The Best Things to Do and See in Komodo National Park
We are sure you have heard of Komodo National Park as its permanent residents are the famed Komodo Dragons. The Komodo Dragon exists here in its natural habitat as it always has, but that is not all you can see here on the many islands of Komodo.
There is much more to know and see in the park than just the Komodo Dragons. From an extremely diverse underwater ecosystem to the beautiful sunsets that paint the sky in various hues of orange and blue, Komodo National Park may be as close as we get to having an actual Jurassic Park.
Komodo National Park is made up of 26 islands. Three of the 26 are considered to be the main islands: Komodo, Rinca and Padar. They cover a total of 1,733km2. In 1938 the island of Padar and part of the island of Rinca were established as a nature reserve, thus kicking off the conservation efforts towards Komodo and the surrounding area. Then, in 1965 Komodo island itself was also established as a nature reserve. Twenty-five years later these three islands were declared a national park, and later the park was extended to include the surrounding marine area and a small section of Flores.
Explore how Komodo compares to other National Parks
Out of the 54 national parks in Indonesia, Komodo is not the largest nor the smallest. The smallest national park in Indonesia is Kelimutu National Park which only covers 50km2, and is located on Flores. The largest is Lorentz National Park located in Papua, Indonesia, covering a staggering 25,056km2.
Komodo National Park is home to an extensively beautiful landscape above and below the surface of the ocean. Once in the park, you will be surrounded by jagged peaks and crystal clear waters. Komodo is among one of the top destinations to visit.
Discover diving in Komodo
The name Komodo rings out in different circles as a place that needs to be visited. In the diving world, Komodo resonates as people have heard the stories of strong currents, diverse marine wildlife and colourful corals like you have never seen before.
The park is home to world-class diving. Batu Bolong is a commonly visited dive site that is among the top ten in the world. Batu Bolong is a rather small rock formation that juts out from the water. This rock formation expands into a massive underwater mountain once below the surface descending deep into the blue. Every bit of this dive site is blooming in life. You can see many pelagic fishes such are dogtooth tuna, giant trevallies and Napoleon wrasse hunting around the divers. Deeper you can see many white tip sharks sleeping on the slope.
Batu Bolong is no place for inexperienced divers. The current that rushes around the rock can be dangerous at times. It is important to take extra care when diving here.
Witness an astonishing sunset from Kalong island
Kalong is quite small and covered mostly by mangroves. These same mangroves are the home of thousands and thousands of bats or as we mentioned before, the flying fox. Kalong comes from the local language for giant flying fox bats.
These animals are rather big. They can grow up to 32cm in length and have a wingspan of up to 1.5 meters. You may start to see the trend that Komodo National Park is home to some very large creatures. In fact, the flying fox is indeed the largest species of bat. Not to worry, they don’t have much interest in us humans.
These bats are the main attraction of this island. The flying foxes create an enthralling sunset spectacle unlike any other. As the day approaches dusk, visitors are invited to witness thousands of these mystical creatures migrate from the island to the backdrop of awe-inspiring sunset colours. The resounding flutter and noise of these bats as they escape the mangrove forest and soar into the sunset will leave a hauntingly beautiful lasting memory.
Next stop: Padar Island
Padar is mostly savannah-covered like most of the islands you’ll see throughout Komodo National Park. The surrounding landscape is home to panoramic views of jagged mountain peaks.
Padar is surrounded by three beautiful bays, all turquoise in colour. Padar reaches the ocean with three different coloured beaches. One beach has perfect white sand, another black as volcanic rock and the third a baby pink that is best seen with your own eyes.
The black sand beach has a volcanic origin, composed of various dark minerals. The pink, one of a few in the world, has pulverized red coral mixed with white sand.? And the white one, which is sand like you would find at any other beach.
Venturing into Komodo National Park is a rather easy task. There are tours that depart daily from Labuan Bajo. It is only a matter of picking which company you would like to go with. These tours go throughout the park, visiting the three main islands. Among these boat tours, you can find different options depending on what you would like to do.
Manta Rhei Dive Center focuses mainly on the diving in Komodo National Park. We visit many dive sites throughout the park for divers of varying skill levels. Twice a week we venture to Rinca island instead of doing a third dive, and you will trek and see the Komodo Dragons. From seeing dragons, trekking, snorkelling or diving, there are ways to do it all.