Difference between revisions of "Labuan Bajo"
Revision as of 03:54, 4 June 2011
Labuan Bajo, also spelled Labuhanbajo and Labuanbajo, is a city at the tip of Flores Island in Indonesia. It is the launching point for trips to Komodo Island and Rinca Island to see Komodo dragons and the surrounding sea is idyllic for diving and snorkeling. Nearby Seraya Island is a great opportunity to do some diving and snorkeling and every evening at Kalong Island thousands of flying fox bats put on an amazing display.
Several companies operates flights from (and to) Labuan Bajo airport. Indonesia Air Transport (IAT) has flight twice a week to Denpasar (Rp 700,000) and to Ende. Merpati Airlines flies every day to Denpasar (Rp 620,000). TransNusa has flight daily from Denpasar to Labuan Bajo at ETD 09.30 ETA 10.52 and Labuan Bajo to Denpasar ETD 11.30 ETA 12.52 (Rp 971,000). Since June 2010 Batavia Air offers a flight once a day at 9.00 am from 747.000 IDR. Wings Air flies as well to Labuan Bajo
All flights to Denpasar leave between 11AM and 3PM. The Labuan Bajo airport departure tax is Rp 10,000. However, the airport staff is notoriously known for overcharging tourists - taking Rp 20,000. So better to come with exact money - and insist on paying the right price. (date: 05-May-2011)
TransNusa Airlines has an office here, but be aware the flights might be changed or even canceled. Better double check directly +62 (0) 385 41800. Their office normally closes at 5PM, but sometimes internet or electricity goes down around 3PM, so you might want to go there earlier. There must be also a Merpati office.
A number of companies organise 4 day sailing trips between Lombok or Bali and Flores for around Rp1,000,000 passengers should be aware that these trips can cross open waters and are on boats with no navigation or safety equipment other than some lifejackets (ie. no radio, flares or life rafts).
Perama tour  Hunting Komod by camera trip, it a trip started from Lombok, it leaves every six day from lombok and also the other way around. with price for cabin is around Rp.2,600,000 or you can choose a deck class for Rp.2,000,000 where you get to sleep with a thin carpet, it is not really an open water because it coasting along the coastal line and most importantly it has the navigation and safety equipment. It takes you to visit some spots along the way to Labuan Bajo and Komodo.
The town is quite small and can easily be traversed on foot. Ojeks and bemos are also options. You can rent a motorcycle for around 75.000 Rp. a day.
A beautiful view of the bay can be seen from any of the hilltop restaurants.
Komodo National Park encompasses a lot of water and islands west of Labuanbajo. If you want to go to Rinca or Komodo islands, or dive in the park you will have to buy a 3 day park pass for US$15. Money from such user fees goes into conservation efforts.
Rinca Island (Indonesian: Rinca Kecil or Pulau Rinca) is a more convenient place to see Komodo Dragons than Komodo island. Some dive operators might be convinced to combine a stop at the island with a days diving. There are big dragons that are often right in front of the pier when people arrive.
Diving The Komodo National Park offer dozens of very pristine dive sites, with many migratory pelagics, vibrant reefs- making it one of the world’s richest marine habitats. The Park is located just offshore and easily reached by daytrips and liveaboard operators. With some very strong currents possible - it is advisable to seek out experienced operators who can clearly communicate the correct and safe way to dive the park
Labuan Bajo is the most convenient point from which to go snorkelling in the Komodo National Park. The snorkeling within the park offers many opportunities to see pristine reefs with some of the greatest fish and coral diversity in the world.
Kanawa Island (Indonesian: Pulau Kanawa) is considered as one of south east Asia's most idyllic islands, fully surrounded by spectacular reef with thousands of fish species, turtles, corals and reef sharks, sometimes it is possible to see some mantas just around the arrival jetty. Kanawa island is just 10 km away from Labuan Bajo (about 1hr with a local boat or 10 minutes with speed boat) and located just at the boarders of Komodo National Park. Guests can stay for affordable price (Rp 200.000/night inclusive of transportation and breakfast) in standards bungalows (14 of those on the island) and enjoy meals at the Starfish cafe. In Kanawa island guests can enjoy most breath-taking sunrises and sunsets, about a kilometers of untouched white sand beaches ais available for sunbathing and walks. Lands on Kanawa island have been recently purchased by PT Kanawa Island, a new company controlled by bali based developer PT Mercury, which has the plan to develop an eco-friendly luxury resort on the island, bringing high end class and standards to the area of komodo.
Seraya Island (Indonesian: Seraya Kecil or Pulau Seraya) is an idyllic island and a great opportunity to get away from civilization and do some snorkeling and diving. Seraya is little more than a small, arid island outside of the Komodo National Park with a few bamboo huts for tourist lodging, a restaurant, and some villagers who let their goats graze on vegetation. The island’s cove is protected from the sea providing calm and clear water for snorkeling. At low tide the coral is exposed and local fishermen walk on the reef in search of prey. Rowboats can be rented and taken to nearby islands for snorkeling and diving. Make sure to run up to the top of the hill behind the resorts and check out the sunset. The lodges on the island do have showers, but running water is only available a few hours a day. The resort on Seraya is operated by Gardena hotel in Labuanbajo and a stay on the island can be booked at Gardena’s front desk. This costs 150,000-175,000 for a bungalow and you are charged 20,000 pp each way.
One of the more spectacular displays of nature in the area is at Kalong Island (Indonesian: Pulau Kalong; also spelt Kalung), which literally means "Flying Fox Island." The name is quit appropriate as the island is home to thousands of Kalong, or giant flying fox bats. Boats to Kalong can be chartered from Labuanbajo for around $30 for a return ride, including a snorkeling stop at a nearby island before you reach Pulau Kalong. Your boat will situate itself next to the mangrove island and at dusk literally tens of thousands of flying foxes emerge from the mangrove island and move over your boat towards Rinca Island. For the entire colony to emerge will take roughly twenty minutes of continuous waves of bats passing over your boat. The boat ride to/from Labuanbajo will take roughly one hour.
There are currently a couple of ATM in town which belong to the BNI bank and can deliver up to 1,500,000 Rp per transaction in 50,000 Rp notes, but also a few other banks and one money changer. There is a bad rate, so better change enough money before coming here.
Shops selling tourist trinkets, local fabric, and Komodo Dragon carvings are located in the center of town. Western products of varying quality are available in the toko or kiosk alongside the roads.
Consider taking a trip to the market early in the morning to purchase local coffee, spices, or just to look over a wealth of local produce and goods.
Choose from a variety of Indonesian, Chinese, and Western restaurants on the main road. There are also many masakan padang places along the main road, which are worth checking out for an inexpensive and filling meal. Opposite the TransNusa office there is a Coto Makassar place.
Labuanbajo currently has a dearth of hotel space. Despite the poor service, the best place to stay, if there is a vacancy, is at the hillside resort of Gardena rooms (165,000-200,000 Rp). Watch out for the giant lizards that enjoy hanging out in bathrooms. The rooms at the top of the hill are within range of an open wireless internet connection. The hotel also runs the resort on Seraya Island; a stay on the island can be booked at the front desk.
If Gardena is full try Hostel Matahari a bit further up the street. Matahari hotel's restaurant is fair (decent prices, good dishes). Remember to take the room from upstairs - Rp 80,000. The rooms are not so tidy but the sea bay view is fantastic.
To get away from the noise the Golo Hill Top Hotel is excellent with great views food comparable to the Gardena but great service. It is a five to 10min walk to town. In the same area, try also the Felix Hotel (200,000 Rp per room and per night [april2011]). A new hotel, the Jayakarta, will be opening Spring 2010 and may be worth investigating as well once open.
There are three places that offer internet access but only one with a working headset, in case you want to skype. You find it opposite the Bajo hotel. Go down the stairs and turn left. If its still closed ask in the shop next to it. The two other places is E-Link just before on the other site and at the very end of the main road in the 3rd floor.