We overslept. Awkwardly sprawled like drunks on our hotel’s freshly made sheets, we snoozed the remaining part of the afternoon after binging away on crisply fried chickens during lunch. We were exhausted. From the day-long connecting flights from Lombok to Bali and Labuan Bajo, we fell into a deep stupor that lasted exactly an hour later than our scheduled wake up time to attend a sunset cocktail at one of the highest points of the island.
|COLORFUL BOATS DOCKED ALONG LABUAN BAJO’S SMALL PIER|
We arrived in the town of Labuan Bajo in Flores a little after lunch. The town is small, with narrow dusty streets lined with hostels, souvenir shops, diving centers, restaurants serving Western dishes and local warung eateries. Along its sidewalks, we spied European backpackers, barefoot, donning their Bintang singlets and totally unmindful of the afternoon heat. Indeed, this town is a popular base camp for travelers wanting to explore the nearby Padar, Rinca and Komodo Islands.
|A MANDALA AND A WAYANG KULIT DECORATES THE WALLS OF TREETOP RESTAURANT|
Us, we were not about to go off into the sunset just yet. Food beckoned before anything else.
Dropping by the Treetop Seafood Restaurant [CONTACT +62 623 8541310, GPS MAP -8.492603, 119.879186], all forty-nine of us cramped ourselves into their wooden benches, chairs and stools and Instagrammed its very rustic interiors to kingdom come. Amidst enormous wayang kulit puppets and larger than life paintings, we waited for our cue to swarm the buffet table.
|ONE OF THE BEST FRIED CHICKEN OF THE TRIP|
And swarm we did, digging in with our undivided attention to Indonesian tempe, tahu goreng (fried tofu), fried squid, what seems like chop seuy, steamed white rice, and yes, extremely crispy fried chicken that went extremely well with their spicy sambal. The chicken was the first to go, making everyone wish they scooped a few more pieces on their overflowing plates.
|LA PRIMA HOTEL LOBBY|
It was rest time right after and our bed of choice was located at the Laprima Hotel. From impression alone, rising nine storeys high and with a four-star rating, I think this is the most posh hotel in town. While its lobby is expansive and nicely finished in marble, our room was set on the simpler side.
|OUR SPACIOUS ROOM, BEAUTY LIES BEYOND THE CURTAINS|
We were billeted on their Deluxe Double Seaview Room [CHECK RATES & AVAILABILITY], and while it’s also quite spacious and has all the amenities we expected like a flatscreen TV, working table and an en suite toilet and bath, it could’ve used a bit more decor to sass it up.
|THE VIEW FROM OUR PERSONAL BALCONY|
To be fair, what it lacked in interiors, it made up for once I parted its drapes. The view of the Sumba Strait opened right into the room; from the swimming pool below, to the serene waters of the sea beyond. Bobbing slowly on the surface are luxurious yachts, small dinghies and outrigger fishing boats; farther on the horizon, small islands silhouetted by the sun.
|INDONESIA HAS AMAZING SUNSETS|
We slept with this view and woke panicking with the late afternoon sun painting everything in poetic oranges. Everyone was gone by the time we reached the lobby. A private car, to our shame, was waiting for us at the driveway and drove us to Paradise Bar [CONTACT +62 823 39354854,GPS MAP -8.485087, 119.878922]. A few minutes later, we were profusely apologizing to the group for arriving late.
|CONTINUING OUR SUNSET AT LABUAN BAJO’S PARADISE BAR|
Cocktails flooded the open deck overlooking the strait. With a higher elevation, the view was much more panoramic than from our hotel balcony. Well, our drinks and the plates of, surprisingly amazing, fried chicken nuggets probably made it more so.
|A WHARF ALONG THE FLORES SEA|
We stayed for four days at Flores, exploring various islands within its proximity, eating at various restaurants at Labuan Bajo right after, and drinking/partying the night away at the pool area of Laprima to end our day.
|MOONSET OVER FLORES|
On our last day at Labuan Bajo, I miraculously woke up just before the sun rose. I peeked through our floor to ceiling window and was taken with one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen since we started our tour around Indonesia. The moon, full and ripe with golden light, was lowering its slow way down the horizon, bathing and lulling the waters of Flores with its soft glow, saying its goodbye and welcoming a new day of adventure for us.
Address: Jalan Pantai Pedeh No.8, Labuan Bajo,
Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
Contact Number: (+62) 385 244-3700
GPS Coordinates Map: -8.504562, 119.878669