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!