Planning a Perfect Komodo Trip: Your guide to the Komodo Islands

Many travellers visiting the islands of Indonesia, actually have no idea that this destination even exists! The Komodo trip is an experience like no other.

If you’re looking for a well-rounded adventure experience of seeing Komodo dragons in their natural habitat, trekking to views of unique tropical landscapes, snorkelling with manta rays and sea turtles, basking on the infamous Komodo island pink beach and sailing the gentle waters with the ocean at your bedroom window – This is a boat trip not to be missed in Indonesia!

Man looking out onto ocean on Komodo islands trip from Phinisi boat with sunset scene
Gorgeous sunset scenes every night in the Komodo Islands

Komodo National Park (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is truly an Indonesian treasure! However, being that this is still a growing tourist destination you could definitely do with some tips for planning your Komodo trip!

Komodo tours in Indonesia are quickly becoming a dime a dozen as popularity flourishes here, but the key to visiting Komodo dragon island is in the planning!

This Komodo travel guide will outline the most important info you need to know about a trip to Komodo Islands

Where is Komodo island

Komodo Island (in Indonesian: Pulau Komodo) is one of the 17 000+ islands that comprise the Republic of Indonesia. Its located in the West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggarawhoa that is a mouthful, but more easily it’s known to be in Flores Islands and is a short boat ride from the coastal town of Labuan Bajo.

Check out the Komodo Island Map here

view of Padar island landscape in Komodo islands Komodo national park
Padar island landscape in Komodo Islands National Park

How to Get to Komodo Island

The Komodo Islands are most easily accessed from the small city of Labuan Bajo, which is East of Java and Bali. Labuan Bajo’s airport is actually called Komodo airport. Most Komodo Island tours will depart from Labuan Bajo, so it’s best to book a tour leaving from Labuan Bajo.

Try this awesome open trip Komodo Tour: : Private 2-Day Tour with Phinisi Boat Stay

A flight from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo will take about 2.5 hours. Komodo Island from Bali will be 1 hour.

Another alternative route is a multi-day boat trip from Lombok, but it involves leaving from a specific city (which I don’t have much information on). Is there an option to do a Komodo island tour from Bali? Yes, try this option.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: We travelled from Jakarta for our trip to Komodo, so the Bali-Komodo flight is a great option because a stop in Bali on the way back is always a win.  

Airline Schedules to and from Labuan Bajo

Labuan Bajo flight schedule airlines and flight times

SIDE NOTE: In light of COVID-19 flight schedules may have changed. Please check flight availability prior to booking any trips to Komodo. Komodo National Park entry may also be affected.

image showing panoramic landscape of Kelor Island taken from the highest point on the hill of Kelor Island
The gorgeous colours of Kelor island in Komodo Islands National Park

Best Time to Visit Komodo Islands

Is it possible that there could be a bad time to visit this bucket list destination? Frankly, NO!

But it’s important to know if you are visiting for the purposes of sighting the wildlife, certain times of the year are better suited for your Komodo tour package.

The months of April through to June are during Indonesia rainy-wet season, therefore you’re going to experience luscious green and blossoming leafy landscapes, as well as gentle and crystal clear waters lapping at the Komodo beaches.

Green landscape of Pink Beach Komodo National Park during rainy season in Komodo Trip
Lush green landscape of Pink Beach during rainy season

Whilst the months of September to November are prime time spotting sea creatures– this is definitely a great time for those looking to dive Komodo! Highlights include spotting manta rays, sea turtles fluorescent fish and whale sharks.

Although like any wildlife environment the animals don’t always stick to a prescribed schedule so if you have a sighting its a win!

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

The high season is known to be from June to August, so if you don’t mind the crowd, be sure to get your bookings in early for Flores Komodo tours and Labuan Bajo accommodation because these will be hard to come by if you’re visiting on a whim!

As previously mentioned, whilst there truly is no bad time to explore a fantastical island inhabited by these prehistoric mythical creatures and other spellbinding wildlife, it’s good to know what you can expect when visiting at any certain time.

Check out my detailed article for your Komodo Boat Trip Planning
How to choose the perfect Komodo Island Boat tour

Aerial drone photography of Padar Island in Komodo National Park
Aerial drone photography of Padar in Komodo Islands

Where to Stay in Labuan Bajo

The Komodo Island trip allows for two options of travel:

Stay in a hotel in Labuan Bajo and do day trips to the Komodo Islands

Stay on a boat for the Komodo Island hopping trip

TRAVELIST TIP: Whether you are doing day trips from Labuan Bajo or heading out on a Komodo boat trip, you usually will need a place to stay at least the night before you head out on the boat. As you can see above, the flights arrive after your tour departs so you usually have to arrive and stay the night before).

As Labuan Bajo is a seaside town, most of the hotels, resorts and even hostels have sea view accommodation!

If you only have 10 USD or 100 USD you’ll find stunning and scenic sunset views for every budget.

Regardless of what’s in your pocket, you’re going to find a magical sunset view before your Komodo island trip! These are some of my top accommodation picks:

Plataran Komodo Beach Resort


Sunset Hill Hotel


Seaesta Komodo Hotel & Hostel


The Seraya


Mohini Resort Labuan Bajo


Selini on the Hill Villas & Spa


Attractions of the Komodo Islands

Rinca and Komodo Islands

Well, would it be a trip to the Island of Komodo if you did not visit the only remaining natural habitat of the Komodo dragon?

Close up of Komodo Dragon on Komodo Islands trip
Close up of a Komodo dragon commonly found on Rinca and Komodo island

What is important to understand here is, we often refer to the Komodo Islands as the culmination of the islands in Komodo National Park, but it actually is an island itself.

Rinca Island (Komodo Dragon Island) is also its own island and its actually easier to spot Komodo dragons on Rinca island as you’re be walking the terrains with a ranger. This is especially lovely because the guide shares so much information about the Komodo dragon’s habitat, diet, behaviour, life cycle etc.

Find me some Komodo Dragon tours

TRAVELIST TIP: If you’re not a fan of the reptilian creatures, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do a Komodo cruise. You can still do Komodo boat trips but opt to stay on the boat for the Komodo dragon portion.

Spotting Komodo dragons on Komodo island is significantly more difficult because they live in remote parts of the island away from the hiking trails. So if you only manage to get to Rinca island it’s definite that you will see one, on Komodo Island, it’s not always guaranteed.  

TRAVELIST TIP: You’ll find that most tours will not include the Komodo National Park entrance fee in the Komodo boat tour package price (the fee is per day so its important to visit both these islands on the same day if you’re going to both). There is more info about fees in the sections below.

Padar Island

You can get all this view just a short walk uphill from the shoreline! Padar island is truly one of the most unique looking Jurassic Park-like landscape that you can photograph from every angle.

Aerial view of Padar Island in Komodo National park taken with drone photography
Aerial view drone photography of Padar Island

Whether you’re right on top or only halfway up you still can capture the incredible view as well as the stunning bay-like creations on either side. This was one of the highlights of my trip to Komodo island.

TRAVELIST TIP: A good tip for this Komodo sailing trip is to visit Padar island around or just after sunrise. Visiting during midday will be an extremely hot hike up to the top.

Pink Beach

Is this not just an Instagram influencer’s dream?

woman laying on Pink sand beach Pink Beach Komodo islands
Taking advantage of the gorgeous Pink Sand on Pink Beach

A Komodo islands boat trip isn’t complete without a trip to this coveted location. This is one of only 7 natural pink beaches in the entire world. The amazing pink hue is created from the break down of corals and crushed shell of microscopic organisms called Foraminifera

Kelor Island

This view is to die for! Another view that rewards so much after a 10-minute walk up a sand-like hill. The blues and greens truly are mesmerizing.

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

Snorkelling: Manta Point and Siaba Bay

Let this be mentioned, divers from around the world come to Flores to see the magnificence that is the marine life in this region. Apart from the stunning vibrant corals and sensational fishes, there also the opportunity to see and swim with gentle manta rays and sea turtles.

TRAVELIST TIP: If you’re looking for the experience of swimming with manta’s plan to visit around September to October

Kalong Island

Although you might not physically set foot on this island, what you will experience is the flight of 1000’s of flying fox bat-like creatures that leave the island each dusk in search of food. The pinks and purples of the sunset coupled with this sunset migration are truly spellbinding. It is something worth seeing!

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

TRAVELIST TIP: Make sure you’re on a boat that has a comfy lounge deck and some bean bags, to lay back and take in the full experience.

Types of Komodo Trips

This is a just explanation of the terminology you’ll find on the tour operators websites or adverts

Liveaboard: Staying on the boat overnight

Open trip: A trip in a group

Private trip: Only you or your guests on the trip

Day trip: A one day Komodo trip that leaves and returns the same day from Labuan Bajo

Chartered trip: This is also a private trip whereby you hire a boat specifically for the purpose of touring the islands. You would have to check what this includes as this sometimes only means the boat (I.e.: no meals etc.)

Komodo Liveaboard Boat Trips

Visiting the Komodo Island tour hopping whilst staying on a boat is extremely popular! There are now hundreds of tour companies and providers that offer this service.

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

With that being said, because there are now so many tour operators, with the many good operators that there are, there will be a handful of bad ones.

Read more about How to Choose the Perfect Komodo Island Boat Tour article for more details on the boat tour

Types of Boats

Komodo Trip Phinisi Boat used for Liveaboard Komodo islands tours
Komodo Trip Phinisi Boat used for Liveaboard Komodo islands tours

Standard Boat: No-AC

Standard Boat: with AC

Traditional Pinisi

Luxury Fast Boat or Yacht

TRAVELIST TIP: Only the Luxury Sailing vessels and Pinisi boats have the options for private cabins. Picking your boat to Komodo will definitely depend on your comfort level and budget. As I’m no longer in the backpacking stage and not a fan of confined non-ventilated places, the cabin and amenities inside were important to me.

One day Komodo island tours will be on a different boat as there’s no need for staying on board.

Komodo speed boat tours are a great option for those who prefer the comforts of a hotel and who experience severe motion sickness on boats.

Staying on a boat is VERY DIFFERENT from staying at a hotel.

Komodo Boat trip luxury deck for Komodo trip to Komodo National Park
Boat deck on some of the Komodo Boat tours

There’s a lot to consider before deciding which Komodo boat tour to choose! So much so I’ve compiled a whole article detailing exactly what factors you need to consider when choosing a boat and tour!

Read more about How to Choose the Perfect Komodo Island Boat Tour article for more details on the boat tour

Some of the factors will include:

Cabins (private or shared)


Hot water

Max capacity of the boat

AC or ventilation

Some of the above points may seem like a necessity but on the boat trip to Komodo island, but you really do get what you pay for so, be sure of exactly everything you want on a boat before booking.

For a detailed guide, check out my article on How to Choose the Perfect Komodo Island Boat Tour: Factors to consider when picking your boat tour

If you are happier to stay in Labuan Bajo and do day trips to Komodo Island, that is equally as easy. There are a number of tour providers that offer Komodo day tours.

Komod boat usued for Komodo Trip to Komodo Islands and Komodo National Park

Komodo Island Tour Packages

If you’re doing a sleep on board boat to Komodo tour, Common Inclusions:

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Bottled water

Snorkelling gear

Tour guide (speaking your language)

Pick up and drop off from hotel/airport in Labuan Bajo

These are just some of the main things that all boat tours will have included on most Komodo boat liveaboards.

Common Exclusions:

Komodo National Park Entrance Fees

Flights to and from Labuan Bajo

Travel and luggage insurance

Personal drinks and snacks

I can’t stress enough if you are booking a tour ahead of time to make sure you know what is included and excluded, ESPECIALLY the Komodo National Park entrance fees.

sunrise and ocean views at Padar Island Flores Komodo National Park
Jaw-Dropping Sunrise Viewpoints at Padar Island in Komodo Islands

Komodo Islands Boat Tour Price

The price range for these trips can range from anything from IDR 1 million rupiahs for day trips to IDR 40 million rupiahs for liveaboards depending on the type of tour, boat, number of days, inclusions and exclusions you choose.

So there really are options for budget and luxury travellers.

The average Komodo Island tour price for 3 days 2 night open trip on a standard air-conditioned Pinisi boat (with basic inclusions) is IDR 4 to 5 million rupiahs.  

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: We did a Komodo Liveaboard 3-day-2-night tour which included all meals, bottled water, tour guide, pick up and drop from the hotel, private cabin and private bathroom on a Pinisi boat which cost IDR 4.5 million per person. This excluded flights to and from Labuan Bajo and Komodo National Park entrance fees. This appears to be on par with many local tour providers which we checked and verified in compiling this article.

Check out these vetted tours from reputable providers using local guides and operators



TRAVELIST TIP: Make sure you have in writing exactly how much you should be paying for the Komodo National Park entrance fees. Unfortunately, there have been stories of foreigners being charged incorrect prices or tour providers going back on their initial word of what the pricing was. The price is significantly higher for foreigners than it is for locals, however, these prices appear fair as this is for conservation purposes and the environment is extremely well maintained.

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

Komodo Itinerary

How many days do you need to visit the Komodo Islands? I feel that a 3 day 2-night trip is the perfect length, you will, however, find that day trips from Labuan Bajo are ever-popular but those who are on the sailing or liveaboard tours will have Carte Blanche and be first on the scene.

Typical 3 Day 2 Night Komodo Island Boat Itinerary

DAY 0 Stay the night before in Labuan Bajo


  • Sail out from Labuan Bajo
  • Rinca Island
  • Komodo Island
  • Kalong Island


  • Padar Island
  • Snorkelling at Manta Point
  • Snorkelling at Siaba Bay


  • Kananwa Island and Snorkelling
  • Kelor Island
  • Sail back to Labuan Bajo
  • Flight back to Jakarta or Bali

TRAVELIST TIP: If you’re doing Komodo Island boat trips, arrive the day before in Labuan Bajo. The flights arrive in Labuan Bajo after 9:00 and most tours will leave at 9:00 or before. It also gives you a  chance to stay in a gorgeous hotel and sample some of their incredible restaurants

Man standing on Komodo Boat looking out onto sunset with back to camera and sunset ocean scene infront of him
You can get enough of the sunset on a Komodo trip

What to Pack to Visit Komodo Islands


Well, let’s just start by saying pack light! There is really no need for tons of clothing for this trip. A medium-sized backpack or carry-on luggage size back and day bag is literally all you need.