It was time to leave Nusa Lembongan behind and continue our journey. Because we planned this next part of the trip in advance, we had already purchased our tickets for a flight from Bali to Labuan Bajo with Garuda Indonesia on our first day in Jakarta airport. We wanted to buy them from home online, but this is not possible with credit cards from our country. We could only buy tickets for AirAisa (which we did), but not for other airline companies.
We left Nusa Lembongan with a speedboat. We got it fairly cheap and we wanted to get to airport on time. Everything went ok and our taxi driver got us to the Denpasar airport 2,5 hours before our flight departed.
My first thought was: what are we going to do in a Denapasar airport for 2,5h? Airport is small and there is not much to do. Just a few shops and cafés and that’s it. So we took our time getting to airport building without really paying attention to airplane departures. After some time, we decided to check departure monitor and we saw another flight for Labuan Bajo leaving some time before ours (1,5h sooner). Our first reaction was: why didn’t we book that flight?!?!
Then we compared flight number with the one on our tickets. They were very similar… they were actually the same! This means, that our flight was leaving 1,5h sooner than stated on tickets without any warning?!?! Besides that, on the screen it was written, that our plane is boarding. No coffee, no lunch, we had to go. Quickly! Luckily, there was not a lot of people on the airport, so we got through check-in and passport control smoothly. We still weren’t quite sure if timing of the plane departure was correct. We soon saw that it was and we actually left 1,5h earlier than schedualed.
Flight took around 1,5 hours. It went smoothly without any complications until landing. Landing at Labuan Bajo offers a beautiful scenic view on surrounding islands. When we landed, our plane tilted to right side. I have to admit, that for a second or two, I really
Garuda Indonesia airline had a rough history (two accidents in 90’s). It was on EU “black list” (a ban for flights to EU) from 2007 until 2009. Since 2009 they managed to completely change the company and now it is a very good airline. They fly to Europe and other countries and they also renewed their fleet.
didn’t know, which way the plane will tilt: back on wheels or on the wing. Luckily it chose the left side and everything was ok.
Airport in Labuan Bajo is really small. No terminals, no crowd, no luggage belt, no passport control, nothing, just one small building. We got off our airplane and went in. Airport personnel got our luggage off the airplane and brought it to us to this building by hand. They are building a new, bigger terminal which indicates, that tourism is evolving.
Once we got out of the building, there were persistent drivers again; a lot of them and all very persuasive. We agreed with the first driver and we took off. His price was 50.000 IDR, we bargained to 40.000 IDR (in town he “didn’t have any change,” so we paid 50.000IDR. Damn!).
Labuan Bajo is a small town. In our period it wasn’t very crowded with tourists, but there were a few of them. There are a lot of ships docked in harbor which gives the town kind of pirate look. Town is quite dusty and a bit dirty. Although it wasn’t high season, it was difficult to get accommodation (we heard that in high season people sleep on the boats, so if you go in that time, book well in advance). With a help of tourist agency we got a room in nearby hotel.
For us the main attraction was the sunset. Town is on a slope oriented towards west, so every evening you can admire amazing sunsets.
We were there just for one night, since we didn’t find much to do in the town itself. There are some places to visit in the surroundings, but the town is nothing special.
There are a few places worth mentioning:
- Local restaurants
We went for a dinner to one of the restaurants that Lonely Planet recommends (Two Monkeys). It has a really nice terrace for the sunset view, but food was nothing special. We found really nice local restaurants (warungs). You will find them if you go to the right of the port and the mosque and keep walking until the street turns right (10 minutes maybe).
- Paradise bar
Some 15 minutes further form these restaurants, you will find Paradise bar. It is situated on the hill; it has nice terrace and a good live music. We went there on foot, but it was a bit far.
We stayed at the Gardena hotel
Hotel is situated near the main road in the hill. They offer 4 different types of rooms (there are not a lot of differences between them). Rooms higher on a hill offer a scenic view on the bay and a spectacular sunset. Rooms are clean but nothing special and for this service they are quite expensive. We paid 450.000 IDR/night for a room with AC with breakfast.
Next thing on our itinerary was a boat trip from Labuan Bajo to Lombok, which was another unforgettable experience.