Thinking about splurging on a Komodo Island tour from Bali? This guide will give you all the details about this unique adventure including the main highlights of the trip and our tips to make sure this ends up being an experience to remember!
Since we live in Bali we spend a lot of time exploring southeast Asia and can say with confidence that the Komodo tour ranks in the top 5 of our all-time favorite travel experiences!
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What is Komodo National Park?
The Komodo Island National Park is one of the most unique places on earth. It was recently named as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Located in the heart of Indonesia, the park is home to the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the world. Komodo dragons live in the wild on only five islands, four of which are located in Komodo National Park and the fifth being Flores, just outside.
The waters that surround the 29 islands that make up Komodo National Park are part of the Coral Triangle which boast some of the richest marine life found on earth.
Is a Komodo Island tour worth it?
Witnessing Komodo dragons in the wild are enough reason to make the trip but that’s not all. If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and see some stunning landscapes, crystal clear turquoise colored waters, secluded white and even pink sand beaches, unique coral reefs with spectacular marine life including manta rays, turtles, star fish and many other types of tropical fish then a tour of Komodo National Park is 100% worth doing!
What is the best way to tour Komodo National Park?
It is not possible to fly directly to Komodo, so the only option is take a boat. Most of the boats that offer the Komodo island tours leave out of Labuan Bajo located on the small Indonesian island of Flores. That’s the best launch point to start your adventure.
There are many different tour operators in Labuan Bajo. Many offer tours for as little as half day on a fast speed boat up to multiple days on a live aboard boat. We have experienced a one-day Komodo tour on a slow boat and we just recently returned from a 3 day 2 night Komodo island tour.
If you have the time and the budget we strongly suggest doing a multiple day live aboard tour like this one.
Can I tour Komodo in one day?
If you don’t have much time but want to see the main highlights like the dragons and the insta-famous Padar island and pink sand beach-it is possible to do a one day tour. You have two boat options, the cheaper but slower small boat which takes about 3 hours to reach the first stop.
Or the more expensive fast boat which takes about half the time. Here is the best Komodo 1-day fast boat tour.
On our first trip we opted for the small slow boat and we were able to see the main highlights. Even though it did take more travel time, we liked having the flexibility of being the only ones on the boat. It allowed for more flexibility which is great when you have kids aboard.
However, most of the boats leave early in the am so if you’re flying in from Bali, you will need to arrive the day before.
What are the highlights of the Komodo Island tour?
It’s no secret that Komodo Island is one of the most uniquely diverse places in the world. It offers variety of activities, including hiking, diving, and snorkeling. Some of the main highlights are:
If you’ve spent any amount of time on instagram you’ve more than likely seen the views from the top of Padar island. From one spot you can see four different bays each boasting a slightly different shade of blue-it’s truly breathtaking.
You’ll also more than likely see some of the other wildlife including the resident deer that live on the island.
Pro Tip: It’s best to make this stop early in the day as it does get quite hot and the hike up is very exposed. If you book a live aboard boat see if you can request to view the sunrise or sunset-it’s pure magic.
An uninhabited island about 10 kms away from Labuan Bajo, Kelor island is another stop offering full show stopping panoramic views from the top.
After you take advantage of the photo op head down and take a dip in the crystal clear waters full of marine wildlife. We spotted some beautiful tropical fish along with a baby shark and a sea turtle.
Pink Sand Beach
This is a must stop on any Komodo island tour adventure. The pink sand beaches here in Komodo part of only a handful are unlike anything in the world.
We could have spent all-day playing in this fairy like pink sand and the snorkeling is pretty epic as well.
Komodo island is best known for its namesake lizard, the Komodo dragon. These dragons are definitely the main event on every Komodo tour.
These giant reptiles can measure up to 10 feet in length and weigh up to 200 lbs. This is one of only 5 islands, that these massive lizards still live in the wild.
Taka Makassar Sand Bar
This little sandbar in the shape of a drop is smaller than a soccer field. It’s made up of white and pink mixed sand and surrounded by turquoise blue water making this a perfect stop around low tide.
Not only is this little piece of paradise gorgeous and insta friendly, it’s also a great place to snorkel. Check out this Cuttlefish we spotted here.
The crystal clear water at Kanawa Island make this a nice little snorkel stop. There is an older pier structure that allows for easy access to the reef if you are less mobile or have children.
The marine life is colorful and abundant. We saw more fish here than at any of our stops on our 3-day Komodo tour. If you love to snorkel then don’t miss this stop.
How to get to Labuan Bajo from Bali
If you’re looking to budget travel you can take a ferry from Bali to Labuan Bajo. But, don’t get too excited yet because the total travel time is around 36 hours. The quickest and easiest way to get to Labuan Bajo is by airplane. It’s only about an hour and a half flight. At the time of writing in 2022 the most cost effective airline offering the most available routes are Air Asia and Batik Air.
Is it possible to visit Komodo Island in 2023?
Yes! As of August 2022 the Komodo island tours are operating as normal. There were some interruptions with service and tour operators at the end of July and early August. A proposed rate hike of the National Park entrance fee from $33 USD to $250 USD caused some protest and even a temporary shut down of all tour services.
That increase has since been been delayed at least for the time being. But situation is very fluid and I will do my best to keep this post up to date with the latest news on the Komodo National Park rate increase.
How much does it cost for a Komodo Island Tour?
Aside from the mandatory park entrance fees listed above you will need to to pay a tour operator for their transportation and guide services through the Komodo Islands. Prices are negotiable and different services offered but for a full day tour of Komodo islands on a fast boat including the four most popular stops the estimated cost is around $80-$120 per person.
If your looking into a Komodo live aboard boat for 3 day 2 nights, you can expect to be around $450 to $850 USD per person.
When is the best time to visit Komodo?
Depends what you’re after. The heaviest rainfall occurs in January-February so if you’re looking to skip the moisture avoid these two months. However, this is also the best time to see manta rays. For those lush green landscapes you’ll want to visit March-April.
High season for tourism is March through August so September can be great if you’re looking for great weather and to avoid the crowds. October is when the mantas start heading back into the area. November is the hottest month and marks the seasonal change but you can get the occasional whale passing through. December is the beginning of wet season but rainfall is usually minimal.
Is it safe to visit Komodo Island?
We’ve visited Komodo island on two separate occasions and definitely felt safe each time. As long as you respect the wildlife and the rules that the rangers set. Make sure to stay on the trails and with your assigned group. Inform the rangers if you have an open wound or if you are on your period, so they can be aware. The dragons can smell blood from miles away.
Where to stay in Labuan Bajo
They were like little bamboo treehouse villas. The perfect way to start off a Komodo adventure!
So, there you have it! If you’re looking for an amazing travel destination that is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, put Komodo Island at the top of your list. Just don’t forget to bring your camera – and watch out for those dragons!