A dragon may just a fantasy creature in fairytales and mythologies, but Indonesia begs to differ. Indonesia’s Komodo Island serves as some kind of proof for this. As dragons roam freely here. Well, it is not a stereotypical dragon, with its dark wings and fire-breathing mouth.
But Komodo dragon is not by any means less intriguing. And their reputation is definitely just as scary as the mythological dragon. The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is the largest known living lizard monitor. Its big size sometimes times up to 3 meters in length.
The attribute of its evolutionary adaptation is Komodo has been living without other significant predators. Komodo Dragon is endemic to the Flores island, East Nusa Tenggara. Besides Komodo Island, the animal also lives in its neighboring islands, like Gili Motang and Rinca. Even though the biggest population is in Komodo Island, with 2000 komodo inhabiting here.
Komodo Island itself is dubbed as one the driest place in Indonesia. Rugged terrain with round hills spread across the island. Vegetation is fewer, less greenery in some spots, and the temperature can go as high as 40°C. A stark contrast compared to other wildlife nature in Indonesia. Which commonly consists of tropical rain-forests.
Trekking In Komodo Island
Seeing Komodo dragon in the Komodo National Park requires more than a pair of comfortable shoes, hats, and sunblock. It is a journey requiring courage and bravery. As the exploration begins, the rangers, or Komodo Island’s guides, will gladly provide visitors some insight.
The basic information on how to stay safe like do not stare directly to the komodo’s eyes. Stay in close range with the group, don’t wander too far. Avoid making a startling noise, try to no get injure and bleed. No need to be scared though, take this rule as a spice to the excitement instead of something discouraging.
But still, stay close with the group as explorers roam the island. Obey the safety rules and stay close with the guide. Be alert but don’t forget to also enjoy the nature surrounding. The island is a home for other wild animals besides Komodo (deer, pig, monkey, buffalo’s, and many kinds of birds).
Seeing these animals is like an appetizer before the main course the Komodo. Depends on the track visitors choose, the exploration group has 3 options. Either a short, medium, or long trek. The long adventure involves 8 km trekking. Most likely hike in sunny hot weather to the highest point, Mount Ara. Where the stunning view of the island can be seen.
The short route is only 1-2 km of trekking, it won’t provide thorough savannah exploration as the long one, but visitors will get a nice view of the island’s bay. Both long and short routes will pass through a komodo’s lair, called Water Hole, a gathering place for the dragons to drink and rest.
Komodo Habitat in Komodo National Park
In hindsight, Komodo Dragon may look like a bigger version of iguana, and they do look lazy and docile. But be careful, they are technically beasts. A provoked one can run as fast as 20 km/h. They have strong claws as well as venomous bites. A Komodo can easily take down a large adult water buffalo in a single fight.
They are capable hunters, and their hunting style is stealthy. The good news is, even though Komodo are carnivorous, they don’t include human meat in their diet. They rarely attack humans and they are safe to observe from a certain distance. Enjoy the sight of them as they live their daily lives on the island.
Eating a carcass, protecting their eggs, or simply lying lazily under a shade. Take notice of their remarkable thick skin and long tail. Notice their scary appearance while crossing off one of those childhood bucket lists – meeting the dragon.
There is no telling of when a Komodo will show up close. Let the camera ready and take a quick snap as a komodo decide to take a stroll near. A picture with them is a bit tricky, but it’s possible. Stand in a safe distance behind a relaxing komodo, and ask a guide to take the picture.
Do not attempt to take a selfie. Especially too close as it will annoy the Komodo and no one wants to deal with an angry komodo.
Relish After Trekking in The Pink Beach
A whole day trekking trip to Komodo Island is better concluded with a visit to the pink beach. It is relaxing to just take off the shoes. And run the feet on warm pink sand as the wave provide gentle massages for the soreness from the previous trekking. The pink sand on this beach is caused by colonies of red coral thriving on the seashore nearby.
This beach is also rare, it is among the only seven pink beaches in the world. And for those who are curious, Komodo dragons don’t inhabit this part of the island, so visitors can just sunbathe and relax.
Komodo Island Marine Life
It’s hard to see from the beach, but the shallow water surrounding the island hosts vibrant marine life. As visitors grab their snorkeling gears, the crystal clear water and the sunlight will help reveal a beautiful coral garden reef.
Pristine and colorful, they provide shelters for dozens of dazzling and equally colorful tropical reef fishes. Enjoy confetti of fish as they swim gleefully among swimmers, and don’t forget to try spotting a Nemo fish.
Komodo National Park Opening Hours
Komodo Island welcomes visitors every day for 24 hours. As there is no way visitors roam freely on the island without a licensed guide. Plan ahead for the trip.
|Komodo National Park Opening Hours|
|Komodo Island||12:00 am – 11:59 pm|
Komodo National Park Entrance Fee
Entrance ticket Rp150.000 for foreign tourists. It includes access to the whole national park. From Padar to Rinca island. Tourists can buy the entrance ticket in the national park office in Labuan Bajo. Or the other office right at the entrance gate of Komodo Island.
|Komodo National Park Entrance Fee|
|Hiking & Climbing Activities||Rp5.000|
Facilities such as hotels, restaurants, and souvenirs shop can be found in Labuan Bajo. As on the Komodo Island itself, basic facilities such as toilets are available. The information center can be found right at the entrance.
Some locals, mostly rangers, rent their houses for tourists. They provide basic facilities to sleep the night and also bathrooms. Another thing to note, electricity on the Island is limited and it’s turned off every day at 11 PM.
How To Get To Komodo Island
Tourists first have to reach Labuan Bajo before heading to the island, either by plane or by ship. To get to the island, boat rentals are available from Labuan Bajo.
There are many tour offices here to choose from, each offers various types of packages. The trip to the island is usually a day trip. Several hours for an expedition in the national park and then several hours more on the pink beach.
Address & Location
The island is located in Komodo village, West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara.