Daily flight from Bali to Labuan Bajo (rates: IDR 600k - 1200k )
Ojek from airport to central Labuan Bajo (IDR 20k)
Taxi / Car from airport to central Labuan Bajo (IDR 50k)
Sail Komodo from Lombok (Tour Boat)
There are various packages which offer different destinations along the way from Lombok to Labuan Bajo. Basically the amount of destination’s offered is based on the sailing duration that you are going to pick, whether it is 2D2N; 3D2N; 4D3N or 4D4N. The trip will start on Lombok, pass by several islands around Sumbawa (Satonda & Moyo) and depending on the choices that you made, the boat may stop by on either Gili Lawa, Komodo, Pink Beach, Rinca, Padar, Kelor, Manta Point then finally arrived at Labuan Bajo.
For both 2D2N & 3D2N trip, the price will vary around IDR 1200k to 1700k - deck class.
For 4D3N & 4D4N trip, you will be charged around IDR 1700k to 2300k - deck class.
Get all the trip details first before you decide to join onboard and make sure you don't have any seasickness or at least, bring a seasick pill before departing. Believe me, there is no better mood-breaker on the sea beside getting seasick. It is one of the worst feeling in the world! One more thing, check all the safety equipment just in case.
Sail from Bali - Public Ship (PELNI)
There is another cheaper alternative to go to Labuan Bajo, or perhaps, the cheapest way that you can find. The departure port is in Benoa Bali and the ship will directly transport you to Labuan Bajo after a few transits or vice versa. There are 2 ships in-charge for this route which are KM Wilis and KM Tilongkabila. The sailing duration varies around 2D1N to 2D2N depends on the ship schedule that you pick. Check her schedule and buy the ticket from pelni.co.id and choose your departure port either from Benoa or Labuan Bajo. The price will be around IDR 230k including meals. This ship is certainly far bigger than the Lombok one hence it will not be that bumpy during the sail.
An alternative for those who would like to experience Indonesia more. Take this land transportation if you are not really in hurry and with an intention to have a deeper look of Sumbawa. Wherever you may start your journey from, your end destination will be in Sape - because this is where the public boat is available to transport you across to Labuan Bajo. You may get a big decent bus from Bali (Ubung) for around IDR 250k - 350k depend on the end destination (either to Sumbawa Besar or to Bima) by joining Safari Dharma Raya, Titian Mas or Rasa Sayang. You need to ask the ticket price & final destination first before getting aboard.
If your end station is Sumbawa, then you need to take another small bus to Bima or directly go to Sape. The ticket price will be around IDR 150k. The recommended service provider is Titian Mas or Tiara Mas.
From Bima, you still need to take another small bus to Sape port which will cost you around IDR 20-30k. Then afterwards you can get the ferry from Sape to Labuan Bajo which is only available 1 time / day - at 8AM. The ticket price will be around IDR 60k for 7-8 hours sailing distance.
Looking at all the struggles and durations, that would be a crazy trip! But nothing is as good as when you break your comfort zone right?
Note: Just be careful! There are a lot of scams reported in the bus station especially when you want to buy the bus ticket. The unofficial seller will either increase the price multiple times; or say that the bus will go directly to Sape; or they claim that the bus ticket will include the meals; or there will be no other bus; or even there will be no bus at all so you need to rent the car from them. The safer way is just going directly to the bus and buy the ticket from the person inside the bus - and ask where is the end destination (however they might be not speaking english anyway, so this is what makes your journey more adventurous ;))
Anyway be careful for the ticket and the bus you choose, ask details as complete as possible and take care of your belongings in extra careful ways. The good thing is, sometimes the bus will be damn packed up so you either need to wait hours to get the next one - which is potentially packed up again - or joining the current bus by sitting on its roof. It’s a bit crazy and unsafe but, this is a part of Indonesia atmosphere that you will never forget. And sometimes, it will not be that bad, or maybe, it is worse. It depends on your luck!
By the next morning, I arrived early in Rinca Island gate for another Komodo trip. I was told that getting as early as possible is recommended for this kind of wildlife tour as the animal - especially Komodo - becomes much more active in the morning. I took the deal and I started my small walks in Rinca by 7AM.
Like usual, there are always several Komodos lying around beneath the ranger’s kitchen house. Since it is forbidden for anyone to give any food to Komodo, so those wild fellas are there only to smell the foods. But this also becomes one good thing to note as in other words, it will give you - visitors - a guarantee that whenever you come, you can always meet Komodo here - both in Rinca or Komodo Island. Eventhough what you will see perhaps is just a sleeping Komodo. Well, sometimes they were awaken up, look around, take a small walk, look around one more time, then sleep again. Those lazy Komodos are just look like... me.
There are 3 choices of route available in Rinca which is short, medium and long trek. I choosed the medium one which will take around 20-30 minutes walk. The trek started from a well-established path within the forest and then going up onto the small slope of grasslands. I considered myself quite lucky that day because I could encounter one Komodo which was lurking around the forest while we were just starting our walks. We could also spot some wild boars, deers and buffaloes + several Komodo's shits along the way. The ranger then told me that if I want to look closely - and stir it as necessary - onto that shit, perhaps I will get some Komodo's teeth within - because Komodo often breaks his own teeth. Playing with Komodo's shit for an accessory? Sorry but I am not that adventurous..
One thing that I like from Rinca is its landscapes. From my personal point of view, the landscapes in Rinca is much more astonishing than in Komodo. It is perhaps because of its vast grasslands, and hills, so it can provide you such a wide perspective of the whole island. Note also when the rain starts pouring onto this land, the grasslands become amazingly green and fresh - creating an unforgettable image of the old world. So, here in Rinca is not only about Komodo, it is a package that combines a wildlife tour plus a stunning landscapes which you can easily access only by walking for 20-30 minutes in total. For the next occasion, I would love to try the long trek to see a deeper perspective of Rinca Island.
This would be the last destination before we headed back to the shore. Kelor has a similar appearance with Pink beach - a white sandy shore with an incredible hill at one side. Perhaps there are 2 differences between each other; first Kelor beach is not that pink; second, the hill is much steeper but still accessible. Well anyway, the view - both either from the top or underwater - are still remarkable and surely worth a visit before you finish your saling. Just don’t forget to put your snorkeling gears on in every time you stop by at the island. I can guarantee you that every island in Komodo Waters has a wonderful underwater scene. Take a dive trip here and you will be stunned by its beauty (more about Komodo diving review will be explained in the next blog post).
That is it!
As soon as I completed to take some shots in Kelor, we were ready to return to Labuan Bajo. Actually, there are still a handful destinations available apart from the general one which is explained on the above. There is Manta point - where you can meet countless manta in one area. There is also Kalong island, where thousand of bats are migrating from this island in every sunset - then they are returning back for a deep sleep in every sunrise. There is also Sebayur Besar and Sebayur Kecil Island, Seraya and several nameless one which possess a great underwater view for you delightful snorkeling time.
There are just too many and you can’t expect to visit each one of them in only 3 days time. However, above review has covered the most famous and in my perspective, the most beautiful destination which becomes a special characteristic of Komodo Archipelago. I really love to be there and Komodo simply one of the tourism spot in indonesia which has everything; great landscapes, view, underwater scene and wildlife! In other word I would like to say that if I only have one chance to visit Indonesia, I will definitely go to Komodo!
Dont you worry at all about this. There are more than a lot of choices available here with various classes which you can pick. Started from IDR 50k hostel (Cool Backpacker Hostel), IDR 75k tent (Bajo View Hotel), standard AC room (around IDR 250k) or the decent resort one (IDR 400k++). But still, beware on high season during Jul-Aug) or on the New Year Eve. Early reservation certainly will not cause you any harm.
Getting around is easy. If you just want to be in Central Labuan Bajo, you won't need anything except your feet. However if you'd like to take a land trip let's say to visit some waterfalls or caves, hence you may rent motorbike for around IDR 60-70k.
For hang-out or just spending time reading or wi-fi-ing, my personal favourite place will be in Mediterrano restaurant. However other restaurant also has a great choices for either lunch or dinner - which I havent tried it so I can’t make the recommendation for you ;)
Talking about dinner, I always put my aim to the night market available on the right side of the harbour. Just keep walking through the corner and you will easily notice it since the place will be quite crowded there. Try the seafood!
The price will be around IDR 1200-1400k for day trip fun dive (consisting of 3 dives + lunch and snack). Since the dive spot here is too remarkable, I will make a special review for this on my next blog post.
Honestly I didn't do any thorough check about the boat choices or packages which are available there. But below is what I captured from my previous experiences:
Daytrip boat 2D1N: IDR 700-800k / person (Rinca, Manta Point, Kalong Island, Kanawa, Kelor & Pink Beach). Just walk across the main street and you can easily find the information board almost in every tour shops.
Private boat 3D2N (IDR 5000k for up to 4 pax or usually they will charge you around IDR 1500k per pax - bargain and keep bargain!). The destination will be similar to the above review or you may do the negotiation based on which one you intend to visit.
For my trip, I used Pak Mat’s service (+62821-4570-4054) which I couldnt expect to be more satisfying. I believe that he shall be one of the most popular boat captain in local blogs. He is damn nice, informative, and a skilful captain. what a total joy!
Want to look for another boat to compare the price? Try to go to the port and ask any local guys there. However, just be careful because they may be just a broker so the price offer may be more expensive. Another alternative is just asking someone in your hotel that perhaps you can trust, or if you join any diving trip - then you can get someone there to ask whether they have any acquaintance of boat captain. By this, you can directly meet the owner / the captain so the price offered will not be escalated.