Friday, November 06, 2015

How to get to Komodo Island

How to go to Komodo Island

One of the must-visit places in Indonesia is Komodo and having been there in October 2015, I have come up with this article on how to get to Komodo Island for those who are planning to visit this amazing destination which is part of Lesser Sunda Islands in East Indonesia. Most of you may already know that this island is world renown for the Komodo Dragon, the largest living lizard in the world and can be seen easily here. 

Komodo is actually made up of three islands which are Komodo, Rinca and Padar and is all part of the Komodo National Park and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. In total, there are 26 islands surrounding the area and the main island of Flores is your gateway to Komodo. The closest town is also Labuan Bajo which is where the main Komodo Airport is located. It is here where you can find all the hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, convenient shops and ATM machines. 

Wings Air Komodo Island Flights
Wings Air that flies from Denpasar to Labuan Bajo, Flores
How to get to Komodo Island

The best possible way to get to Komodo Island is to fly in from Bali by using Wings Air, a subsidiary of Lion Air. You also need to book your flights from the Lion Air Website because there is no Wings Air website. If you google it, you will see other 3rd party airline ticket websites selling the flight tickets. There are also three Wings Air flights daily from Denpasar to Labuan Bajo which are;

DENPASAR (BALI) (DPS) to LABUAN BAJO (LBJ) 
FlightDetailsDepartArrive
Economy
IW 1888
Wings Air
0 Stops
1h 20m
Denpasar (Bali) (DPS)
Mon 08:15
Labuan Bajo (LBJ)
Mon 09:35


IW 1830
Wings Air
0 Stops
1h 30m
Denpasar (Bali) (DPS)
Mon 11:55
Labuan Bajo (LBJ)
Mon 13:25


IW 1898
Wings Air
0 Stops
1h 20m
Denpasar (Bali) (DPS)
Mon 14:00
Labuan Bajo (LBJ)
Mon 15:20


All Timings Are Local Time

Komodo Airport
Labuan Bajo Airport, newly renovated in mid 2015
The Labuan Bajo Airport or Komodo Airport (LBJ) is also an eye opener as they recently renovated it to a modern airport with two main gates. Note that all flights here are via turbo prop ATR72-500 planes and the flights take about ninety minutes. You may also want to look out the window just before arriving as the scenery before landing is absolutely breath taking.

The airport is simple and not complicated as when you exit, you are already at the main entrance of the building. A taxi and information counter is available here.

An alternate or budget way to travel to Labuan Bajo from Bali is by using a ferry and bus which is a two day journey one way. The benefit of this is seeing the many beautiful islands along the way and you can also make stops at other islands. However, it is highly recommended you book this service from a reputable travel company that will arrange your bus and ferry tickets. Do this is you love the sea and have time to spend. 

Labuan Bajo Taxi Prices
Taxi prices at Labuan Bajo Airport
Taxis at Labuan Bajo

When you arrive at Labuan Bajo, there are local taxis available to take you to your desired hotel. The prices are laid out on a general notice board with the prices in Indonesian Rupiah or IDR. You can simply tell the taxi counter or taxi man where you want to go. There is no local bus service in Labuan Bajo too. 

Renting a Car at Labuan Bajo, Flores

For those who prefer this option, you can do so at the airport where you can negotiate with the operators and it costs about IDR500,000 per day, plus minus. Alternatively, you can also ask your hotel or homestay to book one for you and driving around the island is relatively quite easy.

La Prima Hotel Labuan Bajo
The beautiful view of La Prima Hotel in Labuan Bajo
Where to stay in Komodo Island

You cannot stay on Komodo Island as it is a national park, so everyone stays at Labuan Bajo on Flores Island. There are many hotels on Flores, usually simple ones ranging from guesthouses to one or two star hotels and a number of 3-4 star ones too. During my trip here in October, I stayed at probably one of the best hotels on the island which is La Prima Hotel, a 4-Star property with a sea front and sunset view. It comes with a swimming pool, spa and proper restaurants while the rooms are very nice. You can also check out Bintang Flores Hotel which is another 4-star hotel here or see my hotels in Labuan Bajo article. 

Alternatively, there are some tours that let you live on board a boat when visiting Komodo Island and you can check with the relevant tour companies offering this service. This is for those wanting something different as it is quite interesting, especially if you are a diver or a fishing enthusiast.

Jetty at Labuan Bajo, Flores
Labuan Bajo jetty, the main gateway to Komodo Island
How to go to Komodo Island

This is the main question - getting to Komodo Island from Labuan Bajo. The best way is to book a tour from any of the tour companies in Labuan Bajo town. The Komodo Island packages usually include visiting three islands and seeing the Komodo Dragon. The islands are Rinca, Komodo and Padar Islands which are all about 40 minutes boat ride apart. However, on Padar Island, there are no more Komodo's there but worth the hike up. Read further below about this. 

From the main jetty in Labuan Bajo town, the boat journey takes about 1 hour to the first island which is Rinca Island (Pronounced Rincha). Here you will arrive at Loh Buaya, the main jetty to Rinca, and then walk about 10 minutes to the park center. From here, park rangers will explain the do's and dont's on the island before they take you on your guided walk to see the dragons. Note there will be quite a bit of walking and hiking uphill, but the rewards are stunning when you reach the top. So please come in walking shoes or sports shoes. Overall, you can spend about 2-3 hours on this island.

Komodo Island National Park
The entrance at Komodo Island
Komodo Natonal Park Island

After Rinca Island, your next destination on boat will be Komodo Island which is also part of the Komodo National Park. It is here where you will have your lunch, on a raised eating area. Along the walk, you may encounter a number of Komodo Dragons and other wildlife, but fear not as the park rangers will be with you to make sure nothing happens. 

While having your lunch, take note of your surroundings as these mighty dragons will most definitely be seen around the lower floor trying to get up, but the good old park rangers will be there to fend them off. In any case, your lunch will be disrupted due to simply wanting to get a closer look at the dragons or even attempt a distant selfie with them. After lunch, a beach trip is planned to Pink Beach.

Pantai Merah Pulau Komodo
The unique Pink Beach at Komodo Island - Photo by TripTribe
Pink Beach at Komodo Island

One of the unique experiences is visiting the Pink Beach or Pantai Merah which is on the other side of the main Komodo Island. A short boat ride will bring you here and it is here where you can sunbath, swim or snorkel at one of seven pink beaches in the world. For those who prefer to hike, you can do so by heading up the main hill here and you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of the overall beach from up above.

For the curious on why it is pink, the beach gets its name from the red coral that washes ashore. For snorkelers, you will be amazed with the beautiful marine life here which is rich with soft corals and abundance of colorful coral fishes. Usually the tour operator will ask if you are doing snorkeling as the gear will be prepared. One more thing, when the boat lands on the beach, you may get your feet wet, so slippers are in order, or simply remove your shoes and hand carry them for your hike.

Pulau Padar Komodo
Check out this amazing photo on top of Padar Island by Faelasufa (www.faelasufa.wordpress.com)
Padar Island Visit 

Most tour packages already include Padar as one of the islands to visit and this island is perfect if you love photography or landscapes. The catch is - you need to trek up a hill, sounds easy, but let me just say, it was one of my hardest trek uphill, so I only managed half way. But those in my group managed to reach the peak and the photos are astounding. For our trip, we managed to reach here at about 4pm for the sunset. But judging from other photos seen, it is recommended to come here in the morning to get that amazing photo of Padar Island.

Below are some random photos taken during my trip to Komodo Island.

Picture of Komodo Dragon
Komodo Dragon close up, photo taken with Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Pulau Komodo
A Komodo is seen walking along the beach at Komodo Island
Rinca Island Trekking Hiking
Trekking at Rinca Island. Photo taken with Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Labuan Bajo Map
Map of Labuan Bajo, Flores
Labuan Bajo Flores Komodo Island Map
Komodo and Labuan Bajo Map
Best time to visit Komodo Island

Edit November 26: While someone asked me this question on Social Media recently, I though it would be good to have this information here. So the best time to visit Komodo Island is from April till November and the ultimate time is June and July as the waters are much calmer overall. The rainy season starts from around November till early April. For the high season here, it is during the Summer months of July and August while for me, personally October and November are ideal, with the huge crowds gone.

Weather at Komodo Island

The average weather at Komodo is around 20 to 40 Degrees Celsius (68 to 104 Degrees Fahrenheit) and on the rainy season, it lingers around 20-25C. Humidity is around 68% to 86%. It is always recommended to bring along a poncho or raincoat when you visit the islands as being in a tropical zone, you never know when it can rain suddenly.

There you have it, a general guide on how to get to Komodo Island and also what you can do around here. For first timers, it is best to engage a proper tour guide and company as there will be local boat men at the jetty that will offer you private tours.

This trip to Labuan Bajo and Komodo Island was part of the #INAtopbucketlist organised by Indonesia Tourism together with other media, photographers and social media influences from 14 countries around the world and we spent a good two weeks exploring Indonesia. For more information, you can visit the Indonesia Tourism Website.

You can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more photos and if you have any comments, questions or feedback, please feel free to leave them in the comment form below. I hope this article on How to get to Komodo Island was helpful. 


Author:

Malaysia Asia is a multiple award-winning travel blog site with information on unique and interesting places around Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, Southeast Asia and the World. Malaysia Asia is also under MyAsia Services, a Digital Travel Solutions Company based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest. We are also not your regular travel bloggers. 

13 comments:

Ciki said...

Very nice David! Well written and loaded with info! I sooo wanna go again! ;D

David Jr said...

Thanks Mei! Me too, hope to go again next year :)

Noel Morata said...

Fantastic overview David, loved the tour and photos.

Noel Morata said...

Fantastic overview David, loved the tour and photos.

amei said...

Hi David, do you have a rough price estimation of such komodo tour from Labuan Bajo would cost how much?Thanks.

Jayrush said...

May i know what tour agency did you use? Thanks

David Jr said...

Hello Amei, since I went on a fam trip, the price was not shared but you can contact http://travelsparks.co/ as they organize tours to Komodo Island.

David Jr said...

Hi Noel, thanks for the kind words :)

David Jr said...

Jayrush, I used this company - Travel Sparks http://travelsparks.co/ and you can contact them for more information.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the amazing information. My wife and I were looking for some basic and honest information on heading to Komodo when we googled it and found your write up and information. It has helped us heaps in arranging our trip and again, great work on this!

Zack/Emily

Hezekiah Jc said...

Thanks David, you have given a great overview of the tours! helps me alot.

may i know, (the 3 islands tour)
1) duration of this tour? day trip? best is overnight trip?
2) in komodo pink beach, how much time given for snorkeling or hiking?
3) how much to pay for the boat tour? sharing with other tourists.

David Jr said...

Hello Hezekiah,

Thanks for the question. As for the questions, I'dd do my best to assist.

1. Duration: Day trips are the normal here. Go morning, back evening. Overnight trips are also arranged. There are budget overnight and also luxury ones. Depending on your budget.

2. Pink Beach, if you charter your own boat with your group, time is all up to you. But usually about 1-2 hours here should be enough.

3. I went with Indonesia Tourism, so I did not get the actual price. I suggest you Google it or ask in some forums. I'll also ask around.

David

Mumun said...

I'm so glad to hear you said the climb to Padar Island was hard. It was a struggle. Huff! The sight was nice, right?