Another grotty port town

Trip Start Sep 24, 2009
Trip End Apr 30, 2010

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Chez Felix

Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Saturday, October 31, 2009

Onward with our travels to Labuanbajo, our final destination. We figured we would stay here for a night or two, with the primary aim being to organize transport to Lombok, and to see the Komodo dragons.

We were less impressed with Labuanbajo when we arrived. It's another port town with not much on offer other than lots of travel agents offering snorkelling and Komodo trips.

We decided that we didn’t want to do the 2-3 day boat trip to Lombok (via Komodo or Rinca) and instead would fly.  Except there are no flights to Lombok – so we will have to fly to Bali, then take a boat (or fly) back to Lombok.  More doubling back!

The first flight to Bali was in 5 days time.  Yikes – that was at least 3 days longer than we wanted to stay.  We figured the next best thing would be to go to an outer island where we could get away from the hustle of the port, do some snorkelling, and arrange a day trip to Rinca to see the Komodo dragons.

We read up on 1-2 outer islands, and picked Kanawa Island which was supposed to have excellent snorkelling.  We figured that wouldn’t be a bad way to kill 4 days.  So we made sure we had a good supply of reading material – and off we went.
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loeffle on


I kind of planned the same trip as you. From Maumere across Flores and then to Lombok. Before Lombok I thought about using Labuanbajo as base to see the dragons and maybe get some rest. Is it really that bad?

And the plane didn't go despite the schedule?

But travel on Flores in general is ok?

lisa_nz on

Hi... Labuanbaju wasn't a place that I felt that I wanted to hang out it in for very long. There was really nothing interesting about the town - it's essentially a transit town for people that either are heading east towards Maumere, west back to Bali, or heading out to see the dragons. Having said that, other people seem to think it's OK.

I wouldn't plan to spend more than minimum nights here, personally. I think there are other nicer towns between Maumere and Labuanbaju to spend some time in: Moni and Ruteng in particular appealed to me. We found some fairly decent accommodation, the people were really nice and they were both nice places to wander around and meet some locals.

I would also suggest going out to Kanawa Island for a night or two if you are OK with really basic accommodation and food. (No hot water, squat toilets and you had to ask for the water to be turned on when you wanted a shower). But the snorkelling here was amazing, and we had the place to ourselves. 4 nights was a bit long, but we didn't have any choice because of the flight problem.

The problem with flights is that there is only one flight and there aren't that many seats. All flights out were full which is why we had to wait for a few days. (We didn't want to book ahead of time as we weren't sure how long it we would take in Flores. I think our planned flight out was cancelled due to engine problem (by memory) so we had to stay an extra day.

Bus travel is not easy in Flores (compared to other parts of Asia like Thailand and Vietnam). There is a lot of waiting time, the buses are absolutely crammed with people and belongings, and the roads are the windiest roads you can imagine. No good if you get carsick (as many of the locals do). We ended up hiring a driver - quite pricey, it blew the budget a bit, and it shortened the trip by a few days. BUT.... it gave us more flexibilty in terms of stopping along the way, having space in the car, etc.

Pls feel free to send me a message (use link near the top, near my picture) if you want more information. Happy to help out with ideas, suggestions, costs and info!

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