I am just back from exploring wonderful Indonesia, it was a special 7-day trip but I am going to pour my thoughts about the land journey in another post and focus on the sailing here. Just because this is too special.
If you have not heard of Komodo Islands, it’s located at Flores, ~1 hour flight away from Bali. It is a great idea to stop by Labuan Bajo airport in Flores if you have plans to visit Bali – no joke! The view above is from our first 20-mins hike at Pulau Kelor.
Right, so first things first. You will need to hire a boat, either through an agency or haggle onsite (if you speak Indonesian do this!). If you are traveling in a group of at least 5, it is a good idea to hire a boat for yourselves, otherwise you can share a boat with other travelers. Know before-hand which islands you would want to hop to so you can choose a suitable period, be it 1-day/ 2-day/ 3-day trip. I traveled with 4 other ladies and we opted the 3D2N package in a basic boat (the more facilities you have on board, the higher you pay…). We ended up with the greatest memories sailing on Honey Bunny with a bunch of really great crew we could not move on :p
With enough time, you can hop to islands like Pulau Kelor, Pulau Padar (with all the different beaches!), Pulau Rinca (where the Komodos are), Pulau Busung, Manta Point, Gili Lawa and Kanawa Island. Most of the islands have little hills for you to climb, and some like Pulau Kanawa offers you unforgettable snorkeling experience. Kanawa has clear water with great underwater ecosystem that you can see within the water without actually snorkeling. If you are into diving, Manta Point will probably be your favorite spot – you need to be certified to dive here as the current is quite strong! As for me, the crew had me hold to a rope as the boat chased after manta so I can see them from surface without diving. If you don’t dive, you can learn to dive there- during one of the hikes I met a Spanish lady who is settling in Labuan Bajo for 2 months to learn diving. Anyway, get your GoPro ready, you won’t be disappointed!
Then there’s green savannah as you cross the hills at every island. Pulau Padar was most memorable for me as it has 3 beaches with different sand colors- one of them pink. The pink color is a result of sand mixing with the red corals around the area, and you only find a few such beaches in the world! Also rumors say there are quite some Komodo living there, do you think it’s true?
Tips for sailing:
- bring hats and spf 150 sunblock, re-apply often/after swim or risk getting sunburn
- wear comfortable hiking shoes/sandal (prepare lots of plaster in case you get blisters)
- boat will usually provide mineral water, bring other drinks to stock in cooler box
- bring alot of snacks and card games for long sails
- bring your own snorkel and mask if you have – the sizes on boat may not fit you perfectly
- prepare Rupiah for tips to boat crew and to pay for fees below
- know basic Bahasa Indonesia (some crews don’t speak English)
Details of fees:
- Entrance fee Rp 20,000 (conservation fee)
- Local Area Tax Rp 50,000 (paid to the local villages and communities)
- Snorkeling Fee Rp 60,000 (for trips inside the park)
- Diving Fee Rp 75,000 (for any dives made inside the park)
- Photo camera fee: Rp 50,000
- Video camera fee: Rp 150,000
- Ranger/guide: Rp 80,000 (per group)
What are you waiting for? This is just the beginning, do also look at traveling east after you get some tan..