Labuan Bajo

Labuan Bajo is a small town on the Island of Flores and capital of the West Manggarai district. Comfortable and charming, far less developed than Bali yet still featuring a few five-star resorts and surprisingly good restaurants. The people are unjaded and still quite friendly to everyone. During the peak season of July and August accommodation and restraints can be full so plan ahead!

Getting to Labuan Bajo is much easier than you might expect. There are several direct flights a day from Bali and at least one a day from Kupang and Maumere. It is expected that another daily flight will be coming from Lombok as well. There are also ferries that depart from Kupang (Sumbawa), Sulawesi and Bali. The main road connects directly to Ende and Maumere but is poorly maintained and traveling can be quite slow.

In addition to the famous Komodo Island – and its world famous dragons – there are many other nearby islands to visit. Seraya and Kanawa has resorts on them and offer snorkeling and diving – though you must pay higher prices for accommodation and food.

Labuan Bajo is also the main transport hub for Western Flores and the residents reflect this. While you still meet many people who grew up in Flores, there are also many people from Sulawesi, Bali, Padang and Java. There is also many fishermen – so residents of Sulawesi abound. This is also reflected in the many small restaurants in town.

If you want adventure – there are many dive operators in town. As the currents and conditions int he park can be quite challenging it is essential to choose an operator that focuses on safety and small groups. Please check that equipment has been serviced and is proper working order, make sure that the guides can communicate with you clearly and know the area, be certain the dive center has insurance, check that boats have radios and telephone communication and of course – make sure they work with a reputable agency like SSI or PADI. Wicked Diving, Bajo Dive club and Laguna divers are all great operators.

In Labuan Bajo are many small local eateries and stalls. While the selection may not be great – the prices are! With the recent growth in tourism has come demand for accommodation and food! There are several western-style restaurants with “Made in Itlay” being simply the best food and service in town – far better than one would expect in such a remote location.

Accommodation ranges from simple wooden rooms with “lots of ventilation” to 4-star resorts. While the cheap rooms are not all that cheap, the midrange rooms offer a great deal. In exploring the high-end resorts – they are actually high-rise buildings without any personality. There are a couple of excellent villas you can stay in also.

Kayak through Komodo

Komodo Kayak Tours
Please note that Labuan Bajo is a developing area. Guidebooks like Lonely Planet are wildly out of date and inaccurate.

Komodo Diving

Komodo Diving