Embarking on a slow boat tour around the beautiful Komodo National Park is an extraordinary adventure that will remain etched in your memories forever!
Located within the stunning archipelago of Indonesia lies an ancient wonder: Komodo National Park. This breathtaking sanctuary, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, brings adventurers from around the globe with its beautiful landscapes and unique inhabitants. From the rugged volcanic terrain to the crystal clear waters teeming with vibrant marine life, Komodo National Park embodies the epitome of biodiversity and raw wilderness. Home to the legendary Komodo Dragons, the world’s largest lizards, this extraordinary destination promises an unforgettable journey.
Only an hours flight from Bali and Lombok, this is a wonderful place to visit to get off the beaten path. Don’t forget your Indonesian Visa and essential Indonesia apps to download on your phone before you visit!
HOW TO BOOK A SLOW BOAT TOUR
Wondering how to book a slow boat tour of the Komodo Islands from Labuan Bajo? Here’s how I did it! The day before, I went down the Main Street of Labuan Bajo (Jl. Soekarno Hatta) and came across a shopfront diagonally across from the main Mosque called “Christopher Komodo Tours”.
They are one of the companies I was looking at back home in Australia before I arrived.
I knew I wanted a slow boat tour to save money and this one looked perfect. It was half the price of a fast boat tour so I was in!
It cost me 700,000 IDR ($72 AUD, $46 USD, $43 EUR) for the slow boat with 4 stops. It also included lunch, bananas, water and tea and coffee. It did not include breakfast so please make sure you take some food with you to eat for breakfast.
I also needed to take 400,000 IDR ($41 AUD, $27 UDS, $25 EUR) for the Komodo National Park fees that was handed to the crew onboard before we left the port.
5:40am get picked up from your hotel and taken to the port
6:15am leave the harbour
8:50am arrive at Padar Island
10:16am leave Padar Island
11:30am arrive Komodo Island
1pm leave Komodo Island
(This is where they will give you lunch on the boat and you must eat that in 20 minutes because it’s only a short trip to the Pink Beach)
1:25pm arrive at Pink Beach to snorkel
2pm leave Pink Beach
3:10pm arrive at Manta Point to snorkel with Manta Rays
3:30pm leave Manta Point
5:40pm arrive back in Labuan Bajo
THE SLOW BOAT STOPS
1st Stop – Padar Island
FACTS: Padar island, located within the Komodo National Park, is renowned for its iconic viewpoint which shows visitors a panoramic vista of three bays and it’s different coloured beaches (pink, black and white). Lush rolling hills, rugged coastline, sense of tranquility, this is an island you don’t want to miss.
After a beautiful 2 hour slow boat ride, passing isolated islands with Mosques on them, the first stop will be the incredible Padar Island.
Before you get off the boat, the crew will say “1 hour!”, so please listen to that and watch the time. We had to wait an extra 20 minutes for 3 people because they had wandered off and weren’t back at the boat in time so a crew member literally had to climb hundreds of stairs to find them.
It will take you about 15-20 minutes to get to the top. There are LOTS of stairs so I recommend stopping when you can (and how can you not stop when the view is so beautiful!).
It’s also VERY HOT. You’ll be sweating. So put sunscreen on everywhere, wear a hat and even long sleeves to protect yourself. Wear walking/hiking shoes and not thongs (flip flops) because you’re going to need sturdy shoes with grip further up.
The further up you go, the harder it will be to climb because the steps turn into stones with cutouts on where to place your feet.
Because I’m afraid of heights, and I don’t trust my clumsiness (I feel like I’d trip and fall off the side haha), I ended up stopping between viewpoint 3 and 4 as there’s a large rock with shade there and I sat enjoying the view for awhile. I still saw everything everyone who kept on climbing did, so I’m happy where I stopped.
There are butterflies flying around as you climb and being able to see this landscape and the colourful beach was really special. There are also toilets on the beach of Padar Island if you need them.
2nd Stop – Komodo Island
FACTS: Komodo Island is home to Komodo Dragons, the largest living lizards on Earth. Trek through the lush jungle with a qualified guide and you’ll come across these massive man eating lizards living free in the wild.
As we sailed closer and closer to the island my excitement was building so much! Reading about this island for my entire life, feeling like an explorer on a mission to find these mythical man eating lizards was a dream come true!
As you disembark the boat, the crew will say “1 hour!”, but it just depends on where the Komodo guide takes you.
As we walked from the pier and stepped onto the beach, to the left we saw our first Komodo Dragon! Quite young, but was just chilling on the beach haha.
We had a guide called “Beer”, he was a funny bloke and really knew his thing and tried to keep everyone safe. We trekked through the jungle for about 10 minutes until we came to a watering hole. This is where the action was! First we saw a female Komodo Dragon on her way to get a drink. Everyone HAD to stay out of her way. This was her territory and she could actually kill you.
The guides kept us safe and told us to stay behind them. Omg the rush you felt in your body when you first lay eyes upon them!
Then around the corner we came across two large male Komodo Dragons. They were MASSIVE! One of them wanted to fight with the other so that’s what they did! The smaller one got onto the larger ones back and showed his dominance. Tourists were saying “are they mating?” And Beer, our guide, was saying “no boom boom, they are two males” haha.
Beer spoke to us about the baby Komodo Dragons too. He said when they hatch, they find a tree and climb up the tree and stay in the tree for 2-3 years until they are big enough to come down. Older dragons (including their mother!) sometimes come back to the nest to eat them! So they need to stay protected in the tree.
Komodo Dragons also have a poisonous bite and can bite an animal or a person and then 3-5 days later that being will drop dead. It’s not instant. And then the Komodo Dragon will find the dead animal or person in the bush and consume them.
If a human gets bitten, they need to rush to the hospital ASAP to get treated and then they will survive.
When we got back into the boat, we were given boxes with our lunch in it. Good thing is the company I went with, Christopher Komodo Tours, had vegan lunches as an option!
3rd Stop – Pink Beach
FACTS: The Pink Beach, located on Komodo Island, is an extraordinary beach that derives its name from the pink hue of the sand. With crystal clear waters, snorkelling here is magical being able to see healthy coral reefs and marine life.
25 minutes after leaving Komodo, you’ll arrive at the Pink Beach. And it really is Pink! You’ll have about 35 minutes here to enjoy the scenery and do some snorkelling. There are food stalls here and toilets too. The coral and sealife you’ll see here is really beautiful.
4th Stop – Manta Point
FACTS: Manta Point is located off Komodo Island and is the perfect site for encountering majestic Manta Rays. With clear blue water, this is an ideal environment for these gentle giants to gracefully glide through the water.
After about an hour of sailing, you’ll feel the boat slowing down and the crew looking in the water…this is when you must get ready!!!
They will yell “Manta Manta Manta” and you must be ready to jump in ASAP! Unfortunately some people were too slow and missed the Mantas completely 🙁 So be ready to get in straight away!
Then it’s a 2 hour sail home and it can get hot in the afternoon sun, so if you can sit on the right hand side looking out towards where you are heading, then you’ll be more protected from the sun.
I highly recommend Christopher Komodo Tours if you want to book a slow boat to see the Komodo Islands. It was an incredible life changing experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
How much does a slow boat to see the Komodo Dragons cost? 700,000 IDR plus 400,000 IDR in National Park Fees
I read the ticket price to visit Komodo Island was going up to an extraordinary amount, what is the status with that? The government has been talking for years that they were going to raise the Komodo Island ticket price to 3.75 million IDR ($375 AUD, $252 USD, $234 EUR) but there is always too much backlash and as of June 2023 the idea has been withdrawn and revoked. More info HERE
Do you have to pay extra money or get a permit to fly a drone in Komodo? Over Padar Island, you must buy a drone permit which is 1 million IDR ($102 AUD, $67 USD, $62 EUR). There are many people watching and if you don’t have a permit they will fine you. A tourist on our boat got in trouble for flying his drone and he tried to argue with the National Park Guards…please don’t do that.
Is Komodo National Park open in 2023? Yes definitely!
Do you need to book far ahead to get a boat to Komodo National Park? No. You can walk down the Main Street of Labuan Bajo and book a boat for the next day.
Is it guaranteed that I will see Komodo Dragons and Manta Rays? No. They are wild animals so it’s not definite but the guides will try everything they can for you to see them.
Should I choose a fast boat or a slow boat to visit Komodo National Park? It’s up to you! A fast boat is twice the price and takes in 6 stops. A slow boat is cheaper and takes in 4 stops. Choose whichever one you prefer. They are both great!
What should I take with me on a day boat tour around the Komodo Islands? Swimwear, towel, walking shoes/Runners, hat, sunscreen and insect repellant, camera/GoPro/phone, water, breakfast and snacks.
Can I buy food and drinks during the boat tour around Komodo National Park? They have drinks and snacks available to buy on Komodo Island.