So.. The Flores Adventure Began!
Hubby and I recently talked about visiting at least one new place (particularly on islands outside Java) whenever we go back to Indonesia. This time, we picked Labuan Bajo. He wanted to see Komodo dragons at the Komodo Island, which lies west of Flores. And I, can always go for some fun time in the water. Talk about a win-win here!
Let's talk a bit about accommodations in Labuan Bajo as well just to give some insights on traveling to and getting around in it.
|What a scenic way to the Komodo Island!|
Since there's no direct flight from Jogjakarta to Labuan Bajo, we flew Air Asia from Jogja to Denpasar, Bali ($50/person). It was a short flight for just a little over one hour. Our flight from Bali to Labuan Bajo was delayed, leaving us four hours to kill in Bali. Getting from the Denpasar airport to Legian (one of the main touristy areas in Bali) should not have taken long at all, but due to heavy traffic it took about 35 minutes to get there. Getting back to the airport took about 45 minutes. If you have less than 4 hours to kill at Bali airport during the day, I would recommend hanging around inside the airport instead of getting out and risking not making it back on time to the airport.
Catching a taxicab from the arrival area at DPS is rather costly, about 3-4 times higher than normal price: most taxi drivers at the arrival (both domestic and international) would want to drive you to Kuta/Legian/Jimbaran/Seminyak areas for anywhere between 100,000-200,000 IDR. We got to Legian by a car via Gojek App, and it only costed us 20,000 IDR. But I guess to be more practical, especially if you don't speak Indonesian.. my recommendation would be to go to the departure level (either domestic or international) and wait for a blue-colored Bluebird Taxi that's just there to drop off passengers. The trick is to be quick in approaching the driver and asking them for a ride, because they are not supposed to wait around to get passengers at the airport. Bluebirds are meter taxis and well-reputable; the fare is not as cheap as Gocar/Gojek but still quite reasonable.
The flight from Denpasar to Labuan Bajo took about 55 minutes. We took Nam Air, leaving DPS at 5 pm, arriving LBJ airport around 6 pm. The air fare was quite low at around 65 USD/person.
|Labuan Bajo Airport|
Guess what's waiting for us at LBJ? Yeah, more taxi drivers wanting to take us to our hotel! They wanted 100,000 IDR (about 7-8 USD) for a 10-min ride (4.6 km) to Puri Sari Beach Hotel. Tried to haggle but they were very persistent. This may seem very cheap by the American standard, but trust me.. that's a much marked-up price by the local standard. I would do 50,000 IDR but not twice that! I contacted our hotel right away (which I should have done way earlier/a few days before arriving LBJ) and turned out that they had a free airport shuttle - awesome! They also provide shuttle trips (if you wish to go outside their daily scheduled free shuttle) for 50,000 IDR one way -including to airport and anywhere in downtown area.
|Our room in Puri Sari Beach Hotel|
Our hotel, Puri Sari Beach Hotel, is a beach-front hotel and has a nice garden surrounding it. It's only about 7 minutes away from downtown Labuan Bajo by car. We got a good deal on this hotel for about 60 USD/night. The room's furniture was a bit dated, but the room itself was clean and very spacious. The garden is also beautiful. They have a massage hut by the pool, as well as a kayak rental place by the beach. Our room to the beach was less than a minute walk. The restaurant had a live music of Sasando (traditional Flores instrument) the first night we arrived. If you're too lazy to head to town for dinner, this restaurant would make a great choice. They have both Indonesian and western selections,.. our dishes were good all around, and let me tell ya.. the oreo milkshake was the bomb!
On to the next post about our day trip to the Komodo Island!
|Pool view at the Puri Sari|
|Hubby heading to our room|
|Coming down to the lobby from the restaurant|
|Puri Sari Beach Hotel lobby|
|Us at the hotel beach|
|Who could resist a view this serene and peaceful?|