Getting there and away
Labuan Bajo's airport is located on the outskirts of town and a bemo or ojek to the airport should cost around 10,000 to 15,000 rupiah while taxis charge a flat 50,000 rupiah for the ride (per vehicle, not per person). Their are regular flights from Labuan Bajo to Ende and Maumere along with Bali and other destinations across the region. Garuda, Wings, Sky Aviation and Trans Nusa all fly to Labuan Bajo.
In high season if flying from or to Bali it is essential you book your flights as soon as possible as they fill up fast.
Air Wings (Lion Air)
The best way to travel in Flores is on a "Travel". This is effectively a share taxi that picks you up at your hotel and drops you where you want. They are quite comfortable and are not overloaded as bemos and buses are. The public bus station is located miles out of town and while the bus is marginally cheaper than a travel, once you factor in the additional cost of getting to the station versus the convenience of getting picked up at your hotel or guesthouse, it's a bit of a waste of time getting the local bus. Tell your hotel where you want to go and they'll book you a travel, which will pick you up at your hotel and drop you where you want at the destination.
Sample fares from Labuan Bajo: Ruteng 80,000, Bajawa 160,000 and Ende 240,000.
Labuan Bajo is the western port for Flores. According to the Pelni website both the the Tilongkabila and the Wilis berth at Labuan Bajo.
Wilis (roughly a 12-day circuit)
Makassar - Bima - Labuan Bajo - Waingapu - Ende - Kupang - Ende - Waingapu - Labuan Bajo - Bima - Makassar - Marapokot - Larantuka - Kupang - Larantuka - Marapokot - Makassar
Tilongkabila (roughly a 13-day circuit)
Benoa - Lembar - Bima - Labuan Bajo - Makassar - Bau Bau - Raha - Kendari - Kolonedale - Luwuk - Gorontalo - Bitung - Gorontalo - Luwuk - Kolonedale - Kendari - Raha - Bau-Bau - Makassar - Labuan Bajo = Bima - Lembar - Benoa
Check the Pelni website for detailed schedules and bear in mind these may change due to weather and other factors.
There are two ferry services from Labuan Bajo to Sapi in Sumbawa, an express boat and a slow ferry. Both depart at 09:00 daily. The express boat has two classes priced at 130,000 and 150,000 rupiah and the slow boat costs 54,000 rupiah.
This is also the end- or start-point for the Flores-Sumbawa-Lombok boat services run by Perama and others.
If you're in a group or looking for more comfort, hiring a driver is a good option. Costs vary a little depending on vehicle and where you want to go, but expect to pay in the range of 600,000 to 700,000 rupiah per day. That should include the driver, vehicle, petrol and the driver's meals and accommodation.
Suggested drivers and guides for Labuan Bajo and surroundings include:
T: (0813) 3945 9148
Veteran Flores-local guide who seems to know just about everybody. If he's busy, he can help you connect with other guides and drivers -- and can confidently answer many of your travel questions.
T: (0813) 3969 8563
Friendly young guide and excellent driver who can take you to Wae Rebo, the Cunca Rami waterfall, and other hot areas in western Flores and further afield. He's full of interesting information, and can explain the production of arak, Manggarai houses and tree species with equal aplomb (among other topics).
Ojeks or motorcycle taxis ply Labuan Bajo, and 5,000 rupiah will get you most places in (and a bit out) of town. Many ojek drivers will offer you their phone number if you're looking for a regular bet.
Bemos are small vans with seats in them that look dodgy, but are an accepted technique of transport around LBJ and further afield. Not suggested for long haul travel, but will do for getting around town. 5,000 rupiah is also a good benchmark for most bemo fares.
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