Labuan Bajo is the capital (ibu kota) of the most visited district of Flores. In the last decade Labuan Bajo has expanded from a small, a little bit touristy town into a booming place a la Bali. Most visitors who come to Flores, unfortunately, only come here mainly for diving and snorkeling and to see the komodo dragons on Komodo or Rinca island. Sometimes only for a few days, so they miss the beauty of the interior of Manggarai Barat, and further beyond. Don't get me wrong, the scenery off the westcoast of Labuan Bajo including Komodo, Rinca and Padar is downright a fairytale to go around. Breathtaking, amazing, superb to use some superlatives. But.... Flores deserves more than Labuan Bajo and Komodo National Park only.

Said that Labuan Bajo itself is not really nice but the surroundings, the views (also from 20 kilometers east of town) and the sunsets are gorgeous.

The town, especially the seaside stretch, is full of shops, eateries and agents who intend to take you to the national park.



If I have to mention one attraction in Labuan Bajo it is the sunset. Paradise Bar, only a few hundred meters uphill is a perfect place to sit down, have an icecold beer or maybe a mixed moke and wait for the moment when the sky turns into amazing colors.... Click, click, click..... be prepared with a full battery and a memorycard with enough space. Paradise Bar also serves cocktails and cashwenut wine. In the towncentre Puncak Waringin is also a nice viewpoint, not only for sunset.

Another place to see the sunset is on Pede beach, south of town. Park yourself in the public area or walk up a little north to find the perfect coconut tree or boat for the perfect close up.


Within 15 years Labuan Bajo has changed from a small messy town into a booming the place to be. After Sail Komodo in 2014 projects doubled every couple of months with the peak a few years ago. The waterfront has changed into a mediterranean scene, well at least a wanna be. The huge (and ugly) Meruorah hotel has been built for the rich and famous and soon a Marriot will be opened north of town. A huge amount of eateries, agents every 50 meters. Does this sound like Legian, Kuta or Seminyak?  Yes, indeed. I don't have any numbers ready but as far as I can see I think  Labuan Bajo receives at least 95% of all tourist both national and international.

I was in Labuan Bajo last April (2023) and I was shocked by the crowds and the traffic jams on the mainroad, the fully booked hotels. And summer wasn't arrived yet.
New roads have been built to the north and to the south to Golomori, the latter probably because of the ASEAN Summit of 2023. 


Labuan Bajo alone hosts the most hotels of the island. Including the penginapan there are maybe more than a few hundred (comparing to 20 years ago when there were only a hand full). Some are in the centre but many hotels had to find a place south of town at Pede Beach or north at Wae Cicu. As the lower part of Labuan Bajo is fully full, hotel owners now find their patch more inland.

Only a part you can find on bookingsites. In summer prebookings are advised. First book your hotel, then your flight.

See also


You won't get hungry in Labuan Bajo as it is the only town on Flores where you can find other than Indonesian food. The fancy restaurants in Labuan Bajo are for some reason often Italian. A good one is La Cucina. The last one has become so popular that they had to extpand their restaurant, unfortunately because of that there the view on Labuan Bajo bay is blocked now. But the food is very ok. Labuan Bajo also has two branches of Bangkalan restaurant (also two in Ende and one in Bajawa). There is one on Jalan Soekarno Hatta and one near the airport. Try their "soto sate", goatmeat- or chickensoup with sate. Senja Eatery serves local Manggarai food.

On Pasar Kuliner in Ujung the north of town you can choose your own fish and other seafood to be grilled. The stretch of a few hundred meters along the seaside is full with food and tables. In the meantime the area and the foodmarket has been renovated and seemed back in operation again on the original spot along the seaside, however in November 2022 I didn't notice any activity and the foodmarket seemed to be moved again.
Flores has it's own typical food described in the link below, however in Indonesian. 



Siloam Hospital (a hospital chain in Indonesia) is the best you can get in Labuan Bajo. The hospital is located near the town centre on jalan Gabriel Gampur.

They also have an oxygen chamber when suffering DCS (decompression sickness) after diving.

Website: Siloam Hospital Labuan Bajo


Tel. 0385-2381900 (landline).

You also can make appointments via WhatsApp tel +62 811 3838323

Emergency call: 1 500 911



Labuan Bajo has also the most and biggest supermarkets of the island. Zasgo is the most fancy one (near L Bajo hotel) including a bakery and a licor shop. Roxy and Denny's have several branches in Labuan Bajo. Also Bintang Timur on Jalan Soekarno Hatta is a decent supermarket plus a lot of smaller ones. Roxy has the best collection of spirits and wine (including chianti and prosecco). There are also a few winehops on the mainroad along the seaside and near L Bajo hotel.



In Labuan Bajo are many laundries but also many of them in the tourist scene, thus higher prices. The one I prefer is Lotus Laundry, Jalan Raya Sernaru. 

Tel +62 81246798844. E-mail

They have three kinds of services.

  • A two day normal service (today you bring the laundry, tomorrow afternoon you can pick it up) for Rp 10.000/kg.
  • An expres service (kilat) for Rp 15.000/kg, bring early morning, pick up late afternoon
  • A 3 hours service for Rp 25.000/kg

They will sent an sms or app as soon your laundry can be picked up.

Another good one is Pelangi Laundry on Jalan Pasar Baru, tel +62811640670, one day serive for Rp 15.000 per kg

TRANSPORT sea also




Connection with Denpasar (Bali), Bajawa, Ende and Kupang (Timor). The flight Labuan Bajo - Denpasar goes via Komodo island on your left and the north of Sumbawa. If your are lucky you can see the Tambora volcano on Sumbawa. Ask for a windowseat on your left for Labuan Bajo - Denpasar or on your right for Denpasar - Labuan Bajo. The nicest views of Komodo are in the morning.


The funky new airport (with a lot of glass and a wavy shape which doesn't fit in the environment) has replaced the old terminal a few years ago and is close to the towncentre. Cars and ojek (motorcycle) await you at the airport. The rate into town is Rp 60.000. Many hotels provide a shuttleservice to/from the airport/town



There are buses to Bajawa and Ruteng with Gemini around 8 am. Usually buses stop halfway for some 20 minutes.



Bemo/angkot Rp 5000 - Rp 20.000



There is a lot of choice in Labuan Bajo, via hotels, ath the airport or just on the street where drivers sometimes calling you "transport, transport" Also check car with driver



Rp 5000 to Rp 10.000 for a ride which should be the standard rate.


Ojekdrivers in Labuan Bajo are likely to overask tourists with ridiculous prices for a 5 minute ride only. Know the rates! To take you to Paradise Bar for example or Pede Beach Rp 10.000 should be (more than) enough. Do not pay prices like Rp 50.000 as you may make it difficult for other travelers in the future.



This is a kind of shared “taxi” (a big car or minibus which runs from door to door). They run the same routes as buses. Costs Rp 100.000 - Rp 150.000. Ask for Gunung Mas.



ASDP ferry to Sape on Sumbawa. At the moment there is only one crossing a day which should leave around 8 am but often rescheduled. Duration 6 to 8 hours, sometimes much faster or slower. Keep in mind that the sea can be rough between Flores and Sumbawa, particularly in the rainy season.
i boats sail to Makassar and Bima.
Websites of boatcompanies are a disaster. Best is to find info via Facebook but there are often more pages so sometimes hard to find out which one to use.
ASDP on Facebook
i Lab
uan Bajo on Facebook
ips Labuan Bajo

See also stories ("This could be heaven of this could be hell")



Batu cermin

This cave is a few kilometers north of the centre of Labuan Bajo. You can hire a guide, helmet and a torch at the entrance. Inside it can be very cold inside so it is wise to take a sweater.

Komodo National Park: komodo dragons & diving
UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991


This protected area covers a huge part between Flores and Sumbawa. The National Park is famous for the komodo dragons, which is a prehistorical animal, it can become 3 meters long..... Komodo dragons can be seen on the islands Komodo and Rinca. Keep in my mind that the islands are not a zoo. You will see the dragons in their natural habitat. At the entrance you can hire a ranger which is usually a local resident. Don't even think about to wander around without one! Although accidents not happen that often, remember that the dragons are carnivores. So listen to your guide! Besides the islands Komodo and Rinca there are dragons on other smaller, unhabited islands like Padar islands, Gili Motang and Gili Dasami, however exact information is still a bit unsure. Except in Komodo National Park there is also a somewhat smaller specie of komodo living in the north of Flores in the area of Pota.

The islands of the National Park are dry with little rainfall. Depending on the time of the year the mountains are yellow, green or brown. Some people find Rinca more appealing than Komodo island as there is more variety in landscape and animals.

For the most superb view: leave early morning from the harbour in Labuan Bajo, between 5.30 and 6.00 am. Enjoy the sunrise on your left side while heading for Padar island. Climb the hill and you have an overview of Padar itself and Komodo island.


Many people choose for Komodo National Park as a diving destination. In town there are many agents to arrange diving- and snorkelingtrips for you. A good source to read about diving is Flores. Diving Around Komodo (2011) ISBN 978-3-9523834-1-4

This is a diving special with detailed descriptions of divingspots between Labuan Bajo and Sumbawa.

The website of the M
inistry of Environment and Forestry provides good info about Komodo National Park.

Map of Komodo National Park

Pink Beach

Check also on Wiki for Komodo National Park and komodo dragon

If you want to visit the islands you have to pay an entrance fee

Pink Beach usually refers to the pink beach on Komodo island, however there are more pink beaches in Komodo NP.


Boat trips to Komodo National Park

In Labuan Bajo there are numerous boattrips available. From one day trips with a simple boat up to multi daytrips on luxury penisi's.
One of the most popular daytrips is Padar-Komodo-Pink Beach-Manta Point. But also combinations wit Rinca, Kelor and Menjerite island.


With the increasing tourism in the last decade prices have gone up but even more since the pandemic and the increase of fuel prices in September 2022.


For the cheapest trip Padar-Komodo-Pink Beach-Manta Point, expect to pay at least 800k per person on seat-in base for a slow boat or 1,4million for a speedboat which means one you will share with other travelers.
Usually this includes shuttle service hotel-harbour vv, lunch and water and snorklingset. The trip starts at 6.00 am and you will be back in Labuan Bajo around 17:00 pm. The trip to Rinca, Menjerite and Kelor is about the same price but may leave a bit later and for some reason these days not easy to find.

But there are many other boats and trips in shapes and sizes private or shared. Differences in price and quality can be huge. This can be anything between 2,5 and 40 million.

Prices depend on the luxury of the boat; well often, as this isn't always that clear. You also can join a 2, 3 or 4 day trip on seat-in base.
Transparancy and good information is sometimes a challenge.

However, price is one thing but what is much more important is


The sea between Flores and Sumbawa, eg Komodo National Park is unpredictable, can be very rough and is prone to whirlpools and currents, in particular near the islands Padar and Komodo. In combination with strong winds and heavy rain this can become a critical situation. A seaworthy boat and a captain who knows the area very well is a must plus many other things. Too much risk is often taken and even sometimes illegal sailing (=without a permit from the harbour master).
To come to the point: Labuan Bajo hasn't a good reputation when it comes to safety on water (actually the whole country hasn't).
Despite stricter measures in the last few years it seems they are unable they get this under control. In concrete terms: there are too many incidents, too many accidents, the most recent two last January 2023 and one 
in May 2023.

Horror stories? Is this to frighten you? Absolutely not but actually to protect you and be critical.

Boats for Komodo NP get a lot of attention on social media but this is usually about prices and facilities, seldom about safety.
Komodo National Park is a wonderful place, one of the most beautiful  areas of Indonesia.
However booking of a boattrip can be a challenge as business is often not transparant regarding prices, information about the boat and safety.
So again:


Check all details before taking off.

BASARNAS > since 2017 BNPP (Badan Nasional Pencarian dan Pertolongan)

in English and short SAR (Search & Rescue) 
Emergency call 115


  • check weather the day before (remember the currents and whirlpools!)
  • shop around to compare boats and prices
  • ask what is included and what isn't
  • check safety =
    -at least 2 engines for smaller boats
    -registration and configuration of the boat
    -registration of the agent
    -permit from the officials to leave the harbour
    -radio on board
    -crew of at least 3 people or more who speak English

Be careful with

  • booking via the internet (good communication and transparancy is the key)
  • descriptions anpictures (as often these are not as claimed)


See also stories "this could be heaven or this could be hell"


Useful links

Tourism Authority Labuan Bajo
boat registrations Labuan Bajo

agent registrations Labuan Bajo

Boat trips from Lombok to Labuan Bajo

Before the pandemic boattrips from Lombok to Labuan Bajo including visiting Komodo National Park were very popular. 
In March 2020 all of the companies suspended these trips and since the summer of 2022 they have been operational again. However not yet all of them.
These trips are usually 4 days/3 nights. Bear in mind that 4 days can be a long time regarding weather forecast!
Actually this is the same story as with trips from Labuan Bajo when it comes to safety.
There have been accidents reported with the most tragic one in August 2014 when a touristboat on the way to Labuan Bajo ran into a reef and sank near Sangeang island north of Sumbawa. 

So for safety I refer to the chapter here above. 

more photo's Manggarai Barat


Nangalili Beach

South of Lembor there is one of the most beautiful beaches of Flores. In Lembor turn left and head south for 10 kilometers, around 45 minutes. The beach is a few kilometers west with dunes and nice views in both directions. This could be a tourist destination but everything looks so clean and pristine like nobody ever comes to this place.



Half an hour from Lembor the traditional village of Toda is on your left side of the Trans Flores Road.


Sano Nggoang

This is a crater lake in the mountains, about 35 kilometers from Labuan Bajo. The quickest route is via Cunca Rami, a waterfall in the interior south of the Trans Flores Road. The road leads through forest and bumpy roads but after a few hours you are rewarded with an awesome view over the turquoise blue lake which seems to be about 500 meters deep. There used to be guesthouses near te lake but since the pandemic it is not clear if these are still in operation. The nearest decent one is Mbeliling Mountain Ecolodge, 1 hour away.



Cunca Wulang is one of the many and amongst the most beautiful waterfalls in Manggarai. It is combined with a canyon. To get to Cunca Wulang follow the road to Ruteng when coming from Labuan Bajo. There is a sign along the road for the turn off which is on the left. The last part is through forest via a small road. Total driving time from Labuan Bajo is around one hour. There is an office where you can hire a guide and porter (obliged). From the parking it is 20 to 25 minutes downhill to reach the waterfall. Walking back to the startingpoint is 30 to 35 minutes as this is uphill.
Entrancefee for foreigners is Rp 50.000, the fee for the porter/guide is Rp 50.000 per group so you pay Rp 100.000 (1 person),  Rp 150.000 (2 persons), Rp 200.00  (3 persons), Rp 250.000 (4 persons) and so on. It is cheaper with a group and it is getting cheaper the more people your are. There are a few other waterfalls in the area. Tip: wear watershoes as the stones can be slippery.

Another reachable waterfall is Cunca Rami.

Rangko cave is at the northern point of west Flores, 16 kms north east of Labuan Bajo. You need to drive 30 minutes to the village of Rangko first, then hire a boat. The best light is between 13:00 and 15:00 depending on the time of the year.


Mount Mbeliling

This area is close to Labuan Bajo and an advantage for those who want to climb the mountain and/or trekking. Agents in Labuan Bajo are happy to arrange a trekking for you. Also recommended for birdwatching.



From the Trans Flores Road there is a juntion to the north. This is the road via the northcoast all the way to Reo but a very bad road and some problems to cross rivers. Nice views on Labuan Bajo bay on your way. For some reason there is a lot of petrified wood in Tobedo. 

Islands north of Labuan Bajo

Apart from the National Park you can also hire a boat and visit islands more close to Labuan Bajo, like Seraya, Bidadari, Kenawa or many small uninhabited isles.


Warloka is an ancient site with huge rocks (I have heard terms like Jurassic park), great views overlooking a part of the islands of Komodo National Park. I did the trip overland, which is only 21 kilometers from Labuan Bajo but it took 2 hours to get there. A disaster with potholes, mud and a river to cross (no bridge). More comfortable is to take a boat from Labuan Bajo, 1,5 hours or you can ad Warloka as a part of your overnight trip to Rinca and/or Komodo. Around Kenari more prehistory as you can find petrified wood.

And about the road... check the stories ("Hit the road Jack")


Anne Mieke  -AM PHOTONESIA©-