Flores and Komodo should be on everyone’s itinerary when it comes to traveling in Indonesia. Backpacking Flores is a great way to discover another beautiful Indonesian island and it’s the perfect excuse to visit Komodo National Park while you’re around the area.
When I booked my flights to Laban Bajo, I had no idea how huge Flores was. I booked my accommodation without thinking which was a huge mistake as I was now stuck in one area. To give you an idea, you can’t really drive all the way to Ruteng in one day trip (well, you could but it might be exhausting), and Ruteng isn’t that far from Labuan Bajo. That being said, I had to limit my Flores trip to Labuan Bajo and Komodo – so here are a few recommendations to help you plan your Flores itinerary.
Fun Things to Do in Labuan Bajo
Labuan Bajo is a small fishing town where everyone is super friendly. Also known as the starting point for Komodo tours, Labuan Bajo has to be on your Flores backpacking itinerary.
Rent a Scooter in Labuan Bajo
Renting a scooter and driving around Labuan Bajo was definitely the best decision. Imagine scenic drives, epic views, running into butterflies as you drive… but more importantly, it gives you more freedom to explore the surroundings.
The states of the roads are great overall, but there are a lot of one-way streets and some of the roads aren’t on Google Maps. If you feel a bit adventurous, take these dirt paths, you will likely find great views along the way.
I personally like the “get lost without GPS” which brought me to small villages where every local would wave at me. You’ll be sharing the road with cows and goats. I also ended up going on a new road where I would stop every few metres to take epic shots.
Sunsets in Labuan Bajo are pretty great. You also have many different spots where you can watch the sunset from. Here are a few recommendations:
- The Harbour
- Hills in Bukit Amelia Sea
- Paradise Bar
- Le Pirate
- Bajo Taco
Visit Komodo National Park
Labuan Bajo is normally the starting point for your Komodo boat tour. It’s one of the major reason why you’re going to end up in Flores, so you must pick a tour to see the famous Komodo dragons and the manta rays. Of course, there are also great hiking opportunities, especially in Padar Island.
I personally visited Komodo National Park with Flores XP, which I highly recommend.
Explore the Surroundings and Go on a Day Trip
If you’re smarter than me, you won’t book your accommodation before planning your Flores itinerary. That means you could easily check out the rest of Flores including places like Ruteng, Ende or Maumere. If you’re running out of time, then I get it, you might want to limit yourself to Labuan Bajo, Ruteng and Komodo.
That being said, here are a few day trips from Labuan Bajo you could consider:
- Todo Village
- Batu Cermin Cave
- Rangko Cave
- Cunca Rami Waterfall
Labuan Bajo on a Budget
Booking your flights to Flores from Bali isn’t the cheapest. You should also expect to spend a lot of money on your trip to Komodo and Flores. As it’s less touristy than Bali and as there’s less competition, Flores is more expensive than Bali.
To give you an idea, let’s talk about money with real-life-examples.
Renting a scooter:
Most shops rent scooters for IDR 75K per day. I managed to find one for IDR 60K per day if I was renting for more than two days. Later on, when I checked in La Boheme Bajohostel, I found out that they rent their scooter for IDR 50K.
Getting a ride to your accommodation from the airport:
As I only had a backpack, I found a motorbike driver who charged IDR 30K. Once we were walking towards the motorbike, then he asked for 50K, which I refused and then it was okay. Then, on my way back to the airport, La Boheme Bajo was organizing transport by van for IDR 35K.
Food, accommodation and Komodo tours:
In terms of food, it’s pretty much the same as Bali.
In terms of accommodation, you have a wide range of prices. The cheapest option found was about $4.
In terms of boat tours to Komodo, that’s where the money disappears quickly. You have to keep in mind that you’re going to have to pay National Park fees as well as rangers fees. Depending if you’re doing a day trip, a 2-day trip or a 3-day trip, you’re going to have to pay more (or less).
Cool Restaurants in Labuan Bajo
most restaurants have great views in Labuan Bajo. My two favorites were Le Pirate and Escape Bajo. Le Pirate is a great option right in the town because of its lovely staff members, the live band and you can admire the sunset from their rooftop (or from their cute pool). Escape Bajo has fabulous views too, good coffee and great food! They also have a cool rooftop.
If you’re after a great dose of caffeine in the morning, check out Cafe In Hit. Their coffee and atmosphere are great!
Here are a few other options to consider:
- Happy Banana
- Molas Cafe
- Bajo Taco
Where to Stay in Labuan Bajo
There are different options when it comes to booking your accommodation in Labuan Bajo.