Dragon Watching: Exploring Komodo Island

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Leave the crowds of holidaymakers behind in Bali and head to the magical Komodo Island National Park. Not only is this area a divers paradise, it is also a safe haven to Indonesia‘s iconic Komodo dragon – the largest lizard on earth!

One of the best ways to experience Komodo Island is by boat and you’ll find various tourism operators in the area that offer both sea and land trips with local Indonesian guides.

Dramatic currents circulating around parts of the sea are certainly an eye-catching factor in the area, but it’s what’s underneath the pristine water that the real magic happens.

Diving in the beautiful waters around Komodo. Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten
Diving in the beautiful waters around Komodo. Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten
The Komodo Island from above. Photo by Yusmar Yahaya
The Komodo Island from above. Photo by Yusmar Yahaya
The Komodo Island. Photo by Yusmar Yahaya
The Komodo Island. Photo by Yusmar Yahaya

The warm sea temperatures around Komodo Island mean you could literally spend hours in the water. Like entering a new world, divers and snorkelers are greeted with a colourful and stunning coral playground and it isn’t long before the abundant sea life joins in. Large and curious Manta Rays become regular swimming companions as well as the hundreds of tropical fish a site that can be rarely experienced in the crowded shores of Bali.

Komodo Island, Bali. Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten
Diving off Komodo Island, Bali. Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten
Amazing colours scuba diving around Komodo Island, Bali. Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten
Amazing colours scuba diving around Komodo Island, Bali. Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten
Turtles up close. Scuba diving around Komodo Island, Bali. Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten
Turtles up close. Scuba diving around Komodo Island, Bali. Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten

Back on the mainland lurk the spectacular Komodo Dragons, a sight sure to blow your mind.

As you approach the island by boat, you can sometimes catch a glimpse of the dragons waddling along the beach as troops of monkeys collect shellfish off the rocks.

Although not fire-breathing (or really dragons), these gigantic creatures are a fearsome sight, weighing in at around 165kg and measuring between two to three metres long.

While Komodo dragons are not active hunters, it is a good idea to go on a guided tour with park rangers when checking out the dragon’s natural habitat.

Komodo National Park. Photo by Gabriel Hsia
Komodo National Park. Photo by Gabriel Hsia
Those claws! Komodo dragons in Bali. Photo by NeilsPhotography
Those claws! Komodo dragons in Bali. Photo by NeilsPhotography
The famous Komodo dragon. Photo by Adhi Rachdian
The famous Komodo dragon. Photo by Adhi Rachdian
A Komodo dragon safari. Photo by Bryn Pinzgauer
A Komodo dragon safari. Photo by Bryn Pinzgauer
Komodo dragon - the world's biggest lizard. Photo by Leo Hidalgo
Komodo dragon – the world’s biggest lizard. Photo by Leo Hidalgo

With the balmy evenings the best way to cool down is with a local Bintang beer on the way back to your accommodation taking in another Komodo sunset.

Getting There:

The Komodo National Park is only half a day’s sailing from the fishing village of Labuan Bajo where you can choose any one of many water front hotels.

There are 2-3 daily flights to and from Bali, but be careful as the local airport has been known to close at 4pm.  Pay special attention to flight times if you aren’t booking with an agent. Taking a ferry from Bali is also available, weather permitting.

Featured image by Bryn Pinzgauer

Dragon Watching: Exploring Komodo Island was last modified: November 17th, 2015 by Joanna Manson
Author: Joanna Manson (10 posts)

A Kiwi living in London. Self-proclaimed foodie and wine connoisseur. Part time world explorer. Trying to tick off a growing travel bucket list. She blogs at Flight of the Kiwi.