As I reflect on my travels, one extraordinary adventure shines brightly in my memories—the captivating voyage sailing around Komodo National Park in Indonesia. Nestled amidst the azure waters of the Flores Sea, this pristine archipelago has left a strong impression on my heart. With its untouched beaches, gorgeous vistas, vibrant coral reefs, and the iconic Komodo dragons, visiting Komodo National Park stands as an unparalleled highlight of my travels throughout the world. In this blog post, we’ll go over why you should visit Komodo National Park, how to get there, where to stay before your trip, and my exact itinerary from my 4 day, 3 night sailing trip around the national park.
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Why Visit Komodo National Park in Indonesia
Komodo National Park in Indonesia is an absolute must-visit for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. With its pristine beaches, stunning marine life, and the opportunity to encounter the legendary Komodo dragons, this national park offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you’re diving into crystal-clear waters, hiking through rugged landscapes, or simply basking in the untouched beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, Komodo National Park promises a breathtaking journey into the heart of nature’s marvels. I have been many places throughout my travels, but I have never encountered such magnificent ocean life as I have in this national park.
How to get to Komodo National Park
Getting to Komodo National Park is an adventure in itself, offering a range of transportation options to suit different preferences and budgets. The most common way to reach the park is by flying to Labuan Bajo, a bustling town on the western tip of Flores Island. Labuan Bajo is well-connected with major Indonesian cities, and flights are available from Bali, Jakarta, and other hubs for relatively affordable prices.
Once in Labuan Bajo, visitors can board a local boat or join a guided tour to explore the park’s islands and dive into its vibrant underwater world. For those seeking a more leisurely journey, liveaboard cruises provide a unique experience, allowing you to savor the stunning views of the Flores Sea during the voyage. Whether you prefer a quick flight or a scenic boat trip, the journey to Komodo National Park promises to be the start of an unforgettable adventure amidst breathtaking natural beauty.
I opted for a liveaboard sailing experience and it was a great decision. We went with Samara Liveaboard, a more luxury option. Below I’ll go over my experience with Samara and you can decide if it’s right for you.
My Experience Sailing Komodo National Park with Samara Liveaboard
First off, Samara Liveaboard was always my top pick for this trip. They have a great reputation for providing a luxury experience and they certainly lived up to that reputation. From the high quality boat to the fantastic food and drinks to the extra attention in service, this was a top level of quality in every way. You definitely pay a lot more than the competition, but in my opinion it was completely worth the cost. I couldn’t have crafted a more perfect experience if I tried. Here’s in detail our itinerary and my experience.
Samara Day 1
- Day 1 Itinerary:
- 1. Trekking Kelor Island
- 2. Snorkeling and Trekking Menjerite/Pink Rock
- 3. Visit Kalong Island for Sunset from the Boat
After quick introductions on the boat, we were off to our first destination of trekking Kelor Island. The view from the top was gorgeous and there are lots of little shops on the beach. This was admittedly one of the less interesting parts of the trip in my opinion, but that’s only because everything else was epic.
After visiting Kelor Island, we did a bunch of snorkeling in different locations. I was so shocked at how alive the corals reefs are with so much life. In many parts of the world, coral reefs are dying out but here in Komodo National Park they are very much alive. After we did some snorkeling, we visited a rock that is pink from some natural minerals in the area. It was pretty cool.
The final activity of the day was enjoying the sunset from the boat while watching thousands of flying foxes emerge from their cave to find their dinner. I’ve seen something similar to this in Thailand once but it was really amazing to see here as well. There were literally tens of thousands of them and they are much larger than I expected. That coupled with a breathtaking sunset made this a perfect first day.
Samara Day 2
- Day 2 Itinerary:
- 1. Trekking Padar Island
- 2. Snorkeling and Trekking Long Beach(Pink Beach)
- 3. Visit Komodo Island to See Komodo Dragons
The start of day 2 was a very early one, waking up at 4 AM for sunset hike to the viewpoint of Padar Island. This is easily the most famous and iconic viewpoint in all of Komodo National Park. It was a fairly easy hike up. There are literally stairs the entire way up. This was a very popular location with lots of people. But it was absolutely breathtaking. Watching the sun light up all of the islands and the epic landscapes was amazing.
After Padar Island, we went back to the boat for breakfast and to rest up a little before going to our next location for snorkeling. There was a lot of snorkeling on this trip, all of which was amazing. We spent some time on this beautiful pink beach and it was super relaxing.
After lunch, it was finally time to go to the official Komodo Park where we would see Komodo dragons. Komodo dragons are only found in this part of the world so it’s a really special thing to do. The dragons are really big and can be dangerous, but the ones we encountered in the park felt very accustomed to people. It kind of felt more like a zoo than anything, with many of the guides baiting the dragons. It felt a bit strange to be honest, but nevertheless it was cool to see Komodo dragons.
In the afternoon, while everybody else went to do more snorkeling and walking on the the pink beach, my partner and I opted to stay behind on the boat and relax. I’m glad we did because it was so nice to have the boat to ourselves for a bit to just enjoy a cocktail and relax listening to music.
Samara Day 3
- Day 3 Itinerary:
- 1. Snorkeling with Manta Rays at Manta Point
- 2. Snorkeling and Beach Time at Taka Makassar
- 3. Visit Sebayur Island for snorkeling and Dinner on the Beach
Day 3 was definitely my favorite of the entire trip. We started out in the morning going to Manta Point where we swam with manta rays. It was truly a magical experience. They are so large and majestic. It was incredible to see them so effortlessly swim through the rough ocean currents. At one point there were at least 8 of them in a row just swimming beneath me. Truly spectacular.
Next, we were onto more snorkeling at Taka Makassar which is super small pink beach island. This was my favorite beach of the entire trip. The water was crystal clear and the sand was gorgeous pink. You could walk the entire island in less than a minute. It was truly amazing.
Since this was our final night on the boat, the crew put together something very special for us. We made it to Sebayur Island for a lovely dinner on the beach. The crew went ahead and setup a very elegant dinner presentation with lights and a fire on the beach with fantastic food and drinks. It was a perfect final night.
Samara Day 4
- Day 4 Itinerary:
- 1. Snorkeling at Siaba Island
- 2. Beach Time and Snorkeling at Kanawa Island
Our last day was only a half day. We spent the morning snorkeling one last time and enjoying the beach of Kanawa Island. This was also a fantastic beach day, as the water was that gorgeous crystal clear blue. We even got to do some paddle boarding to finish off the trip. After lunch, we were back to Labuan Bajo and the trip was over just like that.
My Final Thoughts on Samara and Alternatives
Like I already said, Samara was an incredible high-end experience that was completely worth the cost. Even as hard as I try, I can’t think of a single thing about the experience that I would’ve changed. The service staff was incredible, the tour guide was one of the most genuinely kind people I’ve ever met, and the other passengers in our group made the entire trip unforgettable.
To book with Samara Liveaboard, follow my link here.
That being said, if you are looking for a bit more a budget-friendly option, here are a few alternatives that I was also considering that I think looked good.
Where to Stay in Labuan Bajo
Before embarking on your Komodo National Park adventure, it is highly recommended to spend a night in Labuan Bajo. Sometimes delays happen with flights and you don’t want to miss your boat because your flight was delayed. It’s best to arrive a day beforehand to ensure you can be at the harbor on time.
While there are various accommodation options available, staying at a hotel near the harbor is particularly convenient. Not only will you have easy access to the boats departing for the park, but you can also enjoy the lively atmosphere of the waterfront area.
I highly recommend staying at Elang Hillside Bamboo Villas, just a 5 minute drive from the airport and the harbor. I stayed here both before and after my sailing trip.
The villas are made entirely out of bamboo and are stunning. There are incredible views of the sunset and the service is also fantastic. They even include free shuttle service to and from the airport. Breakfast is also included in the price and is served in your villa. Additionally, they have a fantastic pool area and the entire resort is very quiet and relaxed. I can’t recommend this place more. It was so fantastic.
Book a night at Elang Hillside Bamboo Villas here.
Conclusion on Komodo National Park
In conclusion, a visit to Komodo National Park in Indonesia promises an extraordinary journey into the heart of natural wonders. From the iconic Komodo dragons to the pristine beaches and vibrant marine life, this UNESCO World Heritage Site captivates travelers with its breathtaking beauty. Whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures like diving and hiking, or simply yearning for a tranquil escape in paradise, Komodo National Park offers an unforgettable experience. So, pack your sense of wonder and embark on a voyage to this remarkable destination, where nature’s marvels await at every turn.