Recognized as one of the new 7 wonders of nature, Komodo National Park has gained the attention of citizens worldwide. As the gate of the most visited destination, Labuan Bajo in Flores Island, Indonesia, is about to glow. The westernmost city on the island, Flores is not only famous for Komodo dragons, but the manta rays, the undulating arid hills dominating secluded islands, gorgeous underwater world, and pristine waterfalls are just superb. We’ve picked out a list of things to do in and around Labuan Bajo so that you won’t miss out on anything!
1. Go trekking on Komodo and Rinca Islands
Komodo and Rinca Islands, home to the world’s largest venomous lizard, are best for trekking. You will be welcomed by the dry savanna landscape, along with palm trees and the scary Komodo dragons lying down under the tree’s shade. Take the rare opportunity to witness the predator lacerating and mauling its prey relentlessly in the wildlife. For safety reasons, ladies who are menstruating are not allowed to embark on this trekking trip.
Komodo National Park
Address: Loh Liang (Komodo Island), Loh Buaya (Rinca Island)
Website: Komodo National Park
2. Look over the incredible view from the summit in Padar Island
Although Padar Island is no longer inhabited by Komodo dragons, the natural beauty of the island is still captivating. Just hike to the summit of the highest point of the island to look over the blend of amazing landscape and seascape, separated by secluded coastline. For those who love photography, hunting the sunrise and capturing the incredible scenery on Padar Island is a must.
Address: Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara
Website: Komodo National Park
3. Explore the Komodo dive sites
Exploring Labuan Bajo seems is just another ordinary activity unless you marvel over the top-rated, underwater sites, scattered across the seascape of Komodo National Park. The dive sites are divided into two parts, the South and the central north. Some incredible spots filled with the richest marine biodiversity are manta alley, yellow wall, and cannibal rock. To avoid bad weather, come between December and March for the best diving experience.
Website: Dive Komodo
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4. Escape to Komodo Island's Pink Beach
Aside from Lombok, Komodo Island located in the west side of Labuan Bajo is another place with a gorgeous Pink Beach. As one of the only seven pink beaches in the world, Pink Beach, locally named “Pantai Merah,” offers a nice retreat for relaxation and enjoying clear waters. The sand gets its colour because tiny creatures called Foranimifera, covering the coast surface.
Address: Komodo Island, East Nusa Tenggara
5. Swim with manta rays at Karang Makassar
One thing that mustn’t be missed is seeing the manta rays. The most popular diving spot to see the bird-like fish is Manta Point or “Karang Makassar”. This huge marine inhabitant really is charming yet endangered. In addition to swimming with Mr. Ray, be sure to spot the colorful sea sponges, big clams, sea turtles and other incredible sea creatures.
6. Get the best grilled fish dinner
As the city of the harbor and seaside capital of West Manggarai, Labuan Bajo is also the center of the fish market. There are plenty of seafood vendors where you can select a wide variety of grilled fish and squid for your dinner. The freshly caught grilled fish along with steamed rice and sambal (the spicy sauce) are the best delicacies to munch on while exploring Labuan Bajo.
Address: Jalan Soekarno Hatta
Price: from 20,000 IDR (1.5 USD)
Opening time: 6pm to 11 pm
7. Witness the swarming bats at Kalong Island
If you want to feel the sensation of Jurassic Park atmosphere at dusk, then sail to the ‘island of bats’ or Kalong Island. Take your comfiest seat on the deck, sip your martini, and enjoy tons of bats flying over you. The uninhabited island overgrown with mangrove trees remains mystical yet fantastic. For a perfect view, be sure to come when the full moon arises.
Address: Kalong Island, Komodo National Park
8. Dine out at Mediterraneo Restaurant for the best Italian dishes
Editor’s note: Establishment is permanently closed
It’s likely hard to find the best European dishes in Flores. Yet, Mediterraneo Restaurant in the heart of Labuan Bajo totally gives a great Italian dinner experience. With this combination of classic Italian and Mediterranean food, you won’t utter any word except “delizioso” (delicious in Italian) for the amazing food. The Focaccia Ligure, the Fileto al Vino Rosso, and the Carpaccio Di Manzo are great menu choices.
Address: Jl.Soekarno Hatta Labuan Bajo, Flores
Opening Hours: 11am to 11pm
Website: Mediterraneo Restaurant
9. Discover Cunca Rami Waterfall
Labuan Bajo is not only famous for either Komodo Island or underwater adventures, but also the pristine waterfalls. One of them is the fascinating Cunca Rami Waterfall. Taking around a 90-minute drive from the center of Labuan Bajo, the scenic piece of heaven entices people for nature exploration. The trail along your journey to the waterfall is challenging enough. Don’t forget to greet the local villagers and interact with the smiling locals.
Cunca Rami Waterfall
Address: Golo Ndaring, Sano Nggoang, Golo Ndaring, Manggarai Barat
Opening Hours: 7am to 4 pm
10. Enjoy the city from Bukit Cinta
If you are weary enough for sailing and diving, you better try to go to the highest point of Labuan Bajo, named Bukit Cinta, to enjoy the city view. Bukit Cinta literally means “Hill of Love”. It is the favorite spot among the Flores youngsters. They usually inhabit the place for dating, chilling out or celebrating the new year. Allow yourself enough time to visit the love hill.
Address: Jalan Bukit Cinta, Komodo, Kabupaten Manggarai Bara
11. Explore the Batu Cermin Cave
Batu Cermin, meaning “mirror rock” in Indonesian, is aptly named. Through gaps in the ceiling, sunlight is reflected around the rock formations. You will be able to spot the wildlife around such as the long-tailed macaque.
For the optimal viewing pleasure, come along around 9 - 10 am as that is usually when the sunlight hits the rocks. Note that this is dependent on the seasons and may change.
Batu Cermin Cave
Address: Batu Cermin, Komodo, West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
Price: Admission Fee of 10,000 IDR (0.75USD) with an additional guide fee required
12. Check out the Underground lake at Rangko Cave
Even if you skip the flippers and snorkels, the beautiful sights that await you at Rangko Cave are worth the 45 minutes trip.
To get there, head over to Rangko village before taking a boat over to the bridge. Do remember to bring a waterproof torch if you wish to explore the cave, and note that noon is the best time to visit the cave!
Address: Tanjung Boleng, Boleng, West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
Website: Goa Ranko
13. Visit Kampung Melo
Learn more about the Manggarai as you visit Melo Village or Kampung Melo. Found 17km (10.5 miles) away from Labuan Bajo, the 40 minutes journey can be covered via a rented motorbike. You also have the option to get a local ojek (motorbike taxi) to drive you there.
Take the chance to sample ‘sopi’, a local palm wine before witnessing the 'Caci’ performances.
Website: Kampung Melo
14. Sembilan Island, swim with the sting-less jellyfish
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
The minute island is called Mangiatan Island but often referred to as Sembilan island. Sembilan, meaning 9 in Indonesian, was given to the island as the island looks like a 9 from above. Get up close and personal with these harmless jellyfish there.
Found near the Komodo Island, you can take a speedboat ride from Labuan Bajo. The journey will take approximately 3 hours.
Website: Sembilan island
Forget Bali, love Labuan Bajo
Labuan Bajo has gained more popularity today since it offers plenty of incredible natural attractions. The gate of Jurassic Park literally changes people’s minds, to forget Bali and more touristic destinations. The greatest lizard, the manta ray, and the Pink Beach are just a few of the many reasons why global travelers come to the city. Book your flight and arrange your itinerary for your Labuan Bajo adventure.
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