In the West of Indonesia, there’s more to Labuan Bajo than just Komodo dragons and diving.
The sleepy, seaside town of Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores has emerged in recent years as a diver’s paradise, thanks to its location in the Coral Triangle, an area of rich marine biodiversity in the surrounding archipelago.
Not one for diving? The fishing port’s also ideal as a starting point for exploring Flores, and its diverse cultures and varied local village life.
Learn more about the Manggaraian culture when you visit Melo Village! The village is a popular pit stop for travellers seeking to learn more about the varied cultures in Flores and Indonesia. As a part of village-based tourism, the villagers regularly share their culture through a series of traditional art and dance performances. The visit also offers tourists an insight into its heritage through its unqiue ceremonial practices and customs.
Liang Ndara, Sano Nggoang, West Manggarai Regency
Though Komodo Island is famed for its gargantuan reptiles, the island is also known for Pink Beach, one of a select few pink beaches around the world. But, that means the beach is also incredibly popular with tourists that disembark off the many boats that head for the island, especially in summer.
Tip: It’s illegal to remove the pinkish hued sand that lines the shore. Opt to take a picture instead!
There’s no shortage of restaurants that cater a town teeming with divers and travellers exploring the island of Flores. If you’re looking for local food, head to Warung Mama. It’s well known amongst travellers as the homestyle food is honest-to-goodness, though its price might not be!
Jl. Soekarno Hatta
Located about 30 kilometres from Labuan Bajo, the island of Padar is famous for its panoramic views of the turquoise bays that outline the island. Take a short 30-minute hike up to its peak for a vantage point of the archipelago and larger islands of Rinca and Komodo, before continuing on your journey to see the majestic monitor lizards that roam the earth.
AirAsia has one flight daily to the town via Bali every day. From there, the best way to explore the surrounding islands is via liveaboard (LOB). Though operators typically cater to divers, several LOBs cater to snorkellers, too. Alternatively, arrange for a tour with one of the many dive tour operators in town for a day of island-hopping.
WHERE TO STAY
If you’re planning to stay in Labuan Bajo, spend your nights at the luxurious beachfront Plataran Komodo Resort & Spa. Its lush, Javanese-styled villas provide sanctuary for those hoping to get away from the busyness of the town and other tourist hotspots during peak season.
AirAsia is a leading travel and financial platform company in Asia Pacific, carrying more than 600 million guests to over 150 destinations regionally. It has been named World’s Best Low-Cost Airline by Skytrax for 11 years running.
by Melodi Ghui, The Finder Issue 301, December 2019 / Photos: (Warung Mama) www.trover.com-Monika Jeraj, 123RF.com, Wikimedia Commons + Facebook
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