ENCOUNTERING THE DEADLY KOMODO DRAGONS ON KOMODO ISLAND

Encompassing deadly Komodo dragons, candy pink beaches, rolling chocolate hills and dazzling clear waters, Komodo National Park is home to some of the most extraordinary islands in the world, not just INDONESIA. It comes as no surprise to learn that tourism in this area has grown dramatically in the past 5 years.  And Island Hopping Tours around the National Park are now generating huge revenues for the gateway & once remote fishing village of Labuan Bajo.

There are a wide variety of island hopping tours available depending on your budget, time and interests.  And if you’re looking for some guidance on which one to pick, be sure to check out our full blog post: KOMODO NATIONAL PARK TOURS FROM LABUAN BAJO

In this article, we want to focus on our encounter with the mythical-like Komodo dragons.  The Komodo National Park is the only place on earth where the dragons reside, and there are only 2 islands where you are likely to spot them – Rinca or Komodo.  We visited the latter so here we will share everything you need to know about getting to Komodo Island and what you can expect when you get there.

*Before You Travel to Komodo Island, have you got your travel insurance sorted? Cover yourself for the unexpected, for example, being eaten by a Komodo dragon! On a serious note, this is, well, serious. Read why you really need travel insurance, or get a quote from World Nomads.

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How to get to Komodo Island

Komodo Island is only accessible through a private or organised boat tour from the neighbouring village of Labuan Bajo.  For more information on how to organise your tour, and the different kind of tours available, please check out the full blog post: ISLAND HOPPING IN LABUAN BAJO

KOMODO NATIONAL PARK MAP LOCATION

Our experience on Komodo Island

Encountering the Komodo Dragons was always at the top of our Indonesia bucket list.  These dragons are the largest species of lizard in the world & due to their deadly killer instincts, are often referred to as the modern-day dinosaur.  Despite their reputation, tourists flock to the Jurassic Park landscapes the dragons call home, with a desire to spot them.

Upon arrival, the rugged landscapes of Komodo Island make for an exciting, yet fierce contrast with the extraordinary turquoise waters surrounding the National Park.   From docking the boat at the pier, your guide will lead you to towards the tourist office where you will pay for your ticket & meet your ranger.  It’s quite a theatrical approach, with life-like statues of the dragons and huge gateways welcoming you into the park.

After paying a rather hefty fee for the privilege of the tour, it’s time for a quick briefing from our ranger.  The rangers are there to guide you on the trek & to also protect you from the dragons if deemed necessary.  Although extremely uncommon, an attack by the dragons is no joke.  Their saliva is highly venomous, & 1 bite could result in amputation of the limb or worse.  Under no circumstances should you attempt this trek without a ranger present.  It has proved fatal for tourists in the past & the rangers are not shy of sharing some of the horror stories with you!

The brief consisted of everything you would expect, the do’s & don’ts, some history about the island & the dragons, and finally a choice of what level of trekking you want to do.  There is the choice of easy (30 mins) medium (1.5 hrs) or hard (2.5hrs) Due to the limited time we opted for the medium trek, and despite the fact it was mating season AND the hottest time of the day, we set off confident of spotting some dragons.

KOMODO island

It was only a matter of minutes before we spotted the first one.  He was taking a break from the unforgiving midday sun under some trees, and if it wasn’t for the ranger could have been very easy to miss.  Despite being of a monstrous size, their reptile skin camouflages perfectly into the rugged terrain, making them quite the lethal predator.

As we continued the trek deeper into the forest we spotted another dragon, but this time much bigger and walking straight towards us. The adrenaline levels were certainly higher this time around, and despite assurances that the dragons feed earlier on in the day, we couldn’t help but recognise a rapacious look in their eye.  The guide advised us on how best to approach the dragon for pictures & videos, and it was a surreal experience to get so close to such a remarkable creature.

Moving on, we continued to learn some fascinating, yet terrifying facts about the dragons.  Like a scene from a movie, everybody was on edge, and nobody wanted to be at the back of the group!  It was all in good humour though & we proceeded to spot a further 4 Komodo dragons along our route.  We also spotted some wild deer & boars, who undoubtedly will end up as lunch at some point in the near future…

For any adventure-seeking travellers, this is an extraordinary experience not to be missed.  But be sure to watch those ankles….

KOMODO ISLAND NATIONAL PARK FLORES

How much does it cost to enter Komodo Island

On top of the cost of your boat tour, you will need to pay an Entrance Fee for Komodo Island of 285,000RP/pax. This price includes the cost of your ranger.

Things to know before you go to Komodo Island

  • Mating season for the Komodo dragons is between June & August, which means it is less likely you will see them in that period.
  • The best time to see active Komodo dragons is either early morning or just before sunset.
  • Under no circumstances attempt the hike without a guide

What do I need to Bring?

Unsure of what you might need to pack for your adventures in Flores?  Don’t worry, we have got you covered.  Check out our backpacker essentials, for a packing list of items that we carry with us on every adventure.

Here are some items that we recommend taking to make your visit to the beaches & waterfalls more comfortable:

  • Comfortable shoes for the hike down
  • Water shoes to wear in the water – We Recommend2 in 1 Water/Hiking Shoes.
  • Waterproof Bag to protect valuables – We Recommend: Waterproof Dry Bag-10L/20L/30L
  • Bathing suit & towel for the obvious – We Recommend: Microfiber Travel Towel

Travel Responsibly

It should go without saying; however, when enjoying your Komodo National Park Tour, it’s important to be mindful of the environment.  It is no secret that some of our planets fragile ecosystems are at risk of extinction. There are many small steps you can take to becoming a responsible traveller, check out the Eco-Travel essentials here. It is our duty as travellers, that we reduce our footprint where we can, here are some tips:

  • Be careful with any rubbish that it doesn’t fly overboard.  Keep it secure until you can dispose of it properly.
  • Do not leave anything on the islands, or take anything away – unless you’ve purchased it from a local supplier.
  • Wear Reef Safe Sunscreen.
  • Try to avoid touching anything underwater.

KOMODO ISLAND NATIONAL PARK FLORES

Where to Stay in Labuan Bajo

Hostel – La Boheme Hostel – A quirky hostel with dorm or private accommodation available.  A huge drawcard here is the 24hr free banana pancakes available! They also organise daily group tours.

Luxury – Sunset Hill Hotel – Luxury rooms with spectacular views over the bays of Labuan Bajo.

For more places to stay in Labuan Bajo, you can check the latest prices HERE.

Well, that concludes our experience on Komodo island, check out how to book your tour, Komodo national park tours from Labuan Bajo. If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comment section below.

Stay adventurous and Happy travels.

Charlotte & Natalie x

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