The first time I heard about the boat trip from Lombok to Labuan Bajo was when I visited Satonda Island in 2010. I saw a boat passing by the island where we were and our guide told me about the boat trip. Since then, I kept dreaming of joining the trip. It seemed fun & adventurous! But for a long time, I had never gotten the chance since life took me elsewhere. So when we lived in Jakarta, I asked Kyle what if we could go to Komodo island, promising he could see the most beautiful beaches Indonesia has to offer. And finally I was able to join the boat trip from Lombok to Labuan Bajo!
Despite living not very far from the sea (we lived in Central Park, West Jakarta), we didn’t visit the beaches very often. I didn’t really enjoy Thousand Islands and often I was busy with my job, which sometimes required me to work on the weekend. But one time, I got 7 days off so we both decided to leave Jakarta immediately!
A BOAT TRIP FROM LOMBOK TO LABUAN BAJO
I did my research to find out how to do the boat trip from Lombok to Labuan Bajo. Though a Facebook group called Backpacker Indonesia, I found an operator called Wanua Adventures. The operator got a lot of positive reviews from the group members and they all seemed happy with Wanua. Soon after I found their page, I contacted them and booked a 4D3N boat trip from Lombok to Labuan Bajo.
The price is Rp.2.500.000,00 per person for the boat trip with a cabin room. It’s slightly more expensive than the price for sleeping on the deck. Since we want to be able to sleep more comfortably I chose the cabin. Pak Yayat from Wanua Adventures gave me a discount so we paid Rp.2.400.000,00 for each of us. The price also included a pick-up service from Lombok International Airport to Labuhan Lombok harbor, meals 3x per day, and entrance fee to Komodo national park.
The boat departs to Flores from Lombok every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. When we landed at Lombok International Airport on Saturday morning, Pak Yayat and friends were waiting for us at the airport. With a car, they took us to the harbor located on the eastern side of the island. It took around 1 hour to get to the harbor. But when we got to the harbor, we didn’t have to wait long to get on board since the boat was ready.
My first impression of the boat was positive. It looked nice, clean, and well-maintained. Compared to the other companies’ boats I saw on the harbor, the Wanua Adventures boat was much larger, and seemed much more comfortable. There was plenty of room in the main deck/ eating area, and a nice spot at the front of the boat to enjoy some sun while sailing. The deck (sleeping area) is spacious and clean. Mattresses, pillows, and blankets were prepared for about 25 passengers. On the bottom floor I found our cabin. It was small but equipped with a mattress that was quite comfortable, along with a fan. There wasn’t much space to keep our stuff so we had to put our belongings on the bed as well. Beside our cabin, there was one more cabin. A French family stayed there.
Before the boat trip from Lombok to Labuan Bajo started, I was feeling a little bit nervous due to a boat accident that had happened at Lake Toba, North Sumatra before because of overcapacity. But Wanua assured me that they were taking passenger safety seriously. Since there were 30 passengers at the time, Wanua decided to use 1 boat. If there were more than 30 people, they would use 2 boats.
DAY 1 – TRIP DEPARTURE AND SAIL TO KENAWA ISLAND
We were lucky that the boat trip from Lombok to Labuan Bajo got off to a very smooth start. The waves weren’t that big so we could enjoy the scenery around Sumbawa island while had lunch together. Around 4 PM, the boat arrived at Kenawa island. This is the first island that we visited during the boat trip from Lombok to Labuan Bajo.
Kenawa island is a small uninhabited island located just 58,2 km from Lombok island at the northwestern side of Sumbawa island. Located at Alas strait, it’s part of Poto Tano district, West Sumbawa regency, West Nusa Tenggara. Kenawa island has a unique topography where most of its surface is covered by a green meadow. A hill stands at the tip of the island. We visited Kenawa island during the dry season so we didn’t get to see how green the meadow was. Instead, we get to see the sea of brown grass. Kyle said he prefers to see the green meadow but for me brown meadow also nice and unique. I had never seen scenery like that in Indonesia.
Due to its unique topography, Kenawa island is a popular destination for Indonesian tourists. People came to take pictures and to camp.
We hiked to the peak of the hill to enjoy the spectacular view of Alas strait and Sumbawa island in the distance. On the way back, we found a few houses with odd shapes stands on one side of the island. Its shape was round and decorated with many glass bottles. I was very intrigued by the house since it looked like alien houses! When we took a look inside the house, a couple of white people welcomed us and told us that they are the scientist who participating in a program called Earthship, which means they living in a kind of home made of natural and recycled materials to save the environment.
It was a strange yet exciting experience to see such houses in an uninhabited island near Sumbawa. Before came back on the boat, some people bought beer from the only warung on the island.
DAY 2 : MOYO ISLAND WATERFALL TREK & SNORKELING
The 2nd day of boat trip from Lombok to Labuan Bajo was started with breakfast at 8 AM. I woke up feeling a bit dizzy since the waves got higher and shook the boat many times. I had to take a motion sickness medicine to be able to sleep well.
Right after the breakfast was finished, the boat crews told us to get on the small boat. The boat then took us to a small island called Moyo island. I’ve been curious with this island for a long time! Back to my work trip to Sumbawa & Satonda island in 2010, the guide told me that Princess Diana and her lover came to the beautiful island for vacation. The island should be amazing if she decided to visit it among other destinations in the world, I thought at that time.
Another reason why I was very excited to visit Moyo island is that I heard there was a very pretty waterfall in the middle of the island. But unfortunately, we didn’t visit this waterfall. Instead, we visited a small waterfall that looked exactly like a normal waterfall. It wasn’t huge and nothing special compared to other waterfalls in Southeast Asia. Even Kedung pedut in Kulonprogo, Yogyakarta is way nicer! The boat crew told me we can’t go to the pretty waterfall since we would have to pass the resort area and it’s not free. How disappointing…
But even though I didn’t get to visit the pretty waterfall, I quite enjoyed a mini-trek through Moyo island. It was a short 20 minute walk through the jungle to a tucked-away waterfall.
The rest of the day was spent snorkeling & swimming. Since the boat didn’t stop anywhere that day, it became a great opportunity for us to have a little group bonding with our fellow travelers.
DAY 3 : GILI LABA DARAT ISLAND – MANTA POINT – PINK BEACH – KOMODO VILLAGE
This was by far my favorite day of the trip. We woke up before sunrise to visit Gili Laba Darat island. This island was my favorite island during the trip from Lombok to Labuan Bajo.
Gili Laba Darat, also known as Gili Lawa is one of several breathtaking viewpoints in Komodo National Park, Flores. Most people come to see the sunrise, so did we. I was amazed once we got off the boat: the first thing I saw on the island were some deer roaming around. Wow, I had never seen deers or other animals in the wilderness of Indonesia! The atmosphere of Gili Laba Darat also felt like Africa since the grass has turned brown.
The island consists of several hills. We all hiked to one hill for around 40 minutes. By the time I reached the peak, the sun was rising high in the east, creating a magical moment for all of us. The scenery was wonderful, very scenic & breathtaking! The deep blue ocean stretched as far as I could see, surrounded by the cool brown hills. The landscape of the islands rising out of the sea was also incredible. The hike was not bad at all and was worth every drop of sweat for the pictures.
After the spectacular Laba View Point, we headed back down to our boat and set sail for Manta Point. I didn’t snorkel since I was feeling tired but Kyle did. He said it was an awesome experience seeing many manta rays!
In the afternoon, the boat was approaching Komodo island. But we won’t be visiting the komodo dragons until the last day. The boat then took us to the infamous pink beach that’s also located at Komodo island. I was a bit skeptical about the numerous publicities of pink beach. I thought it wouldn’t be as gorgeous as seen on the internet. But I was wrong! The pink beach was nice, cool, and lovely! We had a great time enjoying the beach & swimming there.
In case you are wondering why the sand looks pink, the beaches are said to get their color from microscopic animals called foraminifer. These tiny little creatures have pink shells and live in coral reefs surrounding the beach. Consequently, pink sand is a mix of shells, coral, and calcium carbonate.
The last place we visited during 3rd day of the boat trip from Lombok to Labuan Bajo was Komodo village. Komodo is a village located in the subdistrict of Komodo, West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara province. The village encompasses the territory of Komodo Island and the small surrounding islands.
I can’t say the visit to Komodo village was enjoyable. It was a good opportunity for us to see the real-life of local people. We wandered around the stilt houses that were built to not get flooded by high tide and bought snacks and drinks at some warungs. Some travelers even played football with the local kids. But I didn’t like what I saw in the village. The beach looked very dirty, I also saw a pile of trash around the corners of the village. More than that, I read a story where kids had to stop their education since they have to go to Flores to continue their studies but the families don’t have enough money to pay the school fee. I also heard the only opportunity for them is to work as a ranger in Komodo national park. As an Indonesian, I support the central & local governments’ preservation of the Komodo Dragon. But providing a better life and easy access to education is essential and mandatory for Komodo villagers. Education is the key to creating a better life for all of them and they deserve to get it since they are also Indonesian!
DAY 4 : KOMODO ISLAND – KELOR ISLAND – LABUAN BAJO, FLORES
The fourth and final day of the trip. It’s time to visit Komodo National park and see these beasts in person. We got off the boat and made the short walk to the entrance of the national park. In contrast with Komodo village, Komodo national park looked nice, clean, and well-maintained.
We were told that since it was mating seasons for the komodo dragons, it was pretty rare to see them on the island. But once we arrived at the entrace we were surprised by our ranger who asked us to go to the beach. It turned out there was one komodo dragon there lying on the sand. Everyone on our group seemed amazed seeing Komodo dragon in person. It was huge and looked dangerous!
During the journey around Komodo National Park, we were always guided by one or two rangers. It’s mandatory to follow them since they know well about the beast and the island. A few tourists in the past who thought they were smarter than the rangers ended up get bitten by Komodo Dragons, resulting in painful wounds or death.
It was nice hiking around Komodo island. We got to see 3 Komodo dragons in total.
After the excitement of seeing three different Komodo dragons when the expectation were rather low, we got back on our boat and made our way to the last stop: Kelor island. It was also a nice small island. Kyle snorkeled and happy with the variety of fishes he saw, but I preferred to enjoy the scenery around the island. There was also a small hill on the island but we were too lazy to hike under the heat.
After the group returned from Kelor island, we set sail for our final destination — Labuan Bajo.
We also enjoyed Labuan Bajo even though the town was dusty. But I liked the scenery and variety of restaurants there. When I get another chance, I am sure going to visit Labuan Bajo again, maybe by flying from Bali to Labuan Bajo.
FOOD & DRINK
If you join the boat trip from Lombok to Labuan Bajo as I did, you’ll get three meals each day, and there’s pretty much always enough for seconds. Most of the meals are served with some soy-based dishes like tofu or tempeh, a vegetable dish, plain rice (and noodles occasionally), meat, and a fruit platter. They have tons of cases of bottled drinking water. There’s also unlimited coffee and tea. Also — before you get on board you have the option of buying beer and soda from a vendor who will run to the store and grab them for you. You also can buy beer at some warungs like in Kenawa island or Komodo island. I recalled there were also some boats that came just to sell beers & snacks to us.
IS THE BOAT TRIP WORTH IT ?
Joined the boat trip from Lombok to Labuan Bajo was absolutely worth it. It was a once in a life experience to live aboard a boat for 4D3N in one of the most scenic parts of Indonesia. It wasn’t very comfortable though since the boat was shaken by the waves many times and I didn’t get the chance to have a proper shower for a few days. It was definitely different from cruising in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam where we were staying in a nice cruise. But it was still a very unique and memorable experience for us.
If you are considering taking the boat trip from Lombok to Labuan Bajo, I’ll tell you, just take it. You’re comfort levels are tested at times, but it is absolutely worth it. You’re guaranteed to see some incredible sights, meet awesome people, and have the trip of a lifetime.
PS : Don’t forget to bring a book, snacks & drinks and sunscreen before you join the Lombok to Flores boat trip 4 days 3 nights…
Curious about my adventures in Europe and America ?. You can click the following links to see my traveling videos that have aired on Net TV :
- Desa Hallstatt, Desa dengan Arsitektur Klasik di Pinggir Danau
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