Because there’s so much more to this breathtaking archipelago than just spotting dragons...
As one of Indonesia’s most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites with 29 pristine paradise islands to discover, there’s so much to see and do within the breathtaking expanse of the Komodo National Park. From swimming with Manta Rays and discovering castaway islands, to hiking to the top of volcanoes and spotting colonies of bats by moonlight – this is one part of the world you simply must explore (and it’s just a short 1 hour flight from Bali!)
Despite its name, there’s so much more to this natural wonder than just spotting Komodo Dragons (though you’ll certainly want that on your itinerary too) and the best way to journey through this wild and wonderful land is without doubt by liveaboard – house-like boats that let you live onboard, drift between white sandy bays, explore aquamarine seas and sleep beneath the stars. Hea-ven.
Well, we were lucky enough to do exactly that, on board a stunning yacht from Yacht Sourcing Indonesia. We cruised for three nights and four luxurious days through this glorious, untouched territory of sand, sea and nature’s best kept secrets, ticking off our bucket list one adventure at a time…
So, to help you on your own expedition, here’s our Top 10 things to do in the West Flores Komodo National Park that you should do too.
All aboard Honeys!
1. Cruise around the islands on a luxury liveaboard
Picture this. With a soft and salty breeze on your skin, the afternoon sun twinkling down on tranquil waters all around you, and the uninterrupted view of unchartered territory out yonder as you perch on the hull of your five-star yacht with a cold cocktail in hand – this is how paradise should be explored…
Sure, you can day trip from Labuan Bajo on a small local boat that takes you to one or two destinations close to the port, but there really is nothing like waking up on the ocean, cruising to islands farther afield, or even stopping for an impromptu BBQ on the beach – all the while being treated to five-star service in an utterly luxurious yacht that looks more like a palatial villa. After cruising the archipelago on our own aquatic beauty, we highly recommend Yacht Sourcing Indonesia – check out their luxury collection of charter yachts and you’ll see why we love them so much.
2. Swim with Manta Rays in the deep blue
If you’ve ever snorkelled with a graceful Manta Ray, you’ll know that these gentle ocean angels are a must-see when diving into the depths of Flores’ glittering waters. These majestic creatures can be spotted just off Komodo Island at a “cleaning & feeding station” aptly named Manta Point. If you’re lucky, you can spot over 20 of these beautiful beings in one visit, with sightings reported year-round. Pop on your snorkel, hop off your boat and dive down to say hello – just don’t forget your Go-Pro to catch that salty selfie!
3. Spot Komodo Dragons on Rinca Island
Yes you read that right. Spotting dragons in Komodo National Park actually takes place on neighbouring Rinca Island – not Komodo – as this is the best place to spot these enormous reptiles. It’s here you can walk through the local village past rickety houses that are built high up on stilts above the island floor. You’ll be guided by a park ranger as you wander into the wilderness to come face-to-face with these endearing beasts. Pack your camera, and always stay close to your guide!
4. Leave footprints on Pink Sand Beach
You’ve probably seen the pictures. That sprawling stretch of impossibly-pink sand against crystal clear water that looks more like candy-floss than a remote island destination. Well, that picture-perfect paradise can be found in Komodo National Park, most commonly known as Pink Sand Beach. Get your Instagram-feeds at the ready, because you can leave footprints on this unique stretch of blushed beach. Top tip: visit at sunrise or sunset, because the low light lets the sand really glow its rosy glimmer.
5. Sleep beneath the stars
Remember how we said you simply must explore Komodo National Park on a luxury liveaboard (like one of Yacht Sourcing Indonesia’s gorgeous cruisers)? Well, one of those reasons is so you can sleep beneath the stars. While we loved diving into the deep, hiking up high and exploring the sights of this natural frontier, one of fave ocean memories is grabbing our fluffy pillows from our glamorous yacht bedrooms and making a cosy den on the wooden open deck. With nothing around except vast ocean and uninhabited islands, the sky becomes bright beyond belief with twinkling stars and diamond-like constellations. Simple, yet oh-so blissful.
6. Hike to the top of a mountain
With 29 islands scattered throughout the National Park, there’s plenty of hiking trails and sunset trekking opportunities here. Almost all of the islands protrude dramatically out of the water like natural skyscrapers, so you can climb to the summits and watch the sunset from some seriously stunning viewpoints. Our faves were Gili Lawa (a prime sunrise spot) and Pulau Padar – a towering trail that’s high enough to soar above three different coloured bays: one black sand beach, one white, and of course, the famous Pink Sand Beach. Top tip: take a pic on the Lion King-like rock that gives you one helluva scenic backdrop.
7. Whip you hair back & forth on a deserted sandbank
One of Komodo National Park’s most incredible islands isn’t the biggest, the tallest nor the longest. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Taka Makassar is a teeny tiny sandbank in the middle of the ocean, just a few minutes from Manta Point. The water around it is the clearest, brightest turquoise-blue we’ve ever seen, and the soft white sand has a slight pink tinge to it. Wade through the warm shallow waters to spot small baby reef sharks patrolling the perimeter, and don’t forget to whip your hair back and forth in what looks like the edge of the world….!
8. Go snorkelling and find Nemo
As a world-class diving destination, donning your snorkel and getting up close and personal with Komodo National Park’s vibrant reefs is a must. There are countless sites that are just buzzing with life for both novice snorkellers and advanced divers alike. If you look hard enough, you’ll no doubt find Nemo, and if you’re really lucky, you’ll spot sea turtles, colourful tropical fish, friendly reef sharks and even squid and octopus. All of Yacht Sourcing Indonesia’s yachts are fully equipped with snorkelling gear, and some (from the one-bedroom Alexa to the 7-bedroom Lamima) offer all diving equipment and guides, too.
9. Dine on top deck
One of our fave things about our Yacht Sourcing Indonesia “Phinisi” yacht (a traditional Indonesian two-masted wooden sailing ship) was the amount of glorious lolling spots onboard. There were squishy beanbags on the front deck, sunbeds on the back, a five-star lounge inside the main cabin and a stunning long dining table on the top deck. Well, it was here that we feasted on local favourites from our own personal chef each day – always with a soft ocean breeze as company. From breakfasts in a bay to lunches on the go, dining on the top deck of your ocean beauty is a scrumptious experience you won’t wanna miss.
10. Spot bats from a secluded bay at sunset
Each and every evening, our expert captain would moor us up in a secluded, tranquil bay – each one more stunning than the last. Well, one particular evening we parked up in the bay of Kalong Island – home to an enormous colony of bats that migrate towards the moon every night during sunset. As we sipped on Sangria and watched the sky turn from a fiery orange to a deep purple, thousands of these spectacular creatures soared above us, much like the colossal schools of fish below us. With the gentle sounds of rippling water all around and the mouthwatering scent of dinner cooking on the deck, exploring paradise doesn’t get more magical than this…
So what are you waiting for Honeys? Pack your bikini & hop on board your own Yacht Sourcing Indonesia yacht – stat!
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This story was proudly sponsored by Yacht Sourcing Indonesia