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Choosing between staying in a hotel or a boat in Labuan Bajo

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

-  /  Sun, April 8, 2018  /  09:01 am
Choosing between staying in a hotel or a boat in Labuan Bajo

Aerial view of Padar Island in between Komodo and Rinca islands near Labuan Bajo in West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara. (Shutterstock/File)

Traveling to Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara usually means island hopping to visit the various islands that make up Komodo National Park.

With such a setting, accommodation in the region is generally divided into two types, namely staying in a regular hotel or staying aboard a boat during the trip.  

"Living aboard [a boat] is popularly done by travelers from Jakarta. So, they would, for example, come on a Friday and would go straight to the boat and not a hotel. Then on Sunday, they'd head straight back to the airport," said Julianus Ebol, guest activity coordinator at Plataran Komodo Resort and Spa, on Thursday as quoted by

It is more time efficient, said Julianus, adding that there were a variety of boats to choose from, ranging from a one-cabin, two-cabin and even a luxurious phinisi (traditional Indonesian sailing ship) that is on the same level as a five-star hotel. 

The boat functions as accommodation as well as transportation for island hopping to Komodo National Park, which consists of several islands such as Komodo Island, Rinca Island and Padar Island. Travelers can also dine on board. 

Read also: Five must-visit places in Komodo National Park

Depending on the type of boat, the prices also vary widely. According to, packages begin at Rp 2.5 million (US$182) per person for a three-day, two-night trip on a standard boat. Meanwhile, an upscale vessel, such as Plataran Komodo Resort and Spa's phinisi, can be hired for Rp 25 million to Rp 60 million per night, which can accommodate six to 12 people. 

One of the challenges of living aboard, however, is that it can be unsuitable for people who get seasick and find it hard to travel and sleep on board. In that case, visitors can stay in a hotel on land and rent a boat for short trips during the day.

Accommodation in Labuan Bajo, the largest city near Komodo National Park, starts from Rp 100,000 per night in a homestay. 

Meanwhile, there are several options for island hopping, where travelers can either find agents to organize boat trips or privately rent boats for return trips at approximately Rp 2 million for eight people, or individual travelers can also head to the dock and bargain with boat owners for each trip. 

"The price would depend on the deal," Julianus said. 

For the more luxurious option, there are also yachts with different engine types, such as those available from Plataran Komodo Resort & Spa, that could go for Rp 20 million to Rp 35 million per day and accommodate up to six people. (liz/kes)