How to plan a trip to the Komodo Islands

 

You’ve ticked off Bali’s monkey forest and partied on Lombok’s famous Gili Islands, so what should be next on your Indonesia bucket list? One of the best-kept treasures and absolute must-do’s is taking a trip over to Flores and sailing across the Komodo Islands… home to pink beaches, hiking trails up to unique viewpoints and mind-blowing marine life. 

The Komodo Islands Itinerary

There are a few key stops you should take when planning a trip to the Komodo Islands and the easiest and best way to see all of these is booking a sailing trip. There are many options to choose from – depending on your time and budget. Have a look for what suits you and ensure they have the below stops included for a thorough Komodo Islands experience. My personal recommendation would be to sail with Travass Life. It’s a bit on the pricey side but it was worth every penny. Find out more about the experience here.

Rinca Island – the best place to see Komodo Dragons 
Padar Island – a magical spot where a black sand, white sand and pink sand beach all lie back to back. Hike up to the viewpoint to witness this beauty at sunrise.
Kelor Island – a small island that makes a big impact. Beautiful mountainous views and endless clear waters. 
Pink Beach – self explanatory. The beach is naturally pink from little red plankton that wash ashore and it’s as beautiful as it sounds.
Manta Point – an amazing place to jump in and swim with giant manta ray (note that you will need to be a confident swimmer as the currents can be strong)
Kanawa Island – the beach itself wasn’t amazing but the underwater sea life was incredible so get your snorkelling masks on and go for a swim

Photo taken on Kelor Island

When to visit the Komodo Islands

The best time to visit the Komodo Islands is during the ‘dry’ season. This is between April – December and makes for a much better experience due to there being less rain and much calmer seas.

How to get to the Komodo Islands

The start point of the sailing trips are in a small port town on the west of Flores Island called Labuan Bajo. This is where you need to fly into – look for Bandara Komodo Airport or airport code LBJ when booking flights. If you’re already in Bali, the best way to get there is to catch a short flight over (approx 1 hour) with return tickets costing around £70-80. I recommend that you book in advance as there are limited flights here and you don’t want to risk not landing on the dates you need – the only other travel option is a 3-day bus/ferry combo which won’t be time or cost effective. 

Where to stay in Labuan Bajo

I have a whole post purely dedicated to this question – find it here – simply because I loved the hotel SO much. In short, stay at the Sunset Hill Hotel. It’s super affordable (approx £28 per night for a twin room), has great food and the views are just incredible (it’s called Sunset Hill for a reason).

Or, if sunsets aren’t your thing, stay at Le Pirate Hotel, another great option at the same price point, which is down by the port so you’ll be closer to your departure point.

Internet and WiFi in the Komodo Islands

You’ll have no trouble finding WiFi around Labuan Bajo, however, once you start your sailing trip, don’t expect much signal. If you’re using a SIM card from home that allows international roaming, you’ll have no chance, however, if you’ve got yourself an Indonesian SIM card, data will come and go. But who really needs signal when you’re cruising along the Komodo Islands?!

What to pack 

You might want to bear in mind that the budget airlines you will fly with to get to Labuan Bajo will charge extra for checked in bags. Plus, lugging around 25kg suitcases is not ideal for your sailing trip. Instead, we left our main bags at a luggage storage at Bali airport for around £2.60 per day, which was a really convenient and easy option for us (the storage is right outside the main entrance to the airport). 

With that in mind, it’s best to pack light but functional. If you do only take carry on luggage with you, it’s important to note that local and budget Indonesian airlines do NOT allow selfie sticks on board – these can only be stored in checked in baggage. 

  • Loads of swimwear
  • Sunscreen with high SPF – this was the only place I have ever experienced sunburn!
  • Sunglasses 
  • A baseball cap or hat that can protect your face from the sun 
  • Towel – a quick drying one is handy 
  • Flip flops for walking around the beaches
  • Comfortable walking shoes/trainers
  • A small day bag for when you go hiking
  • GoPro or underwater camera – to get some snaps of those manta rays!
  • Portable speaker for jamming to tunes onboard 
  • Lightweight clothing – it can be SO hot during the day so get some breathable tops and clothing to help keep you cool
  • Power bank/portable charger – there are plug sockets on boats but with a few of you on board it’s easier to have your own source of power
  • Universal travel adapter 
  • Travel water bottle – ditch the plastic and get a reusable water bottle 

 

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