Komodo Island in Indonesia has fascinated travellers and backpackers for years. The island is incredibly unique and is home to the largest population of Komodo Dragons in the world.
How To Get To Komodo Island in Indonesia?
There is only one way on and off Komodo Island, and that’s by boat. Boats leave on daily tours from Labuan Bajo on the island of Nusa Tenggara. There are also boats that leave from the island of Bali, but these boats cannot complete the journey in one day.
Boat From Bali
The boat from Bali to Labuan Bajo takes 3-4 days and prices start at approximately $250. You can do this as a one way trip or as a round-trip. The price includes your room on the boat, all your meals and snorkeling equipment. The only thing not included in the price is the national park fee for Komodo Island. While on the long journey to Komodo the boat will stop for activities such as island hopping, snorkeling and for leisure time on some of the sensational beaches.
This is a great option for those who want to take the time to slowly explore what the ocean and smaller Indonesian islands have to offer. If we had more time to play with we would have given this option more thought. We met a number of people who took this boat to, and around Komodo Island and then flew back to Bali from Labuan Bajo.
Flying From Bali
Flying from Bali to Labuan Bajo has always been quite expensive with one way flights starting from €80. This is not the case anymore however thanks to Air Asia. Air Asia opened up a route between Bali and Labuan Bajo in the summer of 2019 and they are making this journey a lot more affordable. One way flights between the two locations cost between €25-40 – a bargain in my opinion. Flights run once a day and can even be booked on the same day.
This option was perfect for us – quick, easy and cheap.
Day Trips To Komodo Island In Indonesia
There are two options to choose from when taking a one day boat trip from Labuan Bajo to Komodo Island – the slow boat and the fast boat.
The slow boat is a long, wooden boat that holds up to approximately 20 people. It leaves each morning from the harbor at 6am and returns before dark at approximately 6pm. The cost per person is approximately 500K Rupiah and includes; lunch, water, tea/coffee and snorkeling equipment.
The slow boat has 4 stops; Padar Island, Pink beach, Komodo Island and Manta Point. An alternative route that may be offered is; Padar Island, Long Beach, Rinca Island and Manta Point. Komodo Dragons can be found on both Komodo Island and Rinca Island, whilst pink sandy beaches can be found on pink beach and long beach. So regardless of the route taken you will get to see all of the main things 🙂
The only thing not included in the price is the cost of the national park fee which is discussed further on.
The fast boat can hold approximately 12 people and is made from carbon fiber. The boat leaves at 8am each morning and returns before dark (before 6pm). The fast boat costs approximately 1.2 million Rupiah per person and includes; lunch, water, tea/coffee and snorkeling equipment.
The fast boat has 6 stops; Padar Island, Pink Beach, Komodo Island, Manta Point, Taka Makassar Island and Kelor Island. As with the slow boat routes, Long Beach may be substituted for Pink Beach and Rinca Island for Komodo Island.
Some companies will vary and you may see options that include; Turtle Bay, Kalong Island (where you can see flying foxes) and Kanawa Island included as part of the 6 stops. Locations may also vary depending on the weather.
The national park fee is not included in the price but is detailed in the next paragraph.
National Park Fee
Every person taking a tour to Komodo National Park must pay a park fee for the upkeep and maintenance of the UNESCO site.
The price of the national park fee will vary between each company and the day of the week. Most companies will quote you between 300-400K Rupiah per person on weekdays and 400-500K Rupiah on weekends and holidays. You will also have to pay a hiking fee and a snorkeling fee but most companies include this in the price with the park fee.
After spending an entire day visiting every tour company in the town we finally decided to book the slow boat. We just couldn’t justify spending twice as much money on the fast boat for essentially the same thing! When we set out on our bargaining adventure we were sure that we could bag a deal for 250-300K Rupiah each – this thought was as a result of reading numerous blogs and articles online. Within an hour it was very clear that this was not going to happen but we carried on regardless. Being the stubborn mules we are, we refused to book any tour costing more than 450K Rupiah each.
By 8pm that night we were defeated – no tour booked, no dinner eaten and two cranky, stubborn mules! Fast-forward to 11pm and it was a different story. With food in our bellies we decided to give one place another go. Luckily we did because managed to book a tour for 6am the following morning.
We booked the slow boat tour with a company called Happy Tour and Travel (located directly across the road from Bajo Nature Backpackers Hostel) and paid 400K Rupiah each. The following morning when we arrived to the port we paid the National Park Fee (400K Rupiah each) plus a snorkeling fee (50K Rupiah each).
A number of reps from other companies were at the port with other tourists so it appears that no matter which company you book through you will end up on the same boat. So make sure you shop around and get the best price.
Make sure to ask for life jackets on the boat. If you cannot see any, ask can you see them before the boat leaves the harbor. We asked several times and were told that they were “in the back”. When we asked to see them a crew member went and took them from another boat – so make sure to hound them!
Our Thoughts On Komodo Island In Indonesia
The hike up Padar Island can be quite tough in the heat but it is 100% worth it – the views are spectacular! Just make sure to bring some water, sun screen and a hat and you’ll be fine.
The pink beach does not look very pink from the boat but don’t be disappointed – once you get onto the beach it’s very clear that the sand is in fact pink!
Manta point was disappointing as we did not see any manta rays 🙁 We believe that we were not brought to manta point but to a random spot on the journey back. We think that the crew told us they could see mantas in the water and to “get in quick” in order to get us in to snorkel.
We think that Komodo National Park in Indonesia is definitely worth a visit, and sooner, rather than later if you have the chance. The Indonesian government are talking about closing the park to tourists in 2020 OR increasing the park fee to $1,000.
Although the tours are quite expensive we feel that they are worth the money to get to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
So that’s the craic with Komodo Island in Indonesia!
Feel free to leave any comments or questions below 🙂
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