Have you considered going on a holiday to see dragons? Yes, you heard right. Komodo dragons! If this sparked your curiosity, dare to venture into a far-flung paradise and join us on a trip to Labuan Bajo, in East Indonesia.

Flores island, on East Nusa Tenggara, is still somewhat undiscovered by the masses and is an excellent gateway to the popular Komodo National Park. Labuan Bajo it is Flores’ most popular fishing town and a good location point to visit all the other small islands around.


Get a chance to win a free stay in Labuan Bajo with ShopFest Ultimate Experience! See how to win it here.

Why should you visit Labuan Bajo?

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How to reach Labuan Bajo, Flores Island

 

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Labuan Bajo is located on the western coast of Flores island, in the Nusa Tenggara region of eastern Indonesia and it is ideally situated to reach Komodo Island. Its Komodo Airport has connecting flights from the main Indonesian cities, including Jakarta and Denpasar.

Best time to visit Flores Island and vicinity

The best time to visit Labuan Bajo and Komodo National Park is during the dry season between April and early December. From April to June, the seas are calmer making it a good season for snorkelling and diving. July and August tend to be more crowded with more tour boats and visitors looking for the perfect place to snorkel.

  • Pro Tip: Save 5 to 7 days to visit if you can so you can fully enjoy the entire area without rushing.

Things to do in and around Labuan Bajo

1. Komodo National Park

 

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The highlight of the visit to Labuan Bajo is the Komodo National Park. Nowhere else in the world will you be able to track dragons.

The Komodo dragon, a cousin of the giant monitor lizard, doesn’t breathe fire but that doesn’t make it any less impressive, and a bit dangerous for that matter. This glorious predator has sharp teeth, forked tongue and venom that can be lethal and can only be found in this area. This alone makes it worth to visit, but that’s not all. The Komodo park landscape has a beauty of its own. The National park includes three major islands, Komodo, Rinca and Padar, and is dotted with smaller islands, all volcanic in origin, rocky and hilly, with both forest and savanna plains.

It is possible to visit Komodo and Rinca islands to take a tour of the National Park areas to spot the dragons while accompanied by a guide. And, don’t worry, the dragons are easy to spot from afar, and your guides will keep you safe.

To visit the park and its peculiar inhabitants, you can book a tour from Labuan Bajo on a wooden boat or speedboat. Depending on the type of boat, the trip will take between 4 to 1h30 and leaves early in the morning.

  • A boat ride costs about 500,000 rupiahs (~ PHP 1821) per person. The entrance fee to the National Park is around 270,000 rupiah (~PHP 984 ).
  • Website: Komodo National Park

2. Padar Island

 

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One of the main spots for sightseeing is Padar Island, smacked between Komodo and Rinca. This island offers some of the most spectacular views of Komodo National Park and its beaches. Get ready to hike up a hill to enjoy a sunset view that you won’t forget. This is a moderate 40 mins hike so bring along comfortable shoewear.

3. Pink Beach in Komodo

 

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This small piece of land and crystal clear waters became known for the pink hue of its sands. The colour comes from the Foraminifera in the corals that can be found near the shore. If you need some respite from trekking the park, this is an excellent spot to relax for an hour or two under the trees.

Note: Be conscious while snorkelling in the area and avoid damaging the corals by touching or stepping on them. Remember, without corals, there is no pink sand.

4. Diving near Labuan Bajo

 

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The beauty of this place is also found underwater. The seas around Flores and Komodo harbour an abundant marine life with reef sharks, all types of friendly fishes and turtles. There are quite a few diving spots in the area and even more companies offering diving tours so it won’t be hard to find an opportunity to explore the sea.

One of the top stops for diving is Crystal Rock on the north of Komodo. Divemasters advise caution on this spot due to its often strong current, but the sea life here makes it worth a visit.

A more popular spot for beginners is Batu Bolong for its profusion of coral, fishes and turtles. Be ready to share this area with other divers and snorkelers during peak season.

5. Swim with Manta Rays

 

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Manta Point or “Karang Makassar”, located south of Komodo, is where impressive manta rays come to seek food and get cleaned by the tiny fishes in the reefs. This is a right place for a drift dive because of the currents, and manta rays are seen here all year round. As always, make use of your common sense and dive sensibly without disturbing these fascinating creatures.

6. Snorkelling in islands

 

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If you are not a diver, don’t stress. You can still experience the rich marine environment of this area while you snorkel. There are plenty of shallow spots to explore the small bays, coral reefs and seabeds full of life and colour. If you can’t visit them all in one trip start with Kanawa island or Pulau Kalong.

7. Things to see and do in Flores Island

After you had enough of roaming the sea on a boat, venture beyond Labuan Bajo and go inland. Flores is vast and holds spectacular landscapes of its own: you will find waterfalls, caves and viewpoints to explore and photograph. Here are a few famous spots:

 

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Cunca Rami Waterfall

This stunning waterfall is located at Golo Ndaring, 90 minutes drive away from Labuan Bajo. You can visit it any day between 7 am and 4 pm.

Bukit Cinta

Bukit Cinta is a viewpoint famous among locals. Its name means “Hill of Love”. Get an ojek ride to the top and don’t forget to take your camera with you.

Batu Cermin Cave and Rangko Cave

Batu Cermin is known for its “mirror rock”. The cave is a limestone formation that reflects the light in an exquisite way. For a complete experience, visit it between 9 to 10 am when the sun rays hit the limestone.

Goa Rangko is a rocky ocean cave located east of Labuan Bajo. Here you can cliff jump and swim in the salty waters in the cave. Visit around noon when the sun shines through and makes the waters seem impossibly turquoise.

The traditional life of the Kampung

 

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Immerse yourself in the culture of the island by visiting a traditional village. In the most isolated ones, ancestral traditions and symbols of status are kept alive and cherished.

Wae Rebo is one of the old Manggaraian village surrounded by mountains and is a testimony to the island ancient history. Wae Rebo is far off from Labuan so you if you don’t have the opportunity to visit it opt for Melo Village (Kampung Melo) instead.

Melo is only 17km away from Labuan Bajo, the 40 minutes journey can be covered via a rented motorbike. In Melo, you will have the chance to witness a series of local activities and Caci art performances meant to keep the traditional culture alive. You will definitely admire the traditional dances and wooden bungalows.

Where to stay in and around Labuan Bajo

You will need a place to rest your weary bones after so much adventure and sightseeing. Labuan Bajo is a good and central base point with places to stay and eateries catered for every taste.

As far as accommodation goes, Labuan Bajo offers good options for all wallets. The resorts by the beach are stunning, and the service is top notch. See some of our hotel and resort suggestions from Booking.com:

1. Plantaran Komodo Beach Resort

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Image credit: Booking.com
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Image credit: Booking.com

Plantaran Resort is indeed a special place to stay and you have the opportunity to win a free stay here with ShopFest Ultimate Experience. Check how here.

Near the Waecicu Beach and just 20 mins away from the airport, Plantaran resort woos us with its swimming pool with a sea view and beachfront villas. After a full day of discovery, you will feel rewarded once you come back to the resort to relax and watch the sunset while you enjoy a cold drink at the restaurant.

  • Plantaran Komodo Beach Resort 

2. Komodo Resort

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Image credit: Booking.com
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Image credit: Booking.com

The Komodo Resort is not located in Labuan Bajo, but it is one of the favourites in the area. The resort is idyllically situated in Sebayur Island, an hour boat away from Labuan Bajo. Its bungalows are absolutely amazing with their beachfront views and traditional thatched roofs. Komodo National Park and all the other main attractions are only a short boat ride away, but after you see the place, you might be tempted to stay put, lounging by the resort’s seafront.

  • Komodo Resort

3. Komodo Lodge

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Image credit: Booking.com

Conveniently located at a short walking distance from Labuan Bajo harbour, Komodo Lodge is popular among visitors for its welcoming service and good value. This is a good choice to stay for exploring Labuan Bajo town and its eateries. The main road with restaurants is just 3 minutes away from this property.

  • Komodo Lodge

4. Wae Molas Hotel

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Image credit: Booking.com

Wae Molas is a cosy hotel with a lovely outdoor swimming pool, smacked in the centre of Labuan Bajo. The rooms offer the necessary comfort, and the staff is welcoming, making it a perfect little haven for your holiday.

  • Wae Molas Hotel

5. Puri Sari Beach Hotel

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Image credit: Booking.com

Puri Sari Hotel provides a pleasant ambience for couples. The swimming pool and the surrounding gardens give it a comfortable and private feel. The beach is only a stone’s throw away, and if you wish to visit the town, the resort provides a shuttle to take you.

  • Puri Sari Beach Hotel

6. Flores Xpirate Dive Camp

Flores Xpirates Dive Camp
Image credit: Booking.com

Flores Xpirate Dive Camp, also in Sebayur Island, has a more laidback vibe and offers a stunning view of the sea and wide blue skies. If you wish to stargaze and then wake up with the sunrise, this is the place for you. Pick one of the new white bungalows on the hill and you won’t run out of “Instagram” opportunities.

  • Flores Xpirate Dive Camp

Travel tips for a visit to Flores and Komodo islands

Essential Tips

Pack sunblock. You will need it while you trek and snorkel.

Wear light, breathable clothing and carry comfortable shoes.

When visiting the Komodo dragons, follow the directions of your guide and do not wander off alone.

If you plan to dive, research and contact diving operators in advance so you can better prepare your days.

On Flores island, consider renting a motorbike for short distances or hire a private driver if you plan to travel further on the island.


This is a sneak peak of all you can experience in Labuan Bajo. Come to see for yourself and discover much more.

Ready to put Labuan Bajo in your travel bucket list for 2019? The budget shouldn’t be an issue because you can actually earn a chance to visit it for free. How can you go without having to spend a penny? With Shopfest Ultimate Experience, of course!

Feature Image Credit: Charlie Marchant on Flickr