Komodo National Park Travel Guide: Diving, Dragons & Mantas

Around a month ago I received an email from the Indonesian Tourism Board that I had won their Trip Of Wonders Quiz, and that I would be travelling with them to Komodo National Park from the 29th to 2nd November. I was in shock, I never win anything! Komodo National Park has been on my bucket-list for as long as I can remember, and having the chance to go with the official Tourism Board was honestly a dream come true! So without further ado, here is our Komodo National Park Travel Guide, to ensure you get the most out of your trip.

Planning a trip to Komodo National Park can be fairly complicated, it’s still very much a developing tourist destination. Hotels are limited (but seriously growing), there are endless dive centres to choose from and an array of day trips or live-aboard boats. It can be hard to decide which is best for you, your budget and your time.

As it is one of the 7 New Wonders of the World (quite rightly so!), it’s no surprise that tourism to the area is increasing dramatically. Whether you’re an avid diver, trekker, naturist or just wanting to marvel at the Komodo Dragons, this place is certainly for you!

Komodo National Park Travel Guide 

How To Get There

Komodo National Park Travel Guide

The main and cost effective option is by flying internally from either Denpasar, Bali (roughly 10 flights a day on Garuda, Wings Air, or PT Nam Air), or Jakarta (one flight a day on Garuda). There is an option of taking overnight boat from Lombok or Sumbawa, however I would not recommend this option.

If you’re flying to Komodo Island, you’ll be landing in Labuan Bajo (LBJ) airport on Flores Island, which is the main gateway to Komodo National Park.

The cost can vary greatly between airlines and the time of year you’re travelling. In off-season on Wings Air for example I’ve seen flights for as long as £57 return (US$75) and up £200 return (US$265) in peak-season on Garuda Indonesia. If you’re not bothered about the airline Wings Air is a great choice.

Want to find the best flight deal? Check out Skyscanner and use their cheapest month option when searching!

Where To Stay

There are really only 2 options for accommodation in and around Komodo Island. The first is staying in Labuan Bajo and heading out on day trips/dives to the National Park and the second (and highly recommended) option is staying on a live-aboard boat for a few nights.

Hotels in Labuan Bajo are quite limited, don’t expect 5* luxury when staying here, accommodation ranges from basic hostel dorms to fancier 4* hotels with a high price tag. Here are the best hotels in Labuan Bajo according to travellers ratings and Agoda.

Plataran Komodo Beach Resort

Komodo National Park Travel Guide
Check The Latest Prices For The Plataran Komodo Beach Resort Here!

Set on a beach in a secluded cove overlooking the Flores Sea, Plataran Komodo Beach Resort offers the only luxury resort near Komodo Island. Due to this, it is fairly costly at around £240 (US$300) per night.

Dragon Dive Komodo Hostel

Komodo National Park Travel Guide
Check The Latest Prices For Dragon Dive Komodo Hostel Here!

With private as well as dorm rooms this is a great value option. With a lively atmosphere and swimming pool it’s a great place to chill after a long days diving and exploring Komodo. The hostel offers daily dive trips to Komodo as well as snorkelling and other tours.

Puri Sari Beach Hotel

Komodo National Park Travel Guide
Check The Latest Prices For Puri Sari Beach Hotel Here!

This boutique style hotel has beautiful rooms and offers free airport transfers with most bookings. They can also help arrange diving and other trips into the park. Breakfast is also included in the nightly rates.

Live-aboard Boats

There are so many dive centres in Labuan Bajo that can take you out to the dive sites in and around Komodo National Park, however the best way to experience the real Komodo and the diving in the National Park is to stay on a liveaboard for a few nights.

This is how we stayed when we visited Komodo National Park and cannot recommend it enough! This was my first time on a  liveaboard and it was incredible! With a chill out area, viewing deck to watch the sunrise/sunset, dining areas and 5 rooms with bunkbeds/double beds and air conditioning!

Top Places To Visit/Things To Do In Komodo National Park

Komodo has so much more to offer than the Komodo Dragons, it really is a haven for adventure! If you’re unsure of what you can do around the islands here are a few things you shouldn’t miss.

Komodo Dragons

Komodo National Park Travel Guide - Dragons

I had to start with this, as after all it is called Komodo National Park! There are two main islands where you can witness these prehistoric creatures, Komodo Island and Rinca Island. When I went we did both which I highly recommend as they’re very different. Rinca Island is more open with a beautiful hike up to a lookout point over the bay with many dragons near the base and around the houses and Komodo Island is a lot more forested with dragons all around the walk.

It’s compulsory to hire a guide to take you on the walk to see them as they can be very dangerous (watch Steve Irwins Komodo Island!). They are also the largest reptiles in the world, despite their scary and menacing look they are actually pretty lazy, and are usually spotted lounging in the sun or slowly walking around the desert-like landscape.

When we were there we saw one dragon chase a monkey into the forrest, shortly after there was a lot of screaming coming from the bushes…not pleasant but nature at it’s finest!

Gili Lawa Sunrise

Komodo National Park Travel Guide - Gili Lawa

One word, Incredible. Honestly, one of the most amazing sunrise points I have ever been too. It’s a quite a challenge trekking up to the view point but 100% worth it. I highly recommend only attempting the hike before sunrise (waking up at 3:30am) or around sunset, as midday would be brutal!

Pink Beach

Komodo National Park Travel Guide - Pink Beach

Another absolutely stunning part of Komodo is Pink Beach. Yes the sand really is pink! It is caused by millions of fragments of red coral mixed into the sand, and the tide line is the best place spot to really appreciate the colour. It can get fairly busy during the day with boats, so I recommend heading there in the afternoon or morning for less of a crowd.

Tip: For the best shots of the beach, try and get up high on either the lookout points or if you have one to fly a drone over beach!

Padar ViewPoint

Probably the most famous viewpoint on Komodo Island. Sadly we didn’t have enough time to get here but I’ve heard that view is incredible and highly worth the trek. Great excuse to come back with Yannick I guess! Apparently the trek up isn’t as hard as Gili Lawa and can even be done barefoot!

Watch The Bats At Sunset

Komodo National Park Travel Guide - Bats at Sunset

We watched the bats fly over on our first night on the liveaboard. Docking up around 30 minutes before watching the sunset and bats was insane. The bats are enormous and there are so many of them that they cloud the skies.

Scuba Diving

Komodo National Park Travel Guide - Bats at Sunset

Saved the best till last! I have dived in many places around the world including the Maldives, Great Barrier Reef, Seychelles and Thailand. None of these compare to the marine life and colour of the dive spots here in Komodo National Park. I’m still in shock with the beauty of the coral and marine life.

If you’re a keen diver or just do it recreationally 100% do not miss this! Even if you’ve never dived before you can take your Open Water PADI here, and what a place to do it!

We dived with CND Dive and had the privilege of diving with a legend called Condo who has been diving in Komodo National Park since 1987, has over 10,000 dives under his belt and has helped discover and map many of the dive sites in the region. With him, we were definitely in safe hands.

We did a total of three dives including:

  • Manta Point (famous for the Mantas) – 15m
    • We saw four Manta-rays,
    • 2 Black Tip Reef Sharks and
    • 2 large Stingrays
  • Batu Balong (insane colourful coral) – 30m
    • So many turtles,
    • Moray Eel,
    • Thousands of Fish (no joke!)
  • Shotgun (strong currents) – 15m
    • 2 White Tip Reef Sharks,
    • Triggerfish

Be warned though, Komodo is famous for its ripping currents, so the more dive experience you have the better, but ultimately this is what brings in all the incredible marine life and makes it such a memorable place to dive. But don’t let that put you off if you’re a beginner or haven’t dived before!

Travel Insurance

A Komodo National Park Travel Guide wouldn’t be complete without suggesting the best travel insurance for your trip.

We both use and highly recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance, and can honestly recommend them for pricing and service. They are a great insurance company for long-term travellers and adventure travellers because they cover many adrenaline activities (including diving) and you can apply while you’re already on the road!

Get a Free Travel Insurance Quote from World Nomads by entering the information below:

I just want to say a huge thank you to the Indonesian Tourism Board and Trip of Wonders for the most incredible and awesome trip! It’s been my biggest dream to experience this and you made it all come true!

WONDERFUL INDONESIA definitely lives up to its name.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my Komodo National Park Travel Guide!

Have you been to Komodo National Park? Any tips or advice you want to share?


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Komodo National Park Travel Guide- Dragons, Diving and Mantas.
By | 2018-04-22T19:31:10+00:00 November 8th, 2017|Indonesia|12 Comments

About the Author:

Hey! We're Emma and Yannick! A travel blogging couple who met in Thailand in 2014. We've currently travelled to 43 countries with no plans to stop! We travel the world in luxury, without paying the price for it, through travel hacking and insider knowledge. Through this, we love to help and teach others to travel well for less, just like we do!

12 Comments

  1. Keri November 10, 2017 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    It looks like such a fun trip. I’m glad you were able to dive safely!

    • Emma Lomas November 10, 2017 at 11:21 pm - Reply

      Hey Keri,

      It was one of the most incredible experiences of my travels to date. If you ever have the chance to visit I cannot recommend it enough! Diving was incredible 🙂

      Happy Travels,
      Emma

  2. May November 11, 2017 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    Congratulations on the win!
    Love your itinerary. Will use it when I travel there!
    Thanks for sharing

    • Emma Lomas November 11, 2017 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      Hey May,

      Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed reading the guide 🙂

      Happy Travels,
      Emma

  3. Karolina November 11, 2017 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    Komodo has been in the first 5 on my bucket list! Incredible place indeed:) I’m saving your article for later – thanks!

    • Emma Lomas November 27, 2017 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      Hey Karolina,

      Thanks, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you visit, as it’s absolutely incredible!

      Happy Travels,
      Emma

  4. Jillian Michelle November 12, 2017 at 9:45 am - Reply

    I freaking LOVE Komodo dragons! And I’ve always wanted to do this. <3 Your pictures are so spectacular, too! LOVE LOVE LOVE! <3

    • Emma Lomas November 27, 2017 at 8:46 pm - Reply

      Hey Jilian,

      Me too! It was a dream come true! Thanks so much <3

      Happy Travels,
      Emma

  5. Kiyoko November 12, 2017 at 11:33 am - Reply

    Awesome that you got to have such a cool experience! I never win anything either, haha. I would love to visit this place! I have a crazy obsession with dragons, and I think a Komodo dragon is going to be the closest I can ever get to seeing a dragon. Thanks for the great share!

    • Emma Lomas November 27, 2017 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      Hey Kiyoko,

      haha if I can win something you can too! 🙂 Yes, seeing the dragons in real life was insane, they were much larger than I expected!

      Happy Travels,
      Emma

  6. Crazy Travelista November 12, 2017 at 11:52 am - Reply

    This is my dream to go here! I was so close in Bali earlier this year but didn’t have time. So cool you won that quiz to go on this trip! That’s awesome. The live aboard looks fun, I gotta check that out!

    • Emma Lomas November 27, 2017 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      Hey!

      You must go to Komodo Island it is incredible, so different to anywhere I have been!

      Happy Travels,
      Emma

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