Komodo National Park Chickens and Dragons!
I don’t remember a trip that started so high. Generally, most adventures start in the capital or major cities, and these don’t always have much to offer. But this time we have started with the Komodo National Park, one of the most spectacular landscapes in Indonesia. Get ready because paradise is coming.
( 03-25-19 ) The good thing about flying to Asia is that, in general, it does not usually require an excessive early morning, since most flights leave at noon or late. The bad thing is that Indonesia is, more or less, on the other side of the world, so the almost 24 hours of travel would not be taken away from me .
Flying from Spain to Indonesia with KLM
Fortunately, and regardless of the fact that this trip was an award from this company, I have to admit that the KLM planes are doing very well, so the air beating made me more bearable.
Well, me and my fellow adventurers. And, as I already explained in the presentation publication of this trip , Alberto (Backpackers TV) and Javi (Live to travel) would cross to the other side of the planet with me and not only for tourist reasons.
And the thing is, a much more ambitious project took us to Indonesia: an audiovisual campaign to raise awareness about garbage and other related problems , and about the importance of sharing the reality of the places we visit, not just the pretty face. A campaign in which KLM would collaborate with its project “KLMvuelasostenible”.
With this objective in mind we would land a day later in Denpasar (Bali) , where we did little besides recovering sleep, closing some logistical issues and catching a plane to Labuan Bajo.
How to go to the Komodo National Park
Wherever you are in Indonesia, if you plan (must) visit the Komodo National Park you will have to fly to Labuan Bajo , a city on the island of Flores that is usually the starting point for any tour in the Komodo National Park.
Once in Labuan Bajo, you will have to hire (if you have not already done so) a tour (day or several days) to visit the mentioned park . In our case, we took a tour of two nights and three days with the agency Rutas Indonesia and, although I am going to talk to you in detail about the experience, it is certainly a highly recommended option, especially for Spanish-speaking travelers (they always have a guide in Spanish).
In any of these tours you will visit some of the most famous points of the park, such as the island of Komodo itself (the one that gives the dragons its name), Rinca or Padar , as well as other of the many attractions of the place.
In cold weather I do not dare to give you figures or reference prices, since there are as many options as boats available, and each one offers a service and route of a different category. The cheapest is a day tour of the park on a shared boat, but there is also the option of going several days on a private excursion. Keep in mind that traveling in low or high season also varies greatly on budgets.
Be that as it may, you will probably have to spend a night in Labuan Bajo, so you may be interested in a lodging recommendation .
- As in any tourist area, AirBnb offers many accommodation options.
- If you want to indulge yourself with your partner or friend, for 60 euros a night you can sleep at the Puri Sari Beach Hotel, valued with a 9 on Booking.
- A cheaper option for two is the World BnB. About 30 euros costs a double room.
- We stayed at the Ciao hostel, a fairly comfortable accommodation but especially recommended for its location. I refer to the views.
What to see in the Komodo National Park
Put in situation, comment at this point that this national park was created in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon , a species that can only be found in this “piece” of land …
… Although that protection objective now includes many other species of flora and fauna that live there. This protected area extends for about 2000 square kilometres, made up of three large islands (Komodo, Rinca and Padar) and a few smaller ones. Currently, it is also one of the 7 natural wonders of the world and I will not be the one to deny it this distinction.
And, as I said at the beginning, to this day I cannot think of a more beautiful way to start a trip through Indonesia : this national park is one of the most beautiful pictures that I have been lucky enough to see. And they are not few.
I take this point to tell you that, regardless of the price you pay for the tour, most do NOT include the entrance fees to the park in general and to each island in particular . And how much is that? Well, I’d like to tell you otherwise, but I don’t know. And I don’t know because, although there are signs, the information is very confusing, the figures they gave us didn’t make any sense and those at the entrance spoke the same English as Chiquito de la Calzada.
Between one thing and another, about 1,200,000 Indonesian rupees (75 euros) we released for the 3 entrances of the national park, Padar island and Rinca, in addition to the ranger (ranger) in search of the Komodo dragon. But I insist, beyond what was paid, which could be worth it, the confusion that surrounded the subject gave us the unpleasant feeling that someone took advantage of all this. But not even that kept us from enjoying what we had in front of us.
A good summary of this park would be Padar, an island barely 20 kilometers long but which concentrates all the virtues of the area in that little space.
Padar was the first island we would land on this tour and blessed the time we did it. There we were doing a trek that would take us about two hours : not so much because of its difficulty and length, but because of the amount of photos that it stole from us .
And the thing is that, although the climb had its crumb and the heat was tightening …
… every angle of that irresistible island deserved a photo.
THE PINK BEACH OF PADAR ISLAND
Within this same island, although at a different point, is the Pink Beach, known for the color that the coral remains give to the sand .
Although, from what we were told, at this time (March) it is not so noticeable , it seems that this pink is more than apparent at other times of the year.
Despite this, we enjoy the beach like dwarfs even though we had a first, and not small, contact with garbage here .
Wherever the waves ended, the sea returned what was not its own. And as we saw it I will show you , as I am going to do throughout the trip.
By size, Rinca is the second largest island in the national park and is the place where we were taken to visit the Komodo dragons . But then the Komodo dragons are not on the island of Komodo? Yes, too, but it seems that it is easier to see them in Rinca, and they are more used to tourists, so they are less aggressive.
Let’s not forget that, in its natural state, the Komodo dragon can measure up to 3 meters, weigh more than 70 kilograms and is at the top of its food chain (it has no predator in the animal kingdom). Come on, if you feel like it, you could eat a human standing up, so it doesn’t hurt that those from Rinca are familiar with the visits. Of course, try not to get too close.
In fact, if I did not misunderstand, it is mandatory to access the park with a ranger (ranger), the person in charge of guiding you through the enclosure and preventing you from being eaten by a dragon. You can hire them at the entrance.
During the tour, ours also explained to us some peculiarities of this friendly lizard, such as that they eat their own young at birth if they do not climb the trees in time (as children they are like lizards).
Another couple of hours we dedicated to Rinca and its endearing dinosaurs, although I have to confess that all those we saw were around the visitor center of Loh Buaya , a kind of town next to the entrance.
In theory, it is forbidden to feed the Komodo dragon , and the ranger assured that nobody did, but it is curious to see how they are concentrated in the inhabited area. It will be that, like good scavengers, they feed on the remains left by the humans that roam there.
Outside the town, we started the so-called middle trail (there were also short and long) …
… and, although we did not see any dragon outside the “inhabited” area …
we enjoyed the piece of panoramic that Rinca Island offers from the top.
How can it be otherwise, the island of Komodo is another one that is usually visited on a tour through the park and is another good place to see dragons (in fact, it is this island that gives them their name) . We only saw it from the boat , although the spectacle does not detract either.
Snorkeling and diving in Komodo national park
Dragons aside, if something has also made the Komodo park famous, it is the possibilities it offers to lovers of little fish and seabed: diving and snorkeling are a delight .
In our case we had to “settle” with the latter …
… Although it was a wonderful experience. It is not the first time that I have had an opportunity of this type (for example, in the Panamanian archipelago of San Blas ) …
… And I can assure you that I have never seen a maritime canvas like it . There will be few spaces in the world with so many underwater possibilities.
Any other island
These are just some of the typical visits of the routes through the Komodo National Park, but it is that almost anywhere you look has a photo …
… Or a worthwhile stop. So much so, that at one point we asked the crew to get off on a random island …
… And this was the result. Another corner to get lost.
Sunrises and sunsets in Komodo national park
But if there was one moment that made me realize how lucky we were to be there, it was waking up one day at the same time as the sun and seeing this.
Strolling through the Komodo National Park is beautiful at any time, but the spectacle offered by the star king when he enters the scene …
… Is hardly comparable to any I have seen before.
The sunsets also play in another league, but we didn’t get any with the sky completely clear.
Life on the boat of Rutas Indonesia
Regardless of what you see or do not see, much of the value of this tour through the park will depend on the experience that the ship itself offers you. And, of course, in the Indonesian Route we did not lack anything . Up to three private cabins includes the boat …
… plus a great catering …
… And a very enjoyable outdoor area with sofas. Special mention should be made of the crew , who took care of us and the ship 24 hours a day. With such experience, I can only recommend that, if you plan to visit this park, you do so with Routes. I had been with them in Lan Ha Bay in Vietnam and they have agreed again.
Although the clearest thing I get from all this is that regardless of when, how and with whom you go to the Komodo National Park, the only essential thing is that you do it. Because still today, some time after having been there, I have that feeling that Komodo is one of those places that is worth traveling the world. It doesn’t matter if thousands of kilometers and dozens of hours separate you from that destination, the moment you get on the boat and the anchor is hoisted, you will realize that any effort has been worth it. We are going to Bali .