A guide to Komodo Island

The brief overview of the place
Komodo island is one of four islands that are home to Komodo dragons. The dragon is the largest lizard on earth weighing in at 300kg and can be up to 4m long.  The island is surrounded by coral reefs which are home to over 1000 species of fish and it is believed Komodo island is one million years old.

What I did there.
The ship will anchor and you will be tendered into Labuhan Bajo beach.

Before arriving here on the ship, I am ashamed to admit that I had never heard of Komodo Island. We had to use tenders to get ashore, which are small boats that ferry passengers from the ship to the island.

Whilst on the tender, I spend the 10-minute trip looking around at the magical greenery that made up the island. It looked like something out of Jurassic Park.

Once on the beach, we were all divided into groups of about 10 and then taken by two rangers around the forest in the hope that we would see what the place is famous for. 

Now, when I say rangers, Bear Grylls comes to mind, but these rangers were far from that.  One of the rangers “Paco”, was 4 ft 9 and probably weighed about 8 stone…

Nothing against Paco and his height but, I just couldn’t imagine him being much use if he had to fight off a Komodo dragon.   Now you’re probably thinking,  “yeah sure he was small but they had safety equipment” Right? Yes, he did.  He had a stick. 

To be fair it was a long stick, but probably more useful for fighting off the flies rather than a dragon. 

We all walked in single file through the jungle making sure to keep up with Paco, but as I was a few people behind, and he was short I couldn’t see him, so I followed the stick.  The guy in front of me with total disregard would push the branches that were head height out of the way and let them vigorously flick back and hit me in the face, and each time I’m sure I swallowed a family of flies. 

We were told at the beginning of the tour that we may not see any dragons, but hopefully, we would see one of two. 

After tracking through the jungle for about 30 minutes we came to an opening. Paco “shushed” us all and we all walked very quietly towards his stick.  As the people dispersed they revealed 6 huge Komodo dragons basking in the sun.  They were incredible! Like nothing, I had ever seen before. Paco poked one with a stick which made me wince because I thought “If he decides to go for you, that stick ain’t gonna save you mate!”

They were long and scaly with their tongue hanging out of their mouth and resting on the dirt floor.  Their claws were about 5 inches long and sharp. That fear that any minute one may attack was going around in my head.  The Komodo’s tail was unbelievably long.  One of them kept raising it and slamming it down on the floor again, and each time it hit the floor a cloud of sand would appear, after a loud thud. 

The sweltering heat and sound of crickets in the background made this really feel like a movie.  Only, in a movie, someone would have to die or be injured for a good storyline, but with this, in mind, I slowly made my way to the back of the crowd. 

Walking back to the beach I noticed dragon footprints in the dirt track that we were following.  It was amazing to be really in the wild with them and really, apart from a stick, having nothing to protect us.

An amazing experience to be this close to the dragons and would highly recommend coming to see them, and Paco.

 

Most popular excursions
The walking tour through the national park to see the Komodo dragons.
A boat trip to Pink beach. One of 7 pink beaches in the world.

Tips to save money
Booking the walking tour on board is more expensive than booking it on land. 

The cruise line may say you will only be able to get off the ship if you have an excursion booked, but this is not the case. You will be able to disembark the ship whether you have booked a trip or not but, you will not be able to enter the national park without a guide. 

There are plenty of local guides on the beach waiting to give tours, so to save money, I would get off the ship, find a local guide on the beach and pay him to give you a tour or you can try and latch onto other walking tours. There is no difference in the tour, only in the price.

Free things to do
Spending the day on the rocky Labuhan Bajo beach.  You will be dropped off at this beach by the tender. 

It is not advised that you swim in the sea as there are lots of boats.

Currency
The national Indonesian currency is Rupiah, but they also accept US dollar.

Language
A separate dialect from Manggarai. Most of them speak a little English and a few of the tour guides speak good English.

Population
Approximately 2,000 people live on this island who are descendants of former convicts who were exiled to Komodo island after their convictions.

4,000 dragons live on this island. They mostly feed on deer and wild boar. Very rarely is a human injured as they take extra precautions because the nearest hospital is 4 hours away.

Things to know
If you are on your period it is prohibited that you go on the Komodo dragon walking tour as they will smell the blood and this could cause them to get aggressive. 

You may not take food with you on the walking tour for the same reason.

There isn’t exactly a path you follow. You really are walking through the jungle, so makes sure you wear proper walking shoes and use bug repellant.

The favourite thing about the place
The Komodo dragons of course.

Hello, my name is Lucy, welcome to my little space on the internet! Through this blog, I hope to answer all of your crew-life/ cruising questions so, feel free to send me something you would like me to write about. I really hope you find this site useful and enjoyable!
Love Lucy xx

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