How to Choose the Perfect Komodo Islands Boat Tour: Factors to Consider + Recommendations

Looking to embrace your inner Jurassic Park fantasy? Queue the music! The islands of Komodo in East Nusa Tenggara are home to the dinosaur-like Komodo Dragons. However if you’re thinking a Komodo Island tour is just for reptile lovers like myself, you’re completely mistaken!

The island of Komodo is a haven for travellers who are looking to escape the Bali bustle and try to hike a stunning landscape, swim with mantas and turtles, laze on a pink beach and sail on the calmest of oceans.

Perfect for ALL TRAVELLERS, the flora and fauna are Indonesia’s finest and as popularity increases for this coveted destination, there is a paramount need for more information about planning a Komodo Island boat trip to this island. Komodo tours have become a bucket-list-worthy experience and a need is present for information about which is the best boat tour to Komodo Island for you!

Man on Komodo Islands boat tour looking out onto sunset ocean scene on phinisi boat deck
Stunning Komodo Islands sunset scene on Phinisi boat deck

What I love even more about this incredible destination is that to tour Komodo, you have to travel by boat! Komodo island boat trips make for a lovely isolating adventure of seclusion, distance, and an ocean dip whenever you please.

This article covers how to choose a Komodo Island Boat tour which involves sleeping on the boat, there are however options that include one-day trips by boat from Labuan Bajo if you prefer to stay on land.

As there are a LARGE NUMBER of Komodo Island boat tours, this article outlines what factors you should consider when choosing a liveaboard/boat trip. Komodo islands Indonesia is a powerhouse of a trip, BUT there’s a bit more to consider than just the price tag!

aerial view of Padar islands a destination on Komodo Islands boat tour of Komodo National Park
Aerial view of Padar Island – a destination on the Komodo Islands boat tour

What to Consider when Choosing a Komodo Islands Boat Tour

Open or private tour

Type of Boat: Standard/ Pinisi/ Yacht

Cabins: Private/shared/no cabin

Bathroom: Private/shared

Type of Toilet

Hot Water

Electricity

Air-conditioning

Maximum capacity of the boat

Lounging Deck

Allowing to Bringing aboard food/beverages

Destinations visited

Price of the Tour

I totally wish I had found an article like this before I toured Komodo Island because I spent more than a month figuring out all this information myself since it was my first liveaboard boat trip in Indonesia.

DISCLAIMER: Due to my budget (or lack thereof) if unfortunately not been able to test every single tour offered to the Komodo Islands, however, I’ve sourced information from guests’ first-hand experiences, TripAdvisor reviews, and MY OWN personal experiences. Images of the boat and interiors depicted are a combination of my own as well as images sent from the various tour companies (they have been enhanced for aesthetic purposes of the blog. I hope this helps to make your decision on your Komodo tour package.

Beautiful mountainous and ocean landscapes you see on Komodo trip to Komodo Islands Boat tour in Komodo National Park

Open versus Private Trip

OPEN: You’re on a trip with other people in a group you don’t know i.e.: sharing the same boat

PRIVATE: Exclusive boat for yourself and/or your group

Find me an awesome Komodo Islands Boat Tour

Types of Boat

In research of tours to Indonesia’s Komodo islands, you’ll find several offerings but they do not always specify which type of boat is being used.

It is important to know the type of boat being used as this will give you an indication of the amenities and number of people, type of cabins, and size of the boat you’ll travel and sleep within. The types are listed below:

STANDARD BOAT: A smaller boat option with no air-conditioning and basic amenities (no hot water), no private cabins (usually 8 to 12 people excluding crew). This can be used for an open or private trip.

standard Boat with or without AC used for Komodo Islands Boat tour to Komodo National Park
Standard Boat with/ without AC used for Komodo Islands Boat tour to Komodo National Park

STANDARD BOAT WITH AC: A smaller boat option with basic amenities (no hot water) and only sharing cabins (usually 8 to 12 people excluding crew). This can be used for an open or private trip.

Traditional Phinisi boat used for Komodo Islands boat tour to Komodo Islands and Komodo National Park
Traditional Phinisi boat most commonly used for the Komodo Islands boat tour

TRADITIONAL PINISI BOAT: Has private and shared cabin options. All cabins have air-conditioning. It usually hosts between a minimum of 12 people and a maximum of 22 people. This can also be used for open or private trips.

LUXURY BOAT/ YACHTS: These are often used for private tours of small groups and will have every amenity you could ask for along with stunning décor. I will not delve too much into this option as there are websites that have plenty of information about what is on offer on their own websites with this Komodo tour package – here are a few picks below to give you an idea.

Komodo Islands Boat tour luxury yacht option
Luxury Mantra Yacht
Komodo islands Boat Tour Ayana luxury cruise boat showing aerial view of upper deck
Aerial view of upper deck Ayana Luxury Komodo Cruise
Komodo islands boat tour sequoia luxury yacht deck with sun loungers
Sun loungers on deck of Luxury yacht for Komodo Islands boat tour
Interior of Ayana Lako dia luxury yacht used for Komodo Islands boat tour
Interior of Ayana Lako dia luxury yacht used for Komodo Islands boat tour

Try this Komodo Islands: Private 2-Day Tour with Phinisi Boat Stay

Cabins: Private/ Shared/ No cabin

This is super important when travelling to Komodo Dragon Islands especially because, unlike a hotel, there’s a finite number of rooms and it’s not like you can just move to another if you’re unhappy. There is no front desk or concierge to ring if you need something urgently.

You need to know what you’re getting in your Komodo trip BEFORE you get on the boat.

The cabin options will depend on the type of boat that’s used, but generally, there are two (but sometimes three) options: private or shared cabins.

Private Cabins

Private cabin on Phinisi Boat used for Komodo islands boat tour showing double bedroom in wooden cabin room with AC and window
One of the nicer private rooms on a Phinisi Boat – images advertised however are not always exactly what you get though
Phinisi Boat Private wooden cabin with double bed and AC used for Komodo Islands boat tours

I’m unfortunately no longer in the backpacking stage of my life (or fortunately? Lol I’m not sure), so my preference was a private cabin and private bathroom. On certain boats you will also find private cabins without a private bathroom, so you’ll need to make sure your Komodo package tour boat includes this.

Shared Cabins

Shared cabins are great if you’re travelling as a group or are keen to make friends and don’t mind sharing your space, but let me just say space is a commodity on a boat!

If you’re a small backpack type-of-person it’ll be super easy to handle a shared cabin, but considering cabins are usually for a maximum of 4 or 6 people, that’s a lot of people!

shared cabin on Phinisi boat used for Komodo Islands boat tours to Komodo National Park depicted two sets of bunk beds in wooden cabin
An idea of space and layout of a 4-person shared cabin on a Phinisi Boat
shared cabin on Phinisi boat used for Komodo Islands boat tours to Komodo National Park depicted two sets of double beds in wooden cabin
Shared cabin on Phinisi boat with two sets of double beds
shared cabin with bunk beds on pinisi boat for Komodo island boat tours
Shared cabin on Phinisi boat with two double beds

Even if you’re an easy-going hostel frequenting traveller a shared cabin still is a lot smaller than most dormitories so it’s great if you’re with people you know already cause not everybody is considerate of other’s space.

Check out this incredible Private 5-Day Komodo National Park Cruise from Labuan Bajo

No Cabin

I’ve seen on a couple of Komodo tour packages (mainly the larger boats), that there is the option to sleep on deck! This is obviously an option for the very low-maintenance traveller that’s truly willing to embrace the ocean boat vibe! #decklife

It’s really a lovely option for the carefree traveller that doesn’t need the bells and whistles of an actual room and is simply happy embracing true boat life and sleeping below the stars.

The unfortunate downfall of this is that they obviously have nowhere to leave their belongings which obliviously has its security issues, nor have the option for any privacy.

Find me a Komodo Tour with Klook

Man looking out onto ocean on Komodo islands boat tour from Phinisi boat with sunset scene

Inside Cabin Amenities

Bathroom

On a boat, most bathroom amenities are basic unless you’re on a luxury yacht.

Private or Shared

basic bathroom with western toilet and shower in Pinisi boat for Komodo Islands boat tour
Basic bathroom on Phinisi boat

Many people do have a preference for a private bathroom so this can be a major decision-maker in the Komodo boat tour choosing process.

The Pinisi boat will have a basic shower system, a sink with or without running water, and a toilet.

The bathroom is usually of the Asian style which we usually call a wet room.

western toilet in shared cabin of phinisi boat for Komodo Islands boat tour

A wet room is basically where the shower, toilet, and sink are all in the same space, and whilst showering your toilet will also get wet.

If you’re looking for a great bathroom then you’re definitely going to need to go the luxury or yacht option!

Toilet Type

An important question would be to ask if they have an Asian (squat) toilet or a western-style toilet.

western style toilet and shower wet room bathroom on Phinisi Boat for Komodo Islands Boat tour
‘Western-style’ toilet and shower wet room bathroom on Phinisi boat

The water on the boat also usually won’t be drinkable, so make sure you have drinking water to brush your teeth but this is often provided in your Komodo island tour packages.

Try this friend-making 3D2N Open Trip All-Inclusive Live On Board Komodo Islands Boat Tour 

Hot Water

So this is definitely a luxury to find on a boat. There is often no hot water on the standard boats, On the Pinisi there sometimes will be hot water, on the luxury boats there will be hot water.

Given the tropical nature and humidity of Indonesia, you definitely think that needing hot water wouldn’t be a necessity and it isn’t.

Although being out on the ocean, the cooler sea breeze is prevalent and after a long day of swimming, beach lounging, and hiking, it’s nice to come back to a warm shower but it really isn’t necessary.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: The Pinisi boat we had actually said that there wouldn’t be hot water and when we opened the shower and had warm water which was a welcome surprise – so moral of the story is: Keep your expectations low!

Air Conditioning

A nice plus for the tour to Komodo National Park is for the cabin to have air conditioning! The space is pretty small so it’s great to have some air circulation even if the windows are open, the breeze doesn’t always get in.

Even if it’s just a wall-mounted fan it’s a great bonus to have in a room and especially so if you’re in a shared cabin.

Man standing on Komodo Boat looking out onto sunset with back to camera and sunset ocean scene infront of him
You can’t get enough of the sunset on a Komodo Islands boat trip

Electricity and Plug Points

In this digital age, most people can’t go without electricity for a day. As we need electricity to keep the lights on, charge our phones, cameras, power banks, etc.

The boat runs on a generator system and because of this, most boats will turn the electricity off during the day. The electricity will usually be on in the evenings to allow you to charge your devices and use the A/C or fans to sleep and use the light in the cabin etc.

We really did not need to use electricity at all during the day because we were out and when travelling between islands we were on the deck relaxing anyway.

Charging your items during the night works perfectly or you could take the time to completely unplug from the world.

Check out this Komodo Island: Private 3-Day Tour with Boat & Hotel Stay

TRAVELIST INSIGHT: When travelling through Komodo National Park, you will have phone signal access as there are many cellular towers. Certain mobile network providers work better in Komodo National Park. I recommend Telkomsel, as the Indosat network did not work in Labuan Bajo during my trip.

image of phinisi boat most commonly used for Komodo trip and liveaboard Komodo boat trips in Komodo National Park
Phinisi Boat often used for Komodo Island boat trip live-a-board

Maximum Capacity of the Boat

Now you’re probably wondering why the heck would this have anything to do with why you should choose a Komodo boat trip?

Well, it matters for several reasons on your sailing Komodo trip.

Food

The more people you have on the boat trip to Komodo Island, the more mouths there are to feed.

passengers on Komodo Islands Boat tour eating food for lunch on Boat deck

Unfortunately, when sharing your accommodations with others (especially people you don’t know) not everyone is courteous to other people when it comes to food and portion sizes.

TRAVELIST INSIGHTS: I’ve heard of experiences on the larger boats where some guests actually did not have lunch or dinner on certain occasions due to guests earlier in the queue literally taking everything and not leaving enough for the others. It got so bad that people would have to queue up for dinner earlier than necessary to ensure they got a decent meal!

Indonesian food being served on Komodo Islands Boat tour for lunch on boat deck

We all know that when a boat sets sail for the trip, there’s a limited amount of rations but they cater for ‘X’ number of guests.

PERSONAL OPINION: For me, that’s really sad to hear. I think when you’re on a shared trip, you need to be accountable for yourself and the amount you eat and not treat the dinner table as your free for all buffet unless everyone has had a chance to eat.

Activities

The other reason why the number of guests on board is something to consider is when you’re out on activities. When it’s not a private tour, you need to be accommodating of the others on your trips when you’re going out for activities.

You often have to wait for the group before you can go head etc. or wait for everyone to be ready before you can depart.

Not everyone also enjoys the same activities.

couple standing on the highest viewpoint of Padar Island at sunrise
Hiking to the Padar island sunrise viewpoint

The trip is pretty diverse in the sense that there’s a bit of hiking, beach lounging, snorkelling, swimming, etc and not everyone enjoys this. So you might actually luck out when some people opt to stay on board for some activities whilst the other of the group gets a bit more attention.

It may be one of the reasons why you choose a private trip over an open trip.

Couple going snorkeling on Komodo Islands boat tour at Manta Point in Komodo National Park
woman going snorkelling on Komodo islands boat tour in snorkel gear with goggles and mask

In the same breath, it’s great to meet other people and share the magical experience with others, what’s also lovely is that it’s not only foreigners you’ll find on this trip.

Komodo islands are something that many locals still want to experience.

Lounging Deck

This was an absolute must for me!

An area with bean bags to relax and watch the sunset or lounge whilst travelling between islands is literally the epitome of boat living!

Komodo islands boat tour boat deck with bean bag and canopy for shade on Phinisi luxury boat
Komodo islands boat tour boat deck with bean bag and canopy for shade on Phinisi boat

Not all Komodo tours have this area to chill whilst travelling.

I think it’s quintessential to the Komodo islands cruise experience. Sunset, some good music from a wireless Bluetooth speaker, and cold drink = perfect tropical vacay!

Allowances: Bringing onboard Alcohol and Snacks

Although one may think you simply have the right to do so, it’s highly recommended to ask first that you can bring on board your own alcohol or snacks.

Being that Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, alcohol is not consumed by the majority of the population.

Komodo boat cruise dining area on deck for Komodo Islands boat tour
Komodo boat cruise dining area on deck for Komodo Islands boat tour

As a level of respect, it’s only courteous to ask if you can bring alcohol on board.

In saying that DON’T GO OVERBOARD – LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY!

Drink in moderation and don’t be an annoyance or inconvenience to others if you are on a shared/open trip.

TRAVELIST TIP: If you’re coming from Jakarta or Bali, don’t pack your alcohol with you. Thankfully the supermarkets in Labuan Bajo are well stocked with alcoholic options! Stock up on a few beers or wine for the trip at Roxy-mart or the Indomaret, there are plenty of little supermarkets across from the port landing which you can use to buy last-minute items.

Destinations visited: Komodo Islands Must-See Attractions

These are the must-see attractions on your Komodo Islands Boat Tour, also check them out on the Komodo Island map to make sure it’s included in your Komodo island trip!

Komodo Spotting at Rinca Island

Komodo Dragon on Rinca Island
Komodo Dragon commonly found on Rinca and Komodo island in Komodo National Park

Rinca Island is also known as Komodo Dragon island and where you will find the conservation where the Komodo island dragons roam freely! As much as this is the main attraction of your Komodo trip, not everyone actually does this trip for the day Komodo dragon tour as you’ll see below, there are many other beautiful destinations on the trip.

Instagram-worthy Pink Beach

couple standing on Pink Beach Flores
Pink sand on Pink Beach in Komodo National Park

No, your eyes don’t deceive you, Komodo Island Pink beach is an actual thing! This is not photo-shopped! The sand of Komodo Island’s Pink Beach gets its hue from thousands of broken coral pieces, shells, and calcium carbonate materials left behind by foraminifera.

Jurassic Park views at Padar Island

woman standing at the top of Padar island with rock landscape in background and ocean panoramic view of Padar Island
The unique rocky landscape of Padar Island at sunrise

This view is your reward after a relatively steep walk, but gosh is it worth it. The walk usually starts at sunrise and reaching the top rewards you with stunning panoramic views of the unique rock formations of this Jurassic Park-esque type landscape!

Snorkelling with Manta Rays at Manta Point

Silhouette of a Manta Ray Soars Overhead often seen at Manta point which you can visit from Padar Island
Silhouette of a Manta Ray Soars Overhead most commonly seen at Manta Point in Komodo National Park

Manta Rays, not to be confused with Sting Rays, are the gentle docile, and harmless floating creatures of the sea. Swimming with mantas was a bucket list activity that I never thought I’d ever had the opportunity to do. Depending on your season and time of day visiting will depend on how many you’re able to see.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: We visited during the month of October. At the time of our trip and time heading to manta point, we saw plenty of manta rays. Our guide said that this had been the most they had seen at one time all year. We visited between 2 and 3 pm in the afternoon. It was honestly one of the greatest experiences of my entire life. I hope that you get that same experience too.

Snorkelling and Lounging at Kanawa Island

Kanawa island in Komodo national park a destination on the Komodo island boat tour
Kanawa Island in Komodo National Park

A snorkelling delight and some more time for beaching

Breathtaking Colours and Views at Kelor Island

couple standing at the top of Kelor island looking out onto ocean landscape on Komodo Trip in Komodo National Park
The stunning colours at the top of Kelor Island hill

A short sand dune-ish walk to the top, but Wowza! The shades of blues and that mountain landscape are a wondrous feast for the eyes.

Snorkelling and Turtle spotting at Siaba

Snorkelling with turtkes at Siaba Island in Komodo islands boat tour in Komodo National Park
Spotting elusive turtles at Siaba Island

The place where you may be able to spot some elusive turtles! Unlike manta’s or Finding Nemo they don’t all swim together so seeing one or two is definitely a treat.

Flight of the Flying Foxes at Sunset from Kalong Island

image showing a sunset sky scene of pink and orange with thousands of flying fox bats migrating from Kalong island in Komodo islands
The sunset sky scene with thousands of flying fox bats migrating from Kalong island in search of their evening meal

I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like this in my entire life. At sunset, the flying foxes (which I confused for bats initially) leave the island to hunt for food. The evening starts with you seeing a few dots leave the island and gradually those few dots become hundreds, then thousands. It was absolutely beautiful. It’s an amazing sight to see along with the dusky pink sunset views.

Price of the Komodo Islands Boat tour

COVID 19: DISCLAIMER: In light of COVID-19, the Komodo Island boat tour package prices may have changed while the tourism industry and economy try to recover.

This one is something you’re unfortunately not going to get a straight answer on because it will COMPLETELY DEPEND on the boat and tour package you choose.

The price person can range anything from IDR 2 000 000 to IDR 10 000 000+ per person.

What I would suggest is being clear on what you are getting with your tour package, i.e.: the amenities listed above, Komodo National Park entrance fees, any other additional fees, etc.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: At the time of booking our trip which was a 3 day 2-night liveaboard Pinisi boat with a private cabin (for 2 people- double bed), private bathroom, 3 meals a day, drinking water, and drop off at the airport we paid IDR 4 500 000 per person. This excluded flights to Labuan Bajo and the Komodo National Park entry fees

SIDENOTE: We had priced this package from several providers and all pricing was along a similar line for what we were getting.

Komodo islands boat tour sunset scene with boats parked for the evening at Kalong island in Komodo National Park

Komodo Islands Boat Tour Recommendations

There will be many Komodo trips on offer. It will depend on whether you’re looking for a Komodo Island tour package, a trip from Labuan Bajo to Komodo island, a Komodo Flores tour, or Bali to Komodo tours etc. Regardless, the information above will help in choosing your Komodo Boat trips.

Komodo Liveaboard Tours

Komodo Islands: Private 2-Day Tour with Phinisi Boat Stay

Private 5-Day Komodo National Park Cruise from Labuan Bajo

Komodo Private Sailing Tour with Premium Meals

Komodo Island: Private 3-Day Tour with Boat & Hotel Stay

sunset boat view at Kalong Island in Komodo Islands trip to Komodo Islands National Park
Sunset from the boat at Kalong Island

Luxury Komodo Tours

This is where you will find your Komodo cruise/ boat tours/ luxury private charters and overall glamourous sailing boat life:

Ayana Komodo Cruise

Samata Luxury Liveaboard

Hello Flores

Barefoot Yachting

man sitting on rock a top Padar Island viewpoint
Plenty of amazing photo and ‘resting’ spots on your way to the top viewpoint of Padar Island

Komodo Day Rour Recommendations

If you’re just looking for a Labuan Bajo Komodo tour for the day, then these are just as easy to find without too much decision-making with regards to the type of boat to choose. If you’re not keen to sleep on a boat, here’s a couple of well-rated and reviewed day trips to Komodo Island from Labuan Bajo:

One day Komodo trip with Bintang Komodo Tours

1 day Komodo island Tour hopping around by Speed Boat

Full-Day Tour of Komodo Island

1 Day Komodo Trip By Luxury Fast Boat Join Group

Glass Bottom Boat Sightseeing Tour by AYANA

1 day snorkeling in Komodo National Park

Look for great hotels in Labuan Bajo?

Check Agoda

Where Is Komodo Island

Komodo Islands are located in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara. So I can reach Komodo from Flores and not travel to Labuan Bajo? Yes, there are several Flores Komodo tours but you will find it’s easier to find a Komodo island tour from Labuan Bajo.

couple standing on pier of kanawa island a destination on the komdo islands boat tour
Kanawa island pier

How to get to Komodo Island

So you’re dying to see a Komodo dragon, but not sure how to get there? I recommend a Komodo boat trip from Labuan Bajo. Labuan Bajo is the seaside town from which most Komodo island tours depart. Check out the Komodo Islands map for location reference.

Flights to Komodo island are mainly from bigger cities like Jakarta, Bali, and Lombok. The is also an option to do a Lombok to Komodo boat trip. The Komodo island tour from Lombok however only leaves from a certain city so most find it easier to leave from Labuan Bajo if they’re flying in from Jakarta or Bali.

Bali to Komodo or Jakarta to Komodo

From Bali to Komodo Islands is an easy flight. I suggest flying from Bali to Komodo airport in Labuan Bajo. We flew from Jakarta and then to the Komodo islands from Bali as a transit. The Bali to Komodo island flight time is 1 hour. Can you do a Komodo tour from Bali? Yes. Try this tour to Komodo Island from Bali by Viator

woman standing on mast of Komodo boat Phinisi looking out onto ocean and sunset scene

Best Time to Visit Komodo island

Komodo National Park tours take place mainly during the dry season in Indonesia which is April to November. We visited the Komodo National Park islands in October.

Komodo Island weather

The weather of the Komodo Islands is slightly cooler than the humidity you’ll find in Java, Indonesia. Temperatures are still very warm, despite the ocean breeze. Light airy quick-dry clothing is recommended

Sunset in Komodo National park with ocean and small boat trailing from phinisi ship on komodo islands waters

Komodo Islands Boat Tour FAQ

Travel Insurance

If anything, this should be a given for any trip you take! But be sure to keep a copy of your insurance details. If Indonesia is not your home country you need to be prepared for anything. All of these experiences have risks.

Check out World Nomads for amazing travel insurance options

Visiting the Komodo Islands in Indonesia is a truly bucket list worthy experience for any traveller!

I hope that this guide has helped make the decision on which tour is for you, SO BOOK YOUR TOUR and let me know about how much of a great time you had!

Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in the article have affiliate links, what this means is, if you click a link and make a purchase I may earn some money to buy a coffee (whoohoo!). Thanks for the support, I’d love to keep making this content freely available to all. As always opinions and thoughts remain my own.

READ MORE ABOUT THE KOMODO ISLANDS