Labuan Bajo, Indonesia

Tailor-made Travel

This friendly little fishing town has become a honeypot for visitors. Why? Because sitting on the western shores of Flores, Labuan Bajo offers phenomenal sunsets, world-class diving opportunities, and – not least – is the gateway to the glorious Komodo National Park, home of the eponymous dragons. Well-connected by air and road, with an increasingly sleek range of accommodation options and restaurants, Labuan Bajo is an easy delight for the visitor.

The best travel tips for visiting Labuan Bajo

Visitor numbers to Komodo National Park have increased exponentially in the last decade. This is largely down to the major upgrading of Labuan Bajo’s airport, which now has regular flights from Jakarta and other major Indonesian cities.

As a consequence, the national park has come under enormous pressure. Suggestions of prohibitively expensive entry fees to reduce visitor numbers or even a temporary shutdown of the entire park has been made, so it’s important to check the current situation before travelling.

Need some help? Maybe our Indonesian local experts can help you out!

Padar Island, Indonesia © Shutterstock

Best things to do in Labuan Bajo

It is no exaggeration to say that nearly all who flock to Labuan Bajo do so for Komodo National Park. Yet the town itself is becoming more alluring by the season; if it’s luxury with a view you’re after, then there’s plenty to be had.

#1 Explore Komodo National Park

Komodo National Park is reached only by sea. From Labuan Bajo, it takes around three hours. The route is delightfully scenic, and there are many day tours available. Day trips leave very early (before 6am) and return around sunset. There is also the option of staying on a dive boat, or, for short and sharp, zipping around on a speedboat tour.

As well as an entrance fee (which more than doubles on a Sunday and public holidays), foreigners visiting Komodo National Park must pay additional tourist tax for each of the main islands and a separate entrance fee for Padar Island.

#2 Soak up those sunsets in style

Labuan Bajo is home to some of the most breathtaking sunset views in Indonesia, with a wide range of scenic spots to choose from. One of the most popular sunset spots in the area is Paradise Bar, which offers stunning views of the sea and the surrounding islands.

Another great option is Treetop Restaurant, which is situated on a hilltop overlooking the town and offers a panoramic view of the sunset. For a more secluded experience, head to the quiet beach of Waecicu, where you can watch the sun set over the horizon in peace.

And if you're up for a bit of a hike, head to Bukit Cinta, where you'll be rewarded with a stunning view of the town and the surrounding hills at sunset.

#3 Escape the heat via subterranean ancient rock formations

Batu Cermin (Mirror Rock) is a series of caves and canyons about 5km (3 miles) from Labuan Bajo by car, and from there on foot. A large grotto contains stalactites and stalagmites.

As you explore the Batu Cermin caves and canyons, you'll be amazed by the intricate formations of stalactites and stalagmites that have been created over thousands of years. The large grotto in particular is a must-see, as it offers a truly stunning display of natural beauty that is both awe-inspiring and humbling.

In addition to the caves themselves, the surrounding area is also worth exploring, with plenty of scenic hiking trails and breathtaking vistas to discover.

#4 Hire a scooter

Labuan Bajo is a wonderful place to explore on a scooter when the sun is blazing, as you can feel the breeze in your hair and soak up the beautiful scenery around you while staying cool. Additionally, renting a scooter provides you with the freedom to venture further afield and discover hidden gems that may be off the beaten path.

With plenty of rental options available, you can easily find a scooter that fits your needs and budget, making for a truly unforgettable adventure in Labuan Bajo and its surroundings. Just be sure to wear a helmet and practice safe driving habits while you're out on the road!

#5 Chillax at a spa

After a long day of exploring the beautiful sights and sounds of Labuan Bajo, there's no better way to unwind and recharge than by indulging in a luxurious spa experience. There are several spas in the area that offer a wide range of treatments and services, from traditional massages to facials, body wraps, and more.

One of the most popular spas in the area is the Ayana Komodo Resort Spa, which offers a range of treatments that incorporate local ingredients and traditional techniques to help you relax and rejuvenate. Another great option is the Plataran Spa, which is situated in a tranquil garden setting and offers a range of treatments designed to soothe the mind and body.

Another popular haven is Wae Molas Salon & Spa.

#6 Go diving

Most people come here to dive. The waters and islands around Flores are one of the best dive spots in Indonesia. One of the most popular dive sites in the area is Komodo National Park, which is home to an incredible variety of marine life, including manta rays, reef sharks, turtles, and more.

There are several dive centers in Labuan Bajo that offer a range of dive trips and courses for divers of all levels, from beginners to experienced professionals. Some of the most popular dive centers include:

  • Blue Marlin Dive
  • Dive Komodo,
  • Komodo Dive Center.

Best areas to stay in Labuan Bajo

Even considering the increasingly large number of places to lay your head, things get exceedingly busy in July and August and it’s advisable to book in advance.

Town Centre

Most accommodation is centred on the town, and, as a general rule, the closer you are to the waterfront, the higher the price of your room.

Island resorts

For a truly mometous and secluded stay, head to resorts on nearby islands such as Seraya or Kanawa.

Check the best accommodation in Labuan Bajo.

Best restaurants and bars in Labuan Bajo

Labuan Bajo is not short on places to feast and frolic. As well as an array of typical Padang eateries, especially heading south of Jl Soekarno Hatta, the Western food influence is pronounced. Whatever the style, seafood options in this fishing town are unsurprisingly excellent.

Here are the best places to eat in Labuan Bajo:

  • The Nighttime Fish Market (Pasar Malam) The nightly fish market is the place to go for fresh seafood. Sunset sees the stalls set up, and a vast selection of just-caught goodies put on display. Once you’ve selected your item, then request how you’d like it prepared, from grilled with BBQ or lemony sauce or cooked as a curry.
  • Bajo Taco Tacos, cold beer and spectacular sea views. What’s not to love?
  • La Cucina Italian food in all its cosy, colourful homemade glory. Expect traditional recipes, cheery staff, freshly made pasta, and generous pizzas.
  • Copper Bonnet Bistro and Bar European and Asian fusion menu, with cocktails and a convivial vibe.

Komodo dragon © Shutterstock

How to get around Labuan Bajo

It’s easy to walk to most places in Labuan Bajo. For those keen to avoid the heat there are wheeled options. These are the best ways to get around Labuan Bajo.

By scooter

Zip around town on a scooter and avoid the heat. There are plenty of rentals.

By bemos

Bemos (mini buses) do continual circuits of the center.

How many days do you need in Labuan Bajo?

The number of days you need in Labuan Bajo really depends on your travel goals and interests. If you're looking to explore the town itself and take in some of the local culture, a day or two may be enough. However, if you're interested in diving, hiking, or exploring the surrounding islands and national parks, you may want to stay for several days or even a week.

Many travelers find that spending three to four days in Labuan Bajo allows them to experience the highlights of the area without feeling rushed, while others choose to stay for longer to fully immerse themselves in the local culture and natural beauty of the region.

Ultimately, the length of your stay will depend on your personal preferences and travel plans. Need a hand planning? Contact our local experts!

Batu Cermin in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia © Shutterstock

Best time to visit Labuan Bajo

The best times to visit Labuan Bajo are April and May or September and October as visitors should get good, all-around weather conditions. November has the most hours of sunlight. Avoid the wet season (January and February) if you can. Those wanting to swerve the crowds should visit in July and August.

Find out more about the best time to visit Indonesia.

How to get to Labuan Bajo

As the gateway to Komodo National Park, it’s easy to get to Labuan Bajo.

By plane

The recently expanded Komodo Airport on the edge of Labuan Bajo has flights coming in from the likes of Denpasar, Jakarta and Kupang as well as Bali. Flights can be in high demand; book well in advance.

By bus

Labaun Bajo is well-connected by bus. Travel from the likes of Denpasar, Mataram and Tangerang. Bus tickets tend to be booked through hotels or specific agencies.

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