Why on earth would you willingly go to the Komodo Islands in southeast Indonesia and get within hunting distance of deadly Komodo Dragons? If you’re a travel junkie who likes to visit unique attractions, this is one destination that should be on your bucketlist as these dragons cannot be found (in their natural habitat) in any other place in the World.

The 4-day journey in Komodo Islands and Labuan Bajo (the gateway town) was my favorite part of our 12-day Trip of Wonders in Indonesia. Seeing dragons in real life wasn’t the only thing that made it special. The stunning natural views are worth a trip on their own. I was surprised with the high number of things to see and do here.

Komodo Islands Tour

Map of Komodo National Park in Labuan Bajo East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

Map of Komodo National Park in Labuan Bajo East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

We spent two full days exploring the islands of Komodo National Park. It was quite a big area that comprised of 29 islands spread across over 1,700 square kilometers. When you book your island hopping tour you can choose to ride in either a: (1) Speedboat; (2) Wooden Boat; (3) Live-aboard / Live on board (LOB) cruise. Since we traveled by speedboat, which was a lot faster than the other options, we got to visit a lot of spots and maximized our time. Even then, we didn’t get to visit & experience everything.

Most of the slower boats are modified versions of the Phinisi, traditional fishing boats in Indonesia. I would love to experience going aboard one someday too. It seemed like a more scenic route and a good option for those who prefer to travel at a more relaxed pace, especially for multi-day cruises.

Tours to the Komodo Islands typically starts in Labuan Bajo, a bustling tourist town and fishing port on the west end of Flores. Komodo-Labuan Bajo Airport mostly serves (daily) flights to/from Bali, but you can also fly direct from Jakarta.

Komodo Island

Komodo Island in Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

Komodo Island in Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

Getting to Komodo Island from Labuan Bajo took around 1.5 hours by speedboat. The ferry crossing normally takes 4 hours by slow boat.

After arriving, we organized into smaller groups and met our guides. They told us interesting info about Komodo Dragons and led us around an easy circuit trek around the island. About 5 minutes in, we met our first dragon. I did not even notice it from afar because it was mostly motionless and camouflaged with the pale-colored ground. These reptiles were similar to crocodiles and alligators in that way. Sometimes it would turn its head, curious with the crowd that gathered. It was scary when it happened knowing how powerful and deadly these creatures were.

Komodo Dragons are the World’s largest lizard & share a common ancestor with dinosaurs. Their bite is lethal to humans, not only because of the power of their jaws (enough to snap a man’s leg in two), but because of toxic proteins released into their prey. These creatures are very agile when active. They can climb trees and even swim! If you are alone & a dragon hunts you down, there is little chance of escaping. Oh, and they also tend to hunt in groups. Our guides told us that they evolved to be so large because have no natural predators as adults.

Pink Beach

Komodo Island was also home to a rare Pink Beach, found only in very few spots in the World. Girls, you don’t need to use a VSCO filter for this one. You can visibly see its distinctive color, viewed both up close and from afar. It was a lot more vivid than the pink beach of Santa Cruz Island in Zamboanga City, Philippines.

We were all split up immediately after stepping foot on shore. Some went straight to snorkel & marvel at the lush coral gardens. Others stayed at the beach to enjoy the scenery & wait for our picnic lunch. I and a couple others went straight to the cliff to see the overlooking views. There are two high viewpoints on both ends of Pink Beach. Each had spectacular views!

Manta Point

Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

Our boat headed back towards Labuan Bajo and stopped in open waters for the chance to swim with Manta Rays at, well, Manta Point. We waited for about 5 minutes, hoping to spot one, but failed to do so. Sad :(

Kanawa Island

Kanawa Island in Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

Kanawa Island in Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

This island had the best snorkeling out of all places we explored in Komodo Islands. From the wooden dock platform, swim out and look for the vertical reef drop-off about 50 meters away. Great coral cover and lots of fish!

Kanawa Island was located near Labuan Bajo. By sunset time, we were already at our hotel enjoying the golden views from our ocean view balcony.

Padar Island

Our itinerary the next day was a lot more physically demanding, but well worth the effort. First stop was trekking to the viewpoint at Padar Island.

This is one of the places that’s really popular on Instagram. The rugged deserted landscape surrounded by paradisiacal waters looked out-of-this-world. It reminded me of scenes from Jurrasic World and other sci-fi / fantasy movies. Padar Island is a must-visit if you like to take dramatic photos that is sure to WOW your friends.

Rinca Island

Rinca Island along with Komodo and Padar are the largest islands in the national park. Like Komodo Island, there are also multiple trails that you can follow (with a guide, of course).

Komodo Dragons also inhabit the island. In fact, we saw 5 or 6 of them resting around one of the wooden huts. Our guide told us they like to gather near that spot because the hut turned out to be their kitchen. The dragons were attracted to the smell of food. Aside from the dragons, you can see other animals like deer & monkeys.

Rinca Island is also a good spot to take your lunch break.

Kelor Island

Before heading back to Labuan Bajo we stopped by Kelor Island, which had a beautiful white sand beach, perfect for relaxing & good snorkeling spots. A handful of us hadn’t had enough of hiking yet and followed a steep foot trail that led to the top of a hill. It was a gorgeous spot to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the whole island.

Sunset at Paradise Bar

Paradise Bar in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

Paradise Bar in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia