5 Amazing Things to Do in Komodo National Park, Indonesia

I never knew that there was a Komodo National Park until I started doing research for an Indonesia trip. As a wildlife and nature nut enthusiast, I had been salivating to see a Komodo dragon for years. I was delighted to find out that this area of Indonesia was a nature lover’s wet dream and that visiting Komodo island was only one of many amazing things to do in Komodo National Park.

How to Get There and Where to Stay

Things to Do Komodo National Park

First of all, let’s review my favorite subject, geography. Indonesia is comprised of over 17,000 islands. To visit Komodo National park, fly to Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores. This is in the region of East Nusa Tenggara, and a one hour flight from Denpasar, Bali. An alternative is to take a boat trip from either Bali or Lombok. These tours stop at several of the sights I am about to describe. It’s great to have options, ain’t it?

There are many hotels and hostels in Labuan Bajo, but I can recommend Le Pirate. It is in a great location, right on the main road, Jl. Soekarno Hatta. You can literally walk across the street and book tours, plus there are diving shops up and down the main street. They have movie night on the roof deck twice a week. The rooms are tiny but you don’t need to be there often! The deck has a great sunset views of the harbor, a little plunge pool, a bar and is a great place to chill and use the sometimes good wifi. The food was pretty good as well (shamelessly, I ate nachos here…and loved them).  I was not sponsored, FYI, just really liked it!

Things to Do in Komodo National Park

Things to Do in Komodo National Park

Useful Info

Currency:  Indonesian Rupiah (13,300 IDR = 1 USD)

ATMs are easy to find on the main street in Labuan Bajo. Very few places, if any, take credit card. Be prepared to pay cash for snorkeling tours, diving and food. The hotels may take cash but best to clarify before hand. You can also get cash at the airport. There are exchange places in Labuan Bajo and I found the rates very fair and no commissions.

Dresscode:  Indonesia is an Islamic country. Therefore you will notice the locals dressed modestly. Tourists are not expected to be dressed like a local, but it is best not to attract too much attention. Walking around in a bikini will definitely garner attention you don’t want. It’s best to wear shorts, t-shirt, sundress or bathing suit cover up when outside of your hotel.

Padar Island

This island was one of my favorite places on my entire Indonesia trip. It is an island within the national park and you can hike to the top for some of the best views in the world. Seriously. The hike is not very long but is very steep and at times rocky. You don’t have to have hiking shoes per se, but flip-flops are not the best idea. I suggest sturdy hiking sandals or trainers/trekking shoes. Once you reach the top, there is a view of three beaches: black sand, white sand and pink sand. The soft green color of the island is striking as well.

Things to Do in Komodo National Park

The tour I did was with Perama Tours. I chose the more expensive fast boat because the distance from Labuan Bajo to the first stop is only two hours vs four hours on the slow boat. My tour was approximately 1,200,000 IDRs which is approximately $90 USD.

I thought they did a good job. The guide was very sweet. I didn’t get a chance to eat breakfast and he let me have my afternoon snack early so I wasn’t starved before the hike. They provide snorkel gear, lunch, water and a snack. If you require vegetarian, make sure to specify when you book. Also…ask your hotel to give you an early breakfast or buy something for yourself the previous evening. Don’t be stupid like me. (If you follow my snapchat or IG stories you will understand how I always figure things out way too late…but at least I can share with you so you can do better!)

Keep in mind that Indonesian safety standards are not the same as in western countries. Do some research anytime you get on a boat, whether it be a ferry or a tour. Not to scare you, but boats in Indonesia don’t have great safety record. Inquiring about life jackets, and maximum number of people on the boat is a good place to start!

Komodo Island

This was also part of the tour that I did. Komodo Island is very far from Labuan Bajo and one of reasons to use a fast boat. You have to pay a national park fee in cash that isn’t included in the tour price. It is the equivalent of a few dollars, but I forget the exact amount.

Komodo Island is one of two islands in the world (the other one being Rinca Island) that have these infamous lizards. There are roughly 4000 lizards on the island and about 200o inhabitants. (Yes people actually live there!)

Usually one ranger is assigned to three people. That means when you walk, one ranger is in the front of the group and one is in the back. They carry long sticks cut to have a “v” shape in the front, which serves to “redirect” a dragon away from you!

Things to Do Komodo National Park

Watch out Khaleesi…

Before you go freaking out about how close I am to a deadly animal or that I’m touching it, don’t worry. This photo was taken by a ranger who knew how to get a dramatic shot. I’m just holding my hand in the air, nowhere close to touching it. This is the reality:

Things to Do Komodo National Park

Yep, I’m ready to run at any sign of movement on this bad boy’s part. Not that it would help, he would probably outrun me!! In all seriousness, these are deadly animals with poisonous saliva that will kill you slowly over a few days. Not really how I wanna go out! However, these close photo sessions are strictly monitored by rangers and it is safe as long as you follow their rules. There was even a couple with a toddler and infant there!

Snorkel at the Pink Beach

Things to Do Komodo National Park

Another stop on the amazing tour (not sponsored…just loved it!), was the pink beach. Not only do you get to see a beautiful pink beach, but the snorkeling there was divine. I saw Nemo, Dory and all their friends just a few meters from the shore. I was impressed to find so many fish and colorful corals with so little effort. The sand is pink because of tiny bits of red coral. Sadly, it gets less pink over time secondary to erosion and tourists taking it home, so leave the sand there please!!!

things to do Komodo National Park

Scuba Diving with Manta Rays

Have you ever felt your heart sing? I hadn’t, until I saw Manta Rays underwater. This sounds cheesier than an enchilada, but for real, that’s how I felt. I cannot recommend this activity enough. If you are not scuba certified, you can snorkel with these elegant creatures. Check out the video:

 

The dive company I chose was recommended to me by other tourists I met in Yogyakarta. They are called Manta Rhei. They typically do a day trip with 3 dives. Every now and then they have their “Jurassic Park Day”, which is a regular dive, a manta dive and a trip to Rinca Island, to see Komodo dragons. Of course I chose this one. I wanted to see the dragons on both islands.

http://www.mantarhei.com/

This company has a top notch dive boat, provides breakfast with coffee, tea, juice, water.  A delicious home cooked lunch is served followed by the best snack I’ve ever had after diving…Belgian waffles. (The company is Belgian).  They offer live aboard diving if you are a major diving enthusiast!

Things to Do Komodo National Park

You are not guaranteed to see manta rays, as nature is not predictable. However, you will always have a beautiful dive since the fish and corals here are stunning. Literally the best diving I’ve ever experienced.  Most tourists I spoke with saw mantas. My group saw too many to count as well as several sea turtles!

http://www.mantarhei.com/

Rinca Island

Things to Do Komodo National Park

I couldn’t get enough of these terrifying creatures so I chose to go see Rinca Island. Some people opted for a 3rd dive. I found the amount of dragons seen to be similar on Rinca and Komodo Island. However, Rinca Island was prettier to hike around with beautiful views.

Things to Do Komodo National Park

I didn’t like the way he was looking at me. Surely the person standing next to me looked tastier!

I was exhausted after both these day trips because the days start really early. I really enjoyed chilling on the rooftop deck at my hotel after! Even if you don’t stay at Le Pirate, come have a meal or drink or to watch a movie. It’s such a great spot!

Things to Do Komodo National Park

Do you like wildlife? Would you visit Komodo Dragons and swim with Manta Rays? Answer in the comments!

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Things to Do Komodo National Park

About The Author

csaradar

20 COMMENTS

  1. headalongwithheart | 17th Jul 17

    Wow!!!! Literally, just wow!!! This is so incredible. I, too, am a fan of nature and geography (like, should we be best friends??), but this seriously looks like the trip of a lifetime! Not only did you get to see your komodo dragons, but the manta rays are magnificent. And Padar Island also looks amazing!! A lot of times when I hike, I’m in it for the views, and Padar Island looks like a view I need to add to my ever-growing list. Thank you for sharing such a cool experience!

    • csaradar | 21st Jul 17

      hey new best friend! LOL. So happy you enjoyed this. This was truly one of favorite places in the world.

  2. Erin Bast | 16th Jul 17

    This place looks incredible! I’ve always wanted to see Komodo Dragons in their natural habitat, but the island itself also looks beautiful. That pink beach is gorgeous. Also, diving and eating Belgian waffles sounds like an amazing day!

    • csaradar | 21st Jul 17

      There are so many things to do here which makes going to see the dragons even more exciting!!

  3. C-Ludik | 15th Jul 17

    If I ever have the chance to visit wonderful Indonesia, I will make sure to go to Komodo National Park for a few days of exploration ! Komodo National Park is full of once in a lifetime experiences and unlike anywhere else on earth. Were you scared with the Komodo Dragon ? I think you could say I will probably be alarmed and maybe a bit tense 🙂

    • csaradar | 21st Jul 17

      I was a teeny bit scared but the rangers truly control the situation to keep visitors safe! It is an experience of a lifetime.

  4. Danielle | 15th Jul 17

    Komodo national park is SO high on my bucket list (as is the rest of Indonesia)! You had me fooled with the photo of you close to the dragon!

    • csaradar | 21st Jul 17

      LOL I know right? That photo is all about the perspective 🙂

  5. Kate | 15th Jul 17

    Wow! Your photos are absolutely incredible! I especially love the two komodo dragons. You were definitely right that the guide knew exactly how to get a dramatic photo. I love all types of wildlife and will definitely be adding this to my list. Clearly it is a must see!

    • csaradar | 21st Jul 17

      Thank you Kate! I loved every second of this trip!

  6. Penny | 15th Jul 17

    Wow! The Komodo dragons are really huge. I actually thought that you were sitting on one till I realized that the photograph was shot from a different perspective. Love your photographs especially your main pic. The island looks really beautiful.

    • csaradar | 21st Jul 17

      LOL, I would be terrified to touch those things! Yes, it is a stunning place:)

  7. Sabine | 15th Jul 17

    Wow, that island looks really amazing. Love the panoramic view from the top. I would love to go to Komodo. I’ve visited Indonesia many years ago, but there was no time to get to Komodo Island. I did manage to see some of the dragons in a zoo in Java, but not the same. As a safari and wildlife addict I would love to see them in their natural environment. Love your pictures!!

  8. Nana | 15th Jul 17

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and advices – we are going to Flores 1st of august and are looking into if we should do day tours or take this 4 days boat trip back to Lombok. Lovely pictures!
    Kr Nana

    • csaradar | 21st Jul 17

      so exciting that you’re going! I kind of liked being based in Labuan Bajo. I found it relaxing to be there after the long day trips but I could see how the boat trip would be fun as well.

  9. lucywilliamsglobal | 15th Jul 17

    What a trip! I haven’t been to Indonesia, but the Komodo National Park looks amazing. I need to put this on the list! Your photos are fantastic, especially the one next to giant lizard & high up over looking the landscape.
    Happy Travels
    Lucy
    http://www.lucywilliamsglobal.com

    • csaradar | 22nd Jul 17

      thanks Lucy! Indonesia is one of my fave places because of so much natural beauty!

  10. NOMAD/nester _ Julie Small | 15th Jul 17

    Wow what an amazing experience. Must admit to being fooled by the photo with the Komodo. Perspective is everything!!!

  11. MeanderWithMeg | 15th Jul 17

    I’m loving your adventures in Indonesia! I really wanted to visit Flores, Lombok and the Komodo islands and now I’m determined to go back to Indonesia to see these places as they look great! I can’t believe you stayed in Le Pirate – I stayed with them on Nusa Lembongan and loved their super cute beach huts. The Komodo dragon is a fascinating creature and I can’t believe how massive he is next to you! Also loved that you swam with mantas – it’s such a beautiful feeling! What a great trip! Thanks for sharing.

    • csaradar | 21st Jul 17

      Oh wow didn’t know there was a Le Pirate on Lembongan. Such a cool hotel. Indonesia is crazy huge with so many things to do. I can’t wait to go back and explore more! The mantas…sigh. It was like a dream.

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