Sailing Komodo Islands was definitely the highlight of 2018 year for us, it was a dream came true and we cannot recommend more visiting this Paradise on Earth. You should definitely have heard of Komodo Archipelago before, especially lately when it’s getting easier to visit and more popular among the travel communities. Komodo National Park is part of Flores, a group of 29 small and big white-sanded islands. It is a home to the world-famous Komodo Dragon and also of a breathtaking marine life. There are world-class snorkeling and diving sites with millions of fish, countless manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins and small reef sharks. They are many islands with stunning hiking paths leading to speechless views and so many pink beaches.
How to get to the Komodo Islands
It has become much easier to visit the Komodo Islands over the past few years. You can easily combine a 5-6 day stay in Flores and Komodo Islands, including a 4-day Komodo Islands boat tour and 2 nights stay in Labuan Bajo with your Bali Holiday. They are daily flights from Denpasar, Bali to Labuan Bajo’s airport that take less than an hour. The airport in Labuan Bajo is only about 5-10 minutes taxi ride from the town. We flew with Nam Air, but they are many other companies operating this route on a daily basis and the flights are really affordable. We paid around 100$ per person for a round trip.
Watch our vlog from Labuan Bajo to see how we got there
Labuan Bajo is a charming little and still not completely developed town on the western tip of Flores. The small city is the entrance port to the incredible Komodo Islands in Komodo National Park. After Komodo Airport opened in 2015 tourism started quickly developing in this part of Indonesia. We recommend spending two nights in Labuan Bajo and 3-4 days or more sailing Komodo National Park. We arrived in the middle of the day on the airport, so we spent our first night at Le Pirate Boatel, which was one of the most amazing accommodation experiences we’ve ever had and when we got back from our 4 days sailing trip we spent also our last night at the same place, had an amazing relaxed evening and took the plane back to Bali on the day after.
Exploring Komodo Islands By Boat Tour and Booking One
Komodo Islands can be explored by a single day boat tours from Labuan Bajo or by multiple day overnight boat trips on the sea of Komodo National Park. They are plenty of tour agencies and private live board companies offering different trips and you can find them easily on the main street after arrival in Labuan Bajo so you can book for the next day. Anyways we recommend to book in advance to be 100% sure that you will be able to do the trip you wish, because this place is getting busier and more touristic with every year followed. Also please keep in mind that all popular companies are fully booked 2 months in advance. Multi-day trips are recommended to book online where you can see photos of the boat and read reviews. Depending on the weather conditions your route will be filled with the most stunning spots around the Komodo National Park.
We booked 2 months in advance with Le Pirate Explorer 4 and we totally recommend doing this trip with that company. Le Pirate Explorer is an explorer cruise, part of the popular Le Pirate Beach Club. You may have heart of this massively popular accommodation company already on social medias. The places can be found in Bali’s Nusa Ceningan, Gili Trawangan, as well as Labuan Bajo. Owned by a Frenchman, the brand offers an unique Le Pirate experience. And we were more than happy with our trip and stay.
What will you see and do on a Komodo islands boat tour
We were able to explore most of the Komodo Archipelago, visited the Komodo National Park to see the Komodo Dragons, visited lesser known locations, did loads of snorkeling and swam with turtles, manta rays and thousands of fish, watched shooting stars at night, had incredible sunrise everyday from our bedroom, hiked amazing paths to see the most amazing sunests and so much more. Our trip with Le Pirate was a one of a kind experience. And the fantastic crew and chef who made some of the best Indonesian meals (meat or vegetarian meals) made our experience even more incredible.
Please, note that it is a back-to-basic experience where there are a cold-pump shower and bathroom that you have to share with 8 – 10 people. Of course the staff keeps everything very clean 24-hours long. Also, there is no WiFi connection on the boat at sometimes no cell-phone connection at all on the water so don’t be afraid to talk at get to know the other amazing people that you are gonna be sharing the boat for few days with.
GILI LAWA ISLAND
Gili Lawa is a beautiful island in the north east of Komodo. This island is one of the greatest sunset spots in Komodo. It is a must to do a trekking to the top of this island. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes to reach the top. There at the top you will have enough time for taking amazing pictures while watching the sunset. Facing to the west, there you can see the Sanghiang island from far, an active volcano island, where also the sun goes down. Right in front, there is Komodo Island with its barren savanah which almost covering most of the island. Down at the bottom of the island, you will be amazed by the long white sandy beach with clear breathtaking coral formation. Sunset hours should be from 5 to 6 pm, then have to be back to boat for overnight. The Island is host to a large population of deer and we spots so many on the way back.
Snorkeling and diving in world-class reefs around the Komodo islands
Divers and snorkelers can be very satisfied at Komodo National Park. With over a 1000 kind of fish and 230 species of coral, the reefs at the Komodo islands are some of the best for snorkeling and diving in the world. Penga Kecil and Karang Makassar are the most visited reefs.
Our trip with Le Pirate Explorer 4 was all about snorkeling and trekking, so no scuba diving. But we enjoyed snorkeling so much and saw many turtles, manta rays, loads of fish and sea stars in all kind of colors and sizes and also dolphins. It is possible for reef sharks and whale sharks to be seen too. Unfortunately we didn’t have luck.
Swim with Manta Rays in the waters of Komodo Islands
Manta Rays are very common in Komodo National Park. They can be spotted year-round by snorkeling or diving especially during the rainy season, when the water is colder, and there is glowing plankton which is food for the Mantas. The rainy season runs from December to March and is the best time to spot Manta Rays around the Komodo islands. During this time hundreds of Manta Rays gather at Manta Point.
One of the three larger volcanic islands in Komodo National Park is Padar. For us this is one of the highlights from our trip with the best sunset view ever. All you need to do is just a 20-minute hike to the top viewpoint and you will get rewarded by mind-blowing views over the full bay with all the virgin white sanded beaches showing up from each side of the island and the speechless sunset. Padar Island is host to the Komodo dragon and large population of deer.
The Pink Beaches of Komodo
There are many pink beaches around Komodo National Park. White sand mixed with tiny pieces of red coral makes the beach look pink. One of our favorites was a small piece of junk white-sanded island with the clearest turquoise waters in the middle of the sea. We had so much fun there.
NOTE: Please, never take sand or shells and keep nature as it is. It is also prohibited which can get you in trouble at the airport.
The Komodo Dragon is the largest lizard on planet earth and Komodo National Park is the only place where this fascinating creature lives. The Komodo dragon can grow up to 2.5 meters, weigh over 85 kilograms and a bite from it is actually very deadly. Always stay behind the ranger, it’s his job to keep you safe.
We were guided by a trained Ranger in the park who kept us at a safe distance, which is required and you should hire one when visiting Rinca Island to view the Komodo dragons.
The hike through the park and to the viewpoint are available in a short (1h), medium(1.5h) or long walk (2.5h). The medium was very easy to walk and we saw another beautiful view, many buffalos and some lazy komodo dragons, lying down on the earth. Anyways we weren’t really happy with our visit to the Komodo National Park and we are not sure if we have to recommend it or not.
Watch our vlog from there to find out why:
If you decide to visit anyway you will see that we were right and we are sure that you won’t get such feedback almost anywhere else. But we just love to be transparent and always honest with our readers, so that’s why we decided to share our opinions, which remain our own. For us this is a a beautiful one of a kind place turned into a touristic zoo spot from human beings to make money thanks to the hundreds of tourists visiting daily.
See a million flying bats at the Komodo islands
After visiting Komodo National Park, we got back to the boat to watch the most spectacular show designed by Mother Nature ever. Directly after sunset, the sky at the Komodo islands turns black, filled with a million bats leaving the mangrove forest located on Kalong Island. This is a must-see experience during your Komodo islands boat tour. It was truly magical, and for sure one of the many highlights of our trip. Thank you, Universe, for being so amazing!
Price of a Komodo islands boat tour
There is an entrance fee to Komodo National Park that costs 280.000 IDR (18 USD) and is valid for 3 days.
The price of a boat tour depends on what you like to see, the comfort you prefer and how many days you want to spend in the national park.
A day trip in the park costs you anywhere between 500.000 – 1.000.000 (45 USD) per person for a shared boat tour.
A 4-days & 3-nights boat trip with Le Pirate Explorer including meals (vegan, vegetarian, meat options) would cost you anywhere between 8.400.000 to 9.300.000 IDR for 2 persons. (~600-660 USD)
So whatever your budget and time is, a visit to Komodo National Park is a must-do experience in Indonesia! It was a dream came true for us and we will remember this forever!
Where to stay in Labuan Bajo
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Love and Light ♥