Komodo National Park is an UNESCO site and is currently one of seven new wonders of nature. is the only place to see the world’s largest lizard in the wild, Komodo dragon.
The Komodo dragon is also known for being the heaviest lizard on Earth. The legend has it that they were the planet’s last dinosaurs. They can grow as big as 10 feet long and more than 300 pounds. They have long, flat heads with rounded snouts, scaly skin, bowed legs, and huge, muscular tails.
Now, who wants to miss out on facing the Komodo dragons, especially in the wild?
Definitely not me! Although, I might have seen few in some zoos, but it’s not the same as seeing them in the wild and checking off one of seven new wonders of nature in the world.
When I was in Gili Island, I met this guy who was owner of Komodo Adventure Tours. He invited me to a tour where I will island-hop for 3 nights and 4 days. The tour also will visit the Komodo Island where the heart of the dragon’s lair is.
Of course there was a price involved, we negotiated a little on the price.
The original price on their website actually says $695 per person and you have to book for a minimum of 2 people. It included a round-trip flight from Bali to Labuan Bajo and many other remarks.
Their website surely fooled you.
That price is plainly rubbish because they want your big money via the Internet. Usually if you booked in person, they would give you a quote that is cheaper than what is seen online.
Pretty much after removing the flights from the itinerary, they offered me the tour for around $180. I immediately declined, but after a short discussion about my safety concerns as a Deaf traveler. The owner realized and agreed to $120.
I grabbed the deal in a heartbeat.
I couldn’t resist deal because it included:
- Full board meals
- Lodging accommodations (on boat)
- Aqua water during the trip
- 6 pack of alcoholic beverage (1 liter each and it was just enough to last me the whole tour)
- All entrance fee
- Coffee or tea on tour
The itinerary of the tour was:
- Day 1: Labuan Bajo – Komodo Island
- Day 2: Komodo Island – Padar Island – Rinca Island
- Day 3: Rinca Island – Komodo Island
- Day 4: Komodo Island – Labuan Bajo
If you were me, would you have taken this deal? I’m sure you would!
This boat tour’s schedule starts only on Wednesdays or Saturdays, and I chose to go with Wednesday.
Now the tour begins.
Day 1: Labuan Bajo – Komodo Island
Usually in this package, tourists would fly to Labaun Bajo to meet a representative there and then get transferred to the harbor to catch a boat to Komodo Island.
I took a ferry from Gili Island to Labuan Bajo, so I met the rest of the group at the harbor instead.
There was 12 of us ( I believe). We all got onboard and got ourselves adjusted to our surroundings. This was my first time sleeping on a boat.
That was when I discovered that we would be sleeping on the floor of the boat next to each other. There wasn’t much room to move around while sleeping, but it didn’t bother me though. I was up for the experience itself because it would make my experience unique in general.
Then we began boating for around four hours until we arrived to Komodo Island then we were told that we could jump off the boat for a swim.
Many of us jumped in without hesitation and after a while of swimming. We got back on board and had our dinner and made conversations through the night. For me, it was kind of awkward in the beginning as everybody was hearing and I was the only one who was Deaf.
Plus, it had been only less than 2 weeks into my solo traveling, so I was still new to being outgoing with hearing people.
Few people made brief conversations through writing with me. It was still the beginning for me and them.
In the meanwhile, I met a man who was from Flores named Fernando. He was born and raised in Macau then he moved to Indonesia. He became very involved with different community projects and many other thing here in Indonesia.
We hit it off and we had a decent chat through the night. We talked about many things espoecially our perspective about what we do in our lives, travel, communication (especially sign language), etc.
From there, he started introducing me personally to other people on the boat. Soon after the ice broke between all of us. We all started getting along very well and they made me feel like I was part of the group. It was surely a relief for me.
Before I knew it, it was already dark and I looked up just to see shining stars all over the night sky. Then I looked down to the sea and realized that we were boating on a bioluminescent bay (bio bay for short where the water would glow when there is any type of force movement in the water.
In that moment, I just went silent on everybody and stared at that for a long while before they hand out the dinner for the night.
Their dinner was okay as it was simple. It came with fish meat, rice and plenty of vegetables. Not only that, they were vegetarian friendly as they offered tofu too. Other than that, there would be plenty of pineapples as an extra side or some snack in general.
We chatted briefly after dinner then we all went to bed to recharge ourselves for big day at the Komodo Island and Rinca Island.
Day 2: Komodo Island – Padar Island – Rinca Island
In the morning, I woke up to an early breakfast with unlimited servings of coffee and tea as I mentioned that it was covered by the tour through my expenses. That goes the same with water though.
I began my morning with some coffee.
We continue boating for a short while until we got to a side of Komodo Island. Then we all jumped off the boat and swam to the shore.
Started the day with some trekking and walking through the dry forest to explore the Komodo dragon, island itself, wild animals and various species of tropical birds.
We trekked for around 10 minutes and we arrived to an open space in the forest with waterfall and a nice pool of water near by. I jumped in and took a nice shower in the waterfall, the blazing water was like a massage on my back. What an orgasm.
I did some climbing up the waterfall to jump into the pool of water. It wasn’t easy going up the rocks and waterfall. I almost slipped here, but keep in mind that you should be alert of all movement you make when you climb up rocks and waterfall. Nonetheless, the climb was worth it though. We all climbed up to jump off multiple times anyways.
Anyways, after the trek, we proceed back to the shore and did a little snorkeling. The water was unbelievably clear blue! Their coral reef were really easy to see along with their colorful sea creatures. Small jellyfishes were spotted along with a small shark in distance.
Later, we found a small lake where we all sat down and chilled in. Scenery was pleasing as well. The water in the lake was surprisingly warm. Some of us bought some food from a small store nearby then headed back to the boat
Luckily we had time for an extra island, so we stopped by Padar Island for an exhausting steep uphill hike to their summit where I got to see a stunning view of their four bays and clear blue water plus few islands surrounding. One of perfect places to be silent and think.
The view also gave me a romantic sense where i felt this would have been a perfect place for couples to sit down and relax for hours.
That was pretty much it for the day and we went back to the boat for our dinner. We boated and arrived Rinca Island at late evening.
Then we had some drinks and things did get a little wild after consuming some alcohol in our system. So, we all had our fun, then we hit the sack on the boat.
Day 3: Rinca Island – Komodo Island
Today was mostly snorkeling at the beaches of Pantai Bidadari. This was when I saw a mantra ray down in the deeper water, I tried swimming down to get closer, but I couldn’t go any deeper. You would have to scuba dive to be able to get a closer look at the mantra ray.
Even from a distance, I could see how huge it was.
Funny thing was the current of the coral reef in the water where my group was snorkeling was really strong, so it was hard to stay in one place We would get washed away and then our boat would go in rounds of picking us up and going back to the reef.
The current didn’t really bother us at all. Actually, it made our snorkeling a little more fun, so I loved the experience.
Other than snorkeling, today was more of a chill day where we all relaxed on the boat. We stopped by Pantai Merah (Pink Beach) where you would see a breathtaking beach with red sand along the beach and amazing underwater life and stunning panorama surrounding area.
We all bought some beer and chatted for a while. I grew some bond with few of them through few heart-touching conversations about their lives and mine.
The tour guide interrupted and asked us to see if we wanted to visit a small village on Rinca Island nearby for additional 20,000 Rupiah ($1.50 US Dollars). Few of us agreed to join, but the rest stayed.
Upon my arrival at the dock of the village on Rinca Island, kids swarmed to us and welcomed us like I was their family. They were so adorable and all they wanted to do was to help and show us the village. Some of the kids actually took my hands, pulled me through the village and pointed out at few things around the village. They didn’t even care that I was Deaf. They just picked up on gestures and showed me around. We bonded from there. I admired how they were proud of their own hometown.
Overall, the village was beautiful, but there were some buildings and houses that were off, crooked, or bummed out. Trash was littered all over, but that didn’t bother the people there. That made me feel more grateful about what I have back home because they do not live in clean area but they are happy though.
After some pictures, we returned to pick up the rest of the group and had our dinner on the boat.
Day 4: Komodo Island – Labuan Bajo
This was the day when we finally get to see the Komodo dragons!
Met up a local ranger and he led us to enter the nature preservation where the wild Komodo dragons were to be found.
Before we entered the nature preservation, the rangers asked us how far into the preservation we would want to go. He suggested that we go to the deepest part of the preservation because that’s where the dragons are easily found.
Unanimously, we all chose to go to the part where Komodo dragons are. Of course, why wouldn’t I?
The ranger brought his own trusty staff with a “V” shape at the end, meant for pushing away Komodo Dragons. Even though it didn’t seem like it would hold off a 300 pounds dragon, but we all smiled and trusted the ranger anyways.
We were instructed to stay behind him and keep our distance from the dragons if we spot any. We obeyed because we all obviously didn’t want to die. On the plus side, I’m sure you all have heard of stories of Komodo dragons attacking people and how their bites had been poisonous. You could get infected even if they just laid their tongue on you. The poison is in their saliva. Not only that, they were known of their ability to kill animals far larger than themselves, including water buffalo, pigs and Timor deer.
the ranger was really kind and very visual as he would point out different clues like footprints or snapped twigs that would lead us to a Komodo dragon.
Deeper we get into the preservation, few Komodo dragons were finally spotted.
Literally, they were ENORMOUS! So friggin’ huge and FAST. I’m telling you that the videos surely had you fooled. They didn’t look that slow when they walked. They were fast.
In silence, we all watched the Komodo dragons wandering around and bathing themselves in mud puddles. A deer did pass by us, but zoomed away after one of us made a movement.
After all of the adventure, and here we were in the dragon’s liar. It felt surreal at the moment. Will never forget this experience. Definitely rich.
The whole tour pretty much ended with a boat trip back to Labaun Bajo in Flores where I stayed at a hotel for a night before catching a bus back to Bali while everybody else would fly back.
Komodo Adventure Tours
- Address: Jalan Soekarno Hata 80666, Indonesia
- Phone Number: +62-361-8581438 (Office) / +62-81338418162 (Mobile)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.komodoadventuretours.com/