Coming from Boawae it is 30 kilometers (1 hour) 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. There is a colourful local market, a few nice tourist restaurants and full of guides and drivers. If you need one they probably will find you first.
Bajawa has some hotels with sometimes steep prices. 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 Camelia, Dito's Resto, Emtry Cafe, Lucas Restaurant or Milonari.
While you have your dinner you often can enjoy live music in Dito's Resto, 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. Also a few wanna be Eric Claptons amongst them.
Emtry has a marvelous female jazz singer and Dito's a wonderful soul singer, called Aldo who is
in the run for The Voice Indonesia. The battles are expected in February 2019. Aldo Voice Indonesia singing Langit abu abu
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!
Typical for Indonesia is drying laundry in the sun but as it isn't that hot in Bajawa and often a lot of rain this means you have to wait for 2 days to pick your laundry again. Most tourists do not have that time. The good news is that Bajawa has a few express service laundries and one of them these days is using a drier.
Sun Flower Laundry, on Jalan Basuki Rahmad has a 4 hour service and can drop your laundry even at your hotel. Rp 25.000/kg
Another one is Bintang Laundry on Jalan Ahmad Yani. If your bring your laundry in the morning it can be picked up in the late afternoon. Rp 20.000/kg
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, quick and cheap 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.
Bus within town
Bemo/angkot Rp 5000
Car with driver
Plenty available in the tourist area near hotel Korina, Lucas Restaurant. Or, contact me if you need one.
Ojek (motorcycle taxi)
Rp 5000 to Rp 10.000 for a ride. Keep in mind that after 9 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).
Virgo Travel is a travel company in Bajawa. Travels run to Ende, Labuan Bajo and Ruteng. Costs Rp 100.000 - Rp 150.000. Or you can contact Gunung Mas.
Every Friday at 7 am there is a ferry from Aimere (1 hour from Bajawa) to Waingapu (Sumba). 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 the capital are more fine (and sometimes less touristy) traditional villages.
Bena is the most famous and visited one. Tololela only a few kilometres further is
worthwhile a visit as well. On 13th August 2018 a fire destroyed most of
the pretty village of Gurusina. Other interesting villages and less visited are Bela, Langa and Luba. One of the beauties
amongst the traditional villages is Belaraghi, which can be reached from Bajawa (trekking with
guide) or from Aimere by car (7 kilometers, 30 minutes from the
Starting at the end of the year the villages celebrate the New Year, called Reba. In Bena this will be on 27th December, in the surrounding villages the beginning of January, Langa 15the january and the villages northe of Bajawa the second half of january and February. Check the exact dates in Bajawa.
Gunung Inerie dominates the area an there are organised trekkings of 2 days/1 night (ask for William Doi or Ryan in Bajawa). A few kilometres before the turn off to
Bajawa (coming from Ende) there is a small road which leads through the forest (motorcycle) to the top of Wolobobo where you can enjoy fine views of Gunung
Inerie. Malanage Hotspring is near Bena village. North west from Bajawa, via Boloji you can reach the hill with a Mother Maria statue.
Wawo Muda is a kind of mini Kelimutu, one hour from Bajawa.
In Soa you will find the Mengeruda hot
spring and Ogi waterfall (entrance fee Rp 20.000) is worth a visit also. If you have the time take the road in north east direction for
beautiful views and landscapes.
Riung is 3 to 3,5 hours on the north coast from Bajawa. Its is actually not so far but as the road
is in bad shape (October 2018) it takes time. 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 about the same
time and the road leads through various landscapes and is far less bumpy than the direct road Bajawa to Riung. 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 also "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 start at Rp 700.000
but in high season prices will go up to 1 million. Bookings via your hotel or guesthouse will be always more expensive but usually also with guide and barbecue on one of the islands and you
really get value for money.
As an alternative you also can stay in Mbay, Nagekeo which is an hour from Riung and hire a boat from a fisherman and his son who lives between Mbay and Riung but few English is spoken. If you want to do so you will have a wonderful day with the fisherman and maybe the rest of the family (wife, son, daughter in law and the grandchildren) if you do the trip on Sunday. They will cook for you and take you to the swallow waters along the northcoast. For more information please contact me.
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. 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