Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport is 13 kilometres south of Denpasar. It’s Indonesia’s third-busiest international airport and currently one that has a visa waiver on Australians travelling to the country as a tourist (at the time of writing this post was still valid). A saving of about USD35.00 per adult.
A short flight of 90 minutes duration and Labuan Bajo (LBJ) is well serviced by Garuda Indonesia Airlines from Denpasar.
Until not so long ago, Flores was hardly penetrable because of the chain of volcanoes which stretch across the 450 kilometre long but narrow island. Increasing numbers of tourists are visiting as Flores I’m told, is what Bali used to be like, but only 40 years ago.
When you see the harbour for the first time, you’ll know this is a hidden gem, with stunning views of which even the locals will stop to take in the breathtaking aspect of this ramshackle hilltop’s vantage point.
My stay was with the Jayakarta Suites Komodo-Flores is perhaps the best property located on the white sandy beaches of Labuan Bajo’s outskirts. It’s simply surrounded by beautiful sea views and stunning mountainous scenery.
A walk along the foreshore from the property, it’s incredibly quiet and the water seems much calmer and safer here.
A five-minute ride by Jayakarta Resort’s shuttle service into the centre of the township reveals one of the jumping-off points for the trip to Komodo and Rinca Islands. It also marks the completion (or starting) point of the popular Lombok-Sumbawa-Komodo-Flores boat trips.
The giant pre-historic lizards, Komodo Dragons can be found in the Komodo National Park only half an hour or so by boat from Labuan Bajo. However, Rinca Island ( or Pulau Rinca) is a more convenient place to see them rather than Komodo island. The mating season for the dragons is July and August so they are often harder to spot during this time. Some privacy please …
Yeah, yeah I know I shouldn’t be picked up by strangers on motorbikes, but $5.00 for a few hours seems reasonable for a bird’s eye view of the island – and besides I’m much bigger than my poor little driver.
So this is what it’s like to fill up at the fuel station … hop in line and wait for your turn.
Some absolute bargains around, just a little difficult to take home at times but worth considering.
And some times, you’ll meet up with the youngsters from the neighbourhood. The cost for this photo was a pen each. Don’t forget when you travel to various destinations that pens, notepads and any other stationery is greatly appreciated by schools. Great way of clearing out the drawers at home and helping out because most of these items are quite expensive for young families.
Excellent to see children having fun with some old paint cans and not yet caught up in the techno age.
There’s a number of other touristic sights in Flores such as Mirror Cave, Snake Cave, Cunca Rami Waterfall and the markets at night.
Stall holders are always friendly and happy enough to do a deal.
Hot, hot, hot are these chilies …
Down by the waterfront of the township, it’s sort of l-shaped with a fish market worthy of an early morning browse in the centre. The main street only goes around one way – so if you’re in a vehicle and miss something, you’ll have to go round again. And why not? The view from the top is spectacular.
The marketers set up early in the evening and are open till approximately 9:00 pm each night with a number of food stalls and small eateries. There’s also shops to purchase any necessities if need. Fresh grilled fish and other Indonesian dishes are on offer and the prices depend on the type of fish and its size.
Like a good strong coffee? Flores is definitely the place to purchase your stash.
As dusk sets in, so does the spectacular sights of the region, gorgeous coral reefs and more than fifty dive spots around the island. It’s a fantastic place to experience different adventures such as diving, snorkelling and fishing – just a divine paradise for all to enjoy.
For dinner at the resort, I’m trying out the local dish of Kerapu which is a yellow fish soup with rice. The chef here makes it with so many of the traditional spices which Indonesia is famous for – don’t go past this one!
Pool at the Jayakarta Resort is easily accessible with the most stunning sunsets each night – just absorb it as you’re soaking up the panorama whilst splashing around in the cool water.