Planning a Komodo trip is exciting. Seeing those travel photos, dreaming about taking a spectacular back shoot from the top hill of the social-media-famous Padar Island, and imagining the thrilling encounter with the dragons.
A lifeonboard trip to Komodo Island is not only about the dragons. The Flores Sea has endless charm lies above and beyond the water. A dozen of gorgeous islets scattered around the world-famous Komodo National Park. They are blessed with either stunning landscape, fabulous sunrise and sunset viewpoint, or white sandy beaches -some of them are pink!
Here some activities and gorgeous destinations around Komodo National Park you definitely should experience during your Komodo trip.
1. Hike up for the beautiful view of Kelor island
It’s your first stop of Komodo Trip, which every nook and cranny is blessed with abundant beauty. Kelor Island is synonymous with tranquility and peace. Raise just in front of beautiful hills of Flores, Kelor feature a single lush hill (which turns into gorgeous yellowish savanna in the dry season) which drops straight into a strip of sugary beach. Reach the hilltop just in 15 minutes, and you will be rewarded by breathtaking panoramic view of the national park and around.
2. Kelor island sandbar beach
Apart from it’s beautiful view from the top of the hill, you can also enjoy this sandbar beach at the east side of Kelor Island.
3. Snorkeling in Manjarite beach
This is a hidden beach, part of Flores mainland, but can be reached only ten minutes by boat from Kelor Island. The long wooden jetty and crystal clear water makes Manjarite beach as a perfect place for water activity during Komodo trip.
4. Meet the dragons in Rinca Island
You can’t come to the Komodo National Park without seeing the dragons, don’t you? Rinca Island -also named Loh Buaya, is home of Komodo dragons. Officially these giants are found on Komodo and Rinca island where you can visit them with a ranger from National Park.
5. Hiking up to Rinca Island view point
After meet the dragons, you can hike up to the hill and enjoy the view of Rinca Bay.
6. Thousand flying foxes and sunset in Kalong Island
Kalong in Indonesia means “big bats” or flying foxes. Kalong Island is a small island located close to Rinca Island at the border of the Komodo National Park. The entire island is covered by mangrove forest hosting thousands of flying foxes living in the trees during daytime to protect them for the the heat and sun. In the afternoon you will hear them waking up and communicating and every single day they will all take off and fly in direction of Flores in an endless black line stretching over the sunset sky of Komodo National Park.
7. Another hike up for the best panoramic view of Padar Island
Padar Island provides one of the most stunning panoramic island views. It’s probably the poster child island for Komodo National Park. Looking down on the island, you can see three beautiful beach crescents, crags, and cliffs. Each beach has its own sand color: pink, black and white sands. When hiking to the top, it’s a must to take water, a hat, sunnies, and proper footwear. There is a path of steps leading to the top and the best times to go, is either to see the sunrise or sunset.
8. Escape to Long Beach
Since Padar Island is very popular and become more touristy, you can escape to Long Beach, located just behind of Padar Island view point. It’s long white sandy beach and pink shades reminds me about Pink Beach, with perfectly clear blue sky and turquoise water.
9. Swimming with Manta Rays
Manta Point sits right in next to Taka Makasar, here dozens of Manta Rays regularly gliding cross the site, attracted to the sea currents. You can snorkel with them or just see these majestic creatures ‘flying’ graciously beneath the clear water just from your ship.
10. Beach activities in Taka Makasar sandbar
Taka Makasar is one of the dreamiest sandbars inside Komodo National Park. A crescent-shaped white beach rises to the ocean and makes up the whole topography of this tiny island. Smaller than a football field, you can walk from one end to another in less than 15 minutes. Then, take the whole afternoon lounging on the idyllic beach. Taka Makassar is surrounded with crazily clear, shallow turquoise lagoon where you can swim or floating on the water.
Due to the shallow depth, your liveaboard cannot dock to the “island”. You need to take a kayak or smaller boat to get there, but that’s what makes Taka Makassar feel even more remote and dreamy.
11. Swimming with sea turtle in Siaba Island
Not a popular one compared with Padar Island or Gili Lawa, Siaba Island is home for sea turtle in Komodo National Park. The island also become an alternative place for overnight tour boats since Gili Lawa was closed due to fire about one year ago.
12. Hike up to Kanawa Island view point
Kanawa island is located just 6 miles away from Labuan Bajo, at the borders of UNESCO World Heritage site Komodo National Park. Since it’s located outside of national park, the development of cottages, cafes, and restaurant is there. You can enjoy the best view of Kanawa island from it’s peak, just walk up for around 15 minutes from the jetty.
13. Snorkeling in Kanawa Island
Kanawa island is surrounded by spectacular reef with thousands of fish species, turtles, corals and reef sharks, sometimes it is possible to see some mantas just around the jetty.
14. Snorkeling with reef shark in Bidadari Island
Similar with Kanawa island, Pulau Bidadari or Angel island is located just outside of Komodo National Park. Apart from the luxury resort with the same name, visitor can enjoy the white sandy beach and crystal clear blue water with spectacular reef with thousands of fish species, corals and reef sharks.
Additional places and activities:
15. Komodo Island
There are two islands in Komodo National Park that humans and komodo dragons live together: Rinca Island and Komodo Island. While not many people lives in Rinca Island, Komodo Island is home for hundreds local family. According to local media, government officials are willing to close the popular island to tourists for one year.
16. Gili Lawa
Gili Lawa is quite popular among island hoppers. It’s famous with tumultuous hills and dry savannah, which looks very pretty when the soft rays of sunset begin to spread among the grasses. Unfortunately, this beautiful island is closed for tourist due of fire in 2018.
17. Gusung Island
There is another sandbar you could visit apart from Kelor Island and Taka Makasar. The shape of it is oval and there are few plants scattered around. Tourists love to swim in its clear waters and take pictures at the white sand.
18. Swimming with unstinged Jellyfish in Pulau Sembilan
Sembilan Island was formed by dead corals. Some parts of the island feature hard corals. It can be quite uncomfortable walking on it. Due to this reason, you should wear proper footwear. The best feature of the island is its natural pond. It is situated in the midst of it. The pond is actually the home of jellyfishes. No worries. They aren’t harmful. It is because they don’t sting like others.
19. Pink Beach
One of the most unique beach in Komodo National Park is Pink Beach, named for the rosy sand that gets its color from eroded bits of red coral from the nearby reef. Clear, calm waters make the beach an excellent site for snorkeling, especially since the coral reefs just beneath the surface are home to hundreds of species of marine plants and animals. Pink Beach makes for a convenient place to relax in the sun or cool off in the water after a day of trekking in the national park.
20. Sunset view Labuan Bajo
Now you’re at the end of Komodo trip. What else better than enjoying legendary sunset view of Labuan Bajo?
How to get there
Nowadays, traveling to Komodo Island is relatively easy. You first need to travel to Bali (DPS) and then to Labuan Bajo (LBJ) by either plane (Garuda Indonesia, Wings Air, AirAsia, Sriwijaya Air, NAM Air) or boat. Several airlines have direct flight from Jakarta (CGK) and Surabaya (SUB) to Labuan Bajo (Garuda Indonesia, Citilink, Batik Air)
And then the only way of getting to Komodo Island from Labuan Bajo is by boat and the ride usually takes around 2 hours. Another option is to charter a boat in Labuan Bajo and have your own private cruise around Komodo Island, and it’s not cheap.
Where to stay
The majority of travelers visiting Komodo stay in Labuan Bajo. Accommodation varies dramatically in this area, ranging anywhere from hostels to hotels to luxury resorts.
Where to eat
With its recent growth and growing popularity as a tourist destination, Labuan Bajo has been facing increasing demands for food and accommodation. Several restaurants have opened up, providing deliciously fresh produce, including Kampung Ujung Night Market for seafood lovers.