Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, is more than a port town; it’s a destination in itself. Its name, meaning “Place Where the Sea Gypsies Stop Over,” captures the essence of this bustling town. While it’s known as the gateway to Komodo National Park, Labuan Bajo offers a range of accommodations from private island beach bungalows to boutique hotels.
With the 2022 G20 gathering and the 2023 ASEAN Summit on the horizon, the town is gearing up for global attention. Sebastian Pandang, head of the local Indonesian Tourist Guides Association, recommends visiting natural attractions, such as Bukit Cinta, Batu Cermin, Gua Rangko, and Cunca Wulang.
Venturing Further on Flores
For those with time to explore, the island of Flores has much to offer. This long and lush island is twice the size of Bali and is known for its rich tribal cultures and volcanic landscapes. Visitors can hike to the tribal village of Wae Rebo, explore megalithic tombs and matrilineal cultures in Luba and Bena, and witness traditional rituals and sports in the highlands. The volcanic wonder of Kelimutu with its tri-colored crater lakes is another must-see. The Lio people gather at the lakeside every August to honor their ancestors.
Komodo Island: The Land of Dragons
A two-hour boat ride from Labuan Bajo takes you to Komodo Island, famous for its population of Komodo dragons. These impressive creatures have long coexisted with the local villagers of Komodo and Rinca islands, where most of the dragons reside.
Visitors can embark on treks of varying lengths to observe these predators and their natural habitats. While Komodo dragons may appear lethargic, they are powerful predators capable of taking down prey as large as buffaloes.
The Safety of Visitors
Nevertheless, the guidance of rangers ensures the safety of visitors. Scuba enthusiasts are also drawn to Komodo National Park, located at the heart of the Coral Triangle, a global hotspot of marine biodiversity. It offers excellent diving opportunities, teeming with life, from sharks to mantas. Whether you’re a snorkeler or a certified diver, the underwater world of Komodo awaits exploration.
The Coral Triangle’s Marine Riches
Komodo National Park is an outstanding diving destination. Situated in the heart of the Coral Triangle, it boasts incredible marine biodiversity and dynamic currents that nurture vibrant corals and attract diverse sea creatures. Scuba enthusiasts can explore renowned sites like Batu Bolong and Manta Alley, while snorkelers can discover pristine coral gardens and witness manta rays and sea turtles in their natural habitats. The park is a paradise for underwater adventurers.