From Boawae it is 40 kilometers (75 minutes) to the capital (ibu kota) Bajawa, a small and pleasant town sitting at an elevation of 1300 meters comfortably cool and in a scenic environment surrounded by mountains and bamboo forests. There is a colourful local market on the outskirts of the town, a few nice tourist restaurants and full of guides. If you need one they probably will find you first.
Bajawa has a few dozen hotels. In the summer months June to September it can be a problem to find a room. Check first before leaving. Also check this section
EAT & DRINK
Outside the local stuff there are some real restaurants on the mainstreet in Bajawa. Try a dish in Maibeth, Anugerah, Dito's Resto, Emtry Cafe, Lucas Restaurant or Milonari but on a Saturday night you should visit the lively Taman Kartini.
While you have your dinner you often can enjoy live music in Dito's Resto, Maybeth, Milonari or Emtry Cafe. Ask for your favourite song and don't forget to ask for a local one. The repertoire is a mix of English evergreens, Spanish, Indonesian, Ambon and local songs. Some of the singers are awesome, like Ryan a singer songwriter. Also a few wanna be Eric - Morgan - Claptons amongst them. And if you are lucky you can meet Aldo who has won The Voice Indonesia in 2019.
Local people often spend the evening together with tourists bringing their own local drink.
A local recipe of an arrack cocktail:
- moke (arrack)
- lemon juice
- basil leaves (kemangi)
- salt ...
No ratio, just mix as you prefer. Cheers!
Today in Maybeth they sell local mojito with moke, sprite, lemon and mintleaves which taste more than ok.
For a good cup of quality coffee please visit Lekosori Coffee Shop in the northern part of town. Their coffee is from their own plantation and worth a visit.
Typical for Indonesia is drying laundry in the sun but becaus of the weather in Bajawa often cloudy or rainy this means you have to wait for 2 days to pick up your laundry again. Most
tourists do not have that much time. The good news is that Bajawa has a few decent express service laundry using a dryer.
D Klin Laundry on Jalan Ahmad Yani and near the "touriststrip" is a new place (March 2023) with a 2 hour service and decent prices. For 3 kgs you pay Rp 30.000 (folded) or Rp 45.000 (ironed). Tel. +62 81337491031 (WhatsApp).
Another one is Cleonsels Laundry on Jalan Mengeruda with a quick service as well with a pick up and drop service at your hotel. Tel. +62 81239068603 (WhatsApp).
TRANSPORT see also
There is a direct connection with Kupang (Timor) and Labuan
Bajo. The airport is near Soa and it takes 30 minutes to get there. Cars await you at the airport. The charge is Rp 60.000 per person. For people who are in a hurry, the flight
Bajawa - Labuan Bajo is an interesting and quick one.
BUS LONG DISTANCE
There are buses to Mbay, Ende, Labuan Bajo, Riung and Ruteng. They leave at the junction with the Trans Flores Road a few kilometers out of town. The bus for Moni
leaves at 6:00 am.
BUS WITHIN TOWN
Bemo/angkot Rp 5000
CAR WITH DRIVER
Available in the tourist area on Jalan Ahmad YanI. Your guesthouse or hotel can also help you with that. near hotel Korina, Lucas Restaurant. Or, contact me if you need one. Also check car with driver
OJEK (MOTORCYCLE TAXI)
Rp 5000 to Rp 10.000 for a ride. Keep in mind that after 8 pm it is hard to find an ojek.
This is a kind of shared “taxi” (a big car or minibus which runs from door to door).
Travels run to Ende, Labuan Bajo and Ruteng. Costs Rp 150.000 for each stretch. Or you can contact Gunung Mas. Your hotel can also help you with booking a travel.
Every week on Tuesday and Friday there is a ferry from Aimere (1 hour from Bajawa) to Waingapu (Sumba). Departure 8 am and from Waingapu to Aimere at 22:00. The journey wil take at least 9 hours.
WHAT TO SEE?
Coming from Ende there is a turn off to reach Wogo, a traditional village. South of Bajawa are more fine (and sometimes less touristy) traditional villages. Bena (on UNESCO-waitinglist) is the most famous and visited one. Tololela only a few kilometres further is more peaceful in a wonderful setting and worthwhile a visit. On 13th August 2018 a fire destroyed most of the pretty village of Gurusina. Other interesting villages and less visited are Bela, Langa, Luba, and Maghilewa.
You can hike from Bena to Tololela and on to Gurusina with one of the guides from Bajawa. The hike takes 1 to 1,5 hours and leads through rain- and bamboo forest.
One of the beauties amongst the traditional villages is Belaraghi, which can be reached from Bajawa
(trekking with guide, 7 to 8 hours) or from Aimere by car (7 kilometers, 20 minutes from the mainroad).
Another hike is from Belaraghi to Paukate (not far from Aimere). You are going downhill; the walk will take 1 to 1,5 hours with views on the plateau, mount Inerie and the sea.
Starting at the end of the year the villages celebrate the New Year, called Reba so in December and January.
Gunung Inerie the almost perfectly shaped conical volcano and with an elevation of 2245 meters above sea level dominates the area. There are organised climbs of 8 to 10 hours which start at 2 am at the northern flank of the volcano and you will be back between 10 and 12 am depending on weather and your climbing skills. Please don't go on your own as this can be quite risky as the weather can change quickly. A 2 day trekking is also possible but because of the weather actually the dayclimb is more recommended.
A few kilometres before the turn off to Bajawa (coming from Ende) there is a small road
which leads through the forest to the top of Wolobobo hill where you can enjoy
fine views of Gunung Inerie in front of you or even as far as Aimere on the south coast. Malanage Hotspring (actually hot ánd cold spring) is not
far from Gurusina village. North west of Bajawa, via Boloji you can reach the hill with the Mother Maria statue. When
visiting the area of the traditional villages you must stop at Heavens Door Resto where you can enjoy the great views from the balcony
of the resto while having a coffee or a nice meal. They also sell Dr. Arak, the local drink of Flores.
Wawo Muda is a kind of mini Kelimutu, one hour from Bajawa but in the dry season the lake can be dried up. Watu Nariwowo is located between Langa village and the volcano and a nice trekking.
In Manubharu Mr. "bamboo" Markus is in charge with his bamboo products which have already reached the presidential palace in Jakarta.
Ask your driver or guide to make an appointment for a visit.
The Ngada district produces nice tenun ikat and don't forget to make a stop at a coffee plantantion as this is one of the areas with the famous Flores coffee.
In Soa not far from the airport you will find the Mengeruda hotspring.
Ogi waterfall (entrance fee Rp 20.000) is worth a visit as well. If you have the time take the road in north east direction for beautiful views and landscapes.
The road Soa to Boawae offers nice views on mount Ebulobo and a beautiful landscape. If you have your own wheels and you drive in eastern direction ask your driver to take this route instead of the mainroad.
The road to Riung has been renovated in the last
years and today it is 2 to 2,5 hours driving time from Bajawa. There is an alternative route via Nagekeo. Take the road from Soa to Boawae, (or Bajawa
to Boawae via Trans Flores) then go north to Mbay and west to Riung. This will take 1 hour longer and the road leads through various landscapes. Riung
is a sleepy muslim village with only a few wooden houses on stilts left and it is the base for visiting the Riung National Marine Park 17 islands off the coast of Riung. You can rent a boat to take you around the islands. The setting is beautiful and somehow more peaceful and
laid back than the islands west from Labuan Bajo. Rutong island is one of the favourites, as is "bat" island with thousands of bats hanging in the trees or once they flock in the sky. Still few
tourists here. Boats directly booked at the harbour (Rico Rico) start at Rp 600.000 but in high season prices will go
up to 1 million. Bookings via your hotel or guesthouse will be more expensive but usually includes the entrancefee and barbecue on one of the islands and sometimes with a
guide if needed; you really get value for money.
The entrancefee for foreigners is Rp 100.000 per person.
There is also a possibility for camping on one of the islands, however this has to be arranged the day before. Ask your host at the guesthouse or hotel.
As an alternative you also can stay in Mbay, Nagekeo which is 75 minutes from Riung. Mbay is more lively and has more options to have dinner, there a few supermarkets and a few good hotels. When
choosing for a boat in Riung you also can stay one night in Riung and the other night in Mbay so that you have the chance to see the ricefields north of Mbay and save time the next day.
See also Nagekeo district.
West of Riung, around 20 minutes by car there is a beautiful coastline called Watu Mitong also a wonderful place for sunset. More close to Riung you also can climb Bukit Watuzape for an amazing view both the islands and Watu Mitong.
Since the road between Riung and Reo has been improved you also can travel to Reo via the north coast with beautiful views and landscapes, of coastline, beaches and rivers. If you travel from east to west, best option is to visit Bajawa first, then Riung and then on to Pota and Reo to Ruteng. When traveling from west to east the other way around of course, so first Riung and then Bajawa.
See also stories
In Riung there are some simple hotels and a few eateries.
Following the Trans Flores Highway to the west the next stop is Aimere which is only one hour from Bajawa but
you will need more time as the views are gorgeous and inviting to take pictures with the Gunung Inerie on your left between km 8 and 16. Aimere is also the port for boats to Waingapu on Sumba
(every Friday at 7 am, 9 to 12 hours) and a populair stop for buses or travels coming from Ende or Ruteng. And you may
stop to visit an arrack farm to see the proces of the moke production and buy a small (or large) bottle of moke (arrack). see also
Please always check prices and times before you travel. I do my best to update frequently but these can change without prior notice.
Anne Mieke -AM PHOTONESIA©-