I pretty much had my heart set on seeing Komodo Island from the time we decided to go to Indonesia, even though it wasn’t really that close to Bali, and even though I had a really hard time finding information about how to get there, where to stay, etc.
I blame the constant showings of Komodo dragon documentaries on Animal Planet.
We ended up booking a cheap flight from Denpasar to Labuan Bajo, and then taking a boat from there. We decided to go to Rinca Island instead because it’s smaller, so it’s a lot more likely that you’ll get to see Komodo dragons there.
You can also see monkeys, wild boars, deer, and wild horses on Rinca. I would have done unspeakable things to see a wild horse, but alas, it was not in the cards.
It’s about 2 hours by boat from Labuan Bajo, but it was a gorgeous day, and the view is so beautiful that it goes by really fast. We paid about $20 per person, plus a few dollars for the entry fee into the National Park. You also have to pay a small fee to bring in a camera.
Once you get to the island, you get off your boat, and are assigned a guide, and you set off on a hike in a loop to the top of the hill to see the view, stopping to see any dragons along the way, and to see the nests where the Komodo dragons lay their eggs.
Luckily for us, the day we were there a lot of dragons had decided to come out, and were wandering around and sunbathing, so we saw about 10 of them before we even started up the hill.
Unfortunately, we’d climbed Pura Lempuyang two days earlier, and my legs were still too sore to walk properly, so I was basically resigned to the fact that if any of the Komodo dragons decided to chase me I was probably going to be eaten.
Our guides were really friendly and knowledgeable, and carried big sticks to defend us, just in case. There were about eight other people in our group, from all over the world. One of the guys in our group was from France, and instead of bringing a camera, he brought a sketch book and made drawings of everything we saw.
It was probably the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen anyone do, ever.
The hike wasn’t very strenuous, but the view from the top was amazing. It actually weirdly reminded me of walking up the hills in the valley near my house in Saskatchewan when I was little, probably because of the dead, brown grass.
Indonesia and Saskatchewan are really quite similar, it’s a little known fact.
Out of everything we have done so far on our trip, I think this was probably the coolest. I felt very lucky to be able to go trekking for Komodo dragons in their natural habitat, it was an unforgettable experience.