Coming 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. 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 around 10 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 Camelia, Dito's Resto, Emtry Cafe, Lucas Restaurant, Maybeth or Milonari.
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. 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 up your laundry again. Most tourists do not have that much 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 (at the opposite of the junction and near the hotel and restaurant strip) 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. The bus for Moni
leaves at 6:30 am.
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. Also check car with driver
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.
you also can hike from Bena to Tololela with one of the guides from Bajawa. The hike takes about 1,5 hours and goes 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, 30 minutes from the mainroad).
Another hike possibility is from Belaraghi to Paukate (not far from Aimere). You are going downhill; the walk will take 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. In Bena this will be on 27th December, in the surrounding villages the beginning of January, Langa 15th 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 8 hours or a 2 days/1 night trekking. Ask for William Doi, Arnold, Uni 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 too. 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 (July 2019) 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 30 minutes
longer and the road leads through various landscapes but 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 (Rico Rico) 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.
There is also a possibility for Camping on one of the islands of the national park. Ask at your guesthouse or hotel.
As an alternative you also can stay in Mbay, Nagekeo which is 1,5 hours 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.
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