Of all the most exotic places to visit in Indonesia, Komodo National Park, a chain of isolated islands from the Indonesian archipelago of Flores is sensational. Dedicated as both a Unesco World Heritage site and a Man biosphere Reserve, points to the importance of this national park and the famous Komodo dragon in its natural habitat. The tour of Komodo Island was definitely one of my favorite tours and a highlight in visiting Indonesia, a country of over 17,000 islands. Check out the highlights of Visiting Komodo National Park below.
What to do at Komodo National Park
Komodo National Park via boat tours
Getting to Komodo National park is also a fun adventure in itself. Typically on a Komodo trip you get to visit the 3 major islands of the park via private boat tour or you can take any of the Komodo boat trip tours offered through the local port town of Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores. There are a variety of options to visiting the national park or diving the many islands which is also a popular attraction in the area. The boat ride from Labuan Bajo to Komodo National Park takes about 45 minutes and is a scenic ride through the many smaller islands leading up to the park. First stop on this tour – Komodo Island.
Colorful boating options and tours
Hanging around the docks at Labuan Bajo
Labuan Bajo as a base for your Komodo tour
Labuan Bajo is a good place for getting provisions and having a meal prior to or after your days adventure exploring the park. Since there are no accommodation or camping allowed on the park, you will find the best accommodations at this port town. Or you can sign up to take a variety of boat Komodo tours that include stays overnight on the ships in visiting the various islands and Komodo travel offered. Another popular excursion includes Komodo diving tours to Komodo National Park diving or at the various island diving spots.
Tip: for more information about housing, dining or tour operators around Labuan Bajo, check out the Flores destination site here.
Beauties on Board to Komodo National Park
It isn’t too often that you get beautiful models and travel writers to participate and enjoy the ride to the national park. With the temperatures getting warmer, our writers and models didn’t mind adding more to the natural beauty of the landscape around the boat.
Natural beauties of the Komodo islands
Exploring Komodo National Park
Composed of three major islands and some smaller islands, Komodo, Rinca and Padar islands are a refuge to indigenous wildlife including the Komodo dragons, the Timor deer, Orange footed scrub fowl and a host to other unique animals and sea life within the national park. The parks main marine life and terrestrial are constantly in threat to over fishing and poaching and it is a commitment to the National parks services to educate and protect this precious biodiversity of this amazing region.
First stop, Rinca Island
We first explore Rinca and do a panoramic hike to discover all the amazing wildlife on the island and what everyone experiences first in their Komodo Island tour. The longer hike takes you through forest lowlands, hilly chaparral to the peak which offer excellent views of the entire landscape and surrounding islands. The longer hike is moderate in effort and time, approximately 40-50 minutes to the peak and is definitely the better option to the shorter hike.
Tip: once on the island check in at the welcome stand at the ranger area camps and you can arrange for a tour with a local ranger. Self tours are not allowed due to the many different wildlife on the island.
Waiting for the Rinca island tour to begin
The dragons of Komodo
Welcome area to the National park
A cluster of buildings at the entrance is where you can use the bathroom, check out the gift shop or buy some snacks and cold drinks before or after your hike around the island. You will probably pass by the official kitchen which always has a few or more Komodos hanging around because of the delicious smells coming from the kitchen windows.
Hiking to the peak of Rinca island
At the Rinca island welcome center, we are introduced to our rangers and given a quick introduction and safety talk about the komodo dragons and how to behave around them. There are two options of hiking tours on Rinca island and the longer tour is the more scenic hike which typically takes about two hours. It is a fantastic hike that covers dry chaparral, forest area and hilly with grassy terrain at the overlook area at the end of the hike. You are rewarded with magnificent and panoramic views of the entire island and the habor area below.
Grassy chaparral areas at Rinca Island
Yoga time and goofing off at Rinca Island
Views to the harbor at Rinca Island
Komodo island visit and lunch
Next stop on our visit to the park was a short cruise to Komodo island for a short tour and lunch. There is also an option to tour the island on guided tours, but our group spent most of the time touring along the coastline and then having a prepared lunch at the large outdoor pavilion. The coastal areas are fairly dry with low foliage and these unusual looking trees below.
Tip – you might want to also check out the amazing world below in the ocean by diving in Komodo.
Fortunately, the elevated pavilion is set high with small steps to discourage the dragons from climbing up to the dining areas and surprisingly there were Komodo’s already at the base of the platform eager to join us for lunch. It was good to have a host of guides with big wooden sticks to separate us from the komodo dragons which were very aggressive in trying to climb up the platform steps. In the end, this was the closest opportunity for the visitors to take pictures above looking directly at the Komodos and taking fantastic close ups. (images below)
Looking for a free lunch at the dining pavilion on Komodo Island
Visiting a pink beach at Padar Island
We have an option to visiting a pink sand beach or Padar Island for an additional hike and a group of visitors opt for a short stop to seeing the famous pink beach of Komodo Islands. Once you arrive close to the beach it really is hard to distinguish that this is a pink beach until you actually get right up to the shoreline, then you notice the smaller reddish speckles that mix in with the white sandy beach and giving a pink hue to the entire beach.
The pink beach up close
Climbing to the top of Padar Island
Padar Island is also a must see when you visit the national park. The main attraction is to climb to the peak for magnificent views of the different beaches and mountains of this stunning location. It’s a rough climb to the top but if you take it slowly you will eventually reach the peak and the views are truly spectacular. Sunset is the best time to visit so arriving late afternoon to see the sunset is worth the effort.
Climbing to the top of Padar Island
Sunset at Padar Island
Where to stay visiting Komodo National Park
More details on Komodo National Park
For visiting Komodo National park, check out the following details and websites below. Since you will outdoors most of the time, you should be prepared for changes in weather and bring the necessary equipment and outdoor gear for this outdoor adventure.
There are no hotels or housing at the national park, you can either book a boat tour with overnight stay or take a boat tour from Labuan Bajo. Here is a list of hotels available from Labuan Bajo.
Visiting Flores and surrounding areas, Flores official website here.
Or how about doing a Komodo live aboard experience.
If you want more information about visiting this amazing National Park, you can get more information on the Wonderful Indonesia site here.
Thanks for visiting Komodo National Park. If you enjoyed the images and post, could you please share it with any of the social media buttons located around the post. Thank you for hosting me on this tour Wonderful Indonesia and Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia, all thoughts and opinions are my own.