Real live dragons. Game of Thrones experience. One of the closest thing to dinosaurs. Come on don’t tell me you don’t want to meet them? Okay Komodo dragons might seem a bit scary, but don’t worry your heroic guide is there to protect you. And this is an adventure you’ll be happy to tell your friends about!
But first, you have to get to Komodo National Park, and it is not that easy.
How to get to the Komodo Dragons?
In short :
- Plane tickets from Denpasar : around 1 500 000 IRD
- Boat to Rinca : 800 000 for a private boat for the day
- Access to Komodo National Park : 250 000 IDR
I took a flight from Denpasar, Bali, to Labuan Bajo. There are a few flights each days with Lion Air, Nam Air, Sriwijaya Air or Wings Air. From what I’ve seen, Sriwijaya is usually the cheapest. The round trip tickets cost between 1 200 000 and 2 000 000 IDR.
You can also choose to come from Bali or Lombok by boat, which is quite an adventure. It takes 3 to 5 days depending on the route. There are all kind of boats, for all kind of prices.
We arrived in Labuan Bajo around 9am and decided to walk from the airport to the harbour. It takes around 20min and offers nice views over Labuan Bajo. On our way, many scooters stopped to offer transport services, tour, boat trip… We ended up following one of them who had promised us a boat to Rinca, one of Komodo National Park islands. Okay, follow a stranger on a scooter might not seem like the best idea in theory… But he found us snorkeling equipment, a boat and a captain in 10min when it would have taken us an hour. It cost us 800 000 IDR for 2 people in a private boat.
Attention please, breaking news : if you do a one day trip from Labuan Bajo, you won’t visit Komodo Island. Indeed it takes more than 4 hours of boat from Labuan Bajo to reach the real Komodo Island who gave its name to Komodo National Park. BUT no worries, there are also Komodo Dragons on Rinca, Komodo Island little sister, which is only 2 hours from Labuan Bajo.
And of course if you really want to go to Komodo Island, many captains offer 2 days/1 night cruises.
Once you’ve reached the island of your choice, for me Rinca, a nice “Naturalist Guide” will accompany you to the Park office where you’ll have to get your pass for Komodo National Park, which costs around 250 000 IDR depending on some options like snorkeling.
Let’s face the Dragons
One advice : try to go as early as possible, when the temperatures are still bearable. For you and for the dragons. The later you go, the hardest the hike will be and the sleepier the dragons will be.
We made the mistake of going there in the afternoon… And the only dragons we saw where all taking a nap behind the kitchen bungalow – which made me think they probably receive food from rangers and tourists. But the hike was still nice – we choose the “longest” path but it only took one hour. The landscapes are greats and you’ll probably see wild pigs, buffaloes, snakes and all kind of very nice representatives of the local wildlife. And the dragons, even asleep, are still the most impressive lizards you’ll ever see!
And don’t forget to stop for some snorkeling on your way back to Labuan Bajo!