A tour to discover the amazing Komodo National Park with its incredible dragons, immaculate snorkeling spots to die for and unreal looking landscapes. Our personal travel suggestions will help you to easily organize your stay and activities in one of Indonesia’s most breathtaking regions.
1. Key facts about Komodo National Park
Komodo National Park is situated among the islands of Flores and Sumbawa, most specifically in East Nusa Tenggara, which is right in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago. It is mainly composed of the islands of Komodo, Rinca, and Padar. It was established in 1980 with the main goal of keeping the worldwide unique Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) and its habitat safe. During the years the rangers realized that not only the earth’s largest living lizard needed to be protected but also the entire biodiversity of the park (terrestrial and marine) had to be under the same status.
It is currently holding a spot as one of the 7 globe’s new natural wonders and since 1986 declared both world heritage site and man & biosphere reserve by UNESCO.
It is known to everybody as the only place in the world where to spot in the wild the one and only legendary Komodo Dragon. However, truth to be said, we are speaking about the top of the iceberg; the area features some of the nicest beaches you will ever see (with white, black and pink sand at your disposal), untouched corals and sea life including manta rays, rare dugongs, turtles, dolphins, sharks, different kinds of whales plus a pretty infinite number of colorful fishes. Do you like snorkeling? Wonderful, this is the right place for you, it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or expert swimmer, the same if looking for scuba diving.
You prefer laying on the beach, sunbathing or taking some nice shots and enjoying yourself just chilling in the low crystal clear water? Fine enough, it will be a paradise for you too. Fauna on the islands isn’t as rich as the underwater one. But you can still spot Timor deer, goats, water buffalo, wild boars, eagles, flying foxes, snakes, frogs and more. What about the flora? When you approach by boat these pieces of land surrounded by water, whose are of volcanic origin, you will immediately be amazed from their extremely rounded hills (till 750meter high), the savannah vegetation covering almost all surfaces (except for the beaches) and the sizes. Yes, the park’s area is around 1’733 km2 big (603 km2 of it is represented by land).
2. Where and how to start your journey you are surely wondering how you arrive at this majestic place.
The starting point of your trip to Komodo National park is without any doubt the airport of Labuan Bajo, on the island of Flores. If you are taking off from Bali Denpasar it will only take 1hour, so a rather short trip. We warmly suggest, as usual, to book in advance and to find the right company fitting your budget and expectations. Personally, we had such a great experience with Garuda Airlines, one of the best companies out there, providing a top-class service. The prices? For the two of us, the round trip cost was 4’000’000 IDR, not bad at all. Watch out dear readers, pay attention when checking in your luggage while leaving the airport of Labuan Bajo; they will charge you every single gram exceeding the tolerated weight.
To get around in town, as per other Indonesian destinations, grabbing a cab/driver is a good option, the same if renting a scooter/motorbike. It is up to you.
Fundamental to know, to visit the park you need to come with an organized tour, which means it is impossible to go around by yourself. Keep reading the article to learn more about the tour you should choose.
3. Komodo National Park sailing trip.
To answer this question you have to think about the time you have available.
In our opinion, the best is to stay at least 3 days and 2 nights, if you can do more, better, Flores island is such a beauty. This will allow you to discover all the sights of interest without being in a rush. Keep in mind that most of the tours start early in the morning, around 07:00-08:00 and finish at 17:00-18:00. Our tip is to arrive in Labuan Bajo at least one day before the tour takes place and leave the day after (or you can opt for a late flight the same day your adventure comes to an end).
Day trips and private tours are both available. We went for a private one (with Tours to Komodo) and everything was perfect. If you are asking yourself which is the right tour for you please check Komodo National Park: how to pick the right tour for you?
During our 3 days 2 nights itinerary we visited some of the most breathtaking points of interest this unique area has to offer. Have a look at the following pics we shot during our stay.
↠ Are you wondering about Komodo National Park’s sights that aren’t absolutely to be missed during your stay? Please read the Top 10 places to visit in Komodo National Park.
4. When is the best time of the year to visit?
There are 6 months that are particularly indicated to enjoy the beauties of this worldwide unique park. April, May, June – September, October, and November. The first three months following the rainy season, which means that everything is incredibly green and shiny. It is also the period before mating time, so still good chances to see Dragons around.
July is the month where the mating season takes place, so it is rather difficult to encounter the world’s largest living lizard. But who knows, maybe you could spot two males fighting against each other, trying to conquer a female Komodo.
Unfortunately, it isn’t a great period to see mantas, the same with whale sharks or whales. Considering all this, you have to know that this month represents a high season, so stellar prices, people and boats everywhere, hot and humid weather. If you want to discover the park in all its beauty, seeing as much wildlife as possible, you definitely have to come during September, October or November. To be honest, the best month is October, barely anybody around, mating season is gone so plenty of massive reptiles so see it is mantas, whale sharks and whales season, the temperature is just perfect, not too hot, not too cold, less humidity, as usual, prices are reduced, simply perfect.
5. Where to sleep in Labuan Bajo?
We booked a b&b named “Danke” via Airbnb for around 150’000 IDR per night for two people. (if this will be your first time with Airbnb, feel free to use our discount code). A free unlimited shuttle from/to airport/city center, we just needed to write a WhatsApp to the driver and within minutes he was ready to pick us up and bring us where we had to go. Breakfast included the same with air conditioning. Check-in was fast and easy, the guy on duty was very gentle and welcoming. Just be aware that, as in every other place on this island, there is no hot water during your shower. They can exceptionally boil water for you and bring a bucket in your room. We asked for it and everything went well. We highly recommend this structure. A more central option would be the “Pirate hotel”, looking very minimal and stylish.
6. Where to eat in Labuan Bajo?
There are a bunch of restaurants to try out in the center of the city so it wasn’t easy to choose one; we have since forever a soft spot for hamburgers and looked for it. Searching in TripAdvisor we found “Burger Time” and went straight checking them out. What a blast! We tried this kind of food almost everywhere in the world during our trips but didn’t expect to eat one of the best ever here in Indonesia.
All the ingredients were super fresh, the meat perfectly grilled and what about the service, everybody smiling at you and being attentive in every single detail. The price was very good, considering the location and the costs in general for similar meals. For two hamburgers with French fries, a large Bintang beer, and a homemade ice tea we paid around 350’000 IDR.
If you’re looking for something typical and local, we warmly suggest going to the fish market, an absolute must. We met a lot of travelers coming back after lunch/dinner and they all were super satisfied.