10 Reasons to Visit the Magnificent Komodo National Park

WANUAADVENTURE.net – Located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores in the East Nusatenggara province,  sits the vast and impressive Komodo National Park. In 1986, the park was declared a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The Komodo National Park encompasses a total of 29 volcanic islands (including the 3 major islands Rinca, Padar and Komodo) and is home to  approximately 2,500 Komodo Dragons and other terrestrial fauna such as various species of reptiles, birds and mammals. The park’s terrain is uniquely diverse, consisting of mountainous hillside, tropical rain forests, grass-woodland savannah, and pristine white sandy beaches which harbour a rich marine biodiversity. The marine environment in the Komodo National Park is one of the world’s richest in flora and fauna and is still relatively undiscovered.  The 2,000 km2 park (which includes protected land and water), is recognized as a global conservation priority area and has an array of natural attractions.

For the first time travelers to this wonderful piece of Indonesia, here are 10 tips to help you explore this great National Park.

1. The Komodo Dragons

Komodo Dragons, Komodo Island

Approximately reaching 3 meters in length and weighing over 70kg, the Komodo Dragon (or otherwise known as Varanus Komodoensis), is the world’s largest lizard and reptile. The dragons are identified by their massive size, flat heads, bowed legs, long thick tails and fork-shaped tongues. Komodos can run and swim up to 20kph and have an excellent vision where it can see objects from 300m away. A fierce predator, these reptiles are carnivores and can eat 80% of their weight in one feeding. The Komodo can consume very large prey such as water buffalo, deer, carrion, pigs and even humans. It has a unique way of killing by biting its prey – especially when it is a large water buffalo, – surrounding it in a group then wait patiently until the poison in its saliva has slowly killed its victim.  After which it completely shreds apart and devoured with bones and all.  If the prey escapes, it will usually die within 24 hours due to poisoning of the blood that comes from the venomous and bacteria ridden saliva.

Only found in the world within the The Komodo National Park and the surrounding Flores island, these Jurassic and majestic creatures are the park’s star attraction. Although awesome to see, visitors are urged to keep a distance and exercise caution.  Always be accompanied by a ranger and follow all the ranger’s instructions when in the proximity to these dangerous lizards, although they may look pretty docile,

2. Climate and Geography

Wanua Adventure Lombok to Labuan Bajo (58)

The climate in the Komodo National Park is one of the driest in Indonesia. The national park experiences little to no rainfall for approximately 8 months of the year and is heavily impacted by monsoonal rains. Daily temperatures during the dry season between May to October average around 40. Due to this dry climate, the land is rough with stony hills and plant species are limited to grass, shrubs, orchids, and trees. In contrast, the marine area has a rich and colorful landscape. The national park falls within the Asia Pacific Coral Triangle and is full of a variety of seagrass beds, colorful coral reefs, and dense mangrove forests.

3. Land and Marine Fauna

Photo by rahmaliza.weebly.com

Aside from the magnificent Komodo Dragon, The Komodo National Park is the habitat of various other land and sea creatures. Visitors can witness these intriguing animals roaming freely in their natural outdoor settings.

Terrestrial fauna that can be found here include a diversity of reptiles, mammals , and birds. This includes but isn’t limited to 12 snake species, 9 lizard species, various frogs, the Timor deer (the main prey of the Komodo), horses, water buffalos, wild boars, the endemic Rinca rat, fruit bats, the orange footed scrub fowl and over 40 species of birds.

The marine fauna is astonishingly diverse and includes over 1,000 fish species, 70 types of sponges, 10 types of dolphins, 6 types of whales, dugongs, green turtles and various types of sharks, huge manta rays, stingrays, marine reptiles and crustaceans and occasionally migrating whales.

4. Dynamic Diving Sites

Komodo National Park conveniently sits in the heart of  the Asia Pacific Coral Triangle and is home to one of the world’s richest marine environments.  Divers, scientists and photographers from around the world come to this national park to experience the astonishing biodiversity which can be found in one of the many dive sites – the larger islands of Rinca, Komodo and Padar, together with the smaller islands that surround them, make up at least 100 world class dive sites.

The area is famous for its fierce currents, riptides and whirlpools which bring in rich nutrients from the depths of the Indian Ocean to create ideal conditions for thousands of species of tropical fish and corals to flourish.

Diving sites range from challenging blue water current dives with a chance of glimpsing manta rays, sharks and dugongs, to low visibility muck dives where divers can discover rare invertebrae closer shore.

Diving in the Komodo National Park will bring you to the heart of the most dynamic marine environments in the world.

Because of the strong currents that can carry divers right into the wide open Indian Ocean, as well as the huge sea mammals passing here, visitors are strongly advised to engage reputable and experienced diving operators and avoid those that lack basic safety measures.

5. Hiking up Padar Island

The breathtakingly beautiful landscape on Padar Island is second to none. This island is the perfect place for a scenic hike and spectacular photos. As you ascend one of the many grassy hills, you will be swept away by the surrounding gorgeous green, white and blue hues. The vantage point from the tallest peak will give you a stunning view of four crescent shaped sparkling beaches and an abundance of photos to make your family and friends green with envy. A hike up the main peak of this mountain will approximately take 2 to 3 hours. Be prepared and bring comfortable shoes, clothing, water and sunscreen as the sun can get scorching hot.

6. Pink Beach on Komodo Island

Pink beach komodo

Due to the degradation of red coral in combination with the pristine white sand, this unique and charming beach got its name. Also known as Pantai Merah, Pink Beach is one in seven in the world to have a glowing soft pink tinge. The panoramic views of the luscious green hills, pristine turquoise waters, luminous pink sand and azure blue skies will surely take your breath away.

Pink Beach also offers some spectacular snorkelling and diving spots. The pristine marine landscape is densely decorated with a vast variety of biota. The underwater garden is home to hundreds of species of soft and hard corals and reefs bustling with various species of marine fauna.

As the Komodo Island is still inhabited by the Komodo Dragons, visitors should exercise caution on the beach and in the water. It is highly recommended to come here with an authorized guide or ranger.

7. The traditional village on Mesa Island

Image by Luke Marlin (backstreetnomad.com)

Mesa Island is the perfect destination for visitors to get a glimpse of the traditional life led by the remarkable sea gypsies (otherwise known as the Bajau people). This laid back fisherman village has a population of approximately 1,500 residents and visitors can witness locals engage in their daily tasks such as drying cucumbers, processing shell fish and preparing various seafood. The residents of Mesa Island are very friendly and children often flock to greet new faces. Visitors will also be able to see the charming traditional stilt houses that hover above the sand and shoreline.

8. Snorkelling at Kanawa Island

Photo courtesy of : pointandshootwanderlust.com

Visitors come to Kanawa Island to relax, swim and experience the fabulous snorkelling spots. The visibility of the water is crystal clear and it is even possible for visitors to see the prolific sea life from above the water. Snorkelers can begin their underwater adventure right from the jetty as the sea is very calm and strong waves are protected by the surrounding coral reefs. Be prepared to be mesmerized by the colourful schools of tropical fish, mystical corals and unique marine fauna such as sting rays, dolphins and turtles.

The island has weak phone and internet reception and transactions on this island is strictly on a cash basis. Visitors to this island are encouraged to bring an adequate amount of cash to cover all necessary expenditures.

9. Sunset at Kalong Island

Kalong Island

The name of this unique island, Kalong, comes from the local language for giant flying fox bats. The bats, which are the main attraction of this island, create an enthralling sunset spectacle unlike any other. As the day approaches dusk, visitors are invited to witness thousands of these mystical creatures migrate from the island to the backdrop of awe inspiring sunset hues. The resounding flutter and noise of these bats as they escape the mangrove forest and soar into the sunset will leave a hauntingly beautiful lasting memory.

10. Komodo spotting on Rinca Island

Komodo Dragons, Komodo Island

Komodo Dragons, Rinca Island

Due to the purposely undeveloped nature of this island and sparse foot traffic, Rinca Island is the perfect spot for those looking to catch a glimpse of the exotic Komodo Dragon. Visitors will disembark on the dock of Koh Kima and be taken to the camp site of Loh Buaya, where sometimes Komodo Dragons can already be spotted. A trek across the island will show dense forest give way to grassy fields and a few scattered watering holes where the Komodo Dragons hunt for prey. If fortunate enough, visitors will be able to see other terrestrial fauna such as the wild water buffalos, timor deer, wild horses and various species of tropical birds.

Due to the fierce nature of the Komodo Dragon, visitors who come here must hire the service of an experienced ranger. Prepare cool clothing and sunscreen as the climate on Rinca Island can be quite dry and very hot. (Source : Indonesia Travel)

Here is a recommendation list to feel Komodo’s refreshing breeze. Book yours now!

How To Get To Komodo Island

WANUAADVENTURE.net – Before setting out on your visit, and learning how to get to komodo,  it is important that you understand where you are heading and the easiest ways to get there. Komodo is in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago, and is between Sumbawa and Flores islands. The fact that Komodo is a UNESCO reserve for both a marine diversity and of course the Komodo Dragon makes this a growing tourist destination. The snorkeling and diving in the National Park is almost unsurpassed, and it is completely understandable as to why one would want to go. Now that you know where you are going let us discuss the best ways for you to get there.

Komodo National Park includes three major islands: Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as numerous smaller islands creating a total surface area (marine and land) of 1817km (proposed extensions would bring the total surface area up to 2,321km2). As well as being home to the Komodo dragon, the Park provides refuge for many other notable terrestrial species such as the orange-footed scrub fowl, an endemic rat, and the Timor deer. Moreover, the Park includes one of the richest marine environments including coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass beds, seamounts, and semi-enclosed bays. These habitats harbor more than 1,000 species of fish, some 260 species of reef-building coral, and 70 species of sponges. Dugong, sharks, manta rays, at least 14 species of whales, dolphins, and sea turtles also make Komodo National Park their home.

Threats to terrestrial biodiversity include the increasing pressure on forest cover and water resources as the local human population has increased 800% over the past 60 years. In addition, the Timor deer population, the preferred prey source for the endangered Komodo dragon, is still being poached. Destructive fishing practices such as dynamite-, cyanide, and compressor fishing severely threaten the Park’s marine resources by destroying both the habitat (coral reefs) and the resource itself (fish and invertebrate stocks). The present situation in the Park is characterized by reduced but continuing destructive fishing practices primarily by immigrant fishers, and high pressure on demersal stocks like lobsters, shellfish, groupers and napoleon wrasse. Pollution inputs, ranging from raw sewage to chemicals, are increasing and may pose a major threat in the future.

Today, the PKA Balai Taman Nasional Komodo and PT. Putri Naga Komodo are working together to protect the Park’s vast resources. Our goals are to protect the Park’s biodiversity (both marine and terrestrial) and the breeding stocks of commercial fishes for replenishment of surrounding fishing grounds. The main challenge is to reduce both threats to the resources and conflicts between incompatible activities. Both parties have a long term commitment to protecting the marine biodiversity of Komodo National Park.

How to get to Komodo island

1. Get to Komodo Island By Air

There are numerous flight to get to Komodo island from Bali or Lombok. The following below some of the airline which has daily flight to Komodo

Indonesia Air Transport (IAT)
Depart : Everyday
DPS – LBJ : 10.00 – 11.30
LBJ – DPS : 12.00 – 13.30

Trans Nusa Airlines (TGN)
Depart : Everyday
DPS – LBJ : 10.00 – 11.50 & 13.00 – 14.20
LBJ – DPS VIA BMU (BIMA) : 12.05 – 12.35
BMU-DPS : 12.50 – 13.45
LBJ – DPS : 14.35 – 15.15

2. Get to Komodo Island By Land

There are two accessed point to Komodo island. On the east part via Bima and the ferry goes from Sape harbor and from the west part is Labuhan Bajo the main prot to Komodo island and other island arround the Komodo.

3. Get to Komodo Island By Boat

wanuaadventure.net provide wide range option for live aboard – boat to Komodo island most of the live board are sort of tour package, from any major area in Indonesia like Bali, Lombok, Bima and Labuhan Bajo at reasonable price. Please feel free to contact us by email, or phone.

Labuan Bajo

Labuan Bajo: The Entrance Path to Komodo National Park

WANUAADVENTURE.net – Labuan Bajo, a place sounds to the world nowadays. Its name attracts the tourists to come over and enjoy the beauty of its underwater nature, as well as to visit the islands within reach, inhabited by the komodo population. This time, I would love to put in the picture the beauty of the coastal cities which path the way to enter the Komodo National Park.

Located at the west corner of Flores Island, Labuan Bajo has been used as the main entrance to Komodo National Park, which consists of Rinca Island, Komodo Island and Padar Island. Allegedly, about 2.500 komodo are living on those three islands.

This capital of Manggarai Barat has evolved to be a tourist destination filled with home-stay hotels, resorts and dive resorts. There are many expatriates living in this city and they own properties and/or tourism operator companies.

I visited Labuan Bajo by Perama commuter boat departed from Lombok to Labuan Bajo. When I arrived, the atmosphere of the city was not so crowded. Perhaps the reason was because I was not coming in the holiday season that time. With my head still rocking from the waves of the sea, I carried my backpack and walked down the harbor along with my new friends on the boat from France, England and Denmark. Talking about Labuan Bajo, it derives from the word “labuan” which means a sojourn and the word “bajo”, the name of the sea nomads from Sulawesi, which reputedly known as the early immigrants in this city.

The sun was up when I turned my step entering a tribal village of Bajo, which was dubbed as Kampung Air (“Water Village”). The friendly society there made my friends and me feel at home being in this city. Several youth were greeting us nicely while the mothers were throwing smiles to us from their houses’ front. It was such a warm welcome from the sea nomads. This was the first time for my foreign friends to see lots of timber boats berthing. Not less than 200 boats from various kinds moored, started from small rowing boats, speedboats, fishing charts up to the freighters. Not to mention the floating yachts in various sizes.

Nonetheless, the houses of the immigrants still characterize the regions of their origins. I left Kampung Air to find a hotel and to take off the fatigue. Apparently, it was quite simple to get a hotel in low season. Yet, I have already been recommended on a certain hotel owned by my friend’s grandfather in Bali. Hence, with confidence steps, I entered the hotel and showed the text message from the owner and immediately we were given a room and free extra beds for a week. Super!

This condition might not happen if I came to this city in peak season. Finding a hotel in Labuan Bajo at peak season will be as similar as in Gili Trawangan at its peak season. It’s hard! Perhaps it is still feasible to get, yet the price would have been at its peak as well. First day in the city, we took rest in the hotel, charging our energy up. Nevertheless, for the rest of the following days, the hotel room was nothing but a place to put things and take rest only. We used most of the time to do diving, trekking and other activities that will be regrettable to be missed out.

Getting there

Labung Bajo is an entrance gate to reach Komodo National Park. Merpati Nusantara are in fact serving the flight to Labuhan Bajo, however they do not have a fixed schedule yet. Another available airlines are Batavia Air (1.010.000 IDR to 2.014.000 IDR), TransNusa (1.274.000 IDR to 2.000.000 IDR) and Lion Air (1.200.000 IDR to 2.500.000 IDR) which take the flight from Denpasar to Labuan Bajo – all prices are for commuted flight. The alternative for flight would be by ferryboat from Lombok. If you are wild about scuba diving, want to see great spots and haven’t tried yet, I recommend you to pick a liveaboard.

Explore Komodo National Park & Happy Green Travels!