The Komodo Islands tour is a popular boat trip to Indonesia’s most beautiful islands near Flores, East Nusa Tenggara. Revered for its incredibly diverse scenery both on land and underwater, this set of idyllic islands is nothing short of magical and a designated UNESCO site.
Think crystal-clear waters filled with coral and fish, dreamy rose-hued beaches, epic viewpoints, and hikes through dense forests for a chance to spot Komodo dragons in their natural habitat! Little wonder, it’s one of the best things to do in Labuan Bajo and a huge must on any Indonesian bucket list.
If you plan to go island hopping in Komodo, here’s everything you need to know about the Komodo Islands boat tour – from what to expect to the best attractions to booking your trip and, of course, all my tips.
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Table of Contents
Before You Go
The main jump-off point to the iconic Komodo islands is the sleepy fishing town of Labuan Bajo, located at the westernmost tip of Flores Island. The easiest way to get to Labuan Bajo is by catching a quick flight to Komodo Airport. Direct flights are available from major cities in Indonesia, such as Jakarta, Bali, Surabaya, and a few other spots. Search flights and compare prices here on Skyscanner.
How to Access the Komodo Islands
The only way to access the Komodo islands is by boat from Labuan Bajo. It’s easy to arrange a Komodo tour online in advance, through your hotel, or at one of the many travel agencies or tourist booths in town. Each Komodo islands tour package is a little different, so I recommend doing proper research in advance so that you can choose the best tour for you.
When choosing a Komodo Island boat tour, the first thing you’ll need to decide is how much time you have. Another thing to consider is your budget. The three main options to tour the Komodo Islands are slow boat, speed boat, or liveaboard.
Komodo Tour Boat Options
- Slow Boat: If you’re strapped for cash, your best bet is a slow boat tour. Just know that you’ll probably spend more time on the boat than exploring the islands.
- Speed Boat: A great way to maximize your time and see all of Komodo’s best gems is on a full-day speed boat tour. While it’s a bit more expensive than the slow boat, it’s worth every penny. We booked this full-day tour with D’Tour, and I cannot recommend it enough! The trip was extremely well planned, with sufficient time to snorkel and explore each spot. Moreover, it included a tasty lunch, snacks, drinks, and a hotel pick-up and drop-off.
- Liveaboard: If you have more time in Komodo, why not consider a multi-day sailing adventure? On a liveaboard, you’ll get to spend a few nights on a boat and explore the islands at a much slower pace. There are oodles of different packages ranging in length and price. Before booking a liveaboard, though, check the fine print carefully. You’ll want to ensure that the package includes pick-ups and drop-offs at your hotel, meals, water, and snorkeling equipment. Here’s one for every budget: Budget | Mid-range | Luxury
Komodo National Park Entrance Fee
Since the Komodo Islands are part of the Komodo National Park, visitors must pay a national park entrance fee. These fees are usually not included in the boat tour packages, so bring cash to cover the extra costs.
There is a bit of confusion about how much the actual park fee is. We were told to bring IDR 350,000 but only paid IDR 300,000 per person. To be safe, bring IDR 300,000 – 400,000 for the entrance fee.
It’s also a good idea to bring extra cash along on your trip to buy drinks and snacks at the islands. While most excursions provide lunch, snacks, and beverages, you’ll definitely want to refuel (or at the very least grab a Bingtang) – you’ll need it after all that hiking, swimming, snorkeling, and tracking down Komodo dragons.
Full-Day Komodo Islands Tour: What to Expect & Highlights
Padar Island is one of the highlights of any Komodo island hopping trip.
Straight out of a scene of Jurassic Park, Padar Island is famous for its breathtaking landscape boasting three turquoise bays, each with a different color of sand (pink, ebony, and ivory).
You can hike all the way to the top for an unobstructed view of the entire island and its trio-colored beaches. However, you should know that getting to the summit is not the easiest task. There are 820 steps to climb and then a bit more scrambling over rocks and sand. While you certainly don’t need to go to the tippy top to experience the jaw-dropping beauty of this island, it’s highly recommendable because the views from above are absolutely mind-blowing!
The hike takes about 30-40 minutes to the top, and you’re almost guaranteed to break a sweat. Bring some water for the trek – you’ll start huffing and puffing about halfway up, especially if you’re visiting summer. It’s also advisable to wear proper sneakers (or hiking shoes) as the stone steps near the summit are pretty crumbled and loose.
If you want to see Padar Island covered in lush greenery, it’s best to visit after the rainy season—plan for April to June. We went in August, and while it was quite dry, it was still absolutely breathtaking!
Travel tip: Don’t bring your drone to Padar Island because you won’t be able to fly it!
Indonesia is one of only a few places in the world where you can see pink sand beaches. And if you’re visiting Komodo National Park, you’re in for a real treat.
As you probably guessed, Pink Beach is known for its rosy-tinted sands, and yes, it’s just as dreamy as you imagine (if not more)! The striking hue results from the crushed shells of tiny organisms known as Foraminifera that live in the coral reefs. When these reddish bits of shell mix with reef sand and other crumbled coral, it creates the pastel hue pink beaches are so famous for.
Once ashore, get ready to channel your inner Barbie because you’ll take a million and one photos here! After an intense photo shoot, cool off in the crystal-clear waters or work on your tan beachside. There are also a couple of warungs dotted along the beach where you can grab some snacks or sit back with an ice-cold Bintang or a freshly cracked coconut under the shade. Just know that things are seriously overpriced here! Expect to pay IDR 70,000 for a small Bintang.
Komodo National Park is the only place in the world where you can spot Komodo dragons in the wild, and probably one of the main reasons you’ve traveled to this remote corner of the world.
Komodo dragons actually live on (and swim between) several islands within the Komodo National Park. And for the best chance to spot these giant reptiles, your boat tour will take you to either Komodo Island or Rinca Island. We visited Komodo Island, which is home to about 1300 Komodo dragons.
A couple of trails run through the rugged jungles of Komodo Island, varying in length. But since you’ve joined a day tour, you’ll likely only have time to do the shortest trek. The walk is about 30 minutes long, and two experienced guides will accompany you. The path is flat and easy to walk, but it’s a good idea to bring your water bottle along to stay hydrated.
You’re almost guaranteed to see at least a few dragons (we saw two), and with the guide’s help, you can even take pictures with them! Just remember, Komodo dragons are extremely dangerous. And while they don’t usually attack humans, this has happened in the past. Stick with your guide, don’t stray off the path, and always stay at least 5-6 meters away from the dragons if you spot one!
Travel tip for all the ladies out there: If you’ve done your research on Komodo, you probably know that Komodos can smell blood miles away. While our guide didn’t mention anything, it might be a good idea to plan your trip around your cycle or, at the very least, disclose it to your guide. Just in case!
Next up on your Komodo Island day tour excursion in Manta Point. And as its name suggests, it’s THE place to spot giant manta rays in the Komodo Islands! I spotted two!
While manta rays are the shining star here, you might spot a few other sea creatures if you’re lucky! These include everything from turtles to unicorn fish to even sharks!
Manta Point has a vibe similar to Shark Point in Koh Phi Phi – so expect to jump off the boat into deep blue sea waters literally in the middle of nowhere! The water is about 10m deep here, but there is a very strong current. Make sure you stick with your group! And if you’re not a strong swimmer, it might not be a good idea to swim here.
Taka Makassar is a spec of soft sand floating in the Flores Sea that will leave you oohing and ahh-ing as you approach it.
Situated not too far from Manta Point, this beautiful banana-shaped sandbar forms part of the largest reef in the Komodo National Park. It features soft sand and crystal clear water filled with colorful coral and even more colorful fish. As a result, it’s one of the best snorkeling spots in the Komodo National Park.
Since it’s quite shallow here, you can swim (and in some sections even walk out) to the pink-tinted sandbar for postcard views over it and the surrounding islands. The sandbar is not very big, but you could easily spend a good amount of time here – swimming, snorkeling, beachcombing, or taking photos.
Beautiful Kanawa Island is the last stop on your full-day boat tour of the Komodo Islands. It is the closest island to Labuan Bajo and your last chance to work in a bit of snorkeling before heading back to civilization.
Besides its tranquil setting, what really makes Kanawa Island so unique is its pristine waters brimming with a kaleidoscope of marine life. The water here is crystal clear – so much so that you can even spot schools of fish swimming in coral gardens right from the pier!
Plop down on the white sandy beach if you’ve had your fill of snorkeling for the day. There’s also a cool swing for all the Instagrammers out there and a tiny warung (look out for the blue hut) where you can kick back with an ice-cold Bintang and some snacks as you watch the day’s last rays melt away over the Flores Sea.
Where to Stay
For the ultimate glamping experience on a secluded island, book yourself in at the dreamy Le Pirate Island. You’ll be off the grid here with little to no cellphone reception and only a solar power set-up, but it’s a small price to pay if you really want to embrace island life at its best.
If that’s not for you, your best bet is to base yourself in Labuan Bajo. The town has a good selection of hotels and hostels catering to all budgets and many shops and eateries. Here are my top picks:
AYANA Komodo is a fantastic 5-star resort for those looking for an upscale stay in Labuan Bajo. The hotel features beautifully decorated, spacious rooms, several onsite restaurants, an infinity pool, and direct beach access.
If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable without sacrificing style or comfort, another great upscale option is Loccal Collection Hotel. This Greek-themed 4-star hotel features stunning views over the port, lovely decorated rooms, and the dreamiest infinity pool imaginable.
For budget travelers, Seaesta Komodo Hotel & Hostel is a great base with dorm and private rooms for those who value their privacy. The hotel also has a lovely rooftop pool area with great views over the ocean.
Still need more options? Search for the best hotel deals in Labuan Bajo here on Agoda.
Best Time To Visit Komodo
The best time to visit the Komodo Islands is during the dry season, which runs from March to October. During these months, the area experiences the least rain, and it’s prime time for diving, snorkeling, beaching, and hiking.
July and August are the busiest months to visit Komodo, Indonesia. If you’re planning a trip during these months, make sure you book accommodation well in advance.
What to Pack for a Komodo Island Hopping Trip
Along with all the usual stuff you’ll bring on a boating adventure (swimsuit, cap, shades, camera), here are a few more items I highly recommend bringing with you:
- Seasickness medicine: I don’t suffer from seasickness, but if you get queasy easily, bringing some Dramamine along on your Komodo Island day trip is a good idea.
- Reef-safe sunscreen: Being out on the boat and in the water all day is just a recipe for sunburn. Pack a reef-safe high-SPF sunscreen to protect you and the marine life. This Sun Bum SPF 70 spray is my go-to.
- Portable power bank: You’re going to take a lot of pictures – trust me! Bring a portable power bank to ensure your phone never runs out of juice.
- Waterproof phone case: Bring a waterproof phone case to capture the colorful coral gardens and tropical fish Komodo is so famous for.
- Dry Bag: Pack a lightweight dry bag to help keep all your stuff dry while on the boat.
- Quick Drying Towel: You’ll need a lightweight, quick-drying towel if you’re beaching, swimming, or snorkeling. I love this Turkish beach towel. Not only does it dry in a jiffy, sand does not stick to it!
Komodo Islands Day Tour in Conclusion
Joining a Komodo tour is a huge must-do on any visit to Flores! Whether you’re visiting for nature, dragons, or endless snorkeling and diving opportunities, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable experience.
Well, that wraps up this full-day Komodo island-hopping guide! Have you visited the Komodo Islands? Feel free to share your top tips, island highlights, best tours, and everything in between in the comments below!
Don’t forget to save this Komodo Islands tour for your next island hopping adventure!