Home of the Legendary Komodo Dragon
Komodo Island is part of the Komodo National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site in Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda chain of islands. It is famed as the home of the legendary Komodo Dragon, the largest species of lizard on the planet.
This is the only place on earth to see them in the wild, yet Komodo has so much more to offer too. Komodo Island boasts stunning and diverse terrain – from white sand to pink beaches and tropical rainforests to grassy savannah hillsides.
Explore beyond the Komodo Dragons
Although for many people, the Komodo Dragon is the main motivation to visit Komodo, there are many more reasons to visit this island.
Komodo is one of Indonesia’s top scuba diving destinations with dozens of pristine reefs filled with a wealth of colourful marine life. As well as home to more than 1,000 species of fish, the waters around Komodo Island are teeming with whales, sea turtles, reef sharks and manta rays.
The many islands of the Komodo National Park are picturesque and varied. The magnificent dragons are found on four different islands: Komodo, Rinca, Gili Montong and Gili Dasami. In fact, Rinca Island is actually the better option to spot the dragons in the wild since it hosts more Komodo Dragons. This island is also nearer the gateway town of Labuan Bajo, making it accessible for a day trip with a snorkelling adventure.
PRO TIP: Komodo National Park is an incredible destination to discover with a boat tour, but the adventure doesn’t end there. To perfectly conclude your journey, reserve two, three, or even more nights at Le Pirate Island. This private island offers exceptional accommodations and is one of my favourite places I’ve ever stayed. This is the place where you regret that you didn’t book more nights — regardless of the number of nights you already booked. For Labuan Bajo, I recommend staying in Seasta Komodo. They offer fantastic dorm and double rooms and host a very lively vibe.
How to book a tour to Komodo Islands
There are hundreds of companies selling services for boat tours to Komodo islands, but which one is the best? There is no straight answer to that as everyone has their own preferences and budget.
Booking with a reliable company that caters to various budgets simplifies the process. During my trip planning, I struggled to find such a contact, but I’m happy to share the details of an operator I learned about from a fellow traveller.
Waturanda Trip offers around 15 different boat options. Their prices are very affordable and they ask similar prices to what we paid via a local contact. As a reference, a 3-day, 2-night trip typically costs between 2,500,000 IDR ($160) and 7,000,000 IDR ($450), depending on the boat and room you select. The best rooms often fill up months in advance, so book early for the most choices.
Two other suppliers I found recently are Komodo Luxury and Travelist. Although I have no knowledge of anyone’s experiences with booking them, they appear to have excellent options for both private and a few open trips.
PRO TIP: Most visitors travel to the Komodo Islands on weekends, leading to crowded sites like Padar Island. You might find yourself hiking alongside hundreds of tourists, which can detract from the experience. To avoid this, consider booking a boat tour during weekdays when it’s less busy. Alternatively, you can ask your boat crew to deviate from the standard route and visit Padar Island around 08:00 instead of at sunrise. This can help you dodge the busiest times and enjoy a more peaceful trip.
How to get to Komodo Islands
The most common option to get to Komodo Island is taking a flight to Labuan Bajo on Flores Island, followed by a boat tour to Komodo. You can take a flight from some of the most popular destinations in Indonesia:
|Flight from Bali
|630,000 IDR ($40)
|Flight from Surabaya
|1,200,000 IDR ($77)
|Flight from Jakarta
|1,400,000 IDR ($90)
|Flight from Lombok
|1,500,000 IDR ($96)
|Flight from Yogyakarta
|3,000,000 IDR ($190)
The second option is joining a boat tour from Lombok to Flores, suited for the more adventurous travellers. Along the way, the boat will make several stops on the north coast of Sumbawa and around the Komodo National Park. For many travellers, this is one of the best experiences for the entire Indonesia trip!
|2,800,000 IDR ($180)
|Check Boat Tours
|6,500,000 IDR ($415)
|Check Boat Tours
|4,800,000 IDR ($310)
|Check Boat Tours
Below, we share a guide on the available flight options to Labuan Bajo and the multiple-day cruises departing from Lombok to Komodo.
Labuan Bajo is the main gateway by both air and sea to Komodo and the other islands for Komodo Dragon spotting, tours, snorkelling trips, pleasure cruises and scuba diving.
Komodo Airport is located just outside the town of Labuan Bajo. From here, you can reach the town centre in just 10 minutes by taxi. Fares start at 50,000 IDR ($3.20), but make sure to agree on a price beforehand.
There are direct flights daily from Bali, Jakarta, and Surabaya to Labuan Bajo. On the other hand, if you’re coming from Lombok and Yogyakarta, flights to Labuan Bajo make a stopover in Bali, Jakarta, or Surabaya.
The cheapest and fastest way to travel to Labuan Bajo is by taking a flight from Bali. Tickets range from 630,000 IDR ($40) to 1,300,000 IDR ($83).
Bali’s airport also offers the most direct flights, which are serviced by Lion Air, Batik Air, and AirAsia. You can get from Bali to Labuan Bajo in just a little over an hour.
Ngurah Rai Airport is situated just south of the beach town of Kuta, Bali. You can book transport to the airport via the Grab or Go-Jek app from most places, but note that there are a handful of areas in Bali where ride-hailing services are not allowed to operate. If this is the case, ask your hotel if they can organise transport to the airport.
For more information, visit our Bali Airport guide.
Only one direct flight operates from Surabaya to Labuan Bajo daily, departing at 07:00. The direct flight from Surabaya to Labuan Bajo takes 1.5 hours with airfares starting from 1,200,000 IDR ($77).
When coming from Surabaya, you have more options with indirect flights. These flights make a stopover in Bali and the shortest indirect flight from Surabaya to Labuan Bajo takes 3.5 hours.
The journey from Surabaya city centre to the airport takes about 30 minutes by taxi or about an hour by bus, depending on traffic. Taxi rates from the downtown start at 130,000 IDR ($8.30), while a bus ticket to Purabaya Terminal costs 35,000 IDR ($2.20).
Both direct and indirect flights operate from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to Labuan Bajo. However, only four direct flights are scheduled daily, and the rest are indirect flights. These flights are operated by Lion Air, Batik Air, and Garuda Indonesia.
A direct flight from Soekarno-Hatta Airport to Komodo Airport takes 2.5 hours with fares starting from 1,400,000 IDR ($90).
Meanwhile, you can only book indirect flights from Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport, located nearer to the city centre. Note that most of the flights from this airport to Komodo Airport make 2 stops. Airfares are also just a few dollars more expensive, starting at 1,500,000 IDR ($96).
The fastest way to reach Soekarno-Hatta International Airport from Jakarta city centre is by train. Travel time is about 50 minutes from the city centre, and train tickets are only 30,000 IDR ($1.90).
There is also an option to take a cheap bus or a taxi from the city centre to the airport. However, we don’t recommend them because of the heavy traffic in the city, making the travel time take at least 2 hours.
Although Lombok is closest to Komodo among all five options, there are no direct flights from Lombok to Labuan Bajo.
All flights from Lombok make a stopover in Bali or Jakarta, making the flight last at least 3.5 hours. Tickets start from 1,500,000 IDR ($96).
To get to Lombok International Airport, you can take an airport bus with fares from 20,000 IDR ($1.30). Depending on your destination on the island, taxi rates cost 120,000 IDR ($7.70).
Same as Lombok, only indirect flights are available from Yogyakarta to Labuan Bajo. The stopovers for these flights are in Bali, Jakarta, or Surabaya.
Flights to Labuan Bajo are only at the new Yogyakarta International Airport. The shortest indirect flight takes 5 hours with fares from 3,000,000 IDR ($190).
The fastest and cheapest way to get from Yogyakarta city centre to the new airport is by train. For just 20,000 IDR ($1.30), you can get to Yogyakarta International Airport in 40 minutes.
Other options are a 1.5-hour bus or taxi with fares from 70,000 IDR ($4.50) and 200,000 IDR ($12.80) respectively. However, keep in mind that you need to brace through city traffic if you take the bus or taxi to the new airport in Kulon Progo.
Another option to travel to Komodo Islands is joining a boat tour from Lombok. Other tour operators also offer pick-up in Gili Islands.
These tours used to be more popular before the pandemic. Some boat companies, like Wanua Adventure and Nyaman Boat, are slowly resuming their operations. However, the last time we checked (May 2023), companies like Perama Tours have not resumed their services on this route yet.
For budget travellers to Komodo Island, we recommend Wanua Adventure. It isn’t a luxury trip, but you get a 4-day cruise from Lombok to Labuan Bajo or vice versa for about 2,800,000 IDR ($180). Onboard accommodation is deck class. For a little more privacy, the cabin class costs 3,300,000 IDR ($210).
These rates already include all entrance fees, 3 meals per day (including vegetarian options), and unlimited tea, coffee and mineral water. This tour departs only on Mondays and Thursdays.
There are now many companies offering more luxurious boats for Komodo Island tours. Nyaman Boat is arguably the most popular for luxury trips. Capacity is restricted to 14 guests and you can even charter the entire boat as part of a big group. Rates start at 6,500,000 IDR ($415) per person, depending on the accommodation class you choose.
Perama Tours is a well-respected tour company around Indonesia. In the past, they used to offer a 3-day cruise from Lombok to Komodo Island for 4,800,000 IDR ($310) per person, but the last time we checked (May 2023), they haven’t resumed this tour yet. This tour included a 3-day boat tour, 2 nights accommodation on the boat, and full board meal service during the tour.
What they currently offer are day tours from Labuan Bajo to the Komodo National Park for 1,350,000 IDR ($87) per person. This tour already includes a visit to Padar and Komodo Islands, the famous Pink Beach, and snorkelling and manta swimming spots.
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