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Eden Found? – Komodo National Park Day 3

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One would think that we would wake up on the third day of our Komodo National Park adventure all tired and fed up with this primitive tent life, but quite the opposite happened. We were so sad that this was our last day in Komodo National Park. 🙁

We simply L-O-V-E-D the first day of the Komodo tour, packed with adventurous things such as a visit to a pearl farm, a mountain trip on a deserted island and lots and lots of fabulous snorkeling in the hot, clear and turquoise water.

Day two was even better, with the ultimate highlights being walking among Komodo dragons at Komodo Island and swimming with huge gracious manta rays.

With all these spectacular experiences already in the past, we were a bit worried that the last day would be a disappointment compared to the other two. But we did not have to worry, as day 3 turned out to be just as good and eventful as the previous two!

In Search Of Komodo Dragons On Rinca Island

Our first stop was at Rinca Island, one of only five islands in the world where the Komodo Dragons live, all in Indonesia. Rinca is less known and less visited than Komodo Island, which makes it a good place to see the Komodo dragon in its natural environment. There were definitely fewer people here than on Komodo Island.

Rinca Island
Approaching Rinca Island
The gate to Komodo National Park on Rinca Island
The gate to Komodo National Park on Rinca Island
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On our way in search for Komodo dragons

Rinca is a smaller island than Komodo, so we only had to do a short walk until we saw the first Komodo dragon, a female called Jessica watching over her eggs.

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Jessica guarding her eggs. But is this her real nest, or is it a fake one to confuse her enemies? Hmm, clever girl!

A female Komodo dragon lays approximately 20 eggs from August to September and digs a big hole where she puts them.

To prevent other dragons from eating her eggs, she uses a camouflage technique where she digs several nests/holes in the area around her actual nest. That way her enemies do not know in which hole the eggs are. Clever! The incubator time for the eggs is 7-8 months, in which she guards her eggs constantly.

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Jessica has been very busy, digging all these holes. Only one of them contains her eggs, the rest she digs to distract her enemies.

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We did not only see Komodo dragons, but also several water buffaloes like these two fellows:

But back to the dragons since they were the main reason for us to visit Rinca Island……

Before coming ashore Rinca we had heard that we were almost certain to meet Komodo dragons around the kitchen building in the camp area. And it turned out to be true, the kitchen was obviously very popular among the dragons! At the time we visited, there were six dragons under and in front of the kitchen building.

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The kitchen is the most popular place for the Komodo dragons….easy food.

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The reason for this “colony” of dragons under the kitchen building is of course that the kitchen staff throws out leftovers for the dragons to eat. They are not stupid, of course, they say “yes thank you” to free and easy food….

One of the dragons had some blue painting on it`s back. Why you might wonder? This is because it has attacked people once. If a dragon attacks twice it gets red painting on it`s back. A smart way of marking the bad ones! This one even looks mean and fearful, don`t you think……?!

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A dragon with blue marking on it`s back, meaning that it has attacked people. Bad bad boy!
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Our guide at Rinca Island

On our way back to the pier, we noticed a crowd of people cheering and shouting, standing in a big circle. It turned out that a small baby dragon had climbed down from a tree and onto the ground. It was now together with a big grown-up looking very hungry….

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A baby Komodo dragon fearing for its life…..

The Komodo dragons are born quite defenseless and are very vulnerable and can easily be eaten. Not only do the Komodo dragons look like something out of the dinosaur age, but the Komodo dragons are also cannibals….. They eat their babies! Actually up to 10 % of a dragon’s diet consists of baby Komodo dragons. That is really mean if you ask me! No wonder they are almost extinct.

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“Run Forrest, ruuuuuun!!”

Therefore the babies and young dragons spend most of their first years up in the trees to avoid being eaten. On average, it takes a dragon three to five years to mature (and start living on the ground…). Komodo dragons may live up to 50 years.

Luckily this little fellow did not get eaten, well at least not while we were there, so hopefully, he lives happily ever after…..

 

Have you seen the James Bond film “Skyfall” from 2012? Here one of the Chinese henchmen in the casino that Bond visits in Macau is attacked dragged off and most likely killed by a Komodo dragon:[clear_floats]

A Deserted Paradise Island

After all this walking and excitement of watching the Komodo dragons on Rinca, it was time to head out to the sea again and go for a refreshing dip and some snorkeling.

Salacia took us out to this beautiful deserted island called Mawan Island. The water was incredibly clear, turquoise and warm! It is impossible to explain it`s beauty in words, so I`m just going to show you the pictures of how nice it was…… 🙂

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Mawan Island = pure paradise!

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Can it get any better? Ah, a true paradise! I so want to build a small hut right on this beach and live there forever….. *dreaming* 🙂

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Making Best Friends At A Local Gypsy Fisherman Village

From pristine empty beaches, we headed to a local gypsy fisherman village on one of the islands of Komodo National Park.

Check out this beautiful smiling welcome committee that greeted us as we approached the harbor:

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Approaching the gypsy fisherman village.
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Local kids cheering and welcoming us.
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A local fishing village in Komodo National Park.

As we went ashore the kids almost “attacked” us, and all of sudden I got myself a new best friend.

She was just the cutest, and the only English words she knew was “best friend”, “hi” and “bye”.

The kids were adorable, very friendly and giggling and wanted to show off by dancing and jumping in the sea.

They did not speak a single English word, and unfortunately, we don`t speak any Indonesian. It is amazing how well one can communicate through hand signals and smiles though.

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The kids loved posing for photos, and asked us to take a picture of them all the time.
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Fish put out to dry in the sun. This reminded me of home, as we also dry fish like this in Norway, although bigger fish. It is called “klipp fisk” and it is delicious!
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Me with my new “best friends”

It was actually a bit difficult and sad to say goodbye to these kids. It was great to see how happy they are, even though they don`t have all the material goods that western kids have or nearly as many toys, video games, tv shows, internet or cinema. They were constantly smiling, playing around and in many ways seemed happier than western children. I think many western kids will benefit and learn a thing or two from a visit to this small village.

Batman?!

As the day faded into dawn, we anchored up by a tiny island called Kalong Island, made of mangrove swamps and watched the sunset. Oh boy, it was a stunning sunset!

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Espen watching the sunset, waiting for the flying foxes.

Shortly after the sun had set, we started to hear some movements in the mangrove bushes, and all of a sudden thousands and thousands of giant bats or flying foxes started to fly over our heads!

It was amazing, everything from seeing them as a black contrast against the bright blue, yellow and pink sky to hearing the sound of their flapping wings! I never thought that I would ever say that bats are beautiful….but they really are.  I ♥ bats, at least from a distance. 🙂

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The flying foxes fly to Flores mainland to feast on fresh fruit during the night and head back to the mangrove when the sun rises.

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Sitting there on the Salacia boat with some of the nicest people we have met during our travels in Indonesia, admiring the most stunning sunset and hearing thousands of bats flying over our heads – it was just the perfect end to our three day Komodo National Park adventure.

Oh boy, what an adventure it has been! Everything from visiting a pearl farm, swimming with mantas, seeing the amazing Komodo dragons to meeting the lovely people in a local fishing village, admiring the most spectacular sunset after the other, sleeping in beds on the beach under million of stars and shooting stars, snorkeling in crystal clear water and walking on sand soft and white as flour…..we could not have picked a better tour to Komodo National Park.

We got to experience all that Komodo National Park has to offer, and even more than we expected! As we stepped ashore on the pier of Labuan Bajo, we felt a bit sad that this adventure was over and just wanted to turn around and take the three-day tour again…….

So long Komodo National Park! To slightly misquote the mighty Arnold Swartznegger in Terminator: “We`ll be back!” 🙂

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 are plenty of nice restaurants on 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 a 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.


  • AddressSebayur Island, Komodo National Park, Indonesia
  • Price Range: From about 200 us$
  • Click for latest prices

Golo Hilltop Hotel

We wanted to stay at this hotel in Labuan Bajo, but it was unfortunately fully booked while we were there. It looks lovely, with an 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 further away from the main center of Labuan Bajo than Laprima Hotel where we stayed, however 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.com (affiliate links):



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 it on social media. Thanks! 🙂

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Written by Maria Wulff Hauglann

Maria is a Norwegian travel nerd who has explored more than thirty countries on four continents. She holds a master's degree in Computer Science, as well as an MBA. In 2014 while on a year-long trip across South East- Asia, Maria co-founded the travel blog Nerd Nomads to help others get out and explore the world. In 2018 she left her day job permanently for a life of full-time travel. See our about page for more about Maria.

21 Comments

  1. loved this post! I am looking forward to going to Komodo for a scuba liveaboard in April. You have gotten me so excited!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much Stephanie! Lucky you who are going on a scuba trip to Komodo! We can`t wait to go back one day. Have an amazing trip, I`m sure you will love it just as much as we did! Just watch out for those dragons….. 🙂

      Cheers,
      Maria

      Reply
  2. Maria,

    Here I am, close to marking Komodo off as a “no go” and there you go again, laying it out there with yet another awesome post! That water and Mawan Island are just, wow. I have to go but am still a bit worried about the price of getting there. It’s so tempting!

    To answer your question about National Parks, there are tons here in Korea worth visiting and depending on the season. I’ve loved walking around the mountains and parks here and am really going to miss it. If you ever make it to Korea, definitely check out the hiking and it really doesn’t matter where you go. There are even some parks in and around Seoul, haha.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post about Komodo, and for the whole series! I’m looking forward to your next adventure!

    Reply
    • Hehehe, so glad I can tempt you a bit more and convince you to head over to Komodo. 🙂

      We really want to visit Korea, it`s on our bucket list. Korea was actually on our original list after Japan last year, but we changed our minds and went to meet my brother and his girlfriend in Indonesia instead. I`ve been reading your blog, and Korea seems beautiful! We love hiking, so this just adds to the reasons why we have to visit Korea.

      Cheers,
      Maria

      Reply
  3. Awesome post guys. We loved Komodo National Park, not just because the incredible face-to-face experiences with the dragons (which was hair raising) but we like you we loved the islands, the waters and the stunning sunsets. One of my favourite places in the world 🙂 Cheers guys and looking forward to reading through more posts.

    Reply
    • Hi Ross,

      Thanks a million! We fell in love with this place too, can`t wait to come back one day. Just hope that it doesn`t get too overcrowded and polluted now that the new international airport has opened.

      Happy travels! 🙂

      Cheers,
      Maria

      Reply
    • Hehe, thanks Kyle! Yep, you should definitely head back to Indonesia if you missed out on Komodo National Park. It is a must-visit! Thanks for commenting!

      Cheers,
      Maria

      Reply
  4. Great post. Was planning to do Sri Lanka in May/June but Indonesia might be better at this time of year. And you may just have convinced me with this review of komodo. Can you fly directly Labuan Bajo and is that the best place, location wise, to stay in?

    Reply
    • Hi Thirushen,

      I agree, Indonesia is better than Sri Lanka in May/ June as it is raining season in Sri Lanka around this time.

      Labuan Bajo is definitely the place to stay in if you plan to visit Komodo National Park. You can fly directly from Bali to Labuan Bajo, we flew with Lion Air but also Garuda Indonesia has flights here. There is a brand new and big airport in Labuan Bajo.

      Have a great trip to Komodo!! You will love it! It is paradise.

      -Maria-

      Reply
  5. I plan to travel indonesia this month. Stumbled on your post as i was searching for information on rinca island. I wonder how komodo dragons react to tourists and buffaloes? Loved you pic with the kids btw.

    Reply
    • Hi Annie,

      The Komodo Dragons do kill buffaloes and eat them, but seldom people, thank god. 🙂 There has been a few attacks on people, however, over the years. But you will have a guide with you on Rinca and Komodo Island, that will protect you, so no need to worry. I don`t think there have been any attacks on tourists, only locals. The komodo dragons we met were very lazy and did hardly move at all.

      -Maria-

      Reply
  6. by chance i dropped by your blog, very good and detailed review. I went to Indonesia several times but didn’t know much about this heaven. Thanks.

    Reply
  7. Wow! Your trip sounded incredible. I am seriously considering going here in June. Flores XP sounds like a really good tour company. Do they have any discounts if I mention your blog?

    Reply
    • Hi Natalie,

      Yeah, it was the best trip ever! It was a once in a lifetime experience for us! And I can highly recommend doing a tour with Flores XP, their service was excellent. Max, the owner of Flores XP, is Italian and was our guide on our three-day Komodo Dragon trip. Great guy!

      Sorry, we have not yet a deal with them about any discounts for our readers. But they often give discounts if they have available spots left on already planned tours or last minute bookings. So you should just send them an email: info@floresxp.com. Say hi to Max from me if you meet him. 🙂

      Have a great trip to Komodo National Park! You will love it, it is a paradise!

      -Maria-

      Reply
  8. hi,

    great post and review..truly incredible
    i’ve read all 3 parts.
    this place totally amazing..been planning to go there bout next year.
    cant wait for the excitement..

    Reply
    • Hi Haizo,

      Thank you so much for your nice words!!! Your comment made my day!

      Komodo National Park is really spectacular, and a highlight of Indonesia in my opinion. You won`t regret going there. I just want to visit this park over and over again. Hope to come back one day.

      Have an amazing trip to Komodo next year and say hi to the Komodo Dragons from me!! 🙂

      -Maria-

      Reply
  9. Great post! Trying to figure out what kind of tour on Komodo to go on and with which company. After reading your post and seeing the great pictures I think I will contact Flores XP! Thanks and happy traveling!

    Reply
    • Hi Nikki,

      Thank you so much! I know, there are so many companies doing tours to Komodo! Walking down the main street of Labuan Bajo is like a jungle of tour companies.

      What we liked about Flores XP was that we went camping on land and did not sleep on the boat. We had a good nights sleep in tents right on the beach on a beautiful island. Also, the guides were awesome and the crew so helpful and they did everything to make the best trip for us. When the tour ended, we did not want to leave them 🙂 The food was delicious too.

      But we have not tried any of the other tour companies offering Komodo trips.

      Have a great trip to Komodo National Park! You will love it!

      -Maria-

      Reply

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