The Basics from Manila to Bali to Labuan Bajo, Indonesia!

It came so suddenly this year - my first time to go to Indonesia. I didn't prepare as much and took things as they came. Without direct flights from Manila on a Tuesday, I took 2 flights through Malaysia Airlines (MNL-KUL-DPS), with a stop over and window shopping at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport before I arrived in Denpasar's Ngurah Rai International Airport (Bali airport). I like flying on a weekday and doing this for many more years. A normal direct flight from MNL-DPS (Philippine Airlines, soon Cebu Pacific) would take only around 4 hours but local airlines from the Philippines don't have daily schedules to Bali. I am nuts enough to travel from 6:50 a.m. in the morning to arrive at 3:25 p.m. (6 hours and 45 minutes total flight time) just to get to my final destination haha. Of course, the trip was worth it and hopefully, you'll see why below =) We also stayed the night in Bali then headed out for another flight the next day to Labuan Bajo (where the dragons are!) for this trip.


Aside from not missing my whole trip because I needed to be there on a Tuesday, you rarely get a whole airplane row to yourself! The simple joys of flying haha.


I was well-fed with the food that comes with the flight (one of the things I like Philippine Airlines too, weee!). 


Malaysia Airlines also has blankets and an entertainment system filled with the latest movies and series which kept me busy.


I like the inflight magazine of other airlines though for more content.


I also earned Delta Skymiles (Malaysia Airlines is part of oneworld alliance, like the miles you earn on BPI - Skymiles Mastercard). MNL-KUL takes 3 hours and 45 minutes then KUL-DPS takes 3 hours. Bali has the same time with Manila by the way (no time difference).


When we got to the Bali Denpasar airport, we had to square the building (walk long inside). Then there was this rush of humid air (surprisingly hotter than Manila). We received a warm welcome from our tour operator. It was a bit of long walk outside to the car pickup point (so don't carry lots of stuff without wheels). I was surprised at the heavy bumper-to-bumper traffic and short distance going to our hotel in Kuta (but took us around 30-45 minutes)!


We spent the night at the Mercure Bali Harvestland Kuta, which was part of the Accor chain (earn Accor points here hehe). I like this hotel for the outlet shops (surfing and beach wear) nearby, the big bed, the clean room and the complimentary WiFi in my room. Check out my hotel review for Mercure Harvestland Bali Kuta in TripAdvisor (just waiting for the link). 


Please be reminded that you'll need a 2-pronged round adapter (left below) for the electrical outlet in Indonesia.


We were off to see the Komodo dragons with the Ministry (of Tourism and Greater Economies of the Republic of Indonesia) the next day in another part of Indonesia so we flew domestic to Labuan Bajo in the island of Flores via TransNusa (leaves daily from DPS-LBJ and LBJ-DPS). The domestic terminal (left) in Bali is connected to the international terminal (right) but again, you would have to walk far both outside and inside (don't worry there are signs outside and I made it solo inside on my return flight). The plane was cramped/old-from-the-inside (like a second-hand plane because some of the signs were in Spanish) with little/no amenities. The flight was around 1.5 hours to Labuan Bajo from Bali.


And the important thing is after everything, I finally got there haha. They say the journey is the destination too, right? =) Just look at the view from Labuan Bajo below! I'm so excited to tell you about Wonderful Indonesia in my next posts!


This entry is based on my first trip to Bali and Labuan Bajo in Indonesia this December 2012 (watch out for more on this Indonesia series!). Please feel free to comment below if you have additional tips for trips to Bali, Labuan Bajo and Indonesia!


  1. Bring some Indonesian dictionary or finger foods while walking on the streets. :)

  2. When going to a place like Bali, never touch people's head, especially those of the bald Hindu monks. It is because they find this very offensive.

  3. I havent been to any of these places, hope to someday.. bring a smile along with you every single trip, it'll do you good. :)

  4. I haven't been to Indonesia before, got really afraid because my friend Chyng (also a trip blogger) got stucked at customs, kala drug handler.. but I check in the internet, the Komodo National Park is the famous spot in LB, and based from what I read, tours from company offers the same so just get the cheapest.

  5. Bali is known as the “last paradise on earth” and is the most popular tourist destination in the world. 2.57 million people visited last year. The country is known for its dancing, sculptures, paintings, leather, metal working and music... :))) And the climate is tropical and they have two seaons. Dry season is from april to october and rainy season is from october to april...

  6. Learn more about Flores, Indonesia.
    Plane: A number of domestic flights on Indonesia's local carriers service Labuan Bajo from Denpasar. These flights, which must be booked in person from satellite offices or at the airport, are often canceled or experience mechanical problems. Merpati, Transnusa, and Indonesia Air Transport fly small planes to both Lauban Bajo and Ende in the Flores chain.

    Boat: Many backpackers and budget travelers opt to take a four-day boat cruise from Lombok to Labuanbajo. While not luxurious or comfortable (passengers sleep on floor mats), these boats break up the long journey with snorkeling, parties, and beach stops. The scenery along the shoreline is beautiful. A number of sketchy operations in Senggigi offer three to five day voyages, however Perama is the leading company with the best safety record. Although the boats still operate, taking a cruise during the rainy season can be dangerous.

    Bus: Tourists who are traveling the twisting, arduous highway through Flores typically stopover in Ruteng before continuing four more hours to Labuan Bajo. Buses should be booked in advance; ensure that the driver drops you in Labuan Bajo itself and not at the Garantolo bus terminal six miles outside of town.


  7. Visit Pulau Weh. There, you could see undisturbed beaches watch whale sharks and dive in the clean waters.

  8. I havent been to any of these places :0 But i want to try to visit someday :)

  9. Oh wow! Bali, Indonesia! It's one on my places I really want to go! This will helps when I go there someday! More getaways to come! :)

  10. Hey! OurAwesomePlanet made a similar feature on this. Didn't you guys go together?

    Anyway, for taking trips like this (similar tropical country) and doing the trekking/hiking/Komodo sightseeing,I would suggest wearing very comfortable clothes (ESPECIALLY SHOES--walking shoes you can walk in for hours!) and lots of mosquito repellant (especially if you're wearing shorts and sleeveless).

  11. most of the people in Bali use bicycle so its better that you know how to bike:)dont forget to try their kimchi

  12. Try to visit Pulau Weh, i'm sure you'll love it! :)

  13. make sure to buy lots of Mi Goreng :) yumyumyum

  14. I haven't been to Bali, but since it's also a tropical country, it'll be best if you bring clothes made out of cotton. It'll keep you cool especially in the dry season. I asked a friend who recently went there and told me to pack lightly since the laundry shops there offer cheap services!

  15. Most Important thing In Bali Indonesia I saw from the net that travelers should mind

    Don’t Deal with Commissioned Money Changers
    Be precise is my advice for this matter. There are 2 kinds of money changers; one with commission, one without commission. The one charging with commission offers a higher rate, but the commission charge is taken off the total. The one without commission offers lower rates but no charges are taken off. We suggest dealing with the no commission one. These are the ones with the “No Commission” sign. Bring your own calculator (some of theirs are ‘fixed’) and double check the money before you leave.

    Don’t Bargain For the Fun of It
    In most areas you will find street vendors selling souvenirs from Bali. Don’t bargain just for the fun of it. This is because if you end up not buying after engaging in a furious bargain battle of wits, you will end up being chased for miles. Just don’t look for that second too long or enquire as to how much if you are purely browsing with no real intention of purchasing.

  16. Regardless of your reasons for coming to Bali, you’re going to end up shopping – you just can’t escape it. In fact, many tourists (including ourselves) come to Bali with empty suitcases just to fill them up for the return trip home.

    From the designer brand names to art and local handicrafts, no matter what you’re looking for you will be able to find it in this shopper’s paradise.

    Our recommendation: If bargaining is not your thing, visit Jenny Shop opposite Waterbom Park. She is one of the friendliest people we’ve met on our travels and the slogan of her shop is simple – “No bullshit and set price”.

  17. i haven't go to this place but to all place ill go i always be nice to others and we will be nice to you and always be ready for there some attitude. always smile and bring indonesia dictionary and always bring maps and i.d and your passport and lots of money!!!

  18. beach : pangandaran ( you can see sunrise and sunset at this place ) west java, parangtritis ( yogyakarta ), kuta, sanur, tanah lot ( bali )

    lake, nature :kelimutu lake ( lombok, you can see 3 water colours in this site ), toba ( north sumtra ), batur lake ( bali ), ngarai sianok ( west sumatra ), dieng ( central java )

    coral reef : bunaken ( manado ), raja ampat ( west papua ), banda ( maluku )

    culture : toraja ( south sulawesi ), yogyakarta, bali, borobudur temple, prambanan temple

  19. Have you visited Tanah Lot Temple? It's a beautiful place! I haven't been in that place but when I saw the pictures, I also wanted to visit. According to google, Tanah Lot is a rock formation off the Indonesian island of Bali. It is a home of Pilgrimage Temple.
    You should also visit there and share w/ us your experience :D

  20. A great experience visiting such beautiful and awesome places. I wish I can go there someday if given an opportunity. I might say that your blog is very informative and useful.I will take it when I'm ready to go,lol! I haven't been to Bali but I can give some tips. First, prepare your taste buds if what you are eating is just something you are not used to, learn a few of the essential words and lastly, don't waste your time sitting around at ur laptap, enjoy your day! :D

  21. Never been in Indonesia.
    enjoy your trip always :-)


Hi. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I'd love to hear from you =)