How to get there?
It’s not so easy, but it’s not that hard either. You don’t need a special helicopter like John Hammond in Jurassic Park, as we have some commercial flights that can bring you there. What you need is a flight to Bali (Denpasar). You might question my suggestion, but I tell you that the flight through Bali is the cheapest one you can get compared to a direct flight from Jakarta. If you are stubborn and insist on going from Jakarta, you will need to pay more and have some transits in Ende, Bajawa or Kupang. So, book a ticket from Jakarta to Bali, and Bali to Labuan Bajo. Last time I used Merpati Airlines, which went bankrupt right after I used it.
The flight will take an hour from Bali. With a really small fleet (usually ATR 72 S or MA 60 S). I suggest you bring book or a video/pocket camera as you will witness an incredible view from above. Yes, as they can’t fly as high as Airbus or Boeing, you can still see the collection of islands that spread over a large of water.
List of airlines that fly from Bali - Labuan Bajo:
Don’t be shocked! The airport is undoubtedly mini, as it is located on the small island. So, as your plane reaches the ground, you won’t find any fancy building made of glass with “BLA BLA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT” written in big black letters. No. Just no.
You will find quite a short runway, surrounded by hills. Going out from the board, you will find a sculpture of Komodo sitting. This place is a famous mark of this airport, so you need to line up sometimes just to take a picture.
In the arrival longue, there was a curious mixture of tired, confused and excited people. Some of them were looking for the baggage claim. Yet, as this airport means airport literally, without any facilities like plasma screen of arrival and departure, customs or baggage claim, they didn’t find any of their baggages. After a short while, an officer with a huge trolley full of backpacks and any other bags, came up and shouted loudly “Bag! Please take your baggage! Please check again and make sure that it’s your bag!” Later he put all the bags to the floor and let the passengers pick it up. I like this way more than waiting for my baggage coming on the machine.
There are various hotels available here. And I think the amount is increasing after our government decided to promote this land as one of the must-visit destinations in Indonesia. You can choose a hotel that is located right by the beach or on the hill like mine was. But the most important thing is: the hotel must be close to the harbor, so it won’t be hard for you to take the boat to the island or for diving. The closest road to the harbor is Jalan Soekarno Hatta. My hotel was there. But the problem is that in Labuan Bajo, you won’t find any limousine or taxi. So, when somebody asked me to join a car full of French Tourists, me and my husband nodded our heads.
In the middle of the journey, suddenly the driver stopped his car. I thought that they decided to get rid out of us. But they just wanted to strike a pose with an impossibly blue sky as a background.
As it wasn’t a real taxi, they just stopped at the hotel of those tourists. The driver told me to take another public transportation to our hotel. I was like: OMG, I paid and you just dropped me by their hotels... and the distance was not so far, so I bet he could drive us to the hotel if he was eager to do it! But, let it be..
The hotel at which I stayed was located on the hill. Its name was Centro Bajo Hotel. I found it on Agoda.com. The rating wasn’t so great, but sometimes we can’t believe people who just put their spoiled point of view in a comment, can we?
For me, the hotel was cool, or maybe it’s just because I am the kind of person who is easily satisfied.. Also I don’t find any reason to give a bad rating to a hotel that offered you banana fritters, coffee and tea 2 times per day: in the morning and in the evening along with breakfast and dinner. I just don’t understand people who keep murmuring that they should make the breakfast choice more varied. Dude, if you want to vary your breakfast, choose 5-star hotels or luxury restaurants. You choose a 3-star hotel and you complain too much. Good that they have omelette, fried rice, toasts with jam and fruits for breakfast! For dinner you can choose from their menu!
The small but cozy restaurant is located in the left wing of the second floor. In the right wing, you will find a number of rooms. This building is a three storey building attached to the hill. No wonder you will find a sign board that shows you the way to the hill in case you want to watch the sunset.
On the third floor you will find meetings rooms and such. The main building and those rooms were connected by a bamboo bridge. As the hotel had a really friendly environment, majority of the facilities were made of wood or bamboo.
For your information: don’t expect any hot water as they don’t have it.