Bali is a viable starting point for tourists planning to explore Komodo National Park. The most popular way to make this trip is as part of a cruise as this allows passengers to visit multiple locations along the way. Komodo Island is described as a unique biosphere. It is most famous for being the home of the Komodo dragon, but there are also other wondrous things to see including a pink beach – there are only seven such beaches in the whole world.
Location of Komodo Island
Komodo is an island that is located approximately 490km (304 miles) to the east of Bali (by sea it is 200 nautical miles). It is part of a chain of islands known as the Lesser Sunda in the Indonesian archipelago. The nearest islands to Komodo would be Flores to the east and Sumbawa to the west. It is common for tourists to travel to Komodo Island from Bali, but there are also plenty of tours that leave from the island of Flores. Komodo is part of Komodo National Park which also includes the islands of Padar and Rinca. The national park is a World Heritage Site, and it is most famous for being home to the Komodo Dragon.
Cruise to Komodo Island from Bali
The most popular way to travel from Bali to Komodo is to there as part of a cruise. This means that tourists will get to visit other locations as part of the trip, and there are often fun activities such as snorkeling thrown in as part of the deal as well. It is possible to arrange these tours at any of the main tourist areas in Bali.
- The most popular cruises to the island are organized by Perama Tours, and these can last from 2 days to 5 days and cost anywhere from 1,300,000 to 4,000,000 IDR (as of early 2013). These tours will usually begin from the island of Lombok which is to the east of Bali.
- Bali Komodo Tours offer a number of packages that can last from 3 to 7 days. All of their cruises depart from Labuam Bajo on the island of Flores, and a flight from Denpasar to Flores is part of the deal.
- Komodo Tours offers 2 to 7 day packages that commence from Denpasar Airport.
- If people travel directly to Labuam Bajo they will find that there are many tour operators offering cruises around Komodo National Park.
Places to Visit on a Komodo Island Cruise
A cruise to Komodo Island will usually involve stopping at different locations which can include:
- It is usual for cruises to depart from Sengiggi, and this is the main tourist town on the island of Lombok. The town has some excellent nightlife options, and there are some nice beaches here as well.
- Satonda is an uninhabited volcanic island, and it has a stunningly beautiful salt water lake in its interior. It is common for cruises to stop here, so that passengers can do a bit of exploring – usually with a guide.
- Labuan Bajo is a fishing village on the island of Flores. Cruises can stop here before or after visiting Komodo Island.
- Rinca Island is the second largest island in the Komodo National Park, and it is common for cruises to stop here. This is a place of great natural beauty, and it is also home to the macaque monkey and Sunda deer.
- Moyo Island offers stunning waterfalls, and there are also villages to explore where the local people are happy to share their culture with visitors.
- Gila Laba is a small deserted coral island, and it offers a great opportunity for snorkeling.
- Keramat Island is a tropical paradise with sandy beaches, and it is possible to walk around the whole island in just 15 minutes. The only people who stay here are fishermen from other islands.
Things to Do on Komodo Island
Some of the most interesting and fun things to do on Komodo Island would include:
- The reason why most people travel to Komodo Island is to see the only living dragons on the planet – don’t worry, they do not breathe fire.
- There is some excellent snorkeling in the waters around the island. The marine life in this area is simply astounding, and if visitors stick to only what is above water they will be missing out on an amazing experience.
- It is possible to go scuba diving, and dive boats can be joined in Flores.
- One of the best ways to travel around Komodo Island is in a Kayak – this also makes it easier to explore nearby islands that are inaccessible by large boat.
- If people stay here until late in the evening they will get to see some flying foxes.
- Pink beach is one of the most popular places to visit on the island.
- The skies around Komodo Island are especially clear, and this means that gazing at the stars is a rewarding pastime.
Stay Safe on a Cruise to Komodo Island National Park
Cruises to Komodo Island involve passing through shallow rocky waters and places where the water currents can be treacherous. This means that accidents do sometimes happen, so it is important that passengers on these boats have easy access to life jackets. It is also a good idea to take along a waterproof bag in order to protect personal belongings. It is also recommended that people stick to the better known cruise companies, as these will tend to take passenger safety seriously.
Other Transportation Options to Komodo Island
There are also other transportation options to Komodo Island including:
- It is not possible to fly directly to Komodo Island, but it is possible to get a flight to Labuan Bajo, on the island of Flores, and to take a boat from there. The airport in Flores has changed its name to Komodo Airport to emphasize that it can be used as a gateway to the national park. There are currently 13 flights (as of early 2013) from Denpasar to Komodo Airport.
- The cheapest way to get to the island would be to travel there by a combination of bus and boat. This involves multiple changes of transportation as travelers will need to negotiate three islands along the way; Lombok, Sumbawa, and Flores. It takes about two days to make this trip, but it can be great fun for those who see traveling as a bit of an adventure.
Originally published on Volunteer Bali.