Indonesia has an astounding 17,500 plus islands located between Singapore and Australia. Its population of 250 million is spread over the many outlying islands and the main capital of Jakarta.
Tourism is a vital factor in the economy, with the Island of Gods, Bali, leading the way; then on the horizon the stunning Komodo islands and the breathtaking national park which covers the region. The deep blue waters with white sandy beaches are also home to the fearsome Komodo dragon, a major tourist attraction.
The little town of Labuan Bajo is the main port. The local airport is serviced by most Indonesian airlines from Jakarta, Denpasar and many other larger cities, though it does not, as yet, have the status of an international airport.
Labuan Bajo is just a 45 minute flight from Bali. As you’re flying, you’ll marvel at the many small islands scattered around East Nusa Tenggara province. With the sun shining when you land and warm smiles everywhere, you’ll already be feeling at home as you prepare to explore.
The little town has a number of hotels, from the luxury Ayana Komodo resort, to a broad range of mid-size hotels offering great value from US$70 upwards, including the Bintang Flores Hotel located on the shores overlooking the bay and harbour. Another very inviting offer is the Komodo island resort – www.komodoresort.com
Located 30 minutes by boat from the harbour, Komodo brings you the authentic feel of the islands, strolling into the warm waters for a morning snorkel or a quick dip.
Accommodation in the town is within easy access of the airport. So is the harbour, where the real action should be part of any visitor’s trip.
The best way to explore is by sea:
There are many different ways to do this, from the amazing luxury yachts to the more local style “phinisi’”. The newest addition to luxury sea-trips is the wonderfully restored www.kudanil.com. It offers 8 high-end hotel-style cabins and excellent dining options. The boutique ship was restored recently and can access the many spectacular islands around Indonesia. The Kudanil has an international crew. They will ensure you are well taken care of and will be happy to take you to the most remote areas where few go. For the more traditional option of the phinisi, simply go online and you will find a number of operators who provide this service. The older style fishing schooners average 25-plus metres, so there is plenty of space to relax in. The recommended number of passengers is six (or three couples), plus six crew, who will cook and clean for so you can relax as you travel the many islands in style.
A trip to Bali should not be rushed. Reserve a few days for discovering the many beautiful islands. You’ll no doubt find many reasons to return and explore even more!
John T G Nielsen
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