7 Things You Have to Know before Travelling to Labuan Bajo, Flores (Our Version)
November 9, 2018
Now I knew why people who have been to Labuan Bajo will not stop talking about their experience and to post their favourite pictures on their social media.
Well, it actually happens to me.
I just can’t stop to post everything about our honeymoon in Labuan Bajo, Flores. With all those magic islands, sparkling and crystal waters with turquoise and deep blue shades were successfully hypnotized us. The first magic that I barely saw with my own eyes in my own country.
Located in the mainland of Flores island in East Nusa Tenggara province, Labuan Bajo is the main point if you want to do trips to Komodo and surrounding islands, the home of the famous Komodo dragons. Historically, Labuan Bajo was the territory of Portuguese in the 14th till the 15th century and made it as the main transaction region from the Portuguese, as they are very rich with coffee, coconut, cacao and hazelnut.
A lot of things you should know about Labuan Bajo, from its history, how to get there, the village, the culture, their ethnicities, to the Komodo dragons, before you will go to this island. Therefore, in this post, I would like to share some important things you need to know, for those of you who are planning to go on vacation in Labuan Bajo which I am sure you do not want to miss!
1. Check the weather and the ‘right’ season.
I am sure you do not want to go to the beach while the weather is bad, the tide is high and the view looks more grey-ish than green or brownish. It is known that the best months to visit Labuan Bajo is in between June to September, during the summer months. Usually, in October until February or March, they will have a rainy season and the tide is higher than usual. But June – July admitted as the peak season in Labuan Bajo, while August – September which the least crowd.
I guess you prefer to take pictures with those kinds of natural beauty colour like this right?
2. Book your ticket in advance.
This is one of the common important things that advised by other travellers as well. Wherever you want to go on vacation, it will be better if you book your flight ticket in advance. It will save more of your money and you definitely can use it for other expenses.
If you are Indonesian, better to book your flight ticket at the latest, 3 months prior departure and if you are foreigners, try to book 5-7 months in advance. The cost if you depart from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo (round trip) is around IDR 2.000.000/each (EUR 120; USD$ 138). There is some airline company which have a direct flight from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo, from the high class to medium class airlines. But if you depart from Bali to Labuan Bajo (round trip) it cost around IDR 1.850.000/each (EUR 111; USD$ 128).
For your notes, there are only a few Indonesian airline companies who have flight schedules and routes to Labuan Bajo, including Garuda Indonesia, NAM Air, Batik Air, Wings Air, Lion Air and Citilink.
3. Book your trip and accommodation a few months away and avoid weekend trips
There are a lot of travel agencies which have some optional trips that can adjust to your budget. From the fancy one with a phinisi boat to the budget trip ones with the wooden cabin boat. It depends on how many people will join with you on the trip, usually the more the cheaper (yet the merrier). If you will go on a vacation with your family or best friends and wants something luxury, you can go with the phinisi boat ones. But if you will go by backpack, the wooden cabin boat also good.
If you will arrive Labuan Bajo one day before your liveaboard trip start, better to book your one-night accommodation in advance, especially if you will go there on the peak season. There are plenty of choices of the hostel, homestay, hotel room and even, resorts. Most of the hostel and hotel also provide WiFi in their room. The range price for the hostel with a bunk bed per person IDR 70.000/night (EUR 4.50 or USD$ 4.80) – IDR 150.000/night (EUR 9 or USD$ 10.20), while a hotel room price starts from IDR 200.000/night/person (EUR 12 or USD$ 13.60) to IDR 2.000.000/night/person (EUR 120 or USD$ 136) which already luxurious one. Last time, we booked a hotel room in Beta Bajo Hotel for IDR 500.000/night/room incl. breakfast, the service and location are great!
Last but not least, usually the trip package will also include the entrance ticket to go to the Komodo National Park (Rinca, Padar and Komodo islands), but there is also travel agent which does not include the entrance ticket fee into their package. In this case, we definitely will recommend you to avoid weekend trips, moreover if you will go to the Komodo National Park areas. Because the price is even more expensive than the weekdays one.
Which again, its better to avoid and save the money maybe to explore another touristic place in Labuan Bajo right?
4. Choose your local phone provider.
For those people who are working on their social media more often, even during your vacation in Labuan Bajo, to avoid bad connection, maybe because the area is still limited to receive a phone signal, there is no WiFi network, but your ‘job’ requires you to update your vacation every single minute (coz maybe you are a vlogger, travel blogger, celebgram, etc), you have to prepare for the worst worst case, that you have to buy the local phone provider called, Telkomsel. As they have extensive networks and a good internet connection. I used Indosat Ooredoo, but it was not working at all even I was in the road, the hotel and the airport. Well, I was not get paid by mention all of those companies, but it is indeed, based on my personal experience.
5. Hailed the sunscreen.
For people who have a very sensitive skin that easily gets burn from direct sunlight and heat, I highly highly recommend you to bring and use all of your sunscreen product! Even you really want to get tanned, but sunscreen is still the most important because it will protect your skin from the excessive sunlight and reduces the appearance of sun damage.
6. Prepare your cash money!
Although you will find the ATM machine and the money changer easily in the downtown, it is better to prepare cash money in Labuan Bajo. In the hotel and medium-high class restaurant and cafe, they usually provide the EDC machine so you can pay either with your debit and credit card, but if you want to go to souvenir shop or market, buy some street food or small food shop, give some tips for your tour guide, ranger and boat crew, it is better to prepare your cash money.
7. Bring all your ‘travel gear’ with you (hint: camera and smartphone!)
If you kind of person who really loves to take pictures coz you really love photography, a blogger or vlogger or simply just because you only want to keep your memories with you, it is better to bring all your ‘travel gear’ to Labuan Bajo. Be prepared to charge all your camera, from an action camera, DSLR, mirrorless camera and smartphone. Oftentimes, they will have limited electricity and its socket in the boat.
Prepare all of your travel accessories with the waterproof one, as you might want to capture and record your best moments while swimming and diving with the shark, corals and all beautiful clownfishes. Oh, yes bring your drone to see and capture Labuan Bajo from above, if you have it too.
Trust me, every corner of Labuan Bajo and its surrounding islands is so pretty and very Instagrammable that you don’t want to miss it!
The rest, you can thank me later and be ready with the real adventure 😉