Discover the land of Dragons!
- Cost: £1,650 for 7 days/6 nights, all inclusive of costs on Flores and the Komodo islands (not inclusive of flights to/from Flores).
- Start Point: Jakarta International Airport, Indonesia.
- End Point: Jakarta International Airport, Indonesia.
- Dates: Sunday January 6th, 2019 to Saturday January 12th, 2019. We have planned this trip to take place immediately after the 2018 Christmas Island crab spawning event. Those undertaking the Christmas Island trip will return to Jakarta on Saturday January 5th, 2019. We will then fly to Flores on Sunday January 6th, 2019 to begin this adventure.
Alternatively, we can set up a bespoke Flores and Komodo Island trip for you at any point during the year. Late January, February and March have rainy weather. April and May are recommended. June, July and August are not recommended as these months are the Komodo Dragons’ mating season (this is the hardest time to see them, and also when the Komodo Islands are busiest). September, October, November, December and the first week of January are excellent times to visit (especially October and November).
- Group Size: 6–10
- Bespoke Tour: If you do not wish to join a group tour, we can customise a private trip to fit your dates and interests. Please email us for details and a quote.
The Komodo Islands are the stuff of legends. A remote tropical paradise ruled by dragons... or more accurately... the largest lizards alive on Earth today. Known as Varanus komodoensis, the dragons can measure up to 3 m in length and weigh up to 70 kg.
This unique adventure takes you on a journey across the island of Flores (where the dragons also live), to the spectacular multi-coloured crater lakes of Kelimutu volcano, to villages of the Ngada people to see their unique thatched ceremonial houses and to the village of Bena, home to megaliths and long-tailed macaques. The climax of the trip comes as we reach the west of Flores and travel by boat to Komodo, Rinca and Padar Islands, all home to diverse wildlife, unbelievable scenery, some of the best coral reef snorkelling in the world, and the famous dragons which we observe in their natural habitat, safely with skilled local rangers as our guides!
Join this adventure to see the best highlights of Komodo and Flores!
Explore the land of the dragon, and see this unique reptile up close and personal!
The Komodo National Park is a bright jewel in Indonesia’s diverse archipelago. The park is formed of three big islands: Komodo, Rinca and Padar, plus many smaller islets making a total of 2,321 Km2 of protected land and sea.
Approximately 5,700 dragons call this stunning part of Indonesia home. The dragons were first documented by Europeans in 1910, when rumours of a “land crocodile” reached the Dutch colonial administration.
Seeing Komodo dragons in the wild is an unforgettable experience. When accompanied by skilled local rangers, visits to the habitat of the dragon can be undertaken safely, allowing for incredible photo opportunities. But we must respect the dragons at all times, and remember their powerful and fierce nature. Even seemingly docile dragons may become unpredictably aggressive, especially when the animal’s territory is invaded by someone unfamiliar.
When arriving in Komodo National Park, we will receive clear and detailed instructions: don’t look directly at a Komodo dragon, keep your head down, walk only along the trails, stay together with your group, one ranger goes in the front the group and the other in the back. Never go to the toilet alone, and girls on their period need extra attention and double security, as the dragons can smell the blood and might be more likely to attack. By law, we will be accompanied by a rangers (who has years of experience guiding tourists in the Komodo National Park).
Many visitors are surprised at how slow and seemingly lazy the dragons are for much of the day. Dragons are often spotted sleeping, or lying on the ground digesting their last meal, or walking slowly looking for food. From a respectful and safe distance, we may observe these majestic animals and watch individuals interact.
Trekking across Komodo, Rinca and Padar Islands is not difficult, and we will follow several excellent trails to the best dragon locations. The trails also offer the opportunity to see diverse birdlife and spectacular scenery. The view across Padar Island (which has several curved bays set amongst mountainous scenery) is one of the most spectacular views in all of Asia.
The Komodo National Park is also home to some of the best coral reefs in Indonesia (even some of the best reefs in the world according to many divers). We can spend time visiting Komodo Island’s unique Pink Beach, and snorkelling in the National Park’s pristine waters to see the diverse underwater marine life.
For those interested in scuba diving, we can arrange dive trip extensions, including live-aboard trips in luxury sailing vessels to sail around the Komodo National Park to reach the very best dive locations! Please contact us for details.
Those undertaking the Christmas Island Adventure will arrive in Jakarta the night before Day 1. We can overnight in the airport hotel at Jakarta International Airport (rooms can be booked for you, if required).
Day 1: Meet early morning at Jakarta International Airport and fly to Maumere on the island of Flores. We meet our team of guides at Maumere, and transfer by vehicle (approx 3 hours) to Moni village at the foot of Kelimutu volcano. Along the way, we van visit Jopu village to see an ancient ceremonial Saoria house built by the local Liones tribe. At Moni, we enjoy dinner in a local restaurant and accommodation at a hotel.
Day 2: An early morning wake up call for departure to the Kelimutu volcano. We recommend departing prior to sunrise, but participants can decide the departure time as a group. A short, easy walk along a path with steps (approx 30 minutes) takes us to a lookout point to wait for a spectacular sunrise (bring torch / flashlight). Kelimutu means Mountain of the Spirits, and this volcano is known for its famous three coloured lakes in craters at the summit: turquoise, red, brown and black that arise from differing concentrations of dissolved minerals. The lakes change colour with the changing light of the morning. The amazing lake colours are best in daylight. As we descend, we may see long tailed macaques. We have breakfast back at our hotel, then continue our journey westwards, driving through the beautiful landscape via Ende to Bajawa. We stop at Wologai Village to see numerous ceremonial Saoria houses (often a good place to by civet coffee (coffee luwak)), we then visit a striking blue stone beach (where we have lunch), enjoy beautiful views of the Ebulobo volcano, visit Nagekeo village (home to gigantic, 2 m wide water buffalo horns said to be 800 years old) and Wogo village, home to fascinating traditional thatched houses, and ngadu (male) and bhaga (female) shrines/sacrifice huts. On reaching Bajawa, we enjoy dinner in a local restaurant and accommodation at a hotel.
Day 3: After breakfast, we visit the traditional village of Bena, situated about 16 km from Bajawa at the foot of Mount Inerie. Home to the Ngada people, it is full of fascinating stone megaliths and ancestral shrines, as well as traditional houses. The village consists of two parallel rows of traditional, high thatch-roofed buildings. Prominent in the center of the village are ngadhu and bhaga, pairs of shrines/sacrifice huts – one for each clan of the village – representing the clan’s ancestors. We enjoy a guided tour around Bena, and can buy locally crafted ikat (tie-dyed woven cloth sarongs with beautiful motif patterns). At the end of the village, elevated on a small hill, a viewpoint affords breath-taking views of Bena, Mount Inerie and the Savu Sea. We then continue our drive west and can stop at a small village specialised in making palm wine, to see how traditional alcoholic spirits are brewed in Flores. We then visit a view point overlooking the unique spider web rice padi fields near Cancar town, and continue our drive to Labuan Bajo, arriving late in the evening.
NOTE: as a group, we can collectively decide whether we use Labuan Bajo as our base for the next three nights (as detailed below), or (if everyone agrees), we can instead spend the next three nights on a live-aboard boat, motoring around the Komodo Islands (this offers the benefit of avoiding transit times motoring from Labuan Bajo to the islands). The boat option will only be selected if everyone is comfortable with sleeping on board a boat.
Day 4: Early breakfast and transfer by boat to Rinca Island to meet rangers for safety briefing. The rangers guide us safely along trails to spot dragons as well as diverse bird life, and possibly wild water buffalo, native deer, boars and macaques. During October, November, December and January, we may see dragons on their nests, guarding their eggs. Leaving Rinca, we cruise back to Lanuab Bajo past Kalong Island as the sun sets to watch the orange sky fill with hundreds of giant fruit bats flying from the island’s shores. It is an incredible spectacle to see so many dark wings contrasting with the sunset colours in the sky. Dinner in a local restaurant. Accommodation at a hotel at Labuan Bajo.
Day 5: Optional very early start to reach Padar Island in time for sunrise over one of the world’s most spectacular island views. An easy 30 min track (along a walk way with steps) takes us to a view point in the centre of Padar to view the island’s many dramatically curved bays set amongst mountainous scenery. Breakfast on board our boat, then transfer to Komodo Island to explore Komodo’s trails. The dragons on Komodo Island are larger than those found on Rinca and Padar. With luck, we encounter some along the trails, or close to the ranger station. Return to Labuan Bajo in the evening. Dinner in a local restaurant. Accommodation at a hotel at Labuan Bajo.
Day 6: We return back to Komodo Island for a final chance to see dragons. Komodo Island is home to souvenir markets where craftsmen from Komodo village sell beautiful carvings of the dragons. We can visit the famous Pink Beach (made of pinkish sand that is a mix of white sand and little pieces of red coral). The beach is a surreal landscape, framed by clear warm water filled with colourful fish and coral. For those that so wish, there are excellent snorkelling locations around Komodo, Padar and Rinca Islands which we can visit. We can also motor to Manta Point (off Komodo Islands) where manta rays can often be sighted from the decks of vessels. Dolphins are also often seen. Return to Labuan Bajo in the evening. Dinner in a local restaurant. Accommodation at a hotel at Labuan Bajo.
Day 7: After breakfast (if departing flights are later than 11 am), we have the option of visiting local souvenir markets and the dramatic Batu Cermin caves, home to stalactites, stalagmites and bats. We then transfer to Labuan Bajo airport and say goodbye to our guides, before flying to Jakarta in time for onward flights to transport us home.
CHRISTMAS ISLAND CRAB MIGRATION: we have specifically designed this Komodo Dragon Adventure to run immediately after our Christmas Island Adventure (see our catalogue under Australia). Those that wish to undertake the Christmas Island trip will fly to Jakarta at the end of that expedition to join the participants of the Komodo Dragon Adventure group. We will all then fly from Jakarta to Maumere to begin our journey across Flores and Komodo. Join us for just the Komodo Dragon Adventure, OR both the Christmas Island Adventure and the Komodo Dragon Adventure to see two of Asia’s most incredible natural wonders!
Numerous flights with multiple carriers fly from Jakarta and Bali to Maumere (for the start of this trip) and from Labuan Bajo (at the end of this trip). Jakarta and Bali can be reached from major airports across the world. If you fly via Bali, it is easy to add a relaxing beach holiday before or after this trip in one of Bali’s luxurious resorts.
Adventure Rating: Moderate
We can organise diving trips around the Komodo National Park on live-aboard vessels, or a great 2-day to the fascinating thatched conical “drum houses” of Wae Rebo village. Please email us for details. CHRISTMAS ISLAND CRAB MIGRATION: we have specifically designed this Komodo Dragon Adventure to run immediately after our Christmas Island Adventure (see our catalogue under Australia). Those that wish to undertake the Christmas Island trip will fly to Jakarta at the end of that expedition to join the participants of the Komodo Dragon Adventure group. We will all then fly from Jakarta to Maumere to begin our journey across Flores and Komodo. Join us for just the Komodo Dragon Adventure, OR both the Christmas Island Adventure and the Komodo Dragon Adventure to see two of Asia’s most incredible natural wonders!