18 April 2018
The Gateway to Komodo
From a small fishing town, Labuan Bajo has grown into a burgeoning tourist spot. People flock to the once-quiet area from around the globe hoping to get a glimpse the world-famous Komodo dragons.
Located at the westernmost tip of Flores island, Labuan Bajo is the capital of the district of West Manggarai in West Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia. Labuan Bajo has become a hub for visitors wanting to explore the island’s interior and trying to catch a sighting of the giant lizards. Labuan Bajo lies within Komodo National Park which was declared a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1991.
Komodo National Park encompasses the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Padar, along with several smaller islands, and the western part of Flores, plus the surrounding waters. The Park has helped to cultivate a comprehensive range of facilities and activities in the area for tourists to enjoy. Labuan Bajo has become popular not just with Dragon hunters but also as a destination for divers.
Among its many assets, perhaps the most significant is Labuan Bajo’s spectacular natural scenery. Visitors can hike to one of the surrounding hills or mountains to enjoy a perfect panoramic view over the harbor and countless coastal islets edged with slivers of white sand that lead out to the expanse of glimmering azure water. The beauty of the area extends from the land to the depths of the ocean and for those wishing to explore the later, organizing a snorkeling or diving trip will be easy thanks to the numerous tour operators stationed in the town.
Labuan Bajo is flourishing and becoming one of Indonesia’s brightest tourism jewels. In 2017, the city successfully hosted the Komodo Festival and Komodo Carnival. Thanks to all it has to offer, the Tourism Ministry has included Labuan Bajo in its 10 Priority Destinations program along with Lake Toba, Tanjung Kelayang, Tanjung Lesung, Thousand Islands, Borobudur Temple, Mount Bromo, Mount Semeru, Mandalika, Wakatobi and Morotai.