There are different ways of getting to Flores (Komodo) island from Bali/Lombok; flight, boat tour, ferries+buses, which one to choose depends on your time and budget. Just be aware that if you travel in the high season (June to August) you have to book your flight beforehand.
Different ways of getting to Flores
Flights to Labuan Bajo, Flores
The fastest and easiest way of getting to Flores and back, in high season (June to August) book you flight beforehand. There are no international flights to Flores though you can fly direct or with one stop from many Indonesian cities. The cheapest option is a direct flight from Denpasar (Bali) which has an extensive route of both national and international flights. The cheapest flights are by NAM air, you can get a one-way ticket for US$45-55, without check-in luggage. NAM air has connection flights (through Bali) to Labuan Bajo from several Indonesian cities.
Boat trip to Labuan Bajo, Flores
A more fun and adventurous way of getting to Flores or back is to do a boat trip. Boats leave every day from a town Senggigi (Lombok), you can buy it on Lombok or Gili islands from a tour agency or hostel. The standard tour is 4 days/3 nights. The price is around IDR 1 500 000/US$115 and includes transport (boat), food (three meals a day), drinking water, exclude Komodo National park fee (IDR 150 000/US$10). Campbell did this trip 2 years ago.
Komodo Island is one of our favorite dive spots in Indonesia! ↓↓↓↓↓↓
Suggested Bali and Flores tours and activities
Public transport; ferries and buses
The cheapest and the longest option takes 2 days one way and involves sleepless nights and some bargaining. We did it both ways, it was easy, no booking or arrangement beforehand though it was a peak season (August).
1st step. Bali (Padangbai) – Lombok (Mataram)
Public ferries from Padangbai (Bali) to Lembar (Lombok) leave every day, every hour or so, 24 hours. It takes about 4-5 hours, IDR 46 000/US$3,5 per person. You arrive at Lembar harbor.
Then take a van (IDR 30 000/US$2,2) or minibus (IDR 20 000/US$1,5) to Mataram, Mandalika bus terminal (Damri bus service), from where buses to Flores leave. Buses leave every day at 3 pm. If you take an early ferry from Padangbai e.g. at 7 am you have a good chance to catch a bus the same day.
If you prefer more comfortable and fast speed boats you can book an online ticket from Bali Denpasar to Lombok Utara, this trip takes about 3 hours.
Accommodation in Mataram
If you don’t make it the same day there are a couple of guest houses in Mataram, in the center, not far from Mataram City Mall, from 100 000 for double. We stayed at Werdhi Guest House, a good place not far from Mandalika bus terminal and the mall; rooms with AC, private bathroom, clean, flat-screen TV, wi-fi, good breakfast included in the price. If you don’t mind to pay a couple of dollars more you can stay in a nicer and newer place like Hotel Orizatha; private rooms, big beds, AC, cable TV, wi-fi, good breakfast, nice garden, central location.
2nd step. Lombok (Mataram) to Flores (Labuan Bajo)
A couple of buses and ferries involved.
- Bus Mataram – Bima, including 1-hour ferry (Lombok-Sumbawa), leaves every day at 3 pm, takes 12-13 hours, IDR 225 000/US$16.
- Bus Bima – Sape (switch for a local bus), leaves once all passengers get on, takes 1h30min., IDR 30 000/US$2.
- Ferry Sape – Labuan Bajo, leaves at between 8-9 am, takes 6-7 hours. In total, all the way including waiting time is about 24 hours, IDR 60 000/US$4,5. Check departure time for ferries in Mataram as we heard they changed it recently.
Accommodation in Labuan Bajo
There are many options for different budget and travel style. Our advice if you go in season from June to September book your accommodation in advance we didn’t and after spending two days commuting between Bali and Flores we had to walk around with our backpacks trying to find something available. Obviously, the best places were fully booked.
Ciao Hostel – maybe not the most budget hostel in Labuan Bajo but it’s a different level of comfort; dormitories with AC or open-air dorms with mosquito net, good hot shower, lockers, wi-fi, very friendly and helpful staff, clean and cozy. The best about this hostel is an awesome terrace with stunning views over the harbor and the sea, a great place for watching the sunset while sipping beer or cocktail.
If you rather stay in a quiet private and budget place World Bnb is a great option; small but cozy rooms, private bathroom, AC, wi-fi, good Internet, clean, friendly staff, free airport shuttle, continental breakfast included.
For a nice private and a bit more luxury place close to the beach check Wae Molas Hotel; big spacious rooms, AC, flat-screen TV, wi-fi, sitting area, electric kettle, private bathroom, outside swimming pool, garden, big breakfast included in the price. There are double and family rooms.
Different options for buying tickets
First option. You can buy a ticket through an agency if you want to avoid any hassle of going to the bus terminal in Mataram. Then expect to pay between IDR 450 000 – 490 000/US$34-37 for a ticket. You can buy it in Senggigi (Flores) or on Gili islands.
Second. Buy one ticket all the way from Mataram to Labuan Bajo at the Mandalika bus terminal (Mataram), which includes two buses and two ferries. The price is IDR 375 000/$28.
Third. Buy a separate ticket for each stretch. First at Mandalika terminal buy a bus ticket from Mataram to Bima, 225 000/US$16 (which includes one ferry from Lombok to Sumbawa and dinner). Once in Bima jump on a bus to Sape, IDR 30 000/US$2,2 1h30min. The bus goes all the way to the ferry terminal, where you can buy a ferry ticket, IDR 60 000/US$4,5. In total for all buses and ferries, you’ll pay IDR 315 000/US$20, save 60 000 compare to one ticket option. In Mataram, they’ll try to convince you to buy one ticket all the way saying it’s very difficult to buy separate tickets, that locals in Bima will try to rip you off, that ferry ticket office will be closed in the morning, etc. All nonsense, we did it and it worked perfectly, in fact, we went all the way with the people who bought one ticket, just paid less.
It doesn’t matter if you buy your ticket through an agency or at the bus terminal buses and ferries will be the same.
Exploring Komodo and Rinca islands with a tour
There are several tour options that offer multi-day packages and day trips;
Getting back from Labuan Bajo to Bali
You have the same option as getting to; flight, boat trip or ferry+buses.
The first two options work out the same; prices, time, etc. In fact, ferries+buses to and back are quite the same as well except for times and prices, for some reason the way back is cheaper.
We did it both ways. At Labuan Bajo if you shop around you can get a ticket all the way to Denpasar for IDR 500 000/US$38 or to Mataram for IDR 350 000/US$25.
We bought separate tickets for each stretch
- Ferry Labuan Bajo to Sape leaves once a day at 9.00 am, you should be at the ferry terminal at 7.30 am. Ticket Labuan Bajo – Sape costs IDR 55 000/US$4, it takes about 6 hours.
- Bus Sape – Bima IDR 30 000/US$2,2, leaves as soon as gets full.
- Bus Bima – Mataram IDR 225 000/US$15, including one meal on the way.
In total, we paid IDR 310 000/US$21. As you can see you save only US$4 compare to buying one ticket all the way which might be less hassle though all the transport you use is exactly the same.
The bus arrives at Mataram bus terminal between 7.00-8.00 am. If you want to go to Bali (Padangbai) by public ferry take a bus to Lembar, mini bus costs 20 000/$1,5. Ferry Lembar-Padangbai leaves every hour, price 40 000, takes 4-5 hours.
Handy items to pack for Flores
- Rash vest will be very useful if you’re planning to do any water activity be it snorkeling, going our with a boat etc. (check for men’s options here).
- Snorkeling mask
- Cap or hat
- Board shorts/Bikini
- Neck bag or waterproof pouch to keep your valuables (passport, money etc.) safe.
- Padlock to lock your suitcase/locker/backpack.
Travel insurance for Indonesia
It’s always recommended to have travel insurance when you go abroad especially if you’re planning to move around a lot by public transport and to do some outdoor activities like diving, snorkeling, surfing or just driving around on a scooter. Make sure you will be able to get medical assistance any time you need. It’s quite handy to have insurance in case of a luggage loss, flight delay, and other emergencies. It makes traveling less stressful when you know you’re covered in case of any unpredictable emergencies.
Recommended books and guidebooks
- Lonely Planet Indonesia (Travel Guide). Paperback. 2019
- Insight Guides Southeast Asia. Paperback & Kindle. 2018
- Diving in Indonesia: The Ultimate Guide to the World’s Best Dive Spots: Bali, Komodo, Sulawesi, Papua, and more. Paperback & Kindle. 2016
- Diving in Southeast Asia: A Guide to the Best Sites in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand (Periplus Action Guides). Paperback & Kindle. 2017
- Lonely Planet Bali, Lombok & Nusa Tenggara (Travel Guide). Paperback. 2019
- Lonely Planet Indonesian Phrasebook & Dictionary 7th edition. Paperback.
- Pualu Weh island guide
- Diving Pulau Weh island
- 17 Awesome places in Indonesia
- Indonesian visa on arrival; extendable vs non-extendable
- Komodo island and Flores complete guide
- Diving in Komodo National park
- Nusa Penida island guide, Bail
- Diving around Nusa Penida
- Dive trip in Indonesia; Bali to Sulawesi
- Diving Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi
- Diving the Togean Islands, Indonesia
- Bira island diving, South Sulawesi
- Diving Perhentian Islands
- Sipadan diving guide
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The pretty half of Stingy Nomads, responsible for all our land adventures (hiking, climbing, walking the Camino) and following them write-ups. Alya loves walking since she was a child, she prefers to walk 1000 km with a backpack rather than to do a 10 000 km road trip (actually any road trip). Alya is a big fan of Latin America, the Spanish language, and dancing. Every time we go away she desperately misses our dog Chile.
Saturday 3rd of June 2023
Hey, Thank you very much for the post ! I want to do lombok- Flores / flores lombok by public transports (bus,ferry) but I dont find the information on internet. Do you know the name of the bus/ferry company and where I can find the schedule ? Thank you very much !
Monday 5th of June 2023
Hello Fanny. We used local ferries and buses/minibuses to get from Bali to Flores I don't think any of them have websites. We didn't book anything in advance. The best will be to get to Bali first and from there find a ferry to Lombok. From Lombok you can get a ferry to Flores. There are some buses involved as well or as an option you can use local taxis. Cheers
Thursday 4th of August 2022
Hello, is it still possible to go from lombok to badjo everyday? We want to travel at 02/09/2022 from lombok to badjo. We look forward hearing from you guys!
Thursday 11th of August 2022
Hello Colin. We haven't been to Indonesia in the last 3 years we don't know what's going on with ferries between the islands. Sorry, but we can't help you here. Cheers
Saturday 9th of November 2019
I appreciate the very detailed information that was posted on the blog. I am very interested in the 3 day 2 night Sailing Komodo tour. The tour has everything I am looking for and seems to be efficient with how it is organized and run. I am planning on booking that trip but I just wanted to reach out and make sure that the validity of the link on this blog is good before spending money on it. I was not able to find any organization or company to reach out to and curious what I needed to do once I bought the tour (before and when I get there). Thank You
Tuesday 12th of November 2019
Hello, Cobi! Thank you for the comment! If you want to book one of the tours that we have in this post you can find a detailed description including pick up places etc. If you don't feel confident booking an expensive tour online you can try to find a tour once you're in Labuan Bajo, just walk around the town or ask other travelers about their experience. Good luck!
Monday 22nd of April 2019
Thanks so much for this info. My girlfriend and I are interested in the 4 night/3day boats that leave from Gili or Senggigi. Are there any companies you recommend? We found a few but they’re incredibly expensive! You mentioned that you believe there are some that are around $115/night per person. I would imagine the prices are higher than when you posted, but even so, those prices would be far better than what we’re seeing! Thanks, Matthew
Monday 22nd of April 2019
Hi Matthew, I did this trip a couple of years ago and unfortunately do not have the name of the company that we used, but we just bought tickets on Gili Trawangan. Our last trip from Lombok to Labuanbajo was by bus/ferry. You can search for 'Komodo Star Cruiser' other travelers still paid about the same price in 2019 for tickets with this company. You will probably pay more buying tickets online from a middle man. I will recommend that you read some TripAdvisor reviews. The trips for around $115 are very basic, local food 3 times a day and not western safety standards. I have heard some horror stories, but I had an amazing trip.
Wednesday 14th of November 2018
Hi! I am planning to do a fly (Bali)-flores and is looking for a cheaper way to get back to Bali. I just want to clarify since you wrote on ferry+bus that from Labuan Bajo I can get a $38 fare to Bali. From my understanding this will be arranged by the agency? If yes, would it still take me 2days to arrive to Bali?
Friday 16th of November 2018
Hello, Ven! Thank for the question! You´re right you buy it from one of the local agencies (there are a couple on the main street in Labuan Bajo), it's be the easiest way but it'll still take you about 2 days to get there. If you buy separate tickets it'll cost you a bit cheaper but you'll have to negotiate the price every time otherwise you might be overcharged. Good luck!