Labuan Bajo is the main city in Flores island. While traveling through Indonesia the more eastern islands you visit the more unspoiled landscape you’ll find.
How to get to Flores?
I was wondering how could I possibly get to Flores, as I love taking land and sea trips to explore as much as possible. My first thought was to get there by boat. But as soon as I started asking and reading it made me aware of how risky are those boat trips. During last few years lots of boats sank around Flores, Komodo, Lombok and Bali. Mostly it’s because of the unusual ocean currents. The private boats from Lombok and Bali to Flores are considered to be unsafe. So I decided to fly by cheap local airlines. Most of them are on a black list on European Union. On board it was also a little strange, as the seats were quite damaged and what’s most funny, after taking our seats they just dropped our luggages in the middle of the plane on the ground to start taking off shortly.
Anyway the journey was quick and soon we landed in unspoiled Flores. I really had absolutely different imagination considering the place. The airport is located in Labuan Bajo, which is also the biggest harbor of the island.
What to do in Labuan Bajo – Flores?
Labuan Bajo – also spelled Labuhanbajo is a harbor city and fishing village. I just couldn’t believe when I first saw this city.. dusty, small place and nothing much to offer for a newcomer. But after few hours I even enjoyed discovering this place, the locals, slow pace of life, the marine life. People are living rather chastely. In front of the houses you can often see hundreds of fishes drying on the sun. What knocked me out of my feet was the view in one of the stunning local beach combining hundreds tons of plastic trash and garbage floating on the surface of the water. Definitely it wasn’t trash coming from the island. This made me acting so much more against industrial pollution.
The roads on the island are not well developed. In Labuan Bajo many people speak little English but Bahasa Indonesia remains the main language. Labuan Bajo is extremely popular among travelers who want to reach Komodo and Rinca island but also those who want to see Kelimutu Three lakes in east part of Flores (Kelimutu Volcano Crater). If you really want to explore this with a tour guide, there is an amazing person Dino Lopez www.flores-overland-online.com
Where to eat?
There are few small cafes and restaurants. This is where I had Baracuda for the first time (which often can be poisoning – I obviously didn’t know that). It tasted amazing. The whole dish was 10$ (in year 2013). But if you really want to eat something special there’s a night market. It’s not every day but absolutely worth visiting. First of all because locals are there eating, chatting. There’s a choice of fresh fishes, which are grilled in front of you. Honestly it was one of the greatest fish I had in my life. For just 2$.
Where to go?
You have lots of opportunities to travel from Labuan Bajo.
- Boat trip to Komodo and Rinca with volcanic origin – but most famous for the dragons. It’s something you must see! Trekking the island is also amazing, I advice you pick the long track when you get there: http://freestyletraveling.com/komodo-national-park/
- Kanawa island – snorkeling paradise: http://freestyletraveling.com/kanawa-island/
- Kelimutu Three lakes in east Flores.