A dragon may be a fantasy creature in fairytales and mythologies, but Indonesia begs to differ. Indonesia’s Komodo Island serves as some kind of proof of this. As dragons roam freely here. Well, it is not a stereotypical dragon, with its dark wings and fire-breathing mouth.
But the 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. In fact, they can reach as big as 3 meters in length. The attribute of its evolutionary adaptation is they have been living without other predators.
Komodo Dragon is endemic in the Flores island, East Nusa Tenggara. Besides Komodo Island, the animal also lives in its neighboring islands, like Gili Motang and Rinca. Then again, the most significant population is in Komodo Island, with 2.000 komodo inhabiting here.
Komodo Island itself is dubbed as one of the driest places 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 rainforests.
Safety Tips To Explore Komodo Island
Seeing a Komodo dragon in the Komodo National Park requires more than a pair of comfortable shoes, hats, and sunblock. To rephrase it, the journey requires courage and bravery. As the exploration begins, the rangers, or Komodo Island’s guides, will gladly provide visitors with some insight. First, the basic information on how to stay safe like don’t stare directly into the komodo’s eyes.
Stay in close range with the group, don’t wander too far. Second, avoid making a startling noise, and try to not get injured and bleed. Komodo can smell and have a great sense of detecting blood. In that case, it’s best for women in the period to avoid the trip.
No need to be scared though, take this rule as a spice to the excitement instead of something discouraging. And last, obey the safety rules and stay close to the guide. At this point, be alert but don’t forget to enjoy the nature this island has to offer.
Trekking & Wild Life Watching
Komodo island is a home for other wild animals besides Komodo (deer, pig, monkeys, buffalo, and many kinds of birds). Seeing these animals is like an appetizer before the main course the Komodo. Depending on the track visitors choose, the exploration group has 3 options.
First, for national park guests that come with children and senior family members. It’s best to choose between the short and medium track. To illustrate, the short and medium track is between 1 to 2 KM walk. The short track has some incline but most are flat and it takes around 40-50 minutes. It won’t provide as thorough savannah exploration as the long one. However, visitors will get a nice view of the island’s bay.
The medium track is around a 1-hour walk with incline and passing the forest. Then again, be prepared to get exposed to heat and humidity. Lastly, the long track that involves 8 KM of trekking. Along with the guides, national park visitors will reach the highest point on the island, Mount Ara. Approximately, the walk will take more than 1 half an hour. The short, medium, and long routes will pass through a komodo’s lair, called Water Hole. It’s a gathering place for the dragons to drink and rest.
Monitor Lizard Population in Komodo National Park
In hindsight, the lizard may look like a bigger version of an iguana. 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, and venomous bites and 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, that 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 when the lizard will show up close. Let the camera be 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 at 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 animal and no one wants to deal with an angry komodo.
Pink Beach Komodo National Park Gems
A whole day trekking trip to Komodo Island is better concluded with a visit to the pink beach. It is relaxing to 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 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.
Nearby: Padar Island & Top Things To Do.
Komodo National Park Opening Hours
Komodo Island welcomes visitors every day from 6 AM to 6 PM. As there is no way national park guests could roam freely on the island without a licensed guide. Plan ahead for the trip.
|Komodo National Park Opening Hours|
|Komodo Island||06:00 – 18:00|
Komodo National Park Entrance Fee
The international tourist’s entrance fee is Rp150.000 on weekdays. While on weekend it is Rp225.000. The entrance ticket includes access to the whole national park and island from Padar to Rinca island. However, there is an additional charge for guides and activities in the national park. The ticket is available to purchase in the national park office in Labuan Bajo or on the spot at the entrance gate on the island.
|Komodo National Park Entrance Fee|
|International Tourist||Rp150.000 (weekday) / Rp225.000 (weekend)|
|Guide (max. 5 people)||Rp80.000 – Rp600.000|
|Hiking & Climbing Activities||Rp5.000|
|Scuba Diving, Canoeing||Rp25.000|
Facilities such as hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops 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 to tourists. They provide basic facilities to sleep the night and also bathrooms. Another thing to note, the 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. Then several hours more on the pink beach and Kanawa island.
The price for 1 day tour range from Rp1.100.000 to Rp2.000.000 for 1 person with a speed boat. To point out, a 1-day tour includes the boat rent to several spots including lunch but doesn’t include an entrance ticket to the national park. For a cheaper option, travelers could opt for a sailing boat, with the price starting from Rp600.000.
Address & Location
The island is located in Komodo village, West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara.