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Flores, Indonesia

Komodo Boat Expedition

Sailing across the gleaming tropical sea toward the fabled Komodo National Park has an almost-otherworldy feel to it. Regular life seems to slip away as you watch each volcanic island drift by lazily from the boat. There is a sense of anticipation as you approach Komodo National Park, recently named one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, and the only place where wild Komodo dragons can still be found.

The nearest airport to Komodo National Park is Komodo Domestic Airport, better known as Labuan Bajo Airport (LBJ) on Flores Island. Your guide will provide return transport from Labuan Bajo airport (or your hotel in Labuan Bajo) to Komodo National Park.

You can go to Komodo National Park without a private guide, though you will in any event need a boat operator to get you out there. The benefit of hiring a private guide is that he/she can arrange all the logistics for you as well as provide more color on what you're seeing along the way and give you more insight to the national park and its fascinating inhabitants.

This trip is suitable for anybody who likes nature and wildlife. You don't need to train up as it's just walking through the park on easy terrain. If you would like to snorkel, you should be comfortable with open water swimming, however life jackets are provided so even non-confident swimmers can give it a go.

Komodo National Park is open year round, so it is always a good time to visit. May to August is especially entertaining as the male Komodo dragons fights for the right to mate with the females. If you plan to go between January and March, it may be a bit wet and windy so do pack accordingly!

The trips are either 2 or 3 days, depending on which option you pick.

Each of the options differs in terms of what islands are visited on the trip, so do pick the option with the islands that are most appealing to you. A little more about the various islands and beaches around Komodo National Park: Komodo Island: This is the main and largest island of Komodo National Park. Here you can see the Komodo dragon by going on a brief walk around the island (usually lasting no more than 2 hours). Rinca Island: This is one of the smaller islands where you can also see Komodo dragons while going on a hike around the island. This shouldn't take you more than 2 hours. We actually prefer Rinca Island to Komodo Island, its more famous counterpart! Padar Island: This is the famed volcanic island appearing in all the Instagram photos (and our main photo above!). Here you can go for a brief (although steep) trek to the top of green mountain slopes for some stunning views of the surrounds. Kawang Island: This island has a pristine, turquoise beach which is ideal for lounging about with a book and snorkelling. Mantapoint:  This is the place to see manta rays while snorkelling. These graceful creatures float by you just a few meters away. Pink Beach: This is the famous beach peppered with red coral. In real life, it is not as pink as it looks in some images that you may see online but it’s still pretty cool! Bidadari Island: This island boasts a white sand beach and lots of beautiful coral with plenty of fish life just off the coast. Great for snorkelling. Kalong Island: This is the place where most boats come to park for the night. It’s a perfect place to watch the sunset and to catch the flying fox show, as hundreds of bats leave their cave on the island for a night-time feast.

If you have a day or two in Labuan Bajo before or after your trip, you should make sure to go to the night market for amazingly fresh seafood. You can pick out your fish to be grilled or fried right there on the spot. Also stop by Catur'z Kopi Club for some good local coffee and Indonesian food. The staff here are incredibly helpful and sweet.