KOMODO ISLAND: Exploring the Dragon’s Nest!

May 2016

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Yay! It’s nice to be back and write a travel guide after 7 months. Anyway, as I was always saying in my previous posts, it has always been my dream to complete and see all the New 7 Wonders of Nature’. Earlier this year, I was able to book tickets to Jeju Island to see the famed Island of the Gods (I will be sharing to you my very own travel guide on a different entry), Palawan to re-visit the Undergound River and Labuan Bajo where the Komodo dragons are nested. To which I dedicate this post.

Komodo National Park or Komodo Island is home of the largest living specie of lizard. These wild giant reptiles usually weigh as much as 300 pounds and measure 9 feet. The place is said to be the habitat of 2,000 komodo dragons out of more than 5000 total population in the country. The island is situated at the center of the Indonesian peninsula, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. Aside from being one of the ‘New 7 Wonders of Nature’, the park was listed as a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1986.

Getting There

Labuan Bajo is the nearest jump off point to Komodo Island. It is an inhabited island and approximately 4 to 5 hours away from Komodo (by boat). There are many ways on how get to the island.

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Komodo Airport

By plane

It is the most convenient and fastest way to get there. Flight from Ngurah Rai International Airport of Denpasar, Bali to Labuan Bajo is available 7x daily. The earliest departs at 7:30 in the morning and the latest leaves at 2:20 in the afternoon. The duration of the flight is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Below are the list of airlines offering a direct flight to Labuan Bajo from Bali.

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Flight Schedule

From Labuan Bajo Airport you can ride an ojek (motorcycle) or taxi to the town proper. The travel time is approximately 10 minutes and the taxi fare is fixed at 60,000 IDR.

I chose the route coming from Denpasar because it was the most convenient for me at that time. Kalstar Aviation, among the others, offered the cheapest available fare. Their roundtrip fare costs 1,041,000 IDR (79USD) which already includes a light snack and a juice. I remembered booking my tickets just a week before our actual trip because of schedule constraints at school. So you can probably get a better deal if you book your tickets in advance. πŸ˜‰

By Boat

From Lombok: The boat leaves at Tanjung Benoa Harbour and ends at Labuan Bajo. I met two fellow travellers in the island who went through this route. They told me that views were very scenic however, inconvenient and very time-consuming. The travel time was approximately 4 days and you would have to stop along the way for some scheduled activities (they stopped at Komodo National Park). The fare is around 1,500,000 IDR with full board meal and exclusive of park entrance fee. They recommend to bring some motion sickness medications, extra money, snacks and drinks.

From Bali: The boat leaves at Benoa Harbour, South of Bali (not to be confused with the harbour in Lombok) and ends at Labuan Bajo. The travel time is approximately 2 days (36hours) and there are also stops also along the way. This route operates only thrice a month. You can check their schedule and fareΒ here.Β Other options you can have is by taking a live aboard or chartering a private boat to get to the island but expect it to be more expensive.

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The Lazy Komodo Dragon and Me πŸ™‚

Where To Stay

There are plenty of cheap hotels and backpacker’s inns around Labuan Bajo town proper and the price ranges from 200,000 IDR to 500,000 IDR. I stayed at Bajo View for two nights. The place really caught my attention because it had a unique style. It was located at the hill-side of the town and the view was overlooking the Flores sea. They had this ‘camp-style concept’ dedicated for backpackers but already on the modern side. Their tents had a two separate thin bed foams, electric fan, light bulb and electric outlets. They also have a mini resto-bar, numerous outside toilets and shower rooms. The whole place was guarded by a security officer. Nightly rate starts at 100,000 IDR. CONSIDERABLY CHEAP!

Aside from in-land accommodations, live aboard is widely offered around the area. This is the one RECOMMENDED for diving enthusiasts who are PADI licensed (or not?). After all, Komodo Island’s underwater is one of the islands major attraction. You can choose from a number of diving companies around the area. The rates basically depend on the number of days and the type or class of accommodation you would want to avail. Their offer already includes scuba diving gears, full board meal and stops at nearby beaches and attractions which also includes the Komodo National Park.

Personally, I would have wanted to dive and try the waters of Komodo Island if only I were a licensed diver. Haha! But since I am not, I can only encourage other people to try and see it for themselves. 😁

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Bajo View
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Bajo View
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Tents
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Inside the tent.

Where to Eat

There are many restaurants and cafes around town. Some already offers free wifi. You can also try some of their local street foods. Mostly, the foods are Halal since majority of the locals are Muslims.

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Chicken SatΓ©

Activities

Water activity: Since I was there on a limited time (I had only 3 days and 2 nights to spare), I only booked a day tour to Komodo Island. The tour started at 7am and ended at 6pm. It already includes a visit to the Komodo National Park, swimming & snorkelling at the Pink Beach and Manta Ray Point and trekking to one of the mountains nearby the park (I am not a true blue mountaineer but I must say the view is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen 😊😊) I got the tour for 500,000 IDR (of course, I haggle! haha) which already includes lunch, water and coffee and a tour guide aboard. The boat is also very spacious, has restroom and lively crews.

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If you observe, there are 3 types of sand in this picture – Pink Sand at Left Upper, Black Sand at Left Lower and White Sand at Right part of the image.
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Closer View
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Iphone Shot

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The Whole Crew

Originally, I booked my tour with Mr. Victor but since it was low season during the time of my visit, he had a hard time finding other tourists to join me with the tour. He decided to transfer me with Mr. Marsiano instead and join their already organized Komodo day tour. Good thing he did not ask for any additional payment!

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Mr. Victor in-front of his office πŸ™‚
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Mr. Marsiano (in black long sleeve shirt)

(I highly recommend to book you tour to Mr. Marsiano. They’re are very accommodating, friendly and lively )

You can contact Mr. Victor thru his mobile number +6281236843972 or email him at info@bluewateradventures.org / veryunderwater8@gmail.com or visit their websiteΒ here.

You can also contact Mr. Masiano through his facebook accountΒ or visit their office websiteΒ here.

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Closer Look to the Pink Sand
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Sinful Selfie

In-land activity: I still had some more time left before my flight back home so I asked Mr. Victor where else coud I visit. He offered me to do an in-land tour in Labuan Bajo for 100,000 IDR only (I haggle, AGAIN. hahaha). The 3-hour tour includes spelunking at Mirror Cave (Batu Cermin), trekking at Love Hills (Bukit Cinta) and swimming at Wae Cicu Resort. The tour started at 7 am and ended at 10:30 am. I had to do it very quick because my flight was at 11:30 am.

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Batu Cermin Entrance
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Fish Fossil at the wall of Batu Cermin
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Bukit Cinta
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Bukit Cinta
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Bukit Cinta
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My Ojek Driver Swimming at Wae Cicu Resort
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Wae Cicu

Expenses:

Round-trip airfare (Bali-Labuan Bajo-Bali) :Β 1,041,000 IDR
2 nights accommodation at Bajo View: 200,000 IDR
Komodo day dour: 500,000 IDR
Komodo Island entrance fee: 250,000 IDR
In-land day tour: 100,000 IDR
Airport transfer: 60,000 IDR
Food and drinks: 415,000 IDR
Total: 2,566,000 IDR (195 USD)

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Komodo National Park – Port

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Mandatory Selfie πŸ™‚
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Our guide at Komodo National Park
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Komodo Dragon Feces (rich in calcium)

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We saw 5 Komodo Dragons during the 1 hour tour.
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Hello there, Lazy Dragon!

Notes:

  • Aside from Komodo Island, you may also see Komodo Dragons at Rinca island.
  • Most of the tourists visit Labuan Bajo for scuba diving.
  • There are available banks/atms in the area.
  • Make sure to bring universal power plug to avoid charging inconvenience.
  • Advance booking of accommodation is advised.
  • Bring snacks prior to Komodo day tour.
  • Do not get close to Komodo Dragon, they are dangerous.
  • Enjoy KOMODO ISLAND!
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Labuan Bajo port
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Thank you, Komodo Island!

Thank you for reading! πŸ™‚ suggestions and updates are appreciated


I will be posting my Jogjakarta and Bali adventure soon πŸ™‚

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