Situated in the lesser-known island of Flores, Bajawa is a must-visit destination for those seeking a raw & cultural side to Indonesia. From rural landscapes & towering volcanoes to traditional villages & scenic views, this picturesque town holds an abundance of charm. And if like us, you are looking to escape areas of mass tourism, you are sure not to be disappointed.
Whether it’s adventure, nature or culture that you seek, Bajawa in Indonesia is sure to satisfy all types of traveller. And we have put together this simple guide, to help with anything you might need to know. Happy reading!
HOW TO GET TO BAJAWA
BY AIR – Daily flights are available to & from LABUAN BAJO. Check traveloka.com for the latest schedules & prices.
BY BUS – Public Buses run daily from MONI, RIUNG or LABUAN BAJO. Enquire with the local tourist office or your guesthouse for the latest schedules & prices.
*We used the public bus from Riung, departing daily at 6am, the 5 hour bus journey (they say its 2 hours but due to the road conditions it is much longer) and cost us 50,000 IDR each
BY PRIVATE CAR – If you want to avoid being on a crowded bus next to a brood of chickens then this is another option from MONI or RIUNG. Enquire with the local tourist office or your guesthouse for more information.
WHERE TO STAY IN BAJAWA
Budget – We recommend CINNAMON GUESTHOUSE. Conveniently situated in the heart of the town, they have cheap private rooms with either en-suite or shared bathroom.
Mid-Range/Luxury – We recommend MANULALU. Situated alongside Mount Inerie, you are rewarded with a stunning view overlooking the whole of Bajawa. You will literally have your head in the clouds!
WHAT TO DO IN BAJAWA
VISIT A TRADITIONAL NGADA VILLAGE
No trip to Bajawa is complete without visiting the extraordinary traditional villages that reside the neighbouring hills. Ngada culture is still very much a part of everyday life for the indigenous people. And luckily for us, they are pleased to welcome visitors a glimpse into their world.
BENA Village is the most popular to visit, due to its breath-taking views & striking traditional homes. The skulls of sacrificed animals adorn the village and are a reminder of the cultures animist religious practices. Animal sacrifices are common for a series of religious events including weddings, funerals and communicating supernaturally with deceased family members.
On a lighter note, you can find local women weaving traditional ikat, which is a fascinating process to witness. Although there are items available for tourists to buy, they are not pushy about selling which we really admired.
Tourist Fee to enter village – 25,000Rp/pax
Allow: 2-3 hours
TIPS – Other traditional villages include GURUSINA & WOGO.
BENA VILLAGE MAP LOCATION
The captivating landscapes & awe-inspiring views, make hiking a popular activity amongst visitors. Tour offices in the town offer a variety of hiking opportunities to suit your interests & capabilities.
Allow: Depends on the hike
CLIMB MOUNT INERIE
Adventure seekers rejoice!! Mount Inerie is the tallest volcano in Indonesia, with the summit peaking at 2245m high. To climb this prodigious event of mother nature is not for the faint hearted and should only be attempted by experienced hikers. The route is extremely steep and made up of loose volcanic rock, making it not only difficult, but dangerous as well.
We did not attempt the climb ourselves however if it’s something you’re interested in doing, then you should enquire in the town regarding a local guide. It is not recommended to attempt this hike alone.
Allow: All day
MOUNT INERIE MAP LOCATION
VISIT OGI FALLS
A surprisingly powerful waterfall situated a short 15 minute drive from the town. The water isn’t suitable for swimming, however, it’s a nice attraction to visit all the same. It appears there was once the option to climb to the top, however, the stairs were shut off with a danger sign when we visited.
Allow: 1.5 hours
Entrance Fee – 20,000Rp/pax
OGI FALLS MAP LOCATION
HAVE COFFEE IN THE CLOUDS
If you do not stay at MANULALU following our earlier recommendation, then you should certainly stop by for a coffee. Situated alongside Mount Inerie, you are rewarded with a stunning view overlooking the whole of Bajawa. You will literally have your head in the clouds!
Allow: 1.5 hours
Cost: Drinks from 25,000Rp
MANULALU MAP LOCATION
WATCH SUNSET ON WOLO BOBO HILL
Wolo bobo Hill is situated around a half hour drive from Bajawa Town and is there as a result of a volcanic eruption 10,000 years ago. The summit offers spectacular views over Bajawa and is a popular sunrise or sunset spot. Unfortunately, we got deterred on the day we attempted to visit due to the heavens opening on us!! However the 30-40 minute climb to the crater rim is said to be relatively easy.
Allow: 2-3 hours
WOLO BOBO HILL MAP LOCATION
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
- For LOCAL food try LUCAS RESTAURANT
- Food WITH A VIEW try MANALULU
- For LIVE MUSIC try EMTRY RESTAURANT
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO TO BAJAWA
- Allow: 2-3 nights
- It can get VERY cold in Bajawa, particularly in the mornings and evenings. Make sure to take some warm clothes. (We went in June/July)
- WiFi is available in most guesthouses
WHAT TO PACK FOR BAJAWA
Unsure of what you might need to pack for your adventures in Bajawa? Don’t worry, we have got you covered. Check out our backpacker essentials, for a packing list of items that we carry with us on every adventure.
Here are some items that we recommend taking to make your visit to the beaches & waterfalls more comfortable:
- Comfortable shoes for the hikes
- Water shoes to wear in the water – We Recommend: 2 in 1 Water/Hiking Shoes.
- Waterproof Bag to protect valuables – We Recommend: Waterproof Dry Bag-10L/20L/30L
- Bathing suit & towel for the obvious – We Recommend: Microfiber Travel Towel
As travellers, it should always be a top priority to travel responsibly. We already leave a substantial carbon footprint just by flying to our travel destinations, so that’s even more reason to make a positive impact when we get there. There are many small steps you can take to becoming a responsible traveller, check out the Eco-Travel essentials here. It is our duty as travellers, that we reduce our footprint where we can, here are some tips:
1. Do not leave any rubbish on the ground: You would think this would go without saying; however, there are some questionable humans who think it’s ok to throw trash on the ground.
2. Carry a Steripen or iodine tablets to sterilise water: This not only limits your usage of single-use plastic but also saves you money too!
3. Respect the local culture: Be courteous of the local culture and act in such a way that leaves a good impression. Learn a little of the local language (hello and thank you is the minimum), greet the locals in a polite manner, and respect dress codes & traditions.
Well, that concludes our Itinerary and Guide to Bajawa. If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comment section below.
Stay adventurous and Happy travels.
Charlotte & Natalie x
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