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Labuan Bajo

Located on the west of Flores island encircled by crystal blue waters and a pristine white-sand coast, Labuan Bajo is primarily a launchpad from which to set off to the Komodo Islands (hence why the local airport has been renamed after this renowned beauty spot). These islands, including Padar and Rinca, can be reached in a relaxing 2 hour boat journey.

Since becoming a busy transport hub, this town has accelerated from a low-key fishing village to a more modern spot with some flashy recent additions, like its renovated marina and handful of fine dining restaurants.

While Labuan Bajo provides beautiful sunset views across the sea that set the sky alight with violet hues and is nice enough, it is worth noting that the hotels on offer here are not of the highest quality. As a result of this, it has become a popular spot for backpackers, so to avoid these crowds we recommend staying aboard luxury sailing boats - take your pick between MantraAlila Purnama and Alexa - or, set sail on our favourite yacht, Tiger Blue.

However, if you do choose to stay on this part of the island, we recommend you visit Waecicu Beach to swim and a snorkel in its crystal-clear waters, or to simply lie back and relax on its soft sandy shore. End the day with a visit to the night markets and try local delicacies like ‘ayam bakar’ (grilled chicken) and ‘ikan bakar’ (grilled fish) here, or head towards the international restaurants serving great Italian cuisine.

The most lively time of year to visit Labuan Bajo is during the month-long Komodo Festival, which occurs annually to celebrate the culture and beauty of the Komodo Islands and its National Park (as its name suggests!). Festivities range right from parades and rowing races, to handicraft exhibitions and music performances.

All in all, we believe this harbour town should only be visited if used as a gateway to its mesmerising surroundings.

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