Sailing around Komodo National Park | Flores, Indonesia13 min read
Why you should put sailing trip around Komodo National Park on the bucket list? It’s not a surprise this place is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its abundance of underwater adventures, the dragons, volcanic islands, sandy beaches, colourful fish and manta rays Komodo will surely blow your mind! That being said, we have been dreaming of visiting Flores since we travelled to Indonesia for the first time.
WHERE IS KOMODO NATIONAL PARK AND HOW TO GET THERE
Komodo National Park is a part of Indonesian Archipelago, located between Sumbawa and Flores Islands. Most flights to Flores arrive at Labuan Bajo port town which is the launching point for Komodo Island trip. The journey from Bali, Denpasar takes about an hour and generally costs around 120£ for a return ticket. If you are planning to visit Komodo National Park most likely you will have to spend one night in Labuan Bajo. Port town is super small and has plenty of budget-friendly hostels around. We ended up staying at Bajo Sunset Hostel.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The dry season starts in April and lasts until December. This is the best time to visit the National Park, however, July and August are the busiest months of the year. We were lucky to travel in May where there are not many tourists yet some places were already filled with dozens of boats. Best months in terms of diving conditions – October to April.
It’s possible to book a tour on the spot with the local agency but we secured our trip in advance through Wonderful East Indonesia For the best experience we recommend to jump on 3 day/2 night sailing boat. There are so many incredible spots to visit and you won’t be able to tick off all of it during a day trip. Beware that local tour operators might be cheaper but there is a big chance you will end up on the old boat which can break during the itinerary.
Try to choose more eco-friendly boat/tour that encourages and promotes more sustainable travel for example no plastic bottle policy. Unfortunately our tour wasn’t interested in that.
- Pickup and dropoff
- Food and drink (vegan, vegetarian options available upon request)
- AC Cabin Boat
- Entrance to Komodo National Park
- Ranger in National Park
- Snorkelling equipment
- Tour Guide
- Personal photographer equipped with a camera, GoPro and drone
What’s not included:
- Flight ticket
- Travel Insurance
Worried that you can be eaten by the Komodo dragon? Need advice on travel insurance? Check out our favourite travel insurance provider and get the quote now!
Our first day included visiting pristine islands, Manta Point and sunset nearby Padar Island. We were given plenty of time to snorkel in the crystal clear waters around Kanawa Island and watch the underwater marine life. Beware, sometimes current can be quite strong which makes snorkelling really dangerous.
Unfortunately, we weren’t lucky this time and couldn’t swim with Manta Rays. Apparently the best time to spot them runs from December till March.
While onboard we were mainly tanning on the top deck, reading a book and eating delicious food. We.indonesia provided us mainly Indonesian meals prepared by a lovely chef who made us separate vegan options.
The second day was the highlight as we hiked Padar Island for the sunrise. You will have to climb lots of steps but the view is unforgettable and worth a challenge. From the top, it’s possible to spot pink, white and black sand beaches at once.
Did you know there are a few pink beaches in Komodo National Park? Our tour included visiting the less known spot where there are not many cruising boats yet. And what really makes pink beach sand? We only discovered recently, that it’s a million pieces of shattered coral floating back to the shore.
This day wouldn’t be complete without seeing Komodo Dragons on Rinca Island. In case you didn’t know Komodo National Park is only one place on Earth when you can see these giant lizards. Upon arrival, we met the ranger who walked us to the main camp and gave us an introduction about National Park, dragons and their natural habitat. During the day, dragons are not really active as they are hunting in the night time. We could count dozens of them around rangers kitchen, mainly resting in the shade. Shortly after we took an hour trek through the forest finishing with the sea view overlooking the beach.
- Komodo Island will be temporarily closed from January 2020 for conservation and All the tours will be heading to Rinca Island which remains open,
- Dragons might look sluggish and lazy while they are resting but in fact, they can move really fast and become aggressive. Don’t be tricked if you see them almost snoozing,
- Always stick with the tour group and don’t try to get close to dragons,
- There are around 2500 dragons on Rinca Island but it’s not always guaranteed you will see them,
- It is strictly forbidden to take any sand or seashells from Komodo National Park,
We finished our second day with the sunset next to Kalong Island. This particular spot is known for its phenomenal show where every evening giant bats fly out from the island and heading to the mainland. Meanwhile, we saw a volcano eruption from Sumbawa Island. Spend a few months in Indonesia and this type of scene will become a norm we can guarantee!
On the last day, we arrived at our last stop – Kelor Island. After a short and steep hike to the top of the mountain, you will get to see jaw-dropping views of crystal waters and few other islands. We imagine this place as a perfect sunset spot but sadly it was our last day of sailing. Shortly after we had our last lunch fiesta and came back to Labuan Bajo.