Sailing The Dragon’s Den
With 3 major islands and at least 26 smaller ones, Komodo National Park is one of the most prized destination of Indonesia. The massive area and distance means that liveaboard (multi nights boat trip) is the best way to explore and enjoy the area.
That is what we precisely did back in May on board Leyla Liveaboard.
Our trip starts at 9am with a pickup directly in front of our resort where we stayed the night before. The small boat takes us to Leyla, where after a quick tour and welcome drinks, we set sail for the park, some 3 hours away.
The national park is dotted by many islands characterized by rolling savannas and jagged hills. It was predominantly green and yellow when we sailed as rainy season have just concluded, but they would turn brown towards the year end. The fantastic view all around made the 3 hours trip very enjoyable, especially on the sundeck of the boat. Before we know it, lunch time has arrived.
Afterwards, our first real action commences on the waters. Michelle went diving, while I settled for snorkeling. Away from the crowded spots, we were the only ones experiencing the underwater beauty of Batu Pengah. Marked by a stone hill some miles off Pengah Island, the underwater is teeming with healthy corals and the usual marine life. I saw a humongous pufferfish while Michelle had a close encounter with two hawksbill turtles.
Sunset was fast approaching, and we decided to enjoy it at one of, if not the most, iconic place in Indonesia: Padar Island. You’ve probably seen it somewhere before, jawdropping landscape of four distinct beaches curving left and right, portrayed by exotic and textured hills.
It truly was magical to see first hand, and worth the 800 steps of climbing to reach the top.
There we were, enjoying a glass of Chardonnay while watching the sky turn yellow to purple to dark.
Rising early the next day, we visited the Komodo islands for a walk to see the dragons firsthand. Doing this walk early was great as there’s less people, the temperature is less hot, and the dragons are more active.
After a leisurely afternoon and some more snorkeling and diving, we sailed towards the eastern part of the park, where a nature’s show takes place every sunset. At dusk, thousands of massive fruit bats will fly out of their small mangrove islands in search of food at the mainland, making an amazing spectacle to witness.
Following this, a special beach dinner is prepared for us at a nearby secluded island. The island faces south, which in Indonesia means the direction of milkyway sky at the month of May - October. Together with the fact that you are enjoying dinner at a remote beach with no one else make this a truly magical experience.
At this point, we wished that we had more nights to spend on boat. At least three nights are ideal for exploring the main sites, and up to eight nights if you want to see everything the park has to offer.
We will be back for sure!
Chris and Michelle