Komodo dragon: plan and organize your excursion

Komodo dragon: plan and organize your excursion

Komodo Day Trip

The best is to get together and rent a boat, directly in the port or with the help of a guide.  A modern boat  with American toilets costs around 12-15 million rupiahs or USD. 850 – 1.100, but it all depends on the number of people capacity and the destination. For a basic wooden boat, for 1 to 4 people, food and snorkelling equipment included, it will take around 2 to 3 million rupiahs (USD. 150 – 220) and leaving early and returning late (wooden boats are slower) for the typical excursion: Padar, Komodo, Pink Beach, Manta Point and Bats island.

The entrance fee to the National Park for the foreign rate, including photo taking and the right to snorkel, is idr. 225,000 (USD. 16.5) on weekends and holidays and idr. 150,000 (USD.11) per week. To this must be added the price of the ranger (idr. 80,000 per group of 5 for Komodo and ditto for Rinca) and then a diving right.

If these prices are not included in the tour, you will have to pay them in Rinca or Komodo, depending on where you go first and in cash. Plan to tip the rangers as well and to buy drinks in the parks or on the boats (there are people who row by and sell drinks and souvenirs)

Komodo or Rinca, which island to visit?

You will have to choose to visit these two islands, to make only one … in short, how to choose? Rinca Island is smaller and is just a two hour boat ride from Labuan Bajo. Komodo is larger and about a 4 hour boat ride.


Visiting Rinca in Komodo National Park

Rinca is smaller, wilder, less visited, has a lot of charm and more dragons than the island of Komodo. Be careful, it seems that the wildest dragons are moved to Rinca and that it is therefore more dangerous.
Komodo island is more touristy (but each time it was very quiet), a little safer and allows you to see other animals in the wild. Both offer pretty views of the islands, if you take the hillside options. For both islands, there are 3 treks option, short, medium and long. Medium trek which last around an hour and a half and allow you to get a good overview of the island and see lots of dragons (yes, yes!). The short trek on Komodo is a walk in the park, does not take you very far and is not worth enough with your excursion!

There is no guarantee you will see Komodo dragons on your treks, but they will undoubtedly be near the rangers’ houses at the end of your walk, as they feed on the trash cans. No guarantees, but it’s pretty sure you’ll see some.

Don’t hesitate to ask the rangers plenty of questions, who will explain everything you want to know about Komodo Varans, their habitats and lots of weird facts about these funny beasts!

See Komodo Dragons in Komodo and Rinca

On the boat to Komodo island is very pleasant. The sky is blue, the weather is magnificent and the sea winds allow you to breathe. The view of the islands is incredible. Indonesia has more than 17,500 islands and a nice glimpse of them during cruise. It really feels like in another world or Jurassic Park. The topography is very interesting and volcanoes and mountains emerge. The vegetation is dry and arid. The water is a deep blue and sometimes see coral and turquoise blues. You could meet dolphins and even a turtle, which swim in the current of the boat.

Rinca Island and its Komodo dragons

Rinca Island is a part of Komodo National Park, The official entrance to the famous of Rinca is in Loh Buaya Village. Walk a bit and go to check in near the rangers. They armed with some sort of wooden pitchforks or look like letter Y. It doesn’t sound reassuring, but the wood is useful for resisting the dragon’s movement. July – August is a mating season. When the komodo have mating, they don’t move and seem to be stacked on top of each other for no reason. It must be said that the process can take several hours. By the way, did you know that a female komodo can reproduce without a male?

Komodo dragons mating on Rinca Island

Seeing a baby komodo on Rinca Island is a phenomenon. The komodo babies live in trees for their first three years. Komodos are carnivorous and eat the babies. But they are too big to climb in trees. So the babies will be secure at there. The babies are small, but look just as scary as their parents.
Near the ranger houses where other more active Komodos await! They are really impressive animals. They seem straight out of another era or a movie… real dragons in fact or prehistoric animals.

Pink Beach or pink paradise

The fish and turtles that can be seen while snorkeling at Pink Beach are truly beautiful and impressive. On the other hand, a large part of the coral is lamentably dead. The beach itself is a real gem and if you stay there for a little while (ask your guide to spend several hours there), chances are you’ll be alone there, enjoying its beauty. Imagine a deserted beach of white and pink sand, water of two turquoise blues, fishing boats and nature all around.

It is a tourist spot and there are many other pink beaches in Komodo, but it would be a shame to miss this beautiful pink paradise.

Komodo Island

The entrance to the park is in the village Loh Liang and the rangers are also coming from there. Did you know that the inhabitants are the descendants of prisoners sent to the island? There was a time when it was possible to sleep in Komodo, so it’s probably worth checking out.

Village on Komodo Island

When you go there, a medium trek is recommended. Where you will have time to chat with the rangers and they can teach you a lot about life in the village, on the flora and fauna etc. They showed us different plants and even flying lizards. The medium track also allows you to access a nice viewpoint and see wild komodos.

The short track takes you only a short turn, before returning you near the entrance, where you are almost sure to meet the big beasts. And yes, there again they do the trash. Sometimes dignitaries pay a lot of money to attend their feeding and it was two weeks after that some of them resting and digesting under a tree with their bellies still full. They don’t move, they are lazy after digestion, and tourists come very close to have their portraits taken.

Why bother the beast to take pictures of it from every angle when you can observe it so closely, really observe it and look it eye-to-eye. She doesn’t flinch, her scales glisten in the sun and the creature is scarier than ever. His eyes are yellow and small and I can’t read anything in them. Its belly, its claws, its folds… we cannot say that the dragon is very beautiful. But it is real, alive and well, and the danger is there, threatening. An even more fascinating fact is that the first mention of Komodos dates from 1910… before that mystery! He sticks out his tongue, hoists, threatens and begins to move. The merry-go-round of the photos tired him, he leaves again in another quieter corner.

Snorkelling with Manta Rays in Komodo

After all these great adventures, Snorkelling with manta rays at Manta Point will be more gregarious. The boat cannot anchor, so you have to be ready to jump, fins on, as soon as see the mantas.

BIdadari Island

Last stop before the return, Bidadari Island for some snorkeling and the last photos. The island is peaceful and it’s a good way to say goodbye to the place.

Padar island

Mountains, beaches and hiking on your trip in Padar for an absolutely splendid view of the surrounding islands. The mountains of the island and above all three beaches of three different colors, pink, black and white. The climb is done well in an hour, but be careful, it slips on the way down, take your time!
The Komodos were on Padar before, but this is not normally the case anymore. Be careful though and stay in a group. Don’t miss it! Padar is one of the must-see places on a trip to Komodo. Try to fit it in!

Mawan Island

Mawan, a desert island, a hill, a cove and a beach of white and pink sand. The water is turquoise and we are snorkeling again. You will discover multi-colored fish, a lively coral, blue starfish and stingrays in the distance.

Advice in addition

  • Bring hiking shoes,
  • Prepare a t-shirt for snorkelling and a cool, dry outfit for sleeping at night.
  • A waterproof bag to secure your electronic equipment and valuables.
  • Get a camera camera that goes underwater, like a Go Pro, it would be a shame to miss out on such an opportunity.
  • Don’t forget your sarong, full screen sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
  • The inhabitants of Komodo are predominantly Muslim. Avoid walking around the national park in bikinis and mini-shorts, and don’t eat in front of the rangers during Ramadan.
  • Take water and drink a lot, it is hot and the sun is strong.
  • For menstruating people, please make sure that you do not have your period during the trip, Komodos can feel it.
  • Don’t make noise, stay in a group and in sight of the rangers.
  • Stay away from the komodos, even for the awesome death killer selfie… (this might turn literal).
  • Do not come during the rainy season, it is less safe for the boats.
  • And above all, make the most of this unique trip to discover the Komodo dragons. I can’t wait to go back to try diving!

Preparing for your trip to Indonesia: practical information

Going to Indonesia: It is possible to fly to Indonesia and land at many airports in Indonesia, but the usual ports of entry are Bali (DPS) and Jakarta.

Getting around Indonesia: Indonesia is a huge country and you can get around the country by bus, plane, fast boats, ferries, cruises, scooter, taxi, car with driver, etc. It all depends on your route and your destination. Be advised you to study this in advance to get the best prices and to pay attention to safety issues, whether on the road, at sea or in the air! It is very difficult to get information on site, so book your domestic plane tickets in advance or go there with tour agent or the bus and ferry stations to discuss it live, rather than ‘through agencies or hotels that take commissions.

Accommodation: There is something for all prices and all tastes, from youth hostels to villas, including family accommodation or single rooms. The basic double room with private bathroom normally costs 200,000IDR depending on the destination. It’s possible not to book in advance, even in high season, but I use different search engines to find the best deals: hotels on Agoda or Airbnb.

Budget for a trip to Indonesia: It is very easy to travel on a budget in Indonesia, taking single rooms or dorms, traveling by bus and ferry and eating on the streets. It is also very easy to afford luxury at low prices! For a classic backpacker trip on a low budget, count $25/day.

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