Rp 100,000), which leaves at around 5.30 am from the ferry jetty in Labuanbajo - free hotel pick-up can be arranged. Expect a long (12 hours) and bumpy ride with little comfort. However, the incredible scenery and friendly passengers and passers-by compensate a lot.
Public buses stop at the junction from where bemos wait to take you the 2 km into town. Expect to be asked to pay 5,000 Rp although less should suffice.
There are many "tourist guides" in Bajawa. None of which are in any way trained and their primary skill is speaking english and overcharging. The best you can do is stay clear of them and just hire a motorbike (85,000 Rp.) or charter a bemo for the day (300,000 Rp.) and see the villages at your own pace.
There is a an official, and very helpful, tourist information in the mayor's office. There are also many touts that has shops with "Tourist Information" signs printed on them. Don't be fooled by them, the real tourist information will not try and sell you something.
Traditional villages. Although, clearly a tourist destination, the villages house regular people, doing everyday things. Some are weaving the Ikat, others are simply tending to their livestock, all are very happy to be photographed, but of course ask first.a 5,000 Rp donation will be appreciated. edit
Traditional fighting or dancing (not at the same time). This is not a show put on for tourists. However, it is a show. People from the villages gather to fight. The rules seem to be that there are no rules, and so it is difficult to determine a winner. A fight continues for as long as the audience is entertained and the fighters are willing to continue. Ask at your hotel if there is something scheduled.edit
Waterfalls. Ask for the waterfalls with the old sauna. The sauna is not there anymore, but the waterfall is still beautiful and with the sauna gone it is a peaceful place that you can have all to yourself. It's on the road to the village of Bena and Luba, and makes for a good stopedit
Oggi Waterfalls. Based around Oggi village. It is possible to walk from the main road along the rice-fields till you get to the waterfall. There is also a staircase on the side of the waterfall that allows climbing up. edit
Hot springs. After a long day of traditional culture, it feels nice to plummet into the hot springs. There are 2 pools (as in man-made pools) with hot springs, and one that flows into a river mixing the water to a comfortable warm temperature. There is an overpriced shop there, so it's better to stop along the way for some ice cold Bintang to enjoy in the pools. The place is poorly maintained, but the spring is still hot.10,000 Rp. edit
Natural Hot springs- Malanage. This is not far from Bena village. Follow main road direction opposite to Bajawa direction until you reach Nage village(5km) The hot volcanic water flows in a river and mixes with cold mountain water creating a natural hot spring. By careful positioning yourself in the river it is possible to regulate the temperature. There is a suggested donation of 5000 rp. Thre is a changing-room hut.edit
'Wawo Muda'. An eruption in 2001 left a beautiful crater with two lakes. In dry season they are quite small but it is possible to climb down into the crater. The path is very unstable and great care should be taken. It is possible to ride a motorbike almost all the way to the top or hike from a nearby traditional village. Visiting Wawo Muda is an easy way to get up close with a volcano.10,000 Rp. edit
Accommodation in Bajawa is scarce and overpriced, but since everyone passing through has to stay for the night, you have to suck it up.
Edelweiss. A welcoming place with big and clean rooms. The rooms in the back are the newest and most expensive, but also the best value as they come with hot shower and a view. It's a shame that the rooms in front are overpriced. However, bargaining may help. The price includes breakfast.200,000 - 300,000. edit
Wisata Bintang. Clean and well-run place with friendly staff. The deluxe rooms come with hot shower and tv (no english channels). The standard rooms are as overpriced as everywhere else in town.150,000 - 350,000. edit
Korina. One of the cheapest option to sleep in town. The rooms are small but clean. They have free Wlan and a small breakfast.150,000-300,000. edit
Hotel Happy Happy (email@example.com), Jl Sudirman (southern approach to town), ☎ +62 3842 1763. checkout: flexible. A bright, new and very clean place at the south end of town. Despite the name and the fact that it's run by a Dutch couple, don't expect a "coffee shop". Views of the volcano from the back yard. Free wi-fi. Included breakfast is good, and options include home made bread. This was by far the best value we saw in town on a January 2012 visit.200-350,000Rp. edit
Mbolata Beach Resort (firstname.lastname@example.org), Pantai Waelengga (Aimere), . An alternative for an overnight stay in the more touristical city of Bajawa is the Mbolata Beach Resort. It is located only 1 hour to the west from Bajawa close to the village of Waelengga (Aimere). It is a hideaway with lovely beach cottages on the Sawu Sea.edit
Elizabeth. Basic rooms with private bathroom from 125000 rp for a double (May 2014).edit
Hotel Johny, Jl. Gajahmada. checkout: 13:00. Basic clean rooms with hot or cold showers and option of TV. Towels are provided, no toilet paper. Free good WiFi that you can almost get in your room. Warm, friendly, helpful staff. Basic breakfast of toast and coffee. Centrally located near day market and many warungs. Prices range from 80,000 to 250,000.edit
Climb mt Inerie. The majestic, almost perfectly shaped volcano is not far from Bajawa. The trail starts at the village of Watumeze and follows the side of the mountain that has no forest so views are superb all the way, but of course best from the top. The top one third of the climb is very slippery with a lot of loose gravel. If you are experienced, you can do this without a guide. Best to start at 3 am to be up for sunrise.
From Inerie you can see the peak of another magnificent volcano - Mt. Ebulobo, further east on the way to Ende. Ebulobo is a longer but easier climb, mostly through forest.
More information and gps trails for both volcanoes on [Gunung Bagging].
Dito's. Reasonably priced restaurant near Edelweis hotel. It has the usual suspects of Indonesian cuisine and some western food as well. The pork satay (yes, pork!!) comes highly recommended.edit
Lucas Restaurant, Jl Ahmad Yani No 6 (near Korina Hotel), ☎ +62 (0)384 21340. Nicely decorated with a large menu. Overpriced - the sate was 32,000 and didn't come with rice or salad and the somewhat flavourless asparagus soup was 25,000. Arak is available but it wasn't the nicest when we tried it.edit
Rumah Makan Anugerah, Jl PB Soedirman (Next to Happy Happy Hotel). A small restaurant with only 4 tables on a clean and brightly lit room serving the staple Indonesian dishes. The nasi campur is served with plantains chips in a garlic sweet soy sauce and a spicy shredded coconut side. There are a few baked goods available and replenished daily.25,000-40,000. edit
There is a bus station near the market, but the buses will just as happily pick you up from your hotel at the same price. Be prepared to circle the town a few times picking up passengers (until full) before actually leaving for your destination.
Labuanbajo (100,000 Rp, 10 hours), gateway to Komodo.
Moni (80,000 Rp, 6 hours), for the colorful crater lakes of Kelimutu. The main attraction in Flores.
Ruteng (50,000 Rp, 5 hours), the buses go from the small bus station at the junction outside of town, where the roads coming from Ende and Ruteng meet. Those departing in the morning can also pick you up from your hotel. Otherwise buses should be going at least until 2 pm. They stop for lunch in Aimere.