Another one-nighter at the Golo Hilltop Hotel in Labuan Bajo. A car from Golo Hilltop came to the harbor and transferred us up the mountain to the hotel. Much indecision since neither the hotel nor us knew anything about Flores plans going forward. Always carry the local telephone number of your tour operator for emergencies. Golo Hilltop called the tour agency, and was told new driver and guide would pick us up tomorrow morning at 8:00a to begin our Flores Island exploration. That settled, staff showed us to a nice room with hot water and air conditioning.
Golo Hilltop Hotel is situated on top of a hill (duh…), about 1 kilometer/.6 mile from the city center in a quiet, relaxing location. All rooms are in long bungalows on different hill levels with a sitting area outside each room. The bungalows come with either fans or air conditioning, hot or cold water, to suit any budget. Golo Hilltop is Dutch run with a restaurant that served “average-tasting” food. However, the restaurant was open, airy and had beautiful views of the bay, little islands and dive boats making their way across the sea. Quite a few guests use Golo Hilltop as a base, and spend days diving in different locations. Whale sharks inhabit the waters in this area. Others use Labuan Bajo as a base to visit Komodo and Rinca Islands.
Several companies operates flights in and out of Labuan Bajo airport. Indonesia Air Transport (IAT), TransNusa, Merpati Airlines, Wings Air and Batavia Air. The schedules are irregular; some airlines offer once a day flights while others fly only certain days a week. There is a departure tax of 10,000 IDR ($1.00 U.S.).
Steve and I considered walking down to the center of town until it began raining heavily, again. Kill me if I ever, ever make arrangements to travel during a rainy season! Golo Hilltop Hotel was very helpful and told us a little about town. Labuan Bajo has: an ATM, banks, restaurants, guesthouses and many tour operators.
Let’s recap the Lesser Sundra Islands to date – Lombok? Sun, beaches, and Mount Rinjani. Sumbawa? A big miss. Komodo and Rinca Islands? Definitely worth doing for Komodo Dragon sightings but from east to west, eliminating the Sumbawa journey. Flores? The jury is still out.