Komodo dragons don’t require advertising. They attract tourists from all over the globe by themselves. And it is not surprising: to see such a beast with your own eyes in a natural habitat of Komodo islands — is not it a bait for any adventurer hunter?
As soon as I was in Bali, the idea of strolling through the Jurassic Park and getting close to the almost legendary Komodo Dragons did not leave me for a single day.
And finally I got the chance to join a trip to explore the wonders of Komodo islands.
My ultimate 3-day itinerary for Komodo National Park
Day 1. Flying from Denpasar (Bali) to Labuan Bajo (Flores). Exploring the city: Mirror Cave, Harbor, local market, sunset fishing trip;
Day 2. Trekking in Rinca island, Bat watching near Kalong island;
Day 3. Trekking in Komodo island, Pink Beach snorkeling.
Things to do in Komodo National Park
Komodo islands are not just about the Komodo Dragons. National park located in a beautiful area between Flores and Sumbawa in Indonesia. It’s a place with a rich underwater world, corals and colored fishes, clear water, breathtaking landscape, gorgeous views, unique flora and fauna, giant bats and the spirit of adventures.
The Komodo National Park includes three large islands (Komodo, Rinca and Padar) and 27 small islets around.
On 1986, Komodo National Park was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, because only in this area we can find the Komodo Dragons. Approximately 5700 dragons are calling this stunning part of Indonesia as their home
Komodo Dragons — the King of Jurassic Park
Komodo Dragon is the largest of the existing lizards in the world, reaching 3 meters in length and weighting an average of 70 kg. The maximum weight recorded by scientists is 165 kg
This predator does not have natural enemies on the islands except another Komodo Dragons. And they like to fight very much.
The bite is toxic, and without rendering the necessary help it is fatal, since the saliva of the dragon contains a toxic protein.
The population of Komodo Dragons is small: there are about 2100 dragons on Komodo island, 2300 — on Rinca and about 1000 dragons are living over the small surrounding islands.
How to get there
The closest town to the national park is Labuan Bajo (Flores island).
The easiest way to get there is a daily flight from Bali or Jakarta.
?Small tip: the flight is very scenic so try to get a window seat ?
If you are traveling on a tight budget you can take a public ferry boat from Bali or Lombok to Labuan Bajo.
Labuan Bajo is very small, so you can easily take the taxi to reach your hotel or driving around.
There are a lot of tourist offices in Labuan Bajo where you can charter a boat, buy a group tour or private cruise to the Komodo islands which suits your travel plans and budget.
?You can only visit Komodo National Park with an official guide and a park ranger
Well, to complete my wonderful adventure, I flew to the Flores island, coastal village of Labuan Bajo from Bali. It took just 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Day 1. Things to do in Labuan Bajo
Labuan Bajo is a small fishing village, comfortably located on the western edge of the Flores island.
I fell in love with the beautiful views to the charming harbor from the hills. And I was pretty happy to find a lot of cute restaurants here to enjoy the idyllic atmosphere and got energy before the adventure trip to Komodo Islands.
- Harbor in Labuan Bajo and sunset
My definite highlight of this place is incredible sunset over the ocean and the beautiful view overlooking the harbor with a lot of boats and islands at sunset time. So my main advice: When you visit Labuan Bajo book a hotel on the hill with this gorgeous view.
- The Batu Cermin (The Mirror Cave)
From the center of Labuan Bajo to the Cave Cermin took us approximately 20 minutes by taxi. The name of this Cave (Mirror Cave) came from the special reflection of sunshine which get inside and, being reflected from stones, get on other sites on walls.
We passed into the deep for a 200 meters at the same time we go down on depth about 20 meters. Our way was going through the stalactites and stalagmites of a bizarre shape.
The stones contain the particles of salt in a cave and beautifully sparkle in beams of the sun. There are outlines of corals and turtles on a walls. The cave isn’t deprived of life, we have seen
a bats, spiders and crickets. There are several long-tailed macaques in the forest surrounding the cave. Our guide said, the boars could be found here, but we haven’t met them.
- The local market in Labuan Bajo
We stopped in a colourful local market right on the way from the cave. It’s a good chance to get a portion local atmosphere, watch an authentic stuff and enjoy the people’s smiles.
- Fishing in a coastal waters of Labuan Bajo
Fishery is one of the main craft of local population. The picturesque bay surrounded with green hills dazzles with the huge number of fishing boat. Our fishing trip was related to gorgeous sunset over the ocean. The sky and surrounding landscape were simply beautiful.
- Snorkeling on the Bidadari and Kanawa Islands
If you are a fan of snorkeling trip you will definitely love to swim near the Bibabari or Kanawa island. Additionally, Bidadari island has stunning beach for taking sun bath and relax.
Labuan Bajo was remembered as a bright, simple and lazy city on the coast.
Day 2. Trekking in Rinca Island
Our day starts at early morning at the peaceful harbor of Labuan Bajo.
There are vastly different boats going to Komodo islands available
We’ve chosen the small one just for two of us.
Rinca island is the second biggest island in Komodo National Park and the closest to Labuan Bajo. To get there took us 2,5 hours on a boat.
This long trip was amazing and full of surrounding beauty. The nature here is delicious and keep the eyes on. We passed fabulous bays with a crystal clear water, small islets and incredible blue sea. Hundreds of shades of blue changed each other. Blinded by the sun the light blue sky blended smoothly into the dark blue edge of the sea on the horizon.
Oh, what a stunning turquoise water over there!
Ready for a Jurassic World adventure hike?
Once arrived to the Rinca we’ve received some instructions:
don’t challenge a Komodo dragon with direct look, never come closer than five meters and don’t try to feed them (interesting, did anybody have this idea?),
keep your head down, stay together with ranger and … never go to the toilet alone.
After all that frightening talks I found myself more exited.
Rinca island is very small and there are five different treks you can do in order to spot wild Komodo Dragons. Either option leads to spectacular views of the island.
I was extremely admired by the beauty of nature. We rise to the hill from where we can see an amazing view of the bay of Loh Buaya and surrounding landscapes. The weather was extremely hot and sun-baked mercilessly. But the color of water definitely helps to forget all the inconveniences on the way.
Then a narrow path, covered with fallen yellow leaves, led us through the dry forest. We spotted a big water buffalo and a female Komodo dragon guarding the nest, and we found two males laying in the shadow.
There are a lot of dragons sleeping by the ranger’s dormitory and kitchen. They were very quite and lazy and did not interested in people walking around.
Our trek was about 1 hour and a half walking in the island. This trekking was not difficult except that it was very hot. Don’t forget to bring your hat, sunscreen and water.
Some tips for the trekking on Rinca islands
Most probably you will have the same question as we had: «What route to choose to see many dragons?»
As I was able to find out, the chosen route does not affect the number of Komodo dragons you might see. In any case, Komodo are likely to be seen only near the kitchen (where the trekking begins). And further, as far as removal, it all depends on luck.
Therefore, as a priority, you can the desire and the possibility of long walk as well as a desire to see the nature and views on the islands.
If you have only limited time, or are looking for a light walk, the short route is the best choice (with memorable view over the beach and wildlife scenery).
Any of the longer trips are rugged adventures requiring stiff climbs under very hot weather. But they will contain more colorful landscapes and memories.
A ranger is the most important part of the adventure trekking. Try to get an experienced one:)
Bat watching and night on the boat
One of the great things to do in Komodo islands is Bat Watching. And the most memorable thing that it was happened at the sunset time.
I had an amazing sunset experience in this evening.
After we left from the Rinca island our boat stopped in the middle of the sea near the Kalong Island.
It was very quite there, the sky became first orange, then purple, and suddenly I saw a hundreds of giant bats flying from the island. It was speechless! I was not expected to see those huge numbers of bats and they were very big. This kind of bats also called flying foxes.
It was a fantastic moment I would never forget.
After a couple of hours I have seen another magnificent show — star show in a sky. Without lighting around it was unforgettable view I couldn’t even imaging. We have decided to get out of a cabin and sleep under the open sky.
Day 3. Trekking in Komodo Island
Komodo island is the largest of all the islands of the National Park, it is also the most remote.
The captain of the boat suggests making a few stops along the way to have a memorable snorkeling on Batu Bolong or Makassar Reef.
From Rinca to Komodo island took us approximately 3 hours by boat.
«Are you ready to have a walk with adrenaline», — asks a ranger.
At that moment I realized that now I will have the most incredible adventure in my life.
A Komodo island’s ranger impressed me even more than the dragons. He has an incredible communication with the nature. It seemed that he knows all the animals personally and can talk with them.
Today we were lucky to see a lot of Komodo dragons.
However, the sleepy dragon is not a safe dragon.
The Most important thing is understanding that it is not a zoo in the open air.
However, being behind him in the opposite side of the ranger is a bit scary.
OMG! He lifted his head and turned it 90 degrees in my direction, standing on his paws. My whole life flashed in front of my eyes. I have always wondered why in the horror Hollywood movies the main character do not run away after seeing a monster, but look on it and scream. I got it right now. My legs seemed to grow to the ground and did not move. Very soon I was behind the ranger with no idea how I did it so fast.
Pink beach. Snorkeling and diving in Komodo islands.
Komodo National Park is not only about the Komodo Dragons. There are huge interesting things to do except trekking on the islands. And one of the impressive spot is the Pink beach.
Seven Pink beaches are known on our planet. And one of them is directly at Komodo island’s coast.
It took us 15 minutes to go there from Loh Liang dock in Komodo island.
Color of this beach is caused by pieces of red corals mixed with sand. However, there is also the other version — pick color appears due to the microscopic animals.
The beach is very beautiful and uncrowned. If you are still looking for the activities, this is the perfect time to explore the underwater life of Komodo islands. This is a terrific place for scuba diving with the Manta Alley point, where you can meet with mantas and turtles.
I enjoyed the snorkeling along the coast and admired of beautiful corals and colorful fishes there. It was surprised me how beautiful the corals here. And I did not have to swim very far from the shore to watch it.
This area is very rich of the biodiversity. I was extremely satisfied with the snorkeling only, and I can imagine how the diving is.
If you would like to relax and take sun bath, this beach is welcoming you with the peaceful atmosphere, shades from the trees and soft sands.
Some travel tip to Komodo islands
Which island is preferable: Rinca or Komodo
You would probably have this question if you plan to visit just one island.
Personally, I liked Komodo more. Perhaps this is due to the excellent ranger.
As for the wildlife, we found a male of water buffalo on Rinca and a dear — on Komodo. Komodo looks more interesting by nature and the diversity of the landscape in general. But Rinca has an outstanding viewpoints.
What is the best time for visiting
You can see the dragons at any time of the year, but I advice to visit Komodo islands during the dry season, from May to December (or, if you are looking for the greenery you have to choose rainy months like March)
Dragons are less active in August-September due to the matting period
What to bring with you to the Komodo islands
- From June to September is very hot. Bring a lot of water, sunnies, sunscreen and a hat.
- You don’t need special trekking shoes, just comfortable one will be ok.
- If you suffer from seasickness, bring some medicine. You are going to spend a lot of time on the boat. Well, the sea is not choppy.
Where to stay
The best place to stay during your trip to Komodo islands is Labuan Bajo. All the trips are starting from the harbor of this small city. I advice to leave one day free from you trip to get around and see some interesting points of Labuan Bajo.
Please, choose the hotel with the harbor view. And you will enjoy the most incredible sunset ever.
? Green Hill Boutique Hotel, Golo HillTop Hotel, Sunset Hill Hotel, Puri Sari
?? The Jayakarta Suites Komodo-Flores
??? Plataran Komodo Beach Resort
We have stayed in The Jayakarta Suites Komodo Flores. It is located 15 minutes drive from the airport, right on the beach and surrounded by magnificent mountain scenery. The sun sets over the sea horizon. You can enjoy the great view from the balcony or strolling along the beach. The hotel is a good option if you want to spend some parts of the day here. The territory is very big, there is an excellent pool.
It was an unforgettable adventures on the Komodo islands, I would definitely recommend you to taste.
If you have any question please don’t hesitate to ask me.
Have you been to Komodo National Park?