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Komodo Trip (Part One) Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

There are lots of amazing experiences to be had traveling across Flores. Snorkeling and visiting remote islands near Maumere. Hiking up to see sunrise over the three colored lakes of Mt. Kelimutu. Taking in the unique villages and local culture in the villages around Bajawa. These are all great, but the real star of Flores are the island’s world-famous reptiles – the Komodo dragons. Taking a boat trip to spot the largest living species of lizard is the highlight of traveling here, and the main reason most tourists come to Flores.

Getting a Boat

Our vessel for the adventure.

Our vessel for the adventure.

First thing’s first, you need to get a boat to take you out to the outlying islands where the dragons live. As this is such a popular activity, it’s possible to book tours to come here from most tourist centers in Indonesia, especially Bali and nearby Labuan Bajo. Some come all the way from Bali as part of a live-aboard experience, stopping along the way to dive or snorkel. Obviously, these kinds of trips are more expensive and time-consuming. The easiest way to do a Komodo trip is just fly into LBJ and book it there through one of the many agents in town. How much you spend depends on how many people are on the boat, how many days you go for, and the level of comfort.

Ficko is the man!

Ficko is the man!

Our group of three signed up with a super friendly guy named Ficko from his small office in town. We signed up for the two-day, one-night package along with another traveler and planned to set out the next morning.

Awesome views all day.

Awesome views all day.

As soon as we set out from the port in Labuan Bajo, we were treated to incredible views off to the side. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that there are really 17,000+ islands in Indonesia, until you take a trip like this and see a couple hundred in just two days. After a few hours on the boat, we stopped at a tiny island that has one basic resort on it – Kanawa.

Kanawa Island

Kanawa Island

Kanawa Island

If you’re looking for a real Robinson Crusoe type of experience, you might want to consider coming to stay on Kanawa. There’s nothing here but a handful of basic bungalows, so you’ll really feel cut off from everything. Due to the cost and our lack of time, we opted just to make a pitstop here for an hour or so.

Panoramic view of the beach.

Panoramic view of the beach.

While it’s an incredibly beautiful place, reviews of the bungalows and how they’ve been run in recent years definitely deterred us from putting forth the extra effort to stay here. Hopefully they improve this place, because it certainly has a lot of potential.

Excellent snorkeling just off shore.

Snorkeling at Kanawa.

There’s great snorkeling just off shore, so we grabbed a few masks off our boat and jumped in. We had a lot to cram into two days, though, so we soon headed back to the boat and continued on our way.

Lunch and Manta Rays

Lunch time on the boat.

Lunch time on the boat.

In a very interesting decision, our captain and guide cooked us up a huge feast of veggies, noodles, tofu, and rice right before we reached Manta Point for more snorkeling. The lunch was delicious and all, but nobody likes swimming on a full stomach – especially not in a strong current.

Hey there, manta!

Hey there, manta!

Regardless, we had to give it our best shot and jump in to see the giant manta rays swimming below. Thankfully we saw a few within minutes, and were able to snap a few pictures before getting back on the boat.

A beautiful corner of the world.

A beautiful corner of the world.

It was then time to kick back and relax, as we had another hour or so until our next destination. The scenery around us continued to get more and more stunning as we made our way to the Pink Beach.

Pink Beach

Hanging on the Pink Beach.

Hanging on the Pink Beach.

When you see those lists of “Most Beautiful Beaches in the World,” this one is probably on there. It’s called the Pink Beach because small grains of red coral mix in with the sand to produce this pink hue. This is the kind of place you get to and just don’t want to leave. Our boat had a hammock, so we strung it up and took turns lounging and snorkeling.

Why not take a little hike?

Why not take a little hike?

If you feel like a bit more of an adventure, there’s a short trail here leading up to a viewpoint. Even though I wiped out and cut myself – doing this hike in flip-flops maybe wasn’t the best idea – it was well worth it.

What an amazing place!

What an amazing place!

As is the case over and over again when traveling in Indonesia, you have to eventually move on from paradise. We bid farewell to the Pink Beach and headed onward to the village on Komodo Island. Before starting the trip, we had been told we could either sleep on the boat or stay with a local family on the island. As we prefer our bed to be stationary and not bobbing up and down all night, we opted for the latter.

Komodo Island Village

Komodo Island Village

Komodo Island Village

On the same island where thousands of Komodo dragons live, there’s a village that’s home to a few hundred people. That’s the next stop on our 2-day trip, which you can read about in Part Two.

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.