Exploring KOMODO NATIONAL PARK: Home of Indonesia’s Most Beautiful Islands and World’s Largest Lizards!

BREATHTAKING. Palau Padar definitely offers one of the most breathtaking views that I have ever seen!
BREATHTAKING. Palau Padar definitely offers one of the most breathtaking views that I have ever seen!

One of the most enjoyable places for me during our travel in Indonesia is the Komodo National Park. Not only were we able to witness here the Komodo dragon, which is the largest species of lizard in the whole world, we were also able to explore its pristine beaches, visit its astoundingly beautiful coves and enjoy an overnight stay in an affordable cabin boat in the middle of the Flores Sea! Read along to learn how you can also experience this with your family or friends!

This is the 4th leg of our great Indonesian getaway. Please refer to the primer, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd legs of our travel if you want to learn more about our adventure in Indonesia.

KOMODO NATIONAL PARK DETAILED ITINERARY

Gateway to the Komodos.
GATEWAY TO THE KOMODOS. This is the airport near Labuan Bajo where the Komodo National Park is located.

Just a recap: If you have been reading my blog posts about our Indonesian trip, you would know that our Komodo National Park adventure happened after our Mt. Bromo adventure.

Among the airports that we were able to go to in Indonesia, the Komodo Airport is one of the most beautifully designed Look at this!
BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED. Among the airports that we were able to go to in Indonesia, the Komodo Airport is one of the most beautifully designed Look at this!

Take note: After experiencing Mt. Bromo National Park, we then headed to Bali as it was here where we’d be taking our flight towards Labuan Bajo where the Komodo National Park is located. We booked a homestay where we would be staying the night before heading to Labuan Bajo in the morning.

Mornings at the Komodo Airport.
Mornings at the Komodo Airport.

This itinerary consists of our schedule for two (2) days in Komodo National Park. I hope this helps when you decide to go visit Labuan Bajo!

KOMODO DAY 1

8 AM – Flight from Bali to Labuan Bajo

9:15 AM – ETA in Labuan Bajo

9:30 AM – Meet up with contacts in the airport. They transported us and our things with two SUVs. We first headed to a shop where we took the snorkeling gears that we rented. We also went to a grocery store to buy necessary things like food, drinks and toiletries before heading to Labuan Bajo port where the cabin boat we’d be riding and staying in for two (2) days was located.

11 AM – ETA in Labuan Bajo port.

Labuan Bajo Port.
LABUAN BAJO PORT. This is the view of the port from afar.

11:30 AM – Start of Komodo National Park adventure!

12 NN – While going to our first travel destination in Komodo National Park, we had lunch at the boat!

Lunch time!
LUNCH TIME! Meals are being served at the front deck of the cabin boat. This is the dining area.
INDONESIAN DISHES.
INDONESIAN DISHES, While I really cannot recall the names of the Indonesian dishes that were served, I remember what many of them were made of: tofu, tomatoes, sea food and vegetables such as chayote (or was that bottle gourd?).

1 PM – ETA in Rinca Island. It is said that among the islands in Komodo, this is where many of the Komodo dragons could be found.

RANGER GUIDE.
RANGER GUIDE. Here’s one of our ranger guides as he was resting under the shade of trees.
AMAZING VIEW.
AMAZING VIEW. This is one of the amazing views when you reached the top of the hill at Loh Buaya.

Before 3 PM – ETD in Rinca Island. We then proceeded to the Pink Beach along the coast of Komodo Island.

Before 4 PM – ETA near the Pink Beach. This was a perfect place for snorkeling! We saw lots of beautiful corals, fishes and other sea creatures! After snorkeling, we went to the pink beach itself and I would say that among the pink beaches I’ve been to so far, this Pink Beach in Komodo Island was the pinkest among them all!

Past 6 PM – We prepared heading back to our boat where we would be staying for the night. During this time, a spectacular sunset has shown itself to us!

PECULIAR SUNSET
PECULIAR SUNSET. I found the sunset in that part of Flores Sea odd but beautiful. Look at how the warm and cool colors tried to occupy the sky as reflected on the sea.

7 PM onwards – Dinner and socials!

KOMODO DAY 2

5 AM – Head on to Palau Padar

SUNRISE IN KOMODO
SUNRISE IN KOMODO. This was what greeted us upon waking up early in the morning at Flores Sea!

Past 7 AM – ETA in Palau Padar

SHEMBOT SQUAD IN FLORAL!
SHEMBOT SQUAD IN FLORAL! Here’s the squad before heading up to the top of Pulau Padar! We were all wearing floral polos! Hehe. From L to R: Carlo (IG: @carloenriquez21), James (@callmejames007), Flip (@flipbardinas), yours truly (@karl_olivier), Brye (@bryehero), Denmark (@denmarkisthename) and Ardee (@ardeemd).

7:30 to 8 AM – Hike the mountain in Palau Padar. While the view is definitely beautiful, the view at the top is breathtaking!

DAYDREAMING AT THE TOP OF PULAU PADAR.
DAYDREAMING AT THE TOP OF PULAU PADAR. This is one of those rare moments when I found everything simple yet still perplexing.

8 to 9:30 AM – Explore Palau Padar. Take lots of pictures, record videos and fly your drones here! This was one of the most beautiful places we’ve been to during our Indonesian getaway so when you choose to go here, make sure you do whatever you can to enjoy!

REALLY BEAUTIFUL, isn't it?
REALLY BEAUTIFUL, isn’t it?
CALM AND SERENE as well.
CALM AND SERENE as well.

Before 10 AM – ETD in Palau Padar. Head on to Manta Point, a place in Flores Sea where you can swim, snorkel or even dive to watch manta rays as they swim under the sea.

10:30 AM – ETA in Manta Point.

11:30 AM – ETD in Manta Point. Next destination point would be Kanawa Island and the trip going there would take 2 hours. Have lunch at the boat while going there.

1:30 PM – ETA in Kanawa Island.

1:30 to 3:30 PM – Explore Kanawa Island. This island is a great place to swim, snorkel or just play along its white sand beaches. Tip: While many fishes can be seen while snorkeling near the beach, they are exceedingly abundant in a certain area beside the wooden platform where the tour boats are placed. Ask your tour guide about it!

Before 4 PM – ETD in Kanawa Island. Head back to Labuan Bajo harbor. Go to hostel to secure stay for the night.

5 PM – Head back to the harbor to witness a stunning sunset!

SUNSET AT LABUAN BAJO PORT!
SUNSET AT LABUAN BAJO PORT! Sunsets in Indonesia really did not disappoint!

PLACES OF INTEREST

RINCA ISLAND

MINGLING WITH THE KOMODO DRAGON.
MINGLING WITH THE KOMODO DRAGON. It’s here in Rinca Island where we got to see the largest lizard in the world: the Komodo Dragon! It is said that they can reach a length of 3 meters. Plus, they are deadly and venomous! That’s why don’t wonder why I am actually far from it in this picture. Hehe.

Honestly, I didn’t expect anything from this leg of our Indonesian trip but to witness with my own eyes the legendary Komodo dragons in their natural habitat. And much to my surprise, the whole place was so much more than the most sought for Indonesian creatures. Case in point, our first travel destination in Komodo: the Rinca Island.

The Komodo National Park is a UNESCO Heritage Site.
HERITAGE SITE. The Komodo National Park is a UNESCO Heritage Site.

One of the three major islands of Komodo National Park, Rinca Island covers 198 square kilometers of land area.

SCENERY. Here's one scenery that we saw in Rinca Island.
SCENERY. Here’s one scenery that we saw in Rinca Island.

We really expected to see the dragons here in Rinca Island, and so we prepared ourselves to be surprised even by just their presence. The start of our trek (we chose the short course over the long one because the latter was said to take hours to finish) was filled with excitement and anticipation. Even our routine greeting while going to a travel destination (“Hello, guys! Welcome to…!”) was different this time. Haha. We didn’t want to disturb the creatures in their habitat because they might just attack us! Haha.

MAP OF LOH BUAYA.
MAP OF LOH BUAYA. Here’s one of the park rangers as he was explaining to us the trail that we’re going to walk through in Rinca Island.

After walking for about half a kilometer from the entrance, we went to a gathering area where a park ranger told us the DOs and DON’Ts during the trek. When we started walking again, I was shocked to see a Komodo dragon walking near us! It was small, though what it did still really surprised me! Haha.

We knew the dragons were dangerous so we did not even think of provoking them in any way. We did some photo shoots, though it was challenging to do with them! Haha. This was, of course, with provision and guidance of our guide ranger. He was even the one directing us on what to do and where to go to have a good photo with the dragons!

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset
Here are the Komodo Dragons! They really are numerous here in Rinca!

After mingling with the Komodo dragons, we proceeded to the hills of Rinca where breathtaking views could be seen! A much-needed shade was provided by a wooden hut on top of the hill. We also felt the cool breeze here, which was just perfect for that hot, sunny day.

HUT ON THE HILL.
HUT ON THE HILL. This hut provided a much needed respite from the heat!

Aside from the Komodo dragons, we also witnessed other animals in the island like monkeys! It is also said that the island is home to Javan rusa, a deer native to that part of Indonesia, as well as water buffalos.

Hello there, monkey!
HELLO THERE, MONKEY! Or should I say monkeys? Do you see all three of them in the picture?

People can see the Komodo dragons in both Rinca Island and Komodo Island. Both islands were supposed to be part of the tour (not just Rinca) but we opted to choose to only go to Rinca. Aside from avoiding to pay an extra cost (parking fee, entrance fee, government tax, ranger fee), one reason that we considered was what our tour guide said: that more Komodo dragons could be seen here.

SHEMBOT SQUAD's jump shot in Komodo!
SHEMBOT SQUAD’s jump shot in Komodo! Who’s got the best jump among us, seven? Haha.

PINK BEACH

PINKEST BEACH OF THEM ALL.
PINKEST BEACH OF THEM ALL. At least among those that I’ve seen so far!

We might not have toured the Komodo Island, yet we have enjoyed a part of it with Pink Beach! Among the pink beaches that I have seen (including the ones found in Palawan and Zamboanga), it was in here that I saw the pinkest sands of them all!

CHILLING AT THE PINK BEACH.
CHILLING AT THE PINK BEACH. Here are my Shembot friends as they were relaxing in this part of the Komodo Island.

I really didn’t think I’d ever see a pink beach here in Indonesia but to my surprise, I did! And it’s not just one with sand that has a hint of pink. It really was pinkish!

FYI: The sand in pink beaches gets its pink hues from red corals that are crushed by waves then eventually mixed with sand.

Snorkeling in Komodo National Park is a great activity while you are in Komodo National Park.

SNORKELING AROUND THE ISLAND.
SNORKELING AROUND THE ISLAND. One of the best activities that you can do here is snorkeling. There are lots of colorful corals and fishes to be seen! Here’s my good friend, Flip, as he was about to swim his way back to our boat.

After snorkeling the waters near Pink Beach, we spent some time along the beach to experience its fine, pinkish sand. Then what we saw afterwards made our jaws drop: a spectacular sunset in that part of Indonesia!

IN THE MIDDLE OF FLORES SEA.
IN THE MIDDLE OF FLORES SEA. Our cabin boat stayed in this place for that whole night. Imagine how spectacular it is spending your night at a big boat in the middle of the sea! Kinda scary? But hey, it was fantastic!

PALAU PADAR

THIS IS PADAR ISLAND!
THIS IS PADAR ISLAND! Definitely one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, Palau Padar or Padar Island is a must-visit when in Komodo National Park!

Definitely the most beautiful place that we’ve visited in Komodo National Park, Palau Padar (the Indonesian word palau means island) offers a breathtaking view that only a handful of other places in the world could match!

LEFT COVES.
LEFT COVES. These are two of the coves of Padar Island. One can be seen as having white sand while the other one kind of gray.
COVE AT THE RIGHT SIDE.
COVE AT THE RIGHT SIDE. This part was actually the area where our boat was docked. Look how serene the water is!
ON TOP OF PADAR.
ON TOP OF PADAR. The sun was already high when we reached the top of the hill of Padar Island but it didn’t discourage us from enjoying the beauty that we were witnessing. In addition to that, being up there away from almost everyone made me do some reflections of my own.

One of the main islands in Komodo National Park, Palau Padar is an island that consists of beautiful coves where white sand beaches are found. Just look at these pictures to see it for yourself!

FLORAL POLO IS LIT.
FLORAL POLO IS LIT. Ganda bang OOTD dito sa Padar? Hehe.
Photo 28-02-2018, 9 22 21 AM
SHEMBOT SQUAD IN PALAU PADAR! This trip was one of those really memorable times we had in our Indonesian getaway!

MANTA POINT

MANTA RAY!
MANTA RAY! Thankfully, we saw at least two manta rays after about 10 to 15 minutes of snorkeling in Manta Point! This picture was taken by my good friend, Flip Bardinas (IG: @flipbardinas). Thanks, Flip!

One of the most interesting things that we did in our Indonesian getaway was swimming with manta rays! After spending some time in Palau Padar, we proceeded to a place in the Flores Sea called Manta Point where we snorkeled and swam to see the endangered species in their natural habitat!

KANAWA ISLAND

WHITE SANDS OF KANAWA!
WHITE SANDS OF KANAWA! Komodo still has more to offer after RInca Island, Komodo Island and Padar Island and that is… Kanawa Island!

While we were already happy and very pleased by what we have experienced in Komodo National Park, we were still treated with another beautiful place in the name of Kanawa Island. This island has fine, white sand and calm, clear waters that are conducive for swimming and snorkeling.

SHEMBOT SQUAD in Kanawa!
SHEMBOT SQUAD IN KANAWA! Ala-Meteor Garden ang pose namin dito. Haha.

The island’s port consists of wooden pathways where cabin boats can be docked. Ask your tour guide where you can snorkel aside from the beach front. There was this place in the wooden pathway of the port where we snorkeled for a while and it was here where we saw lots of fishes!

 

LIST OF EXPENSES

12,500,000 IDR (Originally 15,500,000 IDR but we were able to haggle it to a lower price) or P46,347.13 for the whole group or P6,621 per pax (1 IDR= 0.0037 PHP)– Cabin Boat with air-conditioning. This also includes transfer from and to the port, full meals on board and snorkeling equipment. The package comes with an English-speaking local tour guide (in our case, Kuya Mastin). Speaking of tour guide, it won’t hurt if you’ll give tip to the local tour guide especially if you had a great time in Komodo.

240,000 IDR or P890.86 per pax (1 IDR= 0.0037 PHP)– Park fee in Rinca Island

*Breakdown of this cost:

  1. Entrance fee – 150,000 IDR/ pax
  2. Government tax – 50,000 IDR/ pax
  3. Snorkeling fee – 15,000 IDR/ pax
  4. Ranger fee – 25,000 IDR/ pax

80,000 IDR or P296.62 per pax (1 IDR= 0.0037 PHP)- Bali hostel where we stayed for a night before heading to Labuan Bajo – 560,000 IDR (two rooms for a group of 7).

*Note: I won’t be including the name of this hostel in the WHO TO CONTACT part of this blog post because I won’t be recommending it. You can find other budget hostels in Bali online. 

P350 per pax- Bajo Nature Backpackers Hostel. We booked our stay here online. I think the price would vary depending on promos on the accommodation apps/ websites that you’d be using.

TOTAL: P8,158.48 (This amount does not include what we have spent for the grocery items like chips and alcoholic drinks that we bought before heading to the boat cabin on Day 1, our dinner during Day 2, souvenirs bought and the like.)  

WHO TO CONTACT

Komodo Blessing Adventure

RAINBOW STAR III.
RAINBOW STAR III. That’s the name of our cabin boat! It may really look basic but it’s really cool once you get to know its compartments and capabilities. It’s one of the most enjoyable vehicles that I have ridden!

This is the travel agency that we contacted so we could explore the Komodo National Park. They provide cabin boats that travelers can use for touring Komodo. We chose the cabin boat with air-conditioning (they also offer cabin boat with fan for a much lower price). The cabin boat has three bedrooms: one with 2 double beds, one with two single beds and another with 1 double bed. It also has a shared bathroom- equipped with toilet and shower. The front of the cabin boat has space for a big table where we shared our meals. In addition to that, the cabin boat has an upper deck we spent most of our time while traveling towards the different travel destinations in Komodo. It may not be as fancy as a yacht but it sure feels spectacular!

THE SQUAD with Kuya Mastin!
THE SQUAD with Kuya Mastin! The happiness that we felt during this whole Komodo adventure can be clearly seen in our smiles in this picture!

Our fantastic tour guide from the agency is Mastin, and he made sure we were able to go to the places we intended to visit, eat our meals on time and assisted us whenever we needed help and the like.

Their contact number is +6281238711094. They can also be reached through their email addresses maxitatar@gmail.com or komodoblessingadventure@gmail.com. Their office is located at JL Sukarno Hatta, Labuan Bajo, Flores (beside Treetop Restaurant).

Bajo Nature Backpackers Hostel

This is the name of the hostel where we stayed after touring the Komodo National Park for two days. They offer neat, well-ventilated and pretty shared rooms at a very cheap price. The shared room that we chose consisted of double beds with comfortable cushions, beddings and pillows. The bed has a lamp that you can use if you need it (e.g. for reading).  The room also has lockers that each individual staying in the hostel can use for safe-keeping of important things. What’s more, they also have Wi-Fi Internet connection! One puzzling thing about this hostel, though, was the number of times when electricity was cut-off all through the night.

They can be contacted at +62-38541486 and +62-8123535957 or through their email bajo.nature@yahoo.com. The hostel is located at Jalan Soekarno-Hatta in Labuan Bajo.

***

IN THE MIDDLE OF FLORES SEA.
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEA. Here’s one snapshot of the islands that we saw during that sunrise in the middle of Flores Sea.

Thank you for reading, guys! I hope this blog post inspired you to go and plan your adventure here in Komodo National Park! Remember, it would be costly if you’re going to head here solo so it would be a lot better if you invite your family or friends should you decide to go!

Watch out for my next blog posts that would cover our adventure in Lombok and Bali!

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s