In Indonesia, most tourists prefer to surf and party in Bali or Lombok. But unknown to many, there are dragons living nearby. Most if not all of them are located in Komodo Island. This is a tourist destination that only a few brave-hearted adventurers are willing to visit. Here are some tips and things you can expect when you arrive at the island.
The National Park Trip
Your first likely destination is Rinca Island. This is the second largest island in the park and home to the second largest Komodo dragon population. Before disembarking, the guide will instruct you on how to react when facing the dragons. The first rule is never to look directly towards them and keep your head down. The second rule is to stick to the trails and never wander or even go to the toilet alone.
As you search for the wonderful but dangerous dragons, follow the instructions of your guides. Aside from your camera, you also need sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses as protection from the heat. The second island on your list is Padar. Instead of dragons, you can spend the time here sunbathing or dolphin watching. You can also climb the various hills and admire the breathtaking view from the top. Afterwards, youre ready for the main island which is populated by more than 3,000 Komodo dragons. If youre tired of watching the dragons, go to the Pink Beach for snorkelling and scuba diving.
The Best Time to Visit
The best time for you to go is during the dry season which between April and December. Nevertheless, the dragons are active all year except during mating and nesting seasons. That means there are less sighting during July to August as well as September to November. The dragons are not the only attraction on the island. Two or three days stay is recommended if you want to explore most of the national park.
For its size, Labuan Bajo has plenty of various accommodations for tourists. The quality of accommodation may not be on a par with the exclusive resorts in Bali or other parts of the world, where there is an abundance of top places to stay, but there are some good options to choose from. You can stay at a hostel or resort depending on your budget or preference. Its also advisable to get a place that offers breakfast. Afterwards, all you have to do is take the tour.
How to Get There
The small fishing village of Labuan Bajo is the gateway to Komodo Islands. Its better to take an early morning flight to Labuan Bajo so you can arrive at the park by noon. Before you can visit, make sure to coordinate with the park authorities. They will provide you with an official guide or park ranger during the trip. To escape the hassle, better book with a tour company that will handle all the legal requirements.
Mode of Transportation
You will have to take a boat to get to the island but there are two options. One is a speedboat tour which can cost you as much as $750. Take the wooden boat instead if youre on a budget. Its also much cheaper if you can share the boat with other travelers. There is also an entrance fee to park $11 to $17 but expect additional fees for other activities like scuba diving.