We took the two-day Rinca and Komodo Islands tour. But if your main purpose is to see komodo dragons and you are pressed for time, take a one-day tour to Rinca Island. We saw many more komodo's on Rinca than on Komodo.
Rinca Island is closest to Labuan Bajo, so you do not spend too much time on the boat. The one-day tour to Rinca Island usually includes stops at one snorkeling spot and at one sandy beach before returning to Labuan Bajo. What you miss compared to the two-day tour are the flying foxes on Komodo Island and the uncertain viewing of manta's.
When trekking on the island you must be accompanied by a ranger, whose standard fee is Rp 50,000 for a walk of 1 to 2 hours on top of the regular entrance fee. The ranger makes sure you keep a safe distance from the komodo's, of which we saw plenty, but all at the reception area, none in the wild. When trekking the ranger showed droppings and nesting holes of the komodo's, gave information on trees and birds, and we were lucky to also see a buffalo.
Back at the reception area, one can buy souvenirs and some refreshments.
Cost: In March 2013 Jeffry Buana quoted as follows for a 1 day Rinca trip (park and ranger fees not included):
- by local boat (2 hrs one way), Rp 350,000 p.p., minimum 4 persons.
- by speedboat (half an hour one way), Rp 1,100,000 p.p., minimum 5 persons.
We arrived at Labuan Bajo without a pre-arranged tour. We found that it is easy to book one, either through one of any agents on main street (Jalan Yos Sudarso) or by making a deal with one of the boatmen waiting at the charter boat jetty.
(1) We booked a 2-day tour to Rinca and Komodo Islands through 'Putri Komodo Tour' run by mr. Jeffry Buana. Of course it could have been cheaper dealing directly at the jetty, but mr. Jeffry joined us with another couple which reduced the price. Eventually the other couple pulled out because of a stomac disorder, the two of us still departed for the same price (Rp 650,000 bringing our own snorkeling gear). Said mr. Jeffry: “that is my risk”.
The tour included meals - pretty good - cooked by one of the crew. Bottled water was also provided, but if you want beer you have to bring it yourself. Also included was pick-up from our hotel, at 1.5 km from the jetty. Only minus point: we departed late. We had been told to be ready at 7am, but departed by 9am. Still we did everything in the program (see tips 'Rinca Island' and 'Two-day Rinca and Komodo Islands tour').
(2) Later we wanted to go to the Warloka historic site, and at the jetty found mr. Gregorius ready to bring us there for Rp 500,000. The small size of his boat was an advantage, as he was able to pick us up and drop us off at the beach facing our hotel. Including a swim at Kelor Island the tour took from 8am to 2pm.
Mr. Jeffry Buana, Putri Komodo Tour, Jalan Yos Sudarso (next to Treetop restaurant), Labuan Bajo.
Website: http://www.putrikomodo.com, mobile: 081236989982, office: 0385-41463.
You can also drop in at his office for free advice and brochures.
Mr. Gregorius (pak Rius), mobile 0852 3861 6651, meet him at the jetty or ask for him at Toko Surya Jaja, Jalan Sukarno.
Home: Jalan Kelapa Gading, Desa Batu Cermin, Kec. Komodo, Labuan Bajo, Manggarai Barat, NTT 86554.
Pink Beach or Pantai Merah on Komodo Island gets its name from the red particles in the sand, which from a distance show up as a pink strip just at the waterline. The fist day afternoon activity of our Rinca-Komodo trip was snorkeling near this beach.
When we had jumped in the water from the boat, we soon climbed onto the boat again: there was such a strong current that we had to keep swimming just to stay in place. Fortunately there were some locals standing by with dug-out canoes offering the row us ashore and back - one at a time for Rp 15,000 per person.
Close to the beach the current is less strong and the snorkeling not less good. More than elsewhere we saw here staghorn corals in a variety of colours.
Directions: See tip 'Booking a Komodo National Park tour'.
See also the previous tip. If you take this two-day tour, you may want to bring some games or books to while away the time on board. What we really regretted having left at home were a pair of binoculars.
One pays the National Park entrance fee at Rinca Island. Keep the receipt, otherwise you have to pay again at Komodo Island.
The schedule of our two-day tour to Rinca and Komodo Islands was as follows:
Departure from Labuan Bajo at 9 am, arrival at Rinca Island's Loh Buaya bay at 11 am.
Guided tour; saw many komodo's near the reception area, none in the wild.
Departure for Komodo Island at 1 pm.
Lunch on board.
Arrival at Komodo Island's Pink Beach at 3 pm.
Snorkeling near Pink Beach (next tip).
Departure to Masangga Bay at 4 pm.
Arrival at Masangga Bay at 4.30 pm.
Watching flying foxes leaving mangroves at dusk. One does not get to see the flying foxes very close. If you want to see and photograph them at close range, better go to Riung.
Dinner on board and settling in for the night.
Departure from Masangga bay at 6.15 am.
Arrival at Loh Liang bay at 6.45 am.
Waiting for rangers to arrive from Komodo village at 7.15am.
Guided tour; saw a few komodo's only, but more other wildlife than on Rinca Island. Also learned the difference between gebang and lontar palms. Their leaves look the same, but the gebang palm dies after bearing fruit once, when it seems their roots are on top.
Departure for manta region near Pulau Kenanga at 9.15 am.
From 11 am cruising the region, but no manta's to be seen.
Departure for Bidadari island at 11.30 am.
Late arrival at Bidadari Island at 3.30 pm due to headwind.
Waves too big for snorkeling at Bidadari Island, instead went on to another island nearby.
From 3.45 to 4.15 pm swim at Situri Island.
Back at Labuan Bajo by 5.00 pm
We could see a beautiful view of Sumbawa island from above is a line of green mountains range side by side with a dry savanna. On the northeast side of Sumbawa island we could see the dark blue of Mount Tambora (2,820-meter) with round circle of its crater covered by white clouds.
Mount Tambora is an active volcano, before an eruption, its reached the highest peak to more than 4000 meters and now after the eruption in 1815, the high was only half of its origin.
The explosion which happened in 1815 was one of big eruption which heard on Sumatra island (more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi) away). Heavy volcanic ash falls were observed as far away as Borneo, Sulawesi, Java and Maluku islands.
Crossing Lombok street toward Lombok island, in the bright skyline, Mount Rinjani was stand elegantly at the blue sky background. Mount Rinjani (3726 m highor 12,224 ft) is the highest mountain in West Nusa Tenggara, and the second highest in Indonesia after Mount Jaya Wijaya at Irian Jaya ( Indonesian Papua), from faraway we could see the peaks of mount Rinjani with white clouds and the crater with its volcano lake was also a fascinating scenery.
As the flight taken off and gradually up to a one high elevation, the scenery what we could see from the window is an awesome and Gunung Agung is including one of a fascinating panorama.
Gunung (mountain) Agung is 3142 m in high, the higher mountain in Bali island, was an active stratovolcano, this is a is the highest point on the island.
Gunung Agung last erupted in 1963-64, its been more than 100 years from an eruption in 1843, and is still active up to now.
In a clear sunny day, You can see this beautiful panorama of mount Agung from one point at Senggigi beach, Lombok island
PEDE BEACH is one of beautiful white sandy beach at LABUAN BAJO, this is a place for enjoying the weekend, swimming in crystal clear blue water, from faraway we could see fishing boats and cruise sailing to the island nearby, just walking distance to Bintang Flores, Hotel and resorts with swimming pool, side by side with sandy beach
PUNCAK (PEAK) WARINGIN is a street lane stretched along the Top Hill side where one could see a wide view of beaches and ocean landscape of Labuan Bajo.
On the wide range of blue oceans we could see boats, schooner and cruises sailing the tranquility of Flores sea which confined by hills and mountain ranges.
There is also a hotel"PUNCAK WARINGIN" Hotel, located at a strategic point at the corner of Puncak Waringin street.
BINONGKO and GOLO HILLTOPS were a winding street lane stretched along a Top Hill side where one could see a wide view of beaches line and a tranquil blue sea of Labuan Bajo .
On the wide range of blue oceans we could see so many small islands, fishing boats, schooner and cruises sailing the tranquility of Flores sea which confined by hills and mountain ranges
Strolling along Labuan Bajo Soekarno Hatta street is a very nice moment, the road is not so pretty but if you are take a walk to Labuan Bajo Pier.....woooow....you can sea a good view of Labuan Bajo pier....fishing boat were stranded along the pier, almost boats were in white color....and it is the boats which could deliver you to the island nearby...or just sailing to see Labuan Bajo hillside from the sea
If you want to see a good view of Labuan Bajo, just call an OJEK motorcycle, tell him to show you a good place to see ocean view of Labuan Bajo, there were many spot to find the wide few of Sea and the islands, one at Golo Hilltops, it is a slant hill with winding roads and another spot is from Puncak Waringin
Labuan Bajo is a small town set on the rocky hill with stunning view of the blue ocean where we coulld see so many small and hilly island .
Labuan Bajo is the capital of West Masnggarai District, a tranquil fishing village located on the northwestern of Manggarai.
The ferry port at Labuan Bajo is a harbor connecting to Sapa, Sumbawa island, Komodo, Rinca, Padar, Gili Motang or Bidadari islands where the attendants could visit the cluster of the island by using Fishing Boat
KOMODO AIRPORT is an Entrance gateway to Labuan Bajo, the capital of West Manggarai District, a small airport on which only small aircraft landed and of course with a minimum facilities.
As the flight landed, we could see a scenery of a hilly mountain range and a wide range of savanna, and a statue of a komodo dragon, a small room for baggage claim furnished by advertising poster and a simple toilets.
As the passengers get outside, there were so many motorcycle OJEK drivers who offers to deliver you to your destiantion or to a hotel nearby.
The trip from Bali Ngurah Ray Airport to Labuan Bajo Komodo Airport is a Fascinating one.
You could enjoy the beautiful Panorama of Lesser Sunda (means Nusa Tenggara) island from west in Bali to the east in Flores during 55 minutes.
Please take a seat beside the window, you could see blue ocean with so many small islands scattered, take so many picturesque scene as you can, the blue mountain covered by white clouds, the green land with many housing look as big as boxes of safety matches