I spent some time in this area last month.
Labuanbajo is surprisingly small for the main entry point, port, fishing town and tourist destination in West Flores. It stretches a few km along a bay and up the hillside. The main street is a disgrace - hot, dusty, rubbish and broken bits of pavement and road everywhere - often crammed with traffic - which is noisy - the locals like the open muffler set up on their vehicles (and boats). There seems to be more transport guys hassling for a ride than Kuta Bali.
Services are pretty good - lots of dive shops, places where you can organise daytrips and overnighters to surrounding islands for beaches and snorkelling plus Komodo and Rinca for some dragon spotting, trips further east on Flores, plenty of restaurants and other stores.
I visited Rinca on Perama's cruise back to Lombok, but there are plenty of daytips and overnight boat trips out of Labuanbajo to it and Komodo for some dragon spotting. Rinca is the better for the latter - the dragons are in a more concentrated area. We saw 9 v 2 for people on our trip who had also visited Komodo. There are inexpensive National Park rooms both islands for people wanting to stay overninght.
There are 2 delightful budget island resorts a short distance off Labuanbajo - Seraya and Kanawa. Seraya is slightly the nicer resort and has the best beach and considerably cheaper food and drink but Kanawa has much better snorkelling and trekking. Boat transfers out of Labuanbajo are timed so that it is possible to come in from one and go out to the other a few hours later, which is exactly what I did.
I have a bunch of photos and more info of Labuanbajo, the dragons, Seraya and Kanawa in the link below for people who are thinking of visiting.
I don't see the dragon pics on your site ?
I was there in August with a friend. We chartered a boat for 3 days for 2.5 mil Rp.
The accommodations on Rinca are limited and were fully occupied by park guides at the time. But we really had our hearts set on staying on the island overnight, so 2 park rangers shared and we got a room. Very, very basic for 100,000 Rp ($10 US) per night. Definitely a great experience though - hanging out with the rangers and hearing about the park gossip (ex. they used to be allowed to shoot poachers!)
There were fewer tourists on Komodo and much larger dragons. The accommodations there are new but privately funded. They cost $35/40 US (single/double) per night. Not exactly cheap...
hi tezza, your report about the cruise is great, very helpful.
do you think the one-way-only (either from lombok to labuanbajo or the other way round) cruise is also worth going? and do you (or maybe anyone else) know a good airline to fly between mataram or denpasar and labuanbajo?
and where should I book ia flight? just with one of those travel agents that are constantly trying to sell something to you here in kuta? :)
thanx for any advice. maria
#8 maria_s has been a member since 14/9/2009. Posts: 22
Merpati, Trans Nusa, and IAT fly between L. Bajo and Denpasar. I paid around 800,000 Rp. for the flight when I booked it directly with the airline (at the Denpasar airport and then at the office in L. Bajo). Travel agents round it up to around $100 USD.
I didn't do the cruise cuz time was short, but my friend recently did it from Lombok to Flores. You can read her blog post here:
thanks so much. the blog is really cool too :)
#10 maria_s has been a member since 14/9/2009. Posts: 22
Wow, I really liked the look of that Kencana boat!
Maria - I did a one-way trip - the shorter east-west one. I thought it was top value and went away with a pretty good idea of the seascape West Flores to Lombok. But I do want to go the other direction some time, maybe take Kencana.
Quite a few on my boat were doing both directions and were not bored because Perama's itinerary visits different spots in each direction with one or two exceptions.
other question, ouldn't find any answer in the health section - did you take any malaria prophylaxe before/while/after you went to flores? all islands east of bali/lombok are apparently known as high risk areas?
#12 maria_s has been a member since 14/9/2009. Posts: 22
Hi all. I also did the Lombok to Flores trip for 4 nights/5days but my trip was ... interesting. Our captain fell asleep, there were no lifejackets or lifeboat, etc. Full trip report is here: http://legalnomads.blogspot.com/2009/10/adventures-in-indonesia-lombok-to.html. All's I'm saying is: research the company before you go. Perama is very well regarded, Kencana less so but more reputable than Random Boat Company I chose!
@maria_s: I did not take any anti-malarial meds. It was my understanding that East of Bali/Lombok was not high risk, but rather West of them are. To that end, I've had several friends come down with malaria while on Sulawesi, but none East of Lombok. I spent 2 mos in that area without any problems.
I type "Flores Island Indonesia" on search engine and I found a link to Tezza page, Tezza was sharing a good travel experiences in Flores island to other visitors here.
Not too many changes on the island of Flores, all the destinations still beautiful but for accommodation and transportation price was changes, price going up but their service less, but for middle-and upper-class hotel on average serve well, just a little difficult to book a room in the high season. For restaurants is better they have free internet access, some official local tour guide, build a tourist information center in Labuan Bajo (west part of Flores) to provide correct information to tourists, tourists often get wrong information when they ask the people who are not official tour guide so giving rise to loss because they are not responsible.
For those who want to get more adventurous then take a trip to across the island of Flores will be better, because a lot of beautiful destinations on the island such as culture, hot springs, volcanic crater lake with three colors etc. Tezza says "check the forum first" I think that's true, or visit Komodo Park webpage, there always update the information about Flores Indonesia, Rinca and Komodo Island.
I would suggest you, if you want to get the right information, you should ask at the local information office and don't believe to the people who was just meet you on the streets and provide information with a special price, you have to be careful and ask are they have the right address? Who is responsible if something happens? I mean you have to check everything.
We are from Flores, Indonesia is proud and say very thank you to all of you. I hope all of you will be get more the best experience from our country.
#17 KomodoPark has been a member since 22/4/2011. Posts: 2
I will be in Bali and Lombok in August for 14 days.
How accessible is Komodo and/or Rinca from Bali? Is it easily accessible by boat or is the better option to fly?
Any information on visiting these islands would be so appreciated.
#18 heddenswest has been a member since 7/1/2011. Posts: 32
It's best to fly. Get a flight from Denpasar (Bali Airport) to the town of Labuan Bajo. From there you can hire a boat or join a tour to the islands (a few hours away).
The boat from Lombok to Komodo takes many days (most which you spend sailing, not seeing the wildlife) and it has a poor safety record -- a boat sank last month!
Three options to reach the island of Komodo and Rinca in Flores.
1. Take a boat trip from Lombok to Labuan Bajo, Flores. There are only two official company serving marine tour of Lombok to Flores or from Flores to Lombok including Komodo and Rinca, the companies name is Perama tours and Kencana tours.
Perama offer a package of one night two days and two nights three days leave from Lombok - Perama Island - Moyo island - Komodo island - Labuan Bajo, Flores, and you may choose to sleep in the cabin or deck.
Kencana tours offer different packages of three nights and four days, departing from Lombok - Gili Bola Island - Moyo Island - Satonda - Gili Laba - Komodo - Rinca - Labuan Bajo, Flores, but they don't have some cabin for slept only so the passengers slept on deck.
Prices, of course different. You see it a tourist destination is also different. For safety issues you should check all, that we know they only have a standard equipment on the boat.
2. Fly from Lombok - Bali - Labuan Bajo, Flores, then take a boat tour packages in one local tour agents in Labuan Bajo to visit Komodo and Rinca.
3. Take a trip by public bus from Mataram in Lombok, across by ferry on the strait to the Sumbawa Island and to Labuan Bajo in Flores island. You also would have to take a boat tour packages in one local tour agents in Labuan Bajo to visit Komodo and Rinca.
Especially for those who want to see more adventure please cross the island of Flores to see five different tribes lived together in the island, also enjoy the natural pristine mountains, hot springs, volcanic crater with a three colors lake or you can do dive in west and east part of Flores Island.
#20 KomodoPark has been a member since 22/4/2011. Posts: 2