Go on a Komodo island adventure and discover the most beautiful viewpoints, pink beaches, many manta rays, and turtles. And you can see some real dragons up close! In this Komodo Island guide, we’ll talk all about the essentials you need to know and about the best places in the Komodo National Park.
Table of contents
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About The Komodo National Park
The Komodo National Park is one of the only places in the world where you can see the famous Komodo Dragons. Besides these dragons, the park houses incredibly rich biodiversity and natural resources. Therefore, the Komodo National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a mission to protect and conserve the beauty of the park and the special habitats.
In total there are 3 main islands: Komodo, Rinca, and Padar. Each island has its own characteristics, ranging from corals reefs, mangroves, seagrass, grassland, forests, and more.
Find out more about the Komodo National Park ➳ http://www.komodonationalpark.org
How To Get There
The Komodo National Park lies west of Flores. From Bali, you can fly directly to Labuan Bajo in Flores. From here most Komodo Island Tours leave. I recommend you to book your plane ticket from Bali to Flores via 12Go.Asia, this is super easy and affordable.
The center of Labuan Bajo is about a 5-minute drive from the airport. Stay the night in the city center and leave the next morning at 7 a.m. for the dreamy Komodo Islands. Most Komodo Tour companies offer a pickup service, which is very convenient! They will drive you to the harbor in the morning to get on the boat to the Komodo National Park.
Hotel tip ➳ Stay at the Seaesta Hostel & Hotel. This is the most chill hostel I’ve ever stayed at! And it looks like Santorini.
2-Day Live Aboard
The best way to explore these islands is with a 2 or 3-days live-aboard trip. With a boat, you’ll sail along with the best spots, visit the most beautiful highlights and all the snorkeling gear, food, and sleeping arrangements are included.
I booked my trip 1 day in advance at Floresia Trip and I had the best experience! We had a small boat with about 10 other travelers, which was perfect. The staff was amazing and the food as tasty as hell. For these 2 days, it’s normal to pay between 600 K and 800K IDR. This is the fee excluding the Komodo National Park fees for 2 days.
Be keen on selecting a proper boat trip company, as there are some very bad companies out there that only want to make money and don’t focus on the experience of the people on the trip. That’s why I felt really lucky with Floresia Trip and the amazing Zul (the manager) who is a legend in arranging everything perfectly!
Komodo Island Highlights
Are you wondering what you are going to see? Let me tell you all about it.
The Komodo Dragons
There are only 4 islands In the world where you can see the Komodo dragons in real life. The Komodo national park houses 2 of those places: Rinca and Komodo Island!
Besides their crazy creepy look, these dragons are very interesting creatures. Their behavior, reproduction, and hunting skills are topnotch. Darwin would be proud?.
When you go on a Komodo island tour you’ll visit both Islands to see the animals up close. Rinca is a relatively small island and here you’ll find many small and young komodo dragons. On Komodo itself, you come across the real giants. The Komodo dragons are the largest lizards in the world and can grow up to 3 m in length!
When you visit the Komodo dragons locations you will be accompanied by at least two park rangers with sticks. These guards are necessary for your protection as a komodo dragon can be very dangerous.
The dragons have known hunting techniques. First, they smell their prey with their tongue and then they sneak upon them. Sneaking up is their specialty. When they are close enough, they take a sprint and bite the prey. An adult Komodo dragon can sprint up to 20 km an hour. From that moment on the dragon knows his dinner is served. The bite from the komodo dragon is poisonous because of the numerous bacteria in the saliva. The prey is certain to die from the poisonous bacteria, therefore the dragon casually stalks the prey until it dies. *gulp gulp* Uggh I get gitterns down my back when I think about it.
The Komodo dragons are lonely animals, they only meet up with other dragons during mating season or when someone caught prey. During a dragon meeting, they need to show who’s boss by fighting each other, which is spectacular to watch! So I hope you’re lucky enough to see it.
Fully grown Komodo dragons eat animals like pigs, buffalo, etc. Dragons are definitely big eaters as they can eat up to 80% of their own body weight.
Did you know the Komodo dragons are cannibals?! The moment the baby Komodo dragons hatch, they climb into the trees to escape from their mum and dad. The baby Komodo dragons only come out of the trees to eat, which is a very dangerous time for them.
Another cool fact is that the komodo dragon has 2 penisses and can mate for hours and hours. When one penis is tired, it’s time for the next one.
Also Read ➳ Ultimate 3 Week Guide To Bali
The Pink Beach
Spread over the Komodo National Park there are 5 pink beaches. These beaches have become pink due to the red corals. Bit and pieces of the red coral are broken off and are spread over the beach. The red color of the corals is caused by the Foraminifera microorganism.
The most popular pink beach is on Komodo Island, however, this might not be as pink as you would have thought in advance. Over the years many people have collected the red coral and taking it with them as a souvenir.
But besides the fact that the beach is not bright pink, the beach is very beautiful! The water is clear and bright blue, and you can walk straight from the beach into the ocean and see a wide array of corals and fish. This is the perfect place the relax, stare at the blue water, swim, and work on your tan. And if you are lucky you can already spot some manta rays and turtles.
Indonesia Tip ➳ Visit Secret Beach on Nusa Lembongan and discover a hidden white-sand beach.
Watch The Sunrise
After a good night’s rest on the deck of the boat, make sure you wake up super early (and I mean super early) to see the first glow of the sun from the boat. This glow is reflected by the mirror-like ocean, taking your breath away.
At 5 a.m. a little motorboat brings you to Padar Island. Padar Island is in my opinion the jewel of the Komodo Park and is known for its view overlooking the entire island. This viewpoint is the best spot to watch the sunrise on the Komodo Islands.
Hike up to the highest point and enjoy a tremendous view, looking over a black sand beach, a pink beach, and a white sand beach. The spectacular pink glow will highlight all the different bays of this fairytale Island.
After watching the sunrise, it’s time to explore more of this magical komodo island. Walk to the 3 different beaches, swim in one of the bays, or simply sit and enjoy the view!
I climbed up a hill to get a really cool new perspective on the “harbor bay”. When you walk from the beach where you arrive, on the trail towards the famous viewpoint there is a spot where the trail turns left. Instead, go right, climb up the hill, and voila! Nobody knows this spot, so you’ll likely have it all to yourself?.
Photography Tip ➳ Take The Best Travel Photographs with a Minimalist Gear
Komodo Island Manta Point
In the Komodo National Park, there is a perfect spot to swim with majestic flap flaps or Manta Rays. These rays can grow up to 7 m in width and make a great snorkeling partner. It is amazing to see how gracious these animals move through the water and collect their food. When there is an area with plankton the rays do a backflip to gather their dinner. This is the moment when you can really see the gills of the manta rays and their unique skeleton.
Snorkeling Tip ➳ Do a snorkeling trip around Nusa Penida to swim with more Manta Rays!
After swimming the mantas it is time to swim with some other beautiful sea creatures, Turtles! Close to manta point there is a spot where tons and tons of turtles gather in all shapes and sizes.
My favorite moment when seeing a turtle is when they come up for air. They float towards the surface, pop their head above the water, and have a look around. This is so special! And when they feel like it, they dive into the deep crystal clear water again.
Swim beside these turtles and watch how they move (and how remarkably fast they are!). But don’t touch them.
Pro Tip ➳ The Surin Islands are a real bucket list destination for freediving in Thailand! The corals and marine life around these islands are unlike you’ve ever seen before.
What To Bring To This Komodo Island Adventure
On this 2 or 3-day Komodo Island tour you don’t need a lot. The only 5 things you really need are the following:
Tip ➳ Are you backpacking for a longer period of time? Check out this Ultimate Backpacker Packing List
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