Komodo National Park is a mystical-looking cluster of islands; a contrast between starkly rugged hillsides of dry savanna, pockets of thorny green vegetation, brilliant white sandy beaches and blue waters surging over coral, unquestionably one of the most dramatic landscapes in all of Indonesia. The National park also, home to the famous Komodo dragons and the only place this majestic creature is found in the wild. According to the legends, the Komodo dragons we see today are all descended from one born to a Dragon Princess.
Plunging savannas, arid in the summer and bursting with life in the winter, deserted white sand beaches, mountainous outcrops and turquoise oceans teeming with more species than any other place on the planet await your discovery. The scuba diving here is amongst the best in the world and over 1,000 species of marine life and 250 types of coral are found here.
Furthermore, the Komodo Islands are so ecologically significant they were established as a National Park by the Indonesian government in 1980 and made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. All the flora and fauna and wildlife both on and off the islands are protected and therefore please be guided by your crew about what is appropriate in this area.
Our staff will meet you at the airport at Labuan Bajo and accompany you to the harbour to board your vessel moored 20 minutes from the airport. Onboard, the Cruise Director welcomes you and provide a safety briefing while the chef concocts a delicious meal to be served on deck.
We will start the adventure by setting sail towards Sebayur Kecil where you will spend the afternoon relaxing on pristine white sand beaches, cooling off in the vivid turquoise ocean or exploring coral reefs which teem with marine life.
After, back on board, kick back and relax as we set sail for a short cruise to Bat Island, locally known as Pulau Kalong. Get ready for a sunset with a view where thousands of fruit bats take to the skies at dusk to hunt. A true National Geographic experience and one which you will never forget.
This is your opportunity for an encounter with the legendary Komodo dragons. Meet your ranger at Loh Buaya station who will take you for an early trek across the bushes of the park and give some fun facts about the island’s wildest residents. Spot the wild deer, the peaceful buffaloes and follow your guide on the trail of the endemic Komodo Dragon.
After lunch, we will set sail to the Pink beach. Pink Beach is an iconic spot in Komodo and one of the wonders of the world. Its unusual pink sand is formed by a kind of microscopic animal called Foraminifera which produces red or pink light on the coral reef. When this is broken down into sand by the constant push and pull of the waves the colour remains.
At Pink Beach, snorkel or dive through spectacular walls of fish looking out for blue-ribbon eels and crocodile fish. Here you can swim through caves, somersault through chimneys and marvel at the coral canyons.
Jump back onboard and enjoy a smooth sailing towards the magnificent, Jurassic looking Padar Island. Spend a chill afternoon to the island of Padar which is actually a great spot for watersports. As the sun sets slowly, we hike till the heights of Padar Island viewpoint, one of the wonders of the park.
Start the day with sailing to Taka Makassar or also known as the Manta Point. With strong currents and high concentration of planktons, this whole stretch of reef is inhabited by Manta Rays both singularly and in aggregations. Located between Komodo Island and Tatawa. Not to mention there is a lone sand island in the middle of the reef, perfect for a photo-op!
Afters, you will have the opportunity to dive in Siaba Besar. Known as a macro heaven with massive coral garden home to pelagic fish species such as manta rays, reef sharks, turtles, and much more as well as gorgeous Flamboyant Cuttlefish and Thorny Seahorses.
Next, we set sail to Mawan located inside the Komodo National Park. A treasure trove of macro marine life, truly dream comes true for underwater photographers! Perfect for muck dives with virtually no current, take the opportunity to dive with a wide variety of nudibranchs, mantis boxing shrimp, broadclub cuttlefish, frog fish, and if you are very lucky a wonderpuss.
Last spot of the day is Batu Bolong. Strong currents grace the slopes and walls of this site with vibrant corals and nutrient-rich waters. You can find fishes from deeper waters such as Napoleon Wrasse and White Tip Sharks. You can also see Hawksbill Turtles, Surgeonfish, Lionfish, Clownfish, Porcupine fish and the Mandarin fish, among others.
Next, we will visit another iconic dive site, Castle Rock. Like its neighbour, the Crystal Rock, this site also features a lively macro marine environment. You can find enormous schools of Banner fish, Caesionidae fishes, Unicorn fish, and other small marine life also predators such as gray Reef Sharks, Barracudas, Tunas. If you’re diving early in the morning, you can even meet the Dolphins.
It features many beautiful landscapes like green hills, blue water, shallow beaches, bushes, and soothing wind. In the hills, you can find wild grasses. The atmosphere is quite similar to a savanna. This tourist spot is suitable for trekking and relaxing. Everyone would obtain great experiences here. Apart from trekking, you can also enjoy the water. It is clear and shallow. Make sure you don’t get too far, though.
Exploring Gili Laba.
This place is quite similar to Padar Island. It is due to its hills, actually. From the top of these hills, you can witness great scenery. Though, it takes much energy to get here. Make sure you have prepared enough stamina. In a nutshell, hiking is the most popular activity in Gili Laba. It is the main activity here. In order to reach the summit of the hill, you need to spend approximately 40 minutes. It can be either faster or slower. It depends on your stamina.
Today, many tourist agencies include Gili Laba into their vacation package. Before reaching Komodo National Park, your boats will visit some small islands. One of them is Gili Laba. You should be astonished by its hills. Moreover, it offers other attractions like beaches. The sand is soft and white. It is possible to perform some water sports like snorkeling and swimming. You can even relax near to the shorelines and enjoy sunbathing. No worries. There are no Komodo dragons nearby.
The most common animals in Gili Laba are small bugs and birds. That means you won’t encounter dangerous creatures here. When it comes to trekking, you should have prepared everything. These include stamina, bottled water, snacks, and a camera. You also need some trekking equipment. Once you reach the top, you can take some pictures or inhale the fresh air. The scenery is jaw-dropping. It definitely gives you a unique impression.
We begin day 5 on one of Komodo’s best dive locations, Crystal Rock. Located on the northwest tip of Komodo Island, this site is great for diving all year long! You can find lots of pelagic fish, pygmy seahorses, schools of pink, orange, and yellow anthias reef fishes, moray eels and scorpion fish. This technicolour underwater world features endless rows of beautiful, vibrant soft corals, with crystal clear water that provides you high visibility during your dives.
Next, we will head west. Just a few KM off the north east coast of Sumbawa, we will find the Sangeang Api complex, one of the most active volcanoes in the Lesser Sunda Islands. This site is host to one of the best kept secret diving sites and also features abundant black coral that are generally not found above 40 meters, elsewhere in the world.
Hot Rocks features colourful coral ledges. At 3 meters you’ll find a sandy patch where hydrothermal vents release a constant stream of bubbles. From 18 meters on, there are gorgonian fans where pygmy seahorses have been spotted.
Tikno, a drop-off with sandy slope reaches down to 31 meters. You can find black coral, sea whips with gobies living on them, orangutan crabs hiding in bubble coral, hawkfish amongst gorgonian, ornate ghost pipefish, and large barrel sponges for hairy squat lobsters.
Black Magic site has coral growth down to 30 meters with impressive visibility. Common sights include estuary seahorses, leaf scorpionfish, and demon stingers. You can also find the squarespot anthias found at depth and the saw blade shrimps in the black coral.
In Bonto site, you can find Shaun the Sheep sea slugs (Costasiella sp.) are often spotted on green algae of the Avrainvillea species, long-arm octopus. frogfish, mantis shrimp and ghost pipefish.
You can also opt for a land excursion from the fishing village in Bonto, Ikat making, Phinisi building boatyard and a volcano hike.
Explore Satonda Island, just off the coast of Sumbawa. Legend has it, this island was formed when the magma chamber of Satonda Volcano, located just a few miles away from Tambora volcano during the 1815 Year of No Summer, receded and the overlying peak collapsed into the void. This event formed the salt water-filled 240-meter deep caldera.
One of the highlights of the island is the trees full of hanging rocks and corals along the lake. It was told when the Animistic people of the island used these as an offering for their prayers. The lake can be reached by a small trail or the easier trail through a Resort. You will also find a magnificent Banyan tree overlooking the shore, this tree is believed to be the most sacred tree on the island. There is, apparently, also a lighthouse but it might be a little difficult to reach. You can also cool down and snorkel around the coast with plenty of reef fishes.
Situated just on the mouth of Saleh bay, Moyo Island is a savannah with a nature reserve for wild game and a great variety bird species. Best visit from from June through August though the water is calm from April. Surrounded by beautiful coral reefs and home to wild pig, monitor lizards, bats, native deer and hordes of crab-eating macaques. 15 minutes from Tanjung Pasir, east to Stama reef, you can dive with sharks and turtles.
We sail back to the Komodo National park and make a stop in Gili Banta. This site is where the Pacific and Indian oceans meet. Drift along the current and explore the vast reefs, teemed with live, perfect for schooling fish, sharks, octopus, amazing corals, and manta rays swimming by.
Continuing our journey through the north side of the park, there are a few other dive sites that we can visit like the Cauldron or the Shotgun and Golden Passage. These sites offer a kaleidoscope of corals and trevally, snapper, sharks, rays and the occasional turtle.
Tatawa Kecil offers a world-class drift diving site known as Tatawa Kecil. An abundance of small colourful fish, caves, and an impressive field of coral gardens. You can find species like snappers, giant groupers, sweetlips, bumphead parrotfishes and bamboo sharks. Currents can be quite strong during new and full moon even for experienced divers.
Tatawa Besar situated on the north tip of Tatawa Island. This site features a long stretch of orange corals, barrel sponge and a vast diversity of reef fishes. With crystal clear visibility, you can find giant manta rays, hawksbill turtles, barracudas, parrotfishes, blacktip reef sharks and also crocodiles, octopus in the hard-coral field. A good option when the Tatawa Kecil site current is too strong.
We arrive back in Labuan Bajo harbour in the morning and enjoy a relaxed breakfast before finally saying goodbye to the crew and departure for the airport for your connecting flight.