Travel info for Komodo National Park in Indonesia

A stunning dragon sanctuary


Nusa Tenggara Timur, Kabupaten Manggarai Barat, Indonesia

GPS: -8.5267441111027, 119.48410963753

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Located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores in the centre of the Indonesian archipelago, the Komodo National Park includes a 2,000 km² land and sea area. Its protected environment covers three large islands (Komodo, Rinca and Padar) and around twenty islets of volcanic origin, at the junctions of the continental Sunda Shelf and the Sahul Shelf. The Komodo National Park has the distinction of being on the Wallace Line, a biogeographical border identified by the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in the middle of the 19th century (with Charles Darwin, he is the co-discoverer of theory on natural selection). This dividing line marks the physical separation of Australian fauna from that of the Asian continent. This gives the park an incredible variety of flora and fauna evolving in a unique ecosystem.

The Komodo National Park is part of the famous Coral Triangle, one of the regions with the richest marine biodiversity in the world. Founded in 1980 to protect a creature endemic to central Indonesia, the Komodo dragon (monitor), and various cetacean species, this sanctuary is a natural site of great biological importance. It is home to the most beautiful creatures of the sea and serves as a habitat for a few thousand specimens of giant monitor lizards, better known as Komodo dragons, in a paradise environment. This carnivorous animal, whose origin dates back several tens of millions of years, represents the largest species of lizard on Earth. An estimated 5,000 Komodo Dragons live in the wild, 80% of them within the park. Cannibal by nature, it feeds mainly on mammals such as the Timor deer, a species also threatened by poaching. The Komodo dragon lives and hunts alone and is at the top of the park’s food chain. Today, this giant lizard is threatened with extinction due to the gradual fragmentation of its forest habitat and the growing influence of man on its environment.

The conservation area of the Komodo National Park brings together many animal and plant species evolving between the Pacific and Indian oceans. Populated by some 4,000 inhabitants, including many fishing families, this paradise for divers is also at the top of the ecotourism hot-spots. Hiking trails criss-cross idyllic beaches and the diverse vegetation in the park in search of the Komodo dragon.

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  • The lush marine environment of the Komodo National Park (coral reefs, fish, dugongs, whales, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, manta rays…)
  • The multitude of different ecosystems (Australian, Indonesian, Sunda Islands…)
  • The Komodo dragon, one of the biggest reptiles in the world (a species of varan)
  • The coastal flora and exotic vegetation of the park (mangroves, seagrasses, savannahs, wooded valleys, tropical forests, shrubs, orchids…)
  • The terrestrial fauna rich in endemic species (reptiles, birds, snakes, frogs, crab-eating macaque, Javan rusa or Timor deer…)
  • The numerous bathing and scuba diving sites (Pantai Merah, Batu Bolong, Tatawa Besar, Letuhoh Reef, Castle Rock…)
  • The white sand beaches with crystal clear waters
  • The hiking trails surveying the three main islands of the park (Komodo, Rinca and Padar)
  • The excursions in glass-bottomed or fishing boats
  • The Komodo dragon is symbolic of the park and is called “ora” by the locals. Measuring between two to three metres in length, they can weigh up to 100 kilograms and live up to 50 years. Small dragons are forced to live in trees to avoid being eaten by the cannibalistic adults.
  • This animal is able to eat prey that exceeds its own weight such as water buffalo that can weigh up to a ton. The Komodo dragon saliva contains bacteria that can slowly kill an animal. The bite of the Komodo dragon prevents healing, promotes infection and accelerates bleeding. This large lizard eats only once or twice a month, and expends very little energy. It regulates its temperature by sunning itself and then cooling down in the shade.
  • The Komodo dragon is classified as parthenogenetic. This is asexual reproduction without the need of fertilization by sperm.
  • Scientists believe that the Komodo dragon is the descendant of an even larger species of lizard (the megalania), that evolved during the Pleistocene era. It was over six metres long and would have disappeared from Australian shores 40,000 years ago.
  • The use of explosives, cyanide and net fishing are now prohibited by the Indonesian government. These practices have long undermined corals and marine resources of the Komodo National Park.
  • There are no longer any Komodo dragons on Padar Island due to intensive hunting at the end of the 20th century which proved fatal for the environment. To achieve their ends, the hunters burned the forest to collect as many prey as possible (deer, wild boars, buffaloes…). Hunted too, the big lizards were deprived of their main sources of food.
  • Investors, backed by the Indonesian authorities, plan to turn the Lesser Sunda Islands into a luxury destination with high-end resorts and an adventure park, based on the “Jurassic Park” concept. This large-scale tourism development could seriously threaten the natural habitat and food resources of the Komodo dragon, which is classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
  • The Komodo National Park is accessible by boat from the cities of Labuan Bajo to the east or Bima to the west (both accessible by plane from Denpasar, in the province of Bali).
  • Rinca Island, wilder and less frequented than the island of Komodo is perhaps a good alternative to discover the many riches of the park, including the famous Komodo dragons.
  • Earmark the dry season, from April to December, to visit this Indonesian region that is prone to monsoons.
  • Park entry tickets are valid for a minimum of three days. The use of official guides is compulsory
  • Stay away from the Komodo dragons because they can be dangerous, especially if you have young children. This predator can reach speeds of 20 km/hr.
  • Strong sea currents and tides can make scuba diving and navigation difficult.
  • Be sure to moderate your water consumption during your stay, given the scarcity of this resource for the local population.

Where to eat

  • Scooperific
    (western taste)
  • La Cucina
    (Cozy Italian restaurant)
  • Atlantis Beachclub
    (chic and original)

Where to go

  • Fish market of Labuan Bajo
    (local and living market)
  • Sangeang Api
    (the Mountain of Fire)
  • Pulau Kalong
    (bat sanctuary)

Where to stay

  • Palulu Garden Homestay
    (family guest room)
  • Villa Seirama Alam
    (lovely view of the bay)
  • Komodo Resort
    (diving paradise)