Welcome to paradise. On board Salacia, the day has just started to give this soft, warm, hazy and relaxing light, perfect for a relaxing afternoon. No beach bars in sight, no other boats, no barbecue smoke mixed with braindead party beats. Only pure quiet nature. The only sound I can hear, laying on the soft mattress on Salacia front deck is the soft constant hum from the engine and the waves lapping against the side of the wooden boat as it glides through the turquoise water. I close my eyes and feel the afternoon sun warm my face and body, thinking that nothing can beat this feeling and this moment. It is a dream come true.

We are in the middle of the ocean in Komodo National Park, and the rest of the world is just a distant memory.

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Komodo National Park

Komodo National Park, nestled between the islands of Flores and Sumbawa in Indonesia, is home to the legendary Komodo Dragon – the largest lizard in the world. It has been on our travel bucket list for a long time. Ever since we first visited Bali and Indonesia back in 2005, has this national park been in the back of our minds.

Komodo was established as a national park in 1980, then later declared as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature and made a Unesco`s World Heritage site. Not only is it the only place in the world where the Komodo dragon lives in the wild, but it is also one of the richest marine ecosystems left on earth with it`s 1817 km² of pristine, untouched nature. The snorkelling and scuba diving is amazing.

With no tour booked, we boarded our plane from Bali to Flores. As soon as we landed, we discover that there is no lack of tour operators in  the small village of Labuan Bajo. The main street is packed with tour companies and diving companies selling tours and diving trips to the national park.

We checked most of them out, asked for prizes and what the Komodo National Park tour included. Most Komodo National Park tours are 2 to 3 days, with one or two nights sleeping on the deck of the boat. They all go ashore on either Rinca Island or Komodo Island, or both, to see the dragons. Some of them include snorkelling. It was very difficult to choose between the overwhelming tour options and to be honest we felt a bit lost.

DSC09440Then we walked into a small office that just seemed a little different. And when we saw this quote on their wall, we were sold. This is our kind of tour company – Flores XP Adventures.

They are the only company doing Komodo tours where you sleep on shore in tents. We went for their three days Dragon Tour.

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Komodo Dragon Tour Day 1

We got picked up at our hotel at 7:30 in the morning, all excited and geared up for our dragon adventure. In the car we met the other couple that was going to be our tour companions on this tour; Detlef and Gerdien from the Netherlands. They turned out to be the perfect tour companions, and some real adventurous people who have been to a lot of exciting places all over the world. We connected immediately.

Well onboard we were served coconut pancakes and bread for breakfast, while our Italian tour guides Max and Alex explained what was ahead of us during these three days. Max is also the owner of the tour company Flores XP, and a dive master. Both of them are awesome tour guides and great people. We could not have been more lucky! We were certain we had picked the right tour company.

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Our excellent Italian tour guides Alex and Max from the tour company Flores XP. Max is also the owner of the company.

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Relaxing on board Salacia with our new friends from Italy and the Netherlands. Awesome folks!

Pearl Farm On Punggu Island

The first stop on our Dragon Tour was Punggu Island, a small island encircled by white beaches and turquoise water.

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Punggu Island with Atlas Pearl Farm.

We got picked up by a small boat and went ashore where we met a guy from Atlas Pearl Farm. He took us around the farm and explained all about the production and the growing of pearls. Did you know that it takes about four years from you put the seed inside the clam before it is a big white pearl? It was really interesting learning about the pearl process.

The ocean outside of Penggu Island is packed with black balloons anchoring up the pearl clams. There are lots and lots of pearl clams hanging from each of these black balloons.

The ocean outside of Penggu Island is packed with black balloons anchoring up the pearl clams. There are lots and lots of pearl clams hanging from each of these black balloons.

 

We also went ashore where we got to visit the factory where they extract the pearls from the clams.

Atlas pearl farm

Welcome to Atlas Pearl Farm.

Atlas Pearl Farm on Penggu Island.

Atlas Pearl Farm on Penggu Island.

And finally the best part – The showroom and shop of Atlas` pearl products. Oh boy, I wanted to buy it all….. I ♥ Pearls! :)

Snorkelling Paradise

After the pearl temptation (No, I did unfortunately not have the money to buy that expensive neckless…. :( ), it was time for some snorkelling in the turquoise, fresh, salt and perfectly temperated water. Iiiihaaaaa!

Penggu Island

Penggu Island

Me snorkelling over the coral reefs outside of Penggu Island.

Me snorkelling over the coral reefs outside of Penggu Island.

Back onboard Salacia, it was time for some delicious lunch. We had our own chef onboard, constantly bringing us food, water, tea/coffee and snacks. Ah, I could get used to that! We were totally spoilt, and we loved it.

Salacia

Salacia

Our lunch. Really tasty!

Our lunch. Really tasty!

Next up was Kanawa island for some more marvellous snorkelling. Oh boy, Kanawa island with it`s pristine white beach and crystal clear turquoise water is as near paradise as it is possible to come. Check this out – Don`t you just wish you were there right now?! I sure do!

Kanawa Island

Kanawa Island

Kanawa Island actually has some bungalows where it is possible to stay.

Kanawa Island actually has some bungalows where it is possible to stay.

The snorkelling outside of Kanawa Island was brilliant.

The snorkelling outside of Kanawa Island was brilliant.

It may sound stupid, but one actually gets pretty tired and worn out from snorkelling for several hours. So I jumped of joy discovering an empty hammock out in a sea hut. It just had my name written on it. Yeah, it is a hard life….. :)

A hut out in the water with a hammock. I mean, can it get any better?!

A hut out in the water with a hammock. I mean, can it get any better?!

Camping at Sebayur Island

Our guide Max basically had to drag us out of the hammock and off Kanawa Island. We fell totally in love with it, and could have stayed there forever. But it was time to head over to another paradise island that was going to be our home for the next two days – Sebayur Island. It turned out to be nothing less of an paradise than Kanawa.

Sebayur Island – our home for three days.

Sebayur Island – our home for three days.

Even though we were a bit tired from all the snorkelling, we could not turn down Alex`s offer of hiking to the top of the island. Hey, we are Norwegians after all.

We strapped on our running shoes and started the climb. It was pretty steep, but not that far, and we did not regret it as we reached the top. Take a look at this A-M-A-Z-I-N-G view:

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An Indonesian eagle.

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Me and Alex at the top of the world!

Me and Alex at the top of the world!

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On our way down we met these two cuties:

On our way down we witnessed one of the most beautiful sunset we have ever seen:

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While we were out ascending the island, the crew from the boat had set up a cosy little camping site for us, with tents and all. Being used to carrying all our camping equipment ourselves and setting it all up ourselves when camping back home in Norway, we felt like kings and queens. We sure could get used to this.

Our lovely camp site at Sebayu Island.

Our lovely camp site at Sebayu Island.

With this stunning view from our tents, we fell asleep dreaming of dragons……

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The first day of our Komodo Adventure could not have been any better – nice weather, pearls, excellent snorkelling, delicious food, mountain trip, and it was all topped off with an amazing sunset.

Can day 2 match day 1, or even be better? Hmm, stay tuned for some mantas, dragons and other adventures……

Read part 2 of our Komodo National Park adventure HERE

Read part 3 of our Komodo National Park adventure HERE


Where To Stay In Komodo National Park

Most visitors to the Komodo National Park spend a couple of days in Labuan Bajo arranging their tour. Labuan Bajo is a small village but offers a wide selection of accommodation for all budgets, and you will have plenty of choices when it comes to finding the right place to stay. Accommodation prices do vary greatly with the season. We stayed in Labuan Bajo at the end of October, so peak season had not yet started.Below are some of the best accommodation options in Komodo National Park and Labuan Bajo city:

Laprima Hotel

We stayed at Laprima Hotel in Labuan Bajo before and after our three-day boat trip with Flores XP, and had an excellent stay.This hotel has one of the best locations in Labuan Bajo, right by the sea and away from all the hustle and bustle in the main village. It is however within walking distance to the main street of the village. The hotel has a top notch swimming pool right by the sea, which we loved! Gorgeous view from the room, with the most stunning sunsets.The food is not the best however, but there a are plenty of nice restaurants in the main street so we mostly ate there. They have ok wifi both in the rooms, restaurant and reception.
  • Address: Jl. Pantai Pedeh No. 8, Labuan Bajo, Flores Island, Indonesia
  • Price Range: From about 55 us$
  • Click for latest prices

Komodo Resort & Diving Club

DSC09620This place looks like paradise! It gets very high score on tripadvisor, and looks fantastic. This is the place we`ll be staying at on our next trip to Komodo National Park, no doubt.It is located on the same island as we slept on, Sebayur Island, although we slept in tents on the other side of the island. It is a beautiful island.

Golo Hilltop Hotel

We wanted to stay at this hotel in Labuan bajo, but it was unfortunately fully book while we were there. It looks lovely, with amazing view and a great swimming pool. It is beautifully located on a small hilltop surrounded by a nice garden.

Luwansa Beach Hotel 

This is a fairly new hotel, only three years old and looks really nice. It is beautifully located in a garden right by the sea, and the swimming pool looks heaven! It is though further away from the main center of Labuan Bajo than Laprima Hotel where we stayed, but the hotel has a free shuttle into town.

The Jayakarta Suite Komodo Flores

This is also beautifully located by the sea with a lovely swimming pool.
  • Address: Jl. Pantai Pede Km.5, Labuan Bajo, Flores, Indonesia
  • Price Range: From about 100 us$
  • Click for latest prices
 

Useful Books

Here are some great books to read up on before heading to Komodo National Park (click the images and you will be taken to Amazon):

Mysteries of the Komodo Dragon LonelyPlanetIndonesia History_Of_Indonesia Indonesia_For_Tourists Komodo_Dragons

Would you like to visit Komodo National Park? Have you been to any cool national parks? Where and how was it? Please leave a comment in the comment area below. If you enjoyed reading this post, please share on social media. Thanks! :)

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Maria

Maria

Maria is a Norwegian travel nerd, who has explored more than thirty countries on four continents. She holds a masters degree in Computer Science, as well as an MBA. See our about page for more about Maria.
Maria

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