Sailing Komodo National Park

Sailing Komodo National Park

Posted on Posted in Asia, Blog, Indonesia

I’ve done a fair few boat trips during my travels around the world (as has Elaina), so when I found out we were doing a live-aboard during our trip to Indonesia I was pretty stoked. Our first few days in Indo had been spent travelling over land in a minibus (with a bunch of legendary bloggers who made that experience totes entertaining!), so the prospect of sailing Komodo National Park for a couple of days was really exciting!

We took a two-hour flight from Bali to the island of Flores. Once we’d hopped off the plane we headed straight for Labuan Bajo, a small fishing town in the west of Flores. This place instantly brought back memories of Asia from 10-15 years ago for anyone who’d traveled there during that time. Labuan Bajo is a bustling little town but not yet overrun with tourists. There are a couple of main reasons people come to Labuan Bajo. To dive and to see Komodo Dragons!

This time we were here to see the dragons, but I’m happy to report they weren’t the only highlight! We jumped on board our amazing boat at Labuan Bajo harbour and Elaina and I were immediately impressed with the amount of space on there. Cute little cabins below deck and heaps of shady cover or top deck space to spread out on and enjoy the ocean breeze. The crew on board from Kakaban Tours were awesome…and the captain (who was both deaf and mute) was an incredible chef! We had some of the best food on the trip on board so we’d highly recommend these guys if you’re thinking about sailing Komodo National Park.

Most of the first day we spent sailing over to Komodo Island. Being out on the ocean, traversing tiny islands with the breeze was the best feeling after a busy few days in Bali and Lombok. Most of us kicked back and chilled out, enjoying our surroundings. We spotted a few dolphins and turtles from the boat and it was pretty clear that there was heaps of marine life hanging out under the glimmering surface of the water. I couldn’t wait to jump in and check it out…but first, we had to go looking for dragons! We pitched up at our first stop, Komodo Island and headed off on our first adventure of the trip. You can read more about that here, or watch our video about it.

After hiking around Komodo Island, getting caught in another torrential downpour, we were all totally ready for a swim. Next stop was Pink Beach, named so because the sand is pink! From a distance it doesn’t look that pink but once you get up close you can see the pink/red colour formed from a type of organism called foraminifera in the seabed. Pretty cool when you get up close! The best thing about this stop though was the snorkeling. There was so much going on under the water. Starfish, clown fish (aka Nemo!), angel fish, parrot fish and even a huge turtle cruised past us at one point…a super cool way to end day one on the boat!

Day two kicked off early for me…I woke up at 5am busting to pee so I snuck out to the bathroom and was greeted by the most incredible sunrise. I was thankful to my bladder for that wake up call, as I’m not usually a morning person! The engine of the boat kicked in around 5.30am and one by one our group surfaced from below deck…there were a few sore heads after a rip roaring drinking game of 21 the night before (best thing about giving up alcohol is waking up hangover free!). Our first stop of the morning was Manta Point where, you guessed it; Manta Rays were all around the boat. The boat stopped a couple of times and we were able to get in the water with them. The second time I spotted one off in the distance and managed to get a few seconds of footage on the GoPro. They are such majestic creatures gliding through the water; they look like they are flying. Super cool! I’d only ever seen Manta Rays once before when I was diving in the Cook Islands so to see them again was an awesome experience.

Manta Rays Manta Point
Can you spot the Manta Ray? Elaina took this pic from the boat. Pretty cool eh!

Brekkie after our swim with the Mantas was the best ever. Deep-fried bananas, toast, peanut butter and Nutella. Yum! Did I mention the food on the boat was awesome?! There were two vegetarians (us!) and two vegans in our group and the crew really looked after us with the best sweet and sour tofu I’ve ever had. So good! The fresh fruit was delicious too. We all ate really well on board!

There was more Komodo Dragon spotting on the agenda for the morning as we stopped off at Rinca Island. Rinca is a smaller island than Komodo with a couple of thousand Komodo Dragons calling this place home. We hiked to the top of a pretty decent sized hill where you could see for miles around, there are so many tiny islands in this area, around 26 in total in the National Park itself.

The rest of our day was spent island hopping, snorkeling and swimming. Our second snorkeling stop was a tiny island that we snorkeled all the way around. The coral was spectacular! Again there were a crazy amount of fish, a few spiky urchins and Elaina spotted an eel too. Snorkeling in this part of the world was up there as some of the best I’ve ever done. The water is warm and there’s so much to see!

Our last stop of the day was Kelor Island. We jumped from the top of the boat into the super deep water surrounding the island. The beach drops off really quick so its only shallow around the very edges, which makes for some stunning turquoise water. Think we captured this pretty well on our photos!

Heading back into the harbour at Labuan Bajo after sailing Komodo National Park for an awesome two days I felt super grateful to have had such an awesome experience with our group! Lots of laughs! I definitely want to go back to this part of Indonesia to do some diving, if the snorkeling was anything to go by I can only imagine how epic it will be!

Have you traveled in Indonesia? Share your best and worst experiences below! We’d love some intel for our next trip.

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Born in the USA. Raised in England. Relocated to Australia 6 years ago. You could say that she’s a bit of a world citizen.
With a degree in Brand Promotion & Journalism, Victoria loves the written word and as such is our resident writer. One of her fave things to do anytime of day is to enjoy a good breakfast accompanied by an equally good coffee.

Vic loves a good road trip where she can rock out to good tunes (and some not so good, ahem, Taylor Swift fan alert!). She’s a demon on the squash court and loves to scuba dive. One of her dreams is to cage dive with great white sharks…way outside her comfort zone! She loves to travel and has lived in five countries. Her plan is to add a few more to the list.

8 thoughts on “Sailing Komodo National Park

    1. Thanks Jasmine! Had to take a few snaps to get one of the manta rays. They’re pretty hard to get a picture from the boat. Victoria took some GoPro footage of them while swimming but it didn’t work out that well 🙁

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