After covering Yogyakarta and Bali a few months ago, I’m glad that I get to cover another city in my home country this year. And thanks to Jeff from Life of Y, we’re going to cover a gateway to Komodo Island in East Nusa Tenggara: Labuan Bajo.
Just so you know, since I’m Indonesian… East Nusa Tenggara has become the hottest spot in our tourism project, especially since Komodo Island became the next hot spot after Bali before the pandemic.
While we are not encouraged to travel quite just yet, Indonesia has opened for those having a business visa to the country. So if you’re looking for a place where you can enter these days, Labuan Bajo can be your next choice.
So, what can we get for $10 in Labuan Bajo?
What You Could Do on the Budget in One of the Premium Travel Spots in East Nusa Tenggara
On the island of Flores, in Indonesia, is the small laid-back fishing town of Labuan Bajo.
Indonesia is home to some incredible wildlife and Flores is no different. Known as the gateway to Komodo National Park, Labuan Bajo has seen rapid growth in tourism over the last few years.
Even with the development of expensive hotels and the increase in luxury tours, the dollar still goes a long way in this part of Southeast Asia.
Did you know?
With the nickname as the city of thousand sunsets, Labuan Bajo offers various kinds of sunset that you can enjoy around the hills, the beaches, or even when you just chill from your hotel’s balcony. Like most of the places in East Nusa Tenggara, Labuan Bajo also avoids using coins for any transaction, so it’s best to always have your cash with you when you’re in the province.
The official currency of Indonesia is the Rupiah, which can be abbreviated as Rp. or IDR. The value of the Rupiah has fluctuated greatly in recent years but, on average, $10 is equal to Rp.140,000!
Unfortunately, $10 is not enough to get you onto a boat tour to Komodo or Rinca Island. Although it’s nearly enough to cover the national park fee!!
I’m sure if you had plans to see Komodo dragons, that part of the budget has already been set aside?
What You Can Get for $10 or Less in Labuan Bajo
Indonesia can be very kind to your wallet if you learn to avoid the touristy places (and Bali!)
Hostel accommodation can be found for under Rp.55,000 ($4) for a dorm room. Taxis cost around Rp.10,000 ($0.70) per mile with local transport costing much less!
Small, family-owned restaurants, known as a warung, serve local Indonesian cuisine for around Rp.25,000 ($1.70). You must try the sambal and rendang!
Need a caffeine fix? Ignore the expensive Starbucks and head to Carpenter Cafe And Roastery for one of the best cups of coffe in town.
A wide variety of coffees, including black, latte, cookies & cream cost Rp.25,000 to Rp45,000 ($1.70 to $3) at this cozy cafe.
Activity-wise you can visit the Batu Cermin Cave – entrance fee Rp.50,000 ($3.40) or go on an adventure to Cunca Rami Waterfall – entrance fee Rp.30,000 ($2) and guide Rp.80,000 ($5.50) approx.
How I Would Spend My $10 in Labuan Bajo
If you have a motorbike license then I highly recommend hiring a bike!
For Rp.70,000 ($4.80), you have 24 hours to explore the surrounding area for just a few dollars worth of fuel. Just make sure you wear a helmet!
1. Amelia Sea View or Love Hill
One place I recommend for the best view in Labuan Bajo is Amelia Sea View, or Love Hill. Located just a 10-15 min drive from the center of town, the rolling hills and panoramic views makes Love Hill the perfect place for sunset.
Tip | there are millions of insects at sunset so bring the mosquito repellent!
2. The Fish Market
The best food in Labuan Bajo, for those on a budget, is the Fish Market. Every evening, local vendors display their catch of fresh seafood.
For just Rp.50,000 ($3.50) you can get a decent sized whole fish or portion of calamari cooked to your liking. The food is fresh, delicious and includes rice and sides!
Tip | avoid the confusing ticketing system and pay cash directly to the vendors.
If you’re thirsty then just pop over to a shop opposite the market where you can purchase a small bottle of beer for around Rp.25,000 ($1.70) This is assuming that you’ve already dropped off your motorbike!!
This is exactly how I spent $10 in Labuan Bajo when I visited last year. Not a bad way to spend the evening!
Contributor: Jeff of A Life of Y
Jeff always knew that there had to be more to life than finishing university, getting a good job and starting a family! So after uni, he left the UK on a trip of a lifetime and hasn’t looked back since. Since then, he’s been to 49 countries, 6 continents and he has seen all the 7 world wonders!