There are many places in Labuan Bajo, the gateway to the Komodo National Park. Here you will find a list of things that can be done and seen, as well as an estimate of how long it will take to perform that activity.
One will notice the first thing when arriving in Labuan Bajo is the stunning view upon entering the port area. The mountain volcano appears to have sprouted from the watery depths and stands tall, with its peak reaching into the clouds above. It makes for a good picture opportunity for those who like to take photos of such scenic views.
Most people come ashore at Kubutambahan beach, just a few kilometres from Labuan Bajo itself by bus or car. It is a charming beach with clear blue water and lovely cliffs covered in a tropical forest. The water here isn’t suitable for swimming so if you want to dip, you’ll have to go further down the coast towards Bunaken village where there is another more central beach that is much more suitable for a swim.
This beach has a restaurant and hotel situated directly on the beach, perfect for relaxing if you have just arrived from Bali or further abroad. The Kubutambahan region also has some lovely bars and restaurants where you can try the local food such as nasi campur (rice with assorted side dishes), which is available all over Indonesia but generally unavailable in Western countries outside of busy cities.
If Nasi Campur isn’t your thing, then there are plenty of alternatives, including Chinese noodle shops and pizza parlours – even an Indian curry house if you’re feeling particularly adventurous.
For those looking for accommodation in Labuan Bajo, It’s recommended to go along the main street Jalan Hasanuddin and look at the shop fronts’ signs as many hotels and guest houses advertise themselves directly. There is also a government-run travel agent (called Bintang Terbit) right near Kubutambahan beach, where you can book a room for around 80,000 per night. However, they only have basic rooms available.
The next place recommended for visiting in Labuan Bajo is Manta Point; here, you will find mantas of all shapes and sizes coming up from the deep water to feed on plankton that drifts up from the bottom into shallow water reef areas such as this one. You’ll need snorkelling gear to go here, so if you don’t have your own, then ask at your hotel reception, and they should be able to sort you out for a reasonable price.
Snorkelling here is excellent, with lots of weird and wonderful fish that find the reef a haven from predatory larger fish. The worst thing about Manta point is that it becomes incredibly crowded in the high season – despite this still being one of the highlights of Labuan Bajo.
Hire a boat
If snorkelling doesn’t sound very appealing, then you can also hire a boat to take you out nicely away from the crowds where swimming with mantas won’t be a problem at all. It costs around 400,000 per boat regardless of how many people are on board. It’s not too expensive if there are only 2 or 3 of you.
The last place recommended for visiting in Labuan Bajo is Pulau Satonda, which can be reached by boat from your hotel. Here you will find a magic lagoon with a small volcanic island in the middle that gives it the perfect backdrop for amazing photos.
The best thing about this particular lagoon is that all of the water will disappear when high tide comes around 9 am. It becomes an incredibly peaceful spot where it’s possible to walk right across without getting your feet wet.
This trip won’t take much more than half a day, so if you want to visit all these places before going back home or onwards to another destination, make sure you have at least three days in Labuan Bajo, or come for longer if time permits.