When we tell that we traveled to Indonesia, most people say: “ohh how was your holiday in Bali”? We totally get why Bali comes up first in the mind of people because most flights go through Bali to Indonesia. The island is widely marketed and get’s lots of visitors. Bali is a great island but Indonesia is so much more then just Bali. Indonesia stole our hearts, in a couple of places in particular. Komodo National Park is one of those places. Every year it’s getting more popular, so go when it’s still not too crowded.
1. It’s not far from Bali
With daily flights from Denpasar airport (Bali) and just over an hour flighttime, it’s so easy to visit the Komodo Islands. Fly with Nam Air, Garuda Indonesia or Wings Airlines. A one way ticket is around 1.200.000 IDR (90 USD). You fly into Labuan Bajo on the island Flores, from there it’s very close to town centre. Labuan Bajo is a cute town that is mainly based on boottrips and diving and perfect as a base for visiting Komodo.
2. The underwaterworld is beyond your expectations
One of the main attractions of the Komodo National Park is the underwaterworld. Labuan Bajo and Komodo are already popular with divers. Even if you are not a diver, there is lots to see while snorkeling. You most likely encounter dolphins, turtles and huge mantarays! Besides all the marine life, the coral is very colorful and healthy too. The area is famous for the strong currents which attracts langer creatures too like whalesharks, big fish and other shark species.
If you are more into macro there will be plenty too. It doesn’t matter what you are after, you will see it in Komodo National Park. A week wasn’t enough for us, as every day is different and surprisingly beautiful!
3. You can get up close to Komodo Dragons
This one is pretty special as these living dinosaurs only live in this area. They are the largest lizards and can get up to three meters. Getting up and close with them is impressive and there is even an photo opportunity. They look big and slow but they can actually run 20 kilometers per hour in sprint. Try to outran that!
Funny fact: Komodo dragons have their name from Komodo Island where they live, but there are actually more dragons on nearby Rinca Island! Because Rinca Island island is closer to Labuan Bajo and there is a bigger change of seeing them, most tours visit this Island rather then Komodo Island.
4. There are pink beaches
Do we need to say more? Who doesn’t want to walk on a pink beach?! Except from the actual “Pink Beach” on Komodo Island, there are several beaches around with a pink color. Taka Makassar is a tiny island with a pink beach. They get their color from a mix of the white sand and tiny pieces of dead red coral. We like white beaches, but pink beaches are even better!
5. Diving, diving, diving
If you never tried diving, then this is the spot to try! It’s a great place to start with an introduction dive or a whole open water course. Once you put your head in the water, you won’t regret it. One of the best divecompanies are Uber Scuba Komodo, IDIVE Komodo and Neren Diving Komodo. We really like diving with Scuba Junkie, they have an eco-resort at the edge of the Komodo National Park.
You can choose either a liveaboard or a room at their resort and go out on their spacious boat for diving. The food is delicious, the atmosphere great and the diving amazing, what do you want more? Some of the best diving spots are: Manta Point, Batu Bolong, Manta Alley and Castle Rock.
6. Visit Padar Island
Not only the underwaterworld is stunning, above water is equally beautiful. Komodo National Park has a lot of islands with green hills, surrounded by white beaches and clear waters. Padar Island lies between Rinca and Komodo Island and is just out of this world. Because it’s volcanic by origin, there are so many interesting shapes to see. Padar Island is even more special with a white, black and pink beach!
Walking to the viewpoint in over 35 degrees celcius is a challenge, but so worth it. Take plenty of water, good shoes, sunglasses and sunscreen on your 30-minute hike. After that you can go for a snorkel or relax on the beach. Tours are departing daily from Labuan Bajo but most liveaboards will visit Padar Island too. Best times of the year to visit are April till June and September till November. Depending on when you visit, the island has green or yellow hills.
7. Experience a liveaboard
We actually didn’t go on a liveaboard because we liked the stable ground under our feet. Although the sea around the Komodo Islands is usually really calm and it should be no problem. There are some pros and cons when it comes to a liveaboard compared to land-based daytours. A liveaboard is expensive and it’s a boat so not a lot of privacy or space for yourself. That being said, you will get on islands, spots and places where the boats of the daytrips never go to. Also, and this is a big plus, you are earlier at the dive and snorkelspots.
This is a huge plus as it’s way better without other tourists around. And there more extra’s like watching the nightskies, go snorkeling whenever you want or grab a paddleboard. Let’s say it’s less rushed then the daytrips as they have to sail back for 2 hours or more. It all depends what you prefer but either way it will be amazing!
8. Watch the most amazing sunsets on our planet
Ahh sunsets… we never get enough of them. There is every evening a sunset but not a single one is the same. Sunsets in Komodo National Park are simply stunning. The colors range from bright red and orange to yellow and purple, a great time to get your camera. Watch it from a hammock with a beer and it get’s even better!