If you plan on visiting the extraordinary island of Flores, a Komodo National Park Tour from Labuan Bajo is probably at the top of your list of things to. If it’s not, well, it should be!
The National Park encompasses some of the most remarkable islands we’ve ever laid our eyes on. Some boasting white, black, and even pink sand beaches. Others with endless mountain landscapes and captivating views. Not to mention being the only place in the world where you can encounter Komodo dragons.
Furthermore, Komodo National Park boasts some of the best dive sites in all of Asia. Keen divers have the opportunity to swim with sea turtles, manta rays, and sharks to name just a few.
In short, Komodo National Park Tours offer an abundance of adventure opportunities. This is an essential experience on any Flores itinerary!
In order to cater for all interests, budgets, and time constraints, there are a number of Komodo Tours which you can choose from. In this article, I will talk about the most popular options and also share the experience of our 1 day Komodo Tour.
*Before You Travel to Flores, 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.
HOW TO GET TO LABUAN BAJO
By Air – Daily flights are available from Bali (Denpasar) airport. For cheapest prices check out skyscanner.com
There are also daily commercial flights from BAJAWA, which will get you there in less than 45 minutes. For the cheapest prices check out traveloka.com
By Bus – Visit the local tourist office in BAJAWA for bus timetables & prices to Labuan Bajo. Be prepared for a long journey of between 12-15 hours.
WHAT KOMODO NATIONAL PARK TOUR SHOULD I CHOOSE
When arriving in Labuan Bajo, it can be a daunting prospect picking the right tour for you. The main strip of the town is swamped with tour operators attempting to lure you in with fancy offers.
Here I will talk about some of the most popular tours on offer so you can at least get an idea of what you are looking for. A little later on I will recommend our favoured tour company in Labuan Bajo.
As the name suggests, these tours give guests the opportunity to live onboard a boat while touring the Komodo National Park. Packages start from as little as 1 night anywhere up to 5 nights + and there are budget or premium options available.
The Live’A’Board Tours are perfect for those looking to explore all that the Komodo National Park has to offer. Many of the tours are geared towards keen divers taking you to some of the best Komodo dive sites. However, you can organise tours without diving as well.
Although we have no experience of this tour ourselves, if you think it may be something you are interested in, we recommend you give this article a read for more information – Komodo Live’A’Board Tour.
Organised Day Tours
If you are short on time, most tour operators run daily organised tours to the hotspots of the national park. What’s great about these tours is that you usually have a choice of stops dependent on your interests. Some tours will focus on diving or snorkelling and others will focus on visiting the islands.
On the other hand, an organised tour usually means you are sharing the boat and guide with other people. While we don’t mind people, in fact, we quite like them, it can make the experience feel rushed.
It’s also worth noting that you will have the option of either a standard boat tour or a speed boat tour. Due to the distance between each island, it is advised to pay a little bit extra for the speed boat. Otherwise, you could end up spending more time on the boat, than actually enjoying the national park.
Private Boat Tour
If budget permits, it is preferable to hire a private boat for the day. This way, you can explore all the National Park has to offer at your own leisure.
A private Komodo National Park tour means you get to tailor your own tour. You have full control over the itinerary and can stay as long as you wish at each stop.
If you opt for this, we recommend leaving early in the morning to beat the crowds!
Due to having limited time in Labuan Bajo, we opted for a 1-day speed boat tour. It turned out to be an EPIC day. We got lucky as we only had one other couple on the boat with us and our amazing tour guide made the experience extra special.
The speed boat was an awesome choice. Not only was it great fun racing through the azure waters of the national park, but we got to cover a lot in just one day. I will go into detail of what we covered on our Komodo National Park Tour a little further down.
*As we are unable to comment on the other tours, the following sections are relative to our experience on the1-day speed boat Tour.
WHICH COMPANY SHOULD I BOOK MY TOUR WITH
After hearing some unfortunate stories from other travellers about their experiences, we were extra vigilant when choosing a company to book our tour with.
We trawled through reviews online before finally settling on RED WHALE DIVE CENTER. A reputable and professional tour operator who did not disappoint.
The customer service was excellent from the moment we arrived at Red Whale. With an attractive offer on the table, we agreed to a one-day speed boat tour.
On the day of the tour, we were collected from our hotel & taken to the port to meet our guide, Dono. Dono was friendly, humorous & extremely knowledgeable of the area. We had a great time chatting with him when we weren’t off doing something adventurous.
The small speed boat we were on was nippy and in great condition. Much to our relief, it also held all of the necessary safety equipment. Not always a given when in South East Asia!
RED WHALE MAP LOCATION
KOMODO NATIONAL PARK TOUR PRICE
Prices of the Komodo Tours vary dramatically, depending on what you choose. Below are the costs of our 1 day speed boat tour with Red Whale:
- 1 day speed boat tour: 1.2million IDR/pax – includes drinks, snacks, lunch & snorkelling equipment
- Entry Fee on Komodo Island: 280,000 IDR/pax including a guide
- Entry Fee on Kanawa Island: 20,000 IDR /pax
PLACES TO VISIT IN THE KOMODO NATIONAL PARK
Encountering the Komodo dragons was number 1 on our bucket list for Flores. These extraordinary creatures are the largest species of lizard in the world.
Due to their deadly k!ller instincts, the dragons are often referred to as the modern-day dinosaur. Yet despite their reputation, tourists flock to the Jurassic Park landscapes for a chance of spotting them.
It’s quite remarkable really – The Komodo National Park is the only place on earth where the dragons can be found. This being said, they are only spotted on Rinca or Komodo Island. So you will want to make sure one of these islands is included on your Komodo Tour.
We visited Komodo Island on our tour and were fortunate to spot 6 on our 1.5-hour trek on the island. A surreal experience, but one not to be missed!
Must Read – Encountering Komodo Dragons on Komodo Island
Padar Island is one of the most spectacular spots you will visit on your Komodo National Park Tour.
Boasting colossal savannah hills and tri-coloured beaches, the viewpoint on Padar Island has become one of the most iconic views in Asia.
Yes, you read that right. The island hosts tri-coloured beaches. One of the bays is white, one is black, and the other is pink.
For us, Padar Island is one of the highlights of the Komodo Tour. Not only that, it is one of the highlights of all of our travels in Indonesia.
Must Read – Padar Island, Labuan Bajo
There are few places in the world where you can find a Pink Beach, and the Komodo National Park is one of them.
The beaches are said to get their cotton candy colour from Foraminifer. A kind of amoeba microscopic animals which produce red or pink light on the reef. The sand is a mix of coral, minute rocks and broken shells
We’d heard mixed reviews regarding the Pink Beaches, so held back on any expectations until we saw it for ourselves. However, we were actually blown away by just how Pink, Pink Beach was!
This stuff is surely what dreams are made of?
Read More – Pink Beach, Komodo National Park
Kanawa Island is the perfect addition to your Komodo National Park Tour if you want to enjoy some relaxing beach time. It is also an amazing spot for snorkelling.
Although we didn’t dive in Labuan Bajo, we had a taste of the underwater world when snorkelling here. We were delighted at the abundance of marine life that could be found in such shallow waters.
We spotted sea turtles, starfish, and a school of barracudas!
What else is there to say other than it’s a sandbar in the middle of the ocean? A great spot to stop and have lunch while marvelling the views.
If you visit at the right time of year, you can expect to encounter many Manta Rays snorkelling at Manta Point.
Unfortunately for us, we were there at the wrong time of year. For the best chance of seeing them, you need to visit between September & December.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING
Don’t forget to carry cash for Komodo entrance fees! 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 hikes
- Water shoes to wear in the water – We Recommend: 2 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
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.
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 guide to 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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