Komodo National Park is the main thing the Indonesian island Flores is known for. In fact, many tourists only go to Labuan Bajo, the gateway to the park, and skip the rest of the island (which I wouldn’t recommend). Komodo is indeed a magical place and has so many amazing things to offer, I found it difficult to find appropriate information on the Komodo tours and pricing a la little bit confusing, so I planned an extra day in Labuan Bajo, just to make sure I could do everything I wanted to. One thing I really wanted to do is the 2-day Komodo Tour which I’ll describe to you in this post.
The 2-Day Komodo Tour
All throughout Labuan Bajo you’ll see offers for the Komodo Tour, I even booked my tour at the hostel (La Bohème). I wasn’t sure about the frequency of the boats leaving and the prices. Turns out the boats run really frequently, so don’t worry about that (this was in November). Prices are also the same almost everywhere. Most two day tours cost 800 000 excluding park fees. The park fees are very confusing, because the prices differ between whether you only go in the water or also on land and the prices even differ between just snorkeling or diving. Prices are also different on weekdays and on sundays. But generally be prepared to pay 250 000 IDR on weekdays and 350 000 on a sunday. And be prepared to pay every single day you enter the park.
A typical 2 day Komodo tour will offer the same stops (Kanawa Island, Manta Point, Padar Island, Komodo Island, Rinca Island & Pink Beach). Some one day tours with speed boat offer the same stops, but I spoke to someone who did this tour and he told me he actually didn’t really enjoy it, because he had so little time to really enjoy the stops. So, if you really want to see all these spots, I would definitely recommend to take the two day tour.
The price includes lunch for both days, dinner for the first day and breakfast for the second day. You can choose whether you want to spend the night on the deck or in a cabin. The deck is slightly cheaper but probably more comfortable as there is fresh air. The cabin maybe provides some privacy, but doesn’t really look very appealing. That’s probably the reason why none of us spend the night there. I was recommended to stay on the deck and others were even told that the cabin was fully booked or not available.
Since we started the trip on a Sunday, they changed the order of stops (probably to avoid paying high fees on Komodo Island). So, the first day we first stopped in front of Kanawa Island to do some snorkeling. The snorkeling is nice, but nothing compared to the snorkeling I had done with the dive group the previous day. A Belgian couple had recommended me to go snorkeling with a diving group which was an extremely valuable advice. I went twice on the boat with the divers, that’s how much I enjoyed it!
The only spot that’s really special snorkeling-wise is Manta Point which was the next stop after Kanawa Island. We first searched for manta’s with the boat and when we found one we all jumped into the water. Obviously, this was a bit overwhelming for the manta to suddenly have 10 people swimming after it, so it was gone pretty quickly. Thank God, this spot is called Manta Point for a reason, because we ended up bumping into many other manta’s afterwards.
This was the first time for me to swim with manta’s and to be honest I didn’t know how huge they actually are. When I saw my first manta, I do have to admit I was a bit afraid. The rest of the group was already ahead of me, swimming against the current back towards the boat, while I just decided to take my time. At that point I suddenly saw three manta’s swimming underneath me. All alone, struggling with the current and with the amazement of being so close to not only one such huge creature, but immediately three of them, made my heart beat faster! I love animals of all kinds. During the tour in the rice fields I kept staying behind because I got distracted by the cows, so you can imagine how much of an impact it made on me to swim next to these huge and incredible creatures, it was amazing!
Even though chances are big to see manta’s at Manta Point, you can’t expect to always see them. I’ve met a couple of people who didn’t see them at all or only have seen one. I later went back to Manta Point on my second snorkel tour with the dive group, and got lucky again, but be aware that there’s no guarantee.
After Manta Point we went to Padar Island to see the sunset. Padar Island is famous for its gorgeous view. The hike up takes about 10-15 sweaty minutes, but the incredible view and the pretty sunset will completely make up for it.
We spent the night on the boat in front of Padar Island. I actually slept really very well on the boat and got pulled out of my sleep the next morning at 6 o’clock by the engine of the boat. The next stop would be Komodo Island which we arrived at about 8-9 o’clock. Fortunately, I got warned by people beforehand to not expect too much from the “wild” Komodos. You’ll find most of them lying in front of the restaurant where they are attracted by the smell of the food (this is what the guides will tell you). Apart from the fact that it feels like they’re some domesticated mega lizards, they also give the impression of being statues as they don’t move too much. They’re active between 6 and 8 in the morning, so by the time we arrived they were just lying around.
We were lucky to see a small Komodo near to a small water point interacting with a deer. Obviously, this was not a serious attack, as the deer didn’t really take the Komodo too serious, but it was interesting to observe and gave a bit of a “wildlife” feeling.
After visiting Komodo Island we went to Pink Beach. Unfortunately, it was low tide which meant that the beach was not as pink as it usually is, but you could still get the picture. Our boat was fortunately the first one to arrive, so we had the chance to see the beach in its full beauty, but only 5 minutes later the beach was littered with people. It’s a small beach, so it gets easily crowded. But you can do some pretty good snorkeling right from the beach, so if you don’t want to see the crowds, just dive underwater and watch the colourful fish and corals with great visibility due to the shallow water.
After Pink Beach we reached our final stop, Rinca Island. Rinca Island is another island where you can see Komodos. Just like on Komodo, you’ll find them somewhere near the kitchen, but there were more of them and they were spread a little bit. We had one girl on the boat who was so disappointed by the first Komodo viewing, that she decided to stay on the boat instead of going to Rinca Island. If I would skip one of the two, I’d rather skip Komodo though which might be the reason why many diving schools offer dives combined with a trekking tour on Rinca rather than on Komodo.
Not only does Rinca offer a slightly more authentic wildlife feeling, the walk is also more enjoyable as you get to some views over the island and the surroundings.
All in all, I can wholeheartedly recommend doing the Komodo Tour. There are few tours where you will get to see so many unique and beautiful sights in such a short time. Not only did I enjoy the beautiful surroundings and magical creatures during the tour, but also the team on the boat was great! I was lucky to spend the two days with friendly fellow tourists and friendly and helpful staff, who cooked delicious dinner and helped us in every possible way. And of course, I enjoyed just chilling on the boat between the sights, sunbathing, listening to music and soaking in the beautiful surroundings.