After four days on a boat with no shower and little comfort, it was a relief to finally sleep in a bed again and enjoy the luxury of a bathroom, even though we had to pay 300.000 Rp for the room. But as we had to experience right from the start, Flores is in comparison to the rest of the country, especially in relation with the standards you get here, totally overpriced. Nevertheless, Labuan Bajo is a nice little ex-fishing village that is rising up to the new hotspot in Flores, since many tourist fly to the new small airport almost directly in town to go diving and explore the Komodo National Park. The harbor is stunningly beautiful, not only at sunrise or sunset and is filled with wooden little fishing/diving or tour boats in all colors.
Along the main road the usual vendors, agents and many diving schools try to get the attention of the few passing tourists and numerous cafes and restaurants (many Italian btw. what’s up with that?) entice the exhausted tourist with a perfect view over the bay and cozy beanbags. Apart of that, Labuan Bajo is hot, really hot – also for indonesian standards – and at mid-day it’s easy to fall into a sedative state even when seated under a fan with a cool drink in your hand. Life is tough
Nevertheless, together with Malin and Henrik we went to discover some nearby caves, which are supposed to possess some impressive mirroring effects. In the morning between 8 and 10, sunlight falls into one cave through a tiny hole onto the walls which reflect the light through their special mineral composition. However, the caves itself are rather small and not really impressive, but since we went without a guide and only equipped with a dying flashlight and a lighter, we had a great time crawling around in the dark never knowing how deep the cave might lead into the rocks.
The next days we used to plan our further route and enjoyed, we must admit it, the comfort and taste of western cuisine. After several months of Indonesian dishes – they sadly don’t have a great variety of food – of which 90 % is fried, we were seeking a little break. A place we can really recommend spending the day, although it costs a little fortune for Indonesian standards, is the Mediterraneo Restaurant – the first place on Tripadvisor is well earned. Luckily we ran again into Maxi and Marim (from our boat trip), they also decided to stay a few more days in Labuan Bajo before they went on a crazy and completely overcrowded ferry ride to Makassar in Sulawesi – Good luck there and have fun – we may catch up 😉
One day we went diving, a boat trip with three included dives – but since the currents are really strong around Komodo, Amaia decided to go snorkeling instead. The excessive currents were also very stressful for me, but the visibility and the sheer amount of coral fishes is amazing here on Komodo. We can only recommend doing it (Also the relatively new dive shop KOMODO DIVE under german leadership), but you should really have the advanced diving license before considering the spots with strong currents. I was quite stressed after the first dive and went up with a strong headache that sadly made me miss my second dive of the day, where people got to see a lot of sharks, white and grey tips.
Since the president of Indonesia was coming to Labuan Bajo to promote tourism in this area, the harbor got filled with military boats, (destroyers, troop carriers…) and all hotels were full due to the high amount of staff members that follow him around. We therefore moved on to the mountain village of Bajawa in the interior of Flores, where we seek to visit traditional villages of animists. We’ll keep you posted. So long, Erik and Amaia
As always – watch the Flickr pictures in Full Screen and turn on the annotations for additional infos regarding the images.