Komodo Island Boat Tour: 3 Days, 2 Nights of Magic!

There are cool trips, and then there are magical experiences that etch lasting memories on your soul. Our Komodo Island boat tour undoubtedly falls into the latter category. This was not just an island cruise or a travel adventure. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to explore Komodo National Park. Allow me to offer a piece of advice here — if you are able, consider splurging a bit on this trip, because choosing the right boat makes all the difference.

Komodo Island Tour - on a boat for 3 days and 2 nights

There are both private Komodo boat tours and group boat tours available, and there are dozens of boats to choose from. If it’s within your budget, I’d strongly recommend a private boat tour as it allows you to deviate from a set itinerary and beat the crowds. It’s an investment in memories that will last a lifetime, and I guarantee it will be more comfortable, and maybe even luxurious.

Setting sail on our 3-day Komodo Island Tour

Like most of the magical places in the world, getting to the Komodo National Park was a bit of a trek. You first fly to Denpasar Airport in Bali (we had a 12-hour layover in Sydney) and then take a short flight to Labuan Bajo Airport on the island of Flores. We had a great few days in Ubud to relax and unwind beforehand. Finally, from the  harbor near the airport, you catch a boat (not quite a cruise ship), and from there you can travel to Komodo National Park. It’s time to enjoy 3 amazing days touring the Komodo Islands. (More details on Getting There).

Splurge for a private boat for sailing around the Komodo Islands if it's within your budget
Our adventure to this land of dragons, pristine beaches, and exquisite marine life began with our pickup at Labuan Bajo airport. We were advised that the key to making the Komodo boat tour truly special lies in choosing the right boat. Choosing the right boat will really make a big difference.

Take a deluxe or luxury boat tour if a private boat is out of your range

Landing at Labuan Bajo Airport, with its stunning aerial views of the Flores Sea and its islands, immediately immerses you in the adventure that awaits in this gateway to Komodo National Park. The airport is small and you immediately feel the tropical heat when you land.

The drive from the airport to the harbor is brief and you can sneak a glimpse of daily life and the natural ruggedness of Flores Island. As the harbor comes into view, you’ll see an armada of traditional phinisi boats at anchor and the vast, blue sea you’ll be exploring in no time. Make sure you ask your driver to stop at a supermarket if you want to pick up provisions or beverages. From landing to boarding your boat, the transition is pretty seamless – and remember, the locals are really helpful. The kids act like runners and will direct you to your boat – just ask.

Here is the itinerary we followed for our 3-day Komodo Island boat tour

Day 1: Kanawa Island, Manta Point and Padar Island 

We arrived at the boat and settled into our cozy cabin. As we soaked in the panoramic views of the surrounding islands, we set off. Our boat was headed for Kanawa Island, nestled within the pristine waters of Komodo National Park.

Luxury boat dining room, on the way to Komodo Island

This small island has a powdery white sand beach and is teeming with vibrant coral reefs and crystal-clear turquoise water filled with marine life.

kanawa island in the komodo national park

Snorkeling at Kanawa Island on our Komodo island 3 day boat tour

The kids loved the snorkeling

Our underwater adventure continued at Manta Point, where we swam and frolicked with graceful manta rays in the turquoise water.

At manta point, visiting the manta rays at komodo island

In the late afternoon, we headed to Padar Island to watch the incredible orange and pink sunset, and also get an early (4am!) start for our morning hike to the summit of Padar Island to watch the sunrise.

Sunsets in the komodo national park are amazing

Sunsets are incredible in the komodo national park

Day 2: Padar Island, Pink Beach, Komodo Island, Taka Makassar, Kalong Island

Padar Island

We weren’t particularly excited when we were told wake up was at 4 am, but the Padar Island hike made the early morning worth it.

sunrise hike to padar island summit is incredible

Padar Island sunrise

The trail up to the summit was steep and dark at first, but as the sun slowly began to rise we could hardly believe the views. The sky was painted with various hues of pink and orange, and our early-morning grumpiness faded away.

Padar island hike with kids - all the way to the summit to watch the sunrise

Sunrise in the komodo national park

We reached the top of the summit and soaked in the incredible sunrise bouncing over the bays and islands below. It was pure magic. Sometimes, nature showing off is the best alarm clock!

Sunrise on Padar island - you can see white, black and pink sand beaches from one spot

Pink Beach

The Pink Beach was next on our agenda – you can see in the background in the picture above. It’s special for the unique, rose-tinted sand caused by the blend of white sand and red coral fragments.

Pretty in pinnk beach around the corner from Padar island

Viisit the pink beach in the komodo national park

It felt extra special to be the first people to set foot on the beach, allowing us to fully appreciate the tranquility and pristine beauty. The crystal blue water, vibrant coral reef, and the distinct pink hue of the sand was a picture-perfect paradise.

Crystal blue waters in the Komodo national park's pink beaches

More pink beach, with kids

Komodo Island

But the highlight of our entire journey was visiting Komodo Island itself. As we stepped onto Komodo Island, it felt like our own Jurassic Park adventure with real-life dragons.

Komodo Island felt like a Jurassic Park adventure with real-life dragons.
Komodo Island felt like a Jurassic Park adventure with real-life dragons.

Komodo Island

The rugged landscape, pristine beaches, and seeing Komodo Dragons in their natural habitat was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Komodo dragons in their natural habitat

The kids were amazed at the Komodo dragons, even though they were snoozing

Taka Makassar Island

After lunch, we headed to Taka Makassar, an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean where vibrant coral gardens thrive, for a couple of hours of snorkeling.

Taka Makassar, an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean  where vibrant coral gardens thrive for a couple of hours of snorkeling.

Taka Makassar in komodo national park is perfect for snorkeling.

Kalong Island (The Fruit Bat Island)

Before sunset we headed to Kalong Island, and enjoyed the sunset and the incredible spectacle of thousands of fruit bats leaving the island in search of fruit-bearing trees on nearby islands. Tens of thousands of Sunda Flying Foxes, also called the Sunda fruit bat, leave the mangrove-covered island for the mainland in search of food. These are the largest bats in the world and have a wingspan of up to 1 meter! They are easy to spot.

Komodo park fruit bats at sunset

Seeing thousands of fruit bats flying over our boat against the backdrop of yet another glorious sunset felt like something out of a dream. We tried to capture this image in time together as a family and file away as moments that matter.

Sunset in the komodo national park on a luxury cruise

Day 3: Kelor Island 

On our last day we headed to Kelor Island, a snorkeler’s paradise surrounded by crystal-clear blue waters teeming with marine life and reef sharks.

The snorketling was simply amazing at Kelor Island Komodo

It was the perfect ending to our island-hopping adventure. We spent the morning snorkeling, stand-up paddle-boarding, catching waves behind our boat, and relishing every moment of our island experience.

Kids will be kids. Wake surfing on a paddle board, around Kelor island

Stand up paddle boarding around Kelor Island

As we headed back to Labuan Bajo to catch our flight to the mainland, we all had HUGE smiles as we reflected on our surreal adventures.

Boating in the komodo national park on a 3-day Komodo boat tour

This was another magical travel bucket list experience we were able to share as a family. Komodo Island is literally on the other side of the world and a massive trek to get there, however, when you are up close and personal with those mystical dragons, there is truly nothing like it.

Final night from the bow of our luxury boat on our Komodo island boat tour

There are many tour companies offering Komodo Island Tours, and after great research, we opted to go with this Komodo Tour based on reviews and ratings. And a piece of advice  –  choose your boat wisely.

Special shout out to our guide Will, who took many of these beautiful photographs – I’d highly recommend him if you are planning your own trip to this part of the world.

Komodo Island Boat Tour: Travel Secrets

As with any magical adventure, a bit of prep can make the experience even more splendid. Here are some nuggets to tuck into your travel satchel before you board that boat.

Book Your Komodo Boat Trip Early

Booking your Komodo boat tour in advance can save you a ton of hassle, especially during peak season. Boat tours can fill up quickly and there are fewer luxury boats than economy boats, so snagging your spot early means you’re less likely to be left on the docks or with a lower-class boat than you were hoping for. Booking ahead gives you ample time to research and pick a tour that aligns with your preferences.

Dress for the Sun

On the islands, the sun blazes, the terrain varies, and the dragons, well, they aren’t bothered by how fashionable you look. So, dress for practicality and protection: sturdy footwear for trekking, light breathable clothing to ward off the heat, a hat, sunglasses, and don’t forget sunscreen. Some of us hiked in running shoes, but some of us wore flip-flops the entire time.

Stay Hydrated, Stay Happy

The heat can be a bit of a shock, especially when hiking up to viewpoints. Keep a refillable water bottle on hand. Many tours offer refills to keep you hydrated without adding plastic to the pristine environment. And, bring your own cocktails. Although beer and wine might not be served aboard, it won’t be included in the price. Check with your boat tour for their suggestions.

Befriend Your Komodo Island and Boat Tour Guides

Your guide isn’t just there to lead the way – they’re a walking collection of stories, insights, and invaluable advice on how to safely enjoy the islands. They know where to go, what time to go, and they know how to avoid crowds. They know where to look for mantas, the best spots for that postcard-perfect photo, and how to navigate each island. We absolutely loved listening to our excellent tour guide Will!  If you’re looking to book a trip, he’s a great contact.

Embrace the Adventure, Expect the Unexpected

Sometimes, the sea is choppy, the weather changes or the mantas haven’t shown up. It’s all part of the adventure. Flexibility and a good sense of humour can turn any unexpected hiccup into an unforgettable part of your journey. Remember, it’s those stories that will have your friends hanging on to your every word when you return.

Going on a 2-day or 3-day Komodo boat tour is more than just ticking a box on your travel list — it’s about immersing yourself in the raw beauty of nature, seeing the Komodo dragons in their natural habitat, and creating memories.

 

Visit Komodo island and travel with kids

Getting There: Travel to Komodo National Park

To start your Komodo Island tour, you’ll first need to travel to Denpasar Bali or another Indonesian city that has air service to Komodo International Airport in Labuan Bajo. From Bali, it’s easy to catch a short flight to Labuan Bajo, a small town on the island of Flores. This is the launching point for most tours to Komodo Island. The airlines operating flights to and from Komodo Airport include:

  • Batik Air: Flights to Denpasar Bali and Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta.
  • Citilink: Routes include Denpasar, Jakarta–Soekarno–Hatta, and Kupang.
  • Garuda Indonesia: Serving Denpasar and Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta.
  • Indonesia AirAsia: Flights to Denpasar.
  • Lion Air: Operating flights to Surabaya.
  • Super Air Jet: Also connects to Surabaya.
  • Wings Air: Offers connections to Bajawa, Denpasar, Ende, Kupang, Makassar, Mataram, and Maumere

Choosing the Best Komodo Island Boat Tour

Planning a trip to Komodo Island might seem as daunting as it is exciting, especially with the allure of dragons and unspoiled waters calling your name. If you’re gearing up for a Komodo Island tour or a memorable Komodo boat trip, here’s my personal advice to some of your planning questions about travelling to this stunning part of Indonesia.

What’s the best time of year to visit Komodo Island?

The ideal time to visit Komodo Island and Komodo National Park is during the dry season from April to December. The weather is sunny and pleasant, which makes it perfect for hiking and snorkeling.

Where can I find a boat to take a tour of Komodo Island?

In the Labuan Bajo harbor you’ll find plenty of tour operators offering Komodo boat trips in the main harbor. It’s best to compare a few for their reviews and safety standards before booking. However, you won’t really be able to assess the company without doing internet research or booking through a travel agency in Bali before you leave. If you wait until you get to the harbor, you will be able to look at the boat before booking. But I don’t recommend doing it this way – it’s very crowded and you’ll feel pressured to just use the first tour operator you find.

How do I book a Kokmodo boat tour?

You can book a Komodo boat trip either online in advance or directly in Labuan Bajo. I recommend booking in advance during peak travel season (July-August) to ensure you get a spot. You’ll need to wire a deposit (most won’t take a credit card) to reserve your spot. And you’ll need to wire the remainder 7-10 days before your tour starts. You’ll also need to bring Indonesian cash to pay for the Komodo park fees. Your tour guide will collect this cash and pay the park rangers on site. You can’t prepay for this, and the tour operators we spoke to all required this payment in cash.

What should I look for in a Komodo boat tour company?

Look for a tour that covers all the major spots like Komodo Island, Rinca Island, and Padar Island. Ensure the boat has safety equipment and the crew knows the area. Choosing the right boat is key. You need to consider how long you’ll be on the boat, your budget, and the kind of experience you’re looking for. Budget is a big factor, and booking for 2 people can range from $100 USD per day to $1500 depending on the class of boat, food, and amenities. Keep in mind that while you can save money with simpler boats, comfort on longer trips should be a priority. Luxury boats can be completely private (just for your party) and if you can afford it they can be the best way to experience the Komodo islands at your own pace.

Check online reviews of the boat and tour company, and consult Tripadvisor for ratings. When you look at pictures, know they were taken when the boat was first launched. Your boat will not look as good as it does in the photos! Look for feedback on the cleanliness, safety, and overall experience aboard the boat.

How do I find a Komodo Island tour guide?

Most Komodo boat trips come with a tour guide, but when you get to Komodo Island, those guides will connect you with an official park guide. The tour guides on Komodo Island are all officially licensed and work for the government as part of the Komodo National Park, and you won’t really have a choice of guides when you get to the island, but they are all highly experienced. When booking your boat tour, ask about the boat tour guide’s experience, especially their knowledge of local wildlife and safety procedures.

What are the best boat tour companies for Komodo Island?

Some reputable companies include Captain Komodo, Komodo Wanderlust Tours, Komodo Island Tours, and Le Pirate Explorer. They are known for their safety records and excellent guides. If you’re looking for other reviews, try Viator for Komodo tours.

What wildlife will I see on Komodo Island?

Besides the famous Komodo dragons, you can spot buffaloes, deer, pigs, and tons of birds. Underwater, there is a seriously amazing other world of fish, turtles, manta rays, reef sharks, and coral reefs dwellers. The reefs are 20-40 feet right off the beach, so swimming is easy. These are some of the most enchanting reefs you’ll ever see – the coral, giant clams, and anemones will mesmerize you!

Seeing Komodo Dragons in their natural habitat was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Komodo Dragons are really quite large, and quite intimidating up close!

Armed with these answers, you’re set for a thrilling adventure on your Komodo Island tour. From majestic dragons to serene beaches, Komodo is a world of its own, waiting to be explored. So, pack your bags, set your spirits high, and prepare for an unforgettable journey!

Snorkeling in the Komodo national park

I hope this post helps you plan your own Komodo Boat Tour!

Please comment below or reach out if you have any questions!

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About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Matteo | 6th Mar 24

    Do you start the tour on Sept 16, 17 or 18?

    • Samantha | 6th Mar 24

      Hi – you can start the tour on various days depending on the tour company you choose and your travel schedule. We left on a Friday and returned on a Sunday which I think is a popular schedule so you’d have to plan flights accordingly.

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