10 Kick-Ass Things to do in Labuan Bajo

Labuan Bajo is a small town nestled in western part of Flores, Indonesia. It used to be a fishing village but now it’s a thriving hub for Indonesian tourism. Labuan Bajo is just a lazy, laid-back town by the beach, however, it is the launching point for big adventures and exciting experiences for travelers.

My trip to Labuan Bajo last month was simply incredible. It was part of the “Trip of Wonders” organised by Ministry of Tourism, Indonesia along with 35 other bloggers and influencers.

With so much to do, see and experience, this place left me amazed and wanting more. I created this list from my own experiences and the places I was lucky enough to see in my short 3 days there. Pretty sure there are many more islands, beaches and interesting places to visit in Labuan Bajo- which means, I need to come back soon to explore more!

My Favorite Things to do in Labuan Bajo in 3 days

things to do in Labuan Bajo

Experiencing local culture at Melo Village

Kampung Melo was our first stop in Labuan Bajo. After a traditional warm welcome by the Manggarai, we witnessed an array of cultural performances, relished local Manggarai cuisine and experienced their way of life.

Warm welcome by The Manggarai people

Warm welcome by The Manggarai people

The villagers make the complicated process of Ikat weaving look like child’s play. Their traditional bamboo pole game, Caci dance and various other forms of dancing were quite enjoyable and make for the perfect half day tour.

The Caci dance is perhaps the most integral part of their culture. It is a whip fight where male members of the Manggarai hold a whip and shield in either hands to demonstrate philosophical values and beliefs of their tribe. The entire village is involved and comes to life with the sound of chants, songs and bells.

Men preparing for the Caci dance ritual

Men preparing for the Caci dance ritual

Visiting Komodo National park

Komodo national park was the most sought after stop in the itinerary for me and luckily, it did not disappoint. The park is home to over 4000 Komodo monitor lizards.

Time to meet the dragons

Time to meet the dragons

Komodo island is the only place in the world where you can see these dragons and hence is a popular tourist attraction…And let me tell you, these lizards are massive.

The mighty Komodo dragons

The mighty Komodo dragons

I was especially respectful of these majestic creatures when I heard man-eating encounters of Komodo dragons in the park. There had been 2 incidents where humans were prey to these dominant predators who are fast and agile. They ambush their prey using their natural camouflage and watch their prey with patience before pouncing with their strong claws in teeth. It is no wonder that sometimes, they can even take down large animals like water buffaloes.

shane travel camel

With Shane (aka Travel Camel) as we hear Komodo stories of horror from the ranger

If you don’t believe me, watch this video of these powerful Komodo dragons hunting their prey – Yes, even buffaloes, deer, cobra and pigs!

You might also enjoy -   Tantalizing My Taste Buds in Pondicherry

Chilling at the Pink beach

Pink beach, locally known as Pantai Merahis gets it’s name from Foraminifera which look like tiny pink corals and are spread all around the beach giving it a pink tinch, especially on the shoreline.

Pink beach with the tinted pink shoreline

Pink beach with the tinted pink shoreline

It is the perfect place for a dip, sun bathing, hiking, sunset watching or snorkeling.

A perfect spot to enjoy the view

A perfect spot to enjoy the view

Wait you can even pose at the pink beach. Look at these wonderful blue layers of water in the ocean, making for an excellent backdrop.

Posing at the pink beach

Posing at the pink beach

Cruising through Kalong Island

As our first day at Labuan came to and end, we decided to enjoy the melting sun on our speed boat. I was surprised to see millions of bats (flying foxes) hovering around as the sun set and realized we were just next to the famous “Bat island”. This was quite an experience with the bats flying around as the sun sets in the horizon and the waves cradle our boat.

Bats hovering over the mangroves

Bats hovering over the mangroves

24 hours sailing experience

This was by far the highlight of my current Indonesian escapade. If you happen to be in Labuan Bajo, don’t miss this chance to get live on board a lovely sail boat and cruise through the islands. You will be surrounded by epic beauty and enjoy many adventures/ activities whilst at it.

phinisi felicia

One of the 3 boats we rented for 24 hours!

Here are some of the things we did while onboard “Phinisi Felicia” –

Snorkeling in Kanawa island

exotic blue star fish

Okay so I didn’t find nemo this time but many of these lovely blue star fish

Labuan Bajo with its clear blue green waters and mesmerizing scenic views, offers a vivid underwater life as well. I was amazed at the variety of coral reefs and fish I saw in these stunning waters. For me, this was the best snorkeling experience ever.

selfies while snorkeling

Hell yeah, I can take selfies when I snorkel lol

Exploring Mesa Village

Next on our list was a short stop to see this village on stilts. This village consists of over 1500 people and they don’t have any fresh water at all.

With the wonderful Mesa village kids. Photo credits @flyingeisha

With the wonderful Mesa village kids. Photo credits @flyingeisha

From what I hear, the villagers are scared of mosquitoes (Dengue) and hence they stopped accumulating water in any form through the years, since we all know mosquitoes breed in water. As per the villagers though, this is just one of the stories that has been passed on through generations and no one really knows how much truth it holds!

Cute houses at the Mesa Village

Cute houses at the Mesa Village

What surprised me most in this village was the fact that all kids were so friendly. They would not hesitate to hold your hand and walk with you as you explore the village and their parents were very supportive of their kids wandering off with strangers. I don’t see this trust a lot while traveling and its heart warming and surprising, both at the same time.

Kids at mesa village

These adorable kids won’t leave my hand even when I am taking a picture 🙂

Hiking up Padar Island

Okay this is definitely a “must-do” if you are in Komodo. During our night at the boat, we made a stop to enjoy sunset from top of Padar island. It was the best decision ever, as this made my entire trip worthwhile – seriously!

hiking up padar island

This is how it feels to be on top of the world – what a view!

I kept hearing how steep and difficult the hike was but I was determined to make it to the top. In all honestly, I would rate it as a moderate (but steep) climb which I enjoyed to the fullest.

Hiking up padar island

Taking pictures and soaking in the beauty of Padar while climbing up.

The best part was when I found my own spot, isolated from the hoards of tourists and photographers, waiting in anticipation for the sun to set.

You might also enjoy -   Hiking in Bandung - Tebing Keraton

It took some effort and grass blade cuts, to walk on unpaved paths to reach the tip of a cliff but as you can see from these pictures, it was totally worth it and the 30 mins I spent looking at this exotic scenery, were surely some of the best moments of my life.

Having the time of my life atop this cliff at Padar

Having the time of my life atop this cliff at Padar

Star gazing

Onboard Felicia, we had a lovely sun deck with lounge bean bags. It was a great place to dance, chat and do some yoga during the day. At night, it was a different ball game all together. As the night approached, I could see the sky light up with millions of stars.. and soon we could see the milky way with our naked eyes. I was so mesmerized by this scene that I was the last one to go to sleep that night. After all, how many times does it happen that you are on a boat amidst untouched natural beauty and get to gaze at a clear sky full of stars and gawk at the milky way? Well, it was surely a first for me!

Jumping off boats

Yes! That’s a thing and also a ‘must try’ experience. Since we were on our lovely exotic Felicia, many fellow members jumped off the boat into the inviting blue green waters.

Jumping off the boat komodo

Rob and Jackson  take a leap of faith from the mast of the boat ; photo credits – Roxy aka The Tiny Taster.

Where to stay in Labuan Bajo

Jayakarta Suites Komodo Flores  – The best part of Jayakarta for me was the pool with the strategically placed huge chess board by it. The fact that it is right next to the beach and offers amazing room views, is definitely a big bonus.

Evening view from my room at Jayakarta suites

Evening view from my room at Jayakarta suites

Phinisi Felicia boat by Plataran – Our night at the boat was one of the top highlights of the trip and everyone at the trip of wonders will vouch for it. Get on-board Phinisi private boats to sail away to glory at Labuan Bajo.

Have you been to Flores or seen any other beautiful islands/ parts of Indonesia? Tell me about your Indonesian escapades in comments below – I am all ears!

How to make the Most of a Short Trip to Jakarta
7 Ways to Finance your Dream Vacation
  • Jackson Groves

    The best time! Thanks for the memories Jo!

    • Thanks Jackson – It was indeed one heck of a trip eh! So cool to have met ya too. Cheers!

  • Thanks Jo and not yet been there. But if all goes well, will soon be. This post is so welcome right now, given that I am preparing to get there.

  • Eric Bravo

    Ohhh!! New photo destination to put on my list! Looks incredible! Thanks for sharing!

  • Patricia Steffy

    It looks like a fantastic trip, and you really covered a lot of ground. I haven’t been to Labuan Bajo, but now I definitely want to. The sailing, the pink beach and the cultural activities you got to witness look incredible. And I can’t believe how huge those Komodo dragons were!!!

    • Yeah I did see a lot in my short 3 days there – it was fantastic though and I look forward to going back and enjoying it at a slower pace 🙂

  • TalesOfABackpacker

    That looks amazing! I would leave to see the Komodo dragons, but am a bit scared of them! I don’t think I could have made that leap of faith either!!

    • Haha, don’t worry there are rangers with you, so its a-okay! The dragons look docile but can be deadly – as long as you are respectful, its fine.

  • Cori Carl

    I’d never heard of Labuan Bajo, but this post really sells it. It looks like an amazing place to visit.

  • That’s gorgeous. I’d never heard of this place before this post. Definitely looks like a must visit. ^^

  • Paige Brown

    Absolutely beautiful! These things look definitely kick-ass! When my husband and I go back to Indonesia, this will definitely be consulted again! I want to go to the pink beach and to see komodo dragons! Thanks for sharing!

    • Oh you must – you guys will LOVE it, I promise! Do lemme know when that happens and I wanna hear about your adventures!

  • Vyjay Rao

    Lovely place. A great experience all together. I would love to immersed in the local culture, it looks so colourful. The pink beach is another enticing place to just chill. I am also really intrigued by the Komodos, they are indeed a unique species.

  • Never heard of Labuan Bajo before reading this but it sounds amazing for sure. This is going right into our bookmarks sections!

  • Lovely fun trip it was Jo! Will cherish fond memories for a long time. 🙂

  • Klipdrifters Trail

    So many fun and adventurous things to do! Would defiantly check out the snorkeling and hiking when we in Labuan Bajo. I don’t think you can ever go wrong with star gazing! Great list!

  • Roxanne Bamboat

    Such a cool post! Those pics look amazing !!

  • Shane Dallas

    So many wonderful memories! I’m impressed how you managed to capture that pink hue of the beach in your pic.