Travel To Labuan Bajo + Komodo, NTT

If you're looking for the mother of all trips, Komodo National Park is easily up there. A 3 night, 4 day visit is just enough of a trip to revive your appreciation for the outdoors.

I've done three trips there this year; Once on a boat with my 63 year-old Bali-based property developer friend, Another with a group of my 7 closest friends from home and finally, a 3-day trip based out of Labuan Bajo - the main port town to fly into and start from. If you prefer a luxurious stay, try the new Ayana Komodo on Labuan Bajo. For a more paired back experience, Bintang Flores did the job quite nicely. If you're a little more social, choose The Palm Komodo where you can cross paths with other travelers.

There's just something about being on the water in a traditional Indonesian Phinisi. While boat exteriors can be quite paired back, some owners have gone out of their way to create charmingly decorated interior cabins. Indonesia has a mandate that all boats in and around those waters need to be Indonesian built. UNESCO now recognizes this art as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Fly from Jakarta - Labuan Bajo (2 Hours 30 by Batik Air, Garuda Indonesia) or Bali - Labuan Bajo (55 Minutes on Wings Air, NAM Air, Garuda Indonesia)

Boats to take - Le Pirate Explorer to Le Pirate Island, Oceanus Boating Company and Kelana Boat for a private liveaboard experience. Oceanus was a personal favorite for it's beautiful furnishings and exceptionally clean bathrooms.

Taxis around Labuan Bajo are available. Contact for bookings but they provide rates on the fly so be sure to check. Renting a motorbike is also a decent way to get around.

Places like Labuan Bajo tend to attract a lot of early adopters that were looking for something off the beaten path. Like so many, they came, they admired, they stayed and set something up. Because of this you'll find some standout restaurants around town that are always busy so go early. La Cucina always has a massive line outside, MadeinItaly was a beautiful surprise and The Happy Banana is a brunch-time crowd favorite. 

- SM


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