Travel Guide to Komodo Island Indonesia
Komodo Island in Komodo National park is becoming more famous as one of Indonesia best adventure Destinations. The Central Government has declared Komodo as a Premium Destination which affects to the development of Destination in terms of accessibilities, Facilities and human resources. It can be seen clearly recently when you come to Labuan Bajo, the capital of the district of Manggarai Barat (West Manggarai) and is located at the westernmost tip of Flores island, as it is a launching point to explore the island’s interior, Komodo National Park and visit the giant dragons on Komodo and Rinca Island. Labuan Bajo gradually turned into a busy spot because of the divers and the increased number of Komodo visitors.
Komodo is a name of an Island inside of Komodo National Park consider as one of the biggest Islets where The Dragon, the biggest living Lizard, was firstly discovered by the world scientific in 1912, Lieutenant J. K. H. van Steyn van Henbroek. Therefore, we call it now as “Komodo Dragon” (Varanus Komodoensis). This animal is called “ORA” by the locals and is an endangered animal because these animals are endemic animals. Endemic means this animal only lives in certain areas. Komodo Dragon only lives on an island like Komodo Island, Indonesia, and also found now in Rinca Island, Gili Motong, Gili laba and in Flores Island in the North Side like in Riung and Pota. Komodo dragons including carnivorous animals, these animals have a rather elongated tongue shape and are forked at the tip like a snake's tongue. Research shows that the tip of the forked tongue serves to "taste" its food. These animals usually make nests underground. The Komodo dragons are the star of the show, but the natural spectacle in Komodo National Park goes beyond those dangerous lizards.
Labuan Bajo is a launching point to explore the island’s interior of Flores and Komodo National Park, Labuan Bajo gradually turned into a busy spot because of the divers and the increased number of Komodo visitors. Most of Tours to discover Komodo National Park and Flores Island deeper are starting from Labuan Bajo. We can easily find local wooden Boats embarked at the Harbor in Labuan Bajo waiting for the people going to explore Komodo National Park. Now we can find some international Restaurants, Hotels and Coffee Shop along the street near the main Harbor.
How to get there
Since Labuan Bajo is a main entrance to Komodo Island and to discover the interiors of Flores Island, there are Daily Flights from Denpasar, Bali to Labuan Bajo. There are also direct Flights from Jakarta, Surabaya and Lombok to Labuan Bajo. As a Premium Destination, Labuan Bajo Airport has been developed in terms of the length of airport runway, facilities and also human resources to meet the international standard Airport. It is only 5 minutes from Komodo Airport to get to the harbor by car where all local wooden boats are ready to escort you to explore the Komodo National park. We strongly recommended to arrange your trip far in advance, not on the spot, to avoid that you get a last-minute price and there is no Boats available when you arrive at the harbor.
The Komodo dragons are the star of the show in Komodo National Park where you can find the most in Rinca Island and Komodo island, the most interesting and attractive things also the main reason why the need to come to Komodo and island inside of Komodo national park. Actually, there are many other things to see such as fabulous Pink Beach, enchanting view from Padar Island and also superb underwater paradise for snorkelers and divers.
How much is the price to get there?
Tour to Komodo Island in Komodo National has many options in terms of price, depends on the Boat type you are going to use during your visit to Komodo National park and how many days you need to spend time inside the park. The entrance fee to Komodo National Park is counted as daily fee, so the longer days you are inside the park, the more you are going to pay. Some visitors have limited time but really want to see the highlights of Komodo national park, then you can do a day trip with speedboat which only take 1.5 hour to Komodo Island or you can use local wooden Boat which is slower and can reach Komodo Island around 2.5 – 3 hours. Of course, using speedboat is more expensive than local wooden Boat but you can safe more time.
What do you need to wear?
Tours to Komodo Island is about exploring the islets inside of Komodo National park. It is an adventure trip to discover the fabulous things that Komodo National park can offer to you such the superb underwater live, snorkeling at Pink beach, trekking on Komodo or Rinca Island to see the dragons in wild life, trekking to the top of Padar island to get the stunning view over the Islets or just enjoy snorkeling in pristine water. We strongly recommended to use Casual and comfortable lightweight clothing, good shoes are suitable for travelling in Komodo National Park, and please be ready with change clothes during your trip.
How to plan a trip to Komodo National park
Whenever you plan a trip to Komodo Island, it means you have planned a trip to Indonesia! That’s double-awesome because there’s definitely a lot of things to do and see along the way. So, you need to get to Indonesia and then get to Komodo Island, mostly the visitors get to Komodo Island from Bali as it is easy to get to Komodo island from Bali since there is a daily flight directly from Ngurah rai Airport in Bali to Komodo Airport in Labuan Bajo.
Once you get to Bali (Denpasar), we recommend you to have one day or two days rest of jet lack, or it is also recommended to have more days to enjoy and explore Bali Island before leaving for Komodo Island. Definitely do that and make sure you check to see when and how much the flights are from Bali to the closest airport to Komodo Island; Labuan Bajo.
The most important things when you start planning your trip to Komodo Island is; first need to think about time. The best time to visit the Komodo National Park is during the dry season, from April to December. You can trek in the park and see the Komodo dragons all year around, although between July to August and September to November the dragons are less active due to the mating and nesting seasons.
Second important question: how long should be your trip to Komodo Island? You can spend two days and a half in the park and it is enough to enjoy the top attractions of Komodo National Park. I would say to do at least a two days trip from Labuan Bajo to the Komodo Islands, then one more day to relax. If you are going to the National Park for some serious diving, we suggest staying a bit longer.
Komodo National Park is a national park in Indonesia located within the Lesser Sunda Islands in the border region between the provinces of East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara. The park includes the three larger islands Komodo, Padar and Rinca, and 26 smaller ones, with a total area of 1,733 km2 (603 km2 of its land). The national park was founded in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon, the world's largest lizard. Later it was dedicated to protecting other species, including marine species. In 1991 the national park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Komodo National Park has been selected as one of the New7Wonders of Nature. The waters surrounding Komodo island contain rich marine biodiversity. Komodo islands is also a part of the Coral Triangle, which contains some of the richest marine biodiversity on Earth.
Komodo National Park was established in 1980. It was declared as a World Heritage Site and Men’s Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1991. The park was initially established to conserve the unique Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), first discovered by the scientific world in 1912, Lieutenant J. K. H. van Steyn van Henbroek, the Civil Administrator in Reo, Flores Island. Since then, the conservation goals have expanded to protecting the entire biodiversity of the region, both marine and terrestrial.
The majority of the people in and around the park are fishermen originally from Bima (Sumbawa), Manggarai, South Flores, and South Sulawesi. Those from South Sulawesi are from the Suku Bajau or Bugis ethnic groups. The Suku Bajau were originally nomadic and moved from location to location in the region of Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara and Maluku, to make their livelihoods. Descendants of the original people of Komodo, the Ata Modo, still live in Komodo, but there are no pure blood people left and their culture and language is slowly being integrated with the recent migrants.
Geography and climate
The rugged terrain of Komodo Island with few trees makes it one of the driest locations in Indonesia. The park comprises a coastal section of western Flores, the three larger islands of Komodo, Padar and Rinca, 26 smaller islands and the surrounding waters of the Sape Straights. The islands of the national park are of volcanic origin. The terrain is generally rugged, characterized by rounded hills, with altitudes up to 735 m. The climate is one of the driest of Indonesia with annual rainfall between 800mm and 1000mm. Harsh daily temperatures in the dry season from May to October are around 40 °C.
Flora and fauna
The hot and dry climate of the park, characterized by savannah vegetation, makes it a good habitat for the endemic Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis). Their populations are restricted to the islands of Komodo (1,700), Rinca (1,300), Gili Motang (100), Gili Dasami (100), and Flores (c. 2,000), while extinct on Padar. Cloud forests appear only in few areas above 500 metres but they provide habitat to several endemic flora. Coastal vegetation includes mangrove forest, which generally appear in the sheltered bays of the three larger islands.
Fringing and patch coral reefs are extensive and best developed on the north-east coast of Komodo. The park is rich in marine life, including whale sharks, ocean sunfish, manta rays, eagle rays, pygmy seahorse, false pipefish, clown frogfish, nudibranchs, blue-ringed octopus, sponges, tunicates, and coral. Varieties of cetaceans inhabit in adjacent waters from smaller sized dolphins to sperm whales and even blue whales. Omura's whales, one of the least known of rorquals have been confirmed to range waters within the park. Endangered dugongs still live in Komodo areas as well.
The terrestrial fauna is of rather poor diversity in comparison to the marine fauna. The number of terrestrial animal species found in the park is not high, but the area is important from a conservation perspective as some species are endemic. Many of the mammals are Asiatic in origin Including the Timor deer, wild boar, water buffalo, crab eating macaques and civet. Several of the reptiles and birds are Australian in origin. These include the orange-footed scrubfowl, the lesser sulpher crested cockatoo, and the helmeted friarbird.
The most famous of Komodo National Park's reptiles is the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis). It is the world's largest lizard and is among the world's largest reptiles and can reach 3m or more in length and weigh over 70 kg.
Twelve terrestrial snake species are found on the island in addition to marine species. Snakes include the Javan spitting cobra (Naja sputatrix), Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii), white-lipped pit viper (Trimeresurus albolabris), blue lipped sea krait (Laticauda laticaudata), and Timor python (Python timoriensis). Lizards include nine skink species (Scinidae), geckos (Gekkonidae), limbless lizards (Dibamidae), and the monitor lizards such as the Komodo dragon (Varanidae). Frogs include the Asian bullfrog (Kaloula baleata), the endemic Komodo cross frog (Oreophryne jeffersoniana) and Oreophryne darewskyi. Frogs are typically found at higher, moister altitudes. The saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) was once present within the park in coastal areas including mangrove swamps but is now extinct within the area.
Mammals found within the park include the Timor rusa deer (Cervus timorensis), the main prey of the Komodo dragon, horses (Equus sp.), water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), wild boar (Sus scrofa vittatus), crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis), Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus lehmanni), the endemic Rinca rat (Rattus rintjanus), and fruit bats. Domestic mammals on within the park include goats, cats and dogs which are feral.
One of the main bird species is the orange-footed scrubfowl (Megapodius reinwardti), a ground dwelling bird. In areas of savanna, 27 species were observed. The zebra dove (Geopelia striata) and spotted dove (Spilopelia chinensis) were the most common species. In mixed tropical deciduous habitat, 28 bird species were observed, and helmeted friarbird (Philemon buceroides), green imperial pigeon (Ducula aenea), and lemon-bellied white-eye (Zosterops chloris) were the most common. Other birds include vibrantly coloured species such as green junglefowl (Gallus varius), great-billed parrot (Tanygnathus megalorynchos), and the critically endangered lesser sulpher crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea). Two eagle species are found in the park, the white-bellied sea eagle and the extremely rare Flores hawk-eagle which is present on Rinca and Flores and reported but unconfirmed on Komodo Island.