Apparently it’s supposed to be the journey that matters, not the destination. Not true when you’re taking 2 days worth of buses and boats to Labuan Bajo. The trip sucks, but the destination totally makes up for it.
It’s not every day you get to go dragon hunting. (Sorry, not hunting – dragon “observing” – those beasties are protected). You need to be seriously committed, because it’s a bloody long way from the rest of civilization. When I bought my Bus/Boat ticket to Labuan Bajo on Gili Trawangan I was told it was like 18 hours or something. WRONG! I think the whole trip worked out to 38 hours or something stupidly long like that. Plenty of opportunities for horrible buses with your choice of the seat that’s not attached to the floor or the one you need to share with a motorbike. It takes a lot to scare me, but our night bus across Sumbawa freaked me right out. We were going ridiculously fast for no reason at all and over taking everyone else on the road who was going a reasonable speed. I now understand how those major bus disasters happen that you hear about every now and then.
Fast forward to the part we finally got off our last ferry ride (8 hours from Sape on the eastern point of Sumbawa to Labuan Bajo), slept for the night and hopped back on a boat first thing the next morning and headed 2 hours back in the direction we had come from to Rinca island to visit the dragons. Amazing. Labuan Bajo is super pretty, and the trip out to Rinca was beautiful. The Komodo dragons were just the icing on the cake. Here’s some pictures.