Komodo Dragon is the largest lizard species inhabiting the globe. These lizards migrated to Indonesia from Australia and settled on 5 Indonesian islands: Komodo, Rinca, Padar, Flores and Gili Motang. To see them in the wild you have to have incredible luck, because these animals do not have a sense of its own territory and are constantly on the move. However, you can see them in Komodo National Park on the islands of Komodo and Rinca after getting there by boat from Labuan Bajo on Flores and paying the entrance fee to the national park. We wanted to see the phenomenal island of Padar so we had to choose the following tour combination: Komodo + Padar + Pink Beach / snorkelling + Manta Point (it wasn’t possible to visit the islands of Komodo, Rinca and Padar in one day, and doing it in 2 days would mean paying a double admission fee to the park!). Sharing with you our impressions on meeting the mighty lizards.


We will start with some info about giant lizards of Komodo 🙂

1) Komodo Dragons can reach up to 3 meters in length and weigh usually from 70 to 90kg (the maximum registered weight is about 160kg), have poor eyesight and hearing, but can smell food from a distance of 10km, so on the islands where they live with other people, human bodies are buried in graves made of concrete so that the lizards didn’t dig them up in order to eat them.

2) The warans feed on living and dead flesh, and using poisonous saliva, which they spit at the victim lead to the prey’s slow bleeding. The venom reduces the blood pressure and clotting. The weakened victim loses consciousness and if it does not bleed to death, it will certainly die from infections in the wounded body. The Komodo Dragon often waits for the victim to bleed to death, or leaves it, then after 1-3 days comes back for the ‘waiting’ dinner.

3) Komodo dragons are cannibals: greater individual often eat smaller, and mothers eat their babies very often. Females do not have a maternal instinct, they leave the new-born ”small” babies (having 30cm in length) in a nest, and go away. Small lizards in order to survive spend their lives up on a tree up to 3 years of age to avoid being eaten by other lizards.

4) Komodo dragon in the best case reaches a speed of 20km /h (when it is in its prime), and old individuals are moving at the speed of 5-10km / h.

5) Waran eats buffalo, deer, but is also able to hunt a prey 10 times greater than themselves, and it can eat the whole boar in 20 minutes. Luckily it only eats once a month 🙂

6) Dragons like to soak up the sun in the morning, thus charge the batteries and are ready to hunt later in the day. During the day they escape into the shade.



” Cute ” animals, aren’t they? Their size arouses incredible respect ..


But back to our experience of the Komodo National Park: the park employees collect from each visitor the amount of: 247.000IDR / less than 18USD, which includes admission fee to the park, guide service (if you’re in a group of 5 people, the overall price will be as indicated above, if not it will increase), a permit to dive snorkeling, trekking permit and permission to take photos! The prices seem to be overrated but what can yo do? And what about ” trekking ”? You can see that the guide is just following the path and not looking around to look for dragons hidden somewhere in the shade of the woods, he goes straight ahead, because he knows where the lizards will be for sure attracted by food provided to them by the employees of the park .. So all the tourists are led along the same route, where at the very beginning on the wooden bridge there is an old skinny waran and on the right hand side you can see an already trodden path to avoid trespassing the bridge ..



Then you will follow the guide through the woods where he will show you one of the slots/nests prepared by lizards (and actually we had a ”natural”chance to see a small lizard escaping from there upon discovering us approaching to the area). At the end every visitor is taken to the point close to the beach, where you can see deer taking a rest in the shades of some trees and there is a point to which the park guards are luring 4 big Komodo Dragons which seem to be there all the time not leaving this place at all. Some guides treacherously throw a remark to tourists: ” Look how lucky you are to come across so many Komodo dragons ”, and at the very beginning of the trekking they say something like:’ We can never guarantee that you will meet these animals, because they are moving from one place to the other all the time and do not have their own territory ”, then what happens next? – You see them at the beginning and the end of the ‘trekking’ as already mentioned.


We admit that such treatment of animals as puppets for the purpose of gaining more visitors disappointed each and everyone from our group. And how does it look like now?: the entrance fee is high, which makes the board of the national park think they ” have the right ” to charge tourists if they will display a few Komodo dragons to them, by doing this they supposedly think they will also avoid complaints from the visitors paying this price to be able to see the giant lizards .. If they pay and in exchange see the animals the deal is made, and thats it…!


A piece of advise from us: the desire to see Komodo dragons is one thing, but you also should be aware of all the related costs before you decide to go there as well + have in mind that Komodo Dragons are just one of the 4 points in the programme of this type of excursion. On our boat which we took from Labuan Bajo in Flores there were in total 9 people (counting the 2 of us). As we bought the package tour at approx. 8pm on the previous day and the minimum amount of people was already gathered, we were allowed to pay less, that is 400.000IDR / 30USD per person instead of the standard 600.000IDR /45USD, but it was really hard time bargaining with them! My God! Besides, you need to add to the expenses the entrance fee to the Komodo National Park ..The boat sets off from the main port in Labuan Bajo around  5:30am and it takes 3-3,5h to get to the island of Padar, where you have 1 hour to trek to one of the vantage points. The view is jaw-dropping, it’s just amazing! Here are some pictures:


After leaving the paradise island of Padarr, you will be taken to Komodo to see Komodo Dragons (it will take 1-1,5h by boat), and then they will ”serve” you lunch on the boat. Here’s what it looked like. There wasn’t much: just one leg of chicken, rice and a few pieces of vegetables … They could have made some more effort..


The next point of the tour was Pink Beach (which is not so ‘pink’ actually), where you can go snorkeling. The water current is quite strong, so you have to exercise your hands a lot, but you can actually watch the pretty nice reef. There were not many fish at the time when we stopped there.






The last point of the tour was the Manta Point, which is the place where you can see the huge stingrays/mantas in the sea floating in water and even slightly going above it with its amazing fins. It was very hard to take a photo of them. We have only one  photo of a manta swimming away somewhere in the blue distance 🙂


The return trip from Pink Beach to Labuan Bajo in Flores takes a very long time – around 3 hours, so get ready for a looooong journey.


All in all, we evaluate the tour as GOOD: the spectacular Padar didn’t let us down, huge stingrays and beautiful coral seaworld and stunning views along the way made this tour special. The Komodo dragons have the plus from us just because we saw them, but we were quite disappointed about the ‘trekking’ and the attitude of the employess of the national park . Experiences were quite a few, a slight disgust remained, but we are happy that we can share it with you and so if ever you decide to visit Komodo dragons, you will have at least realistic expectations how it really looks like to explore the Komodo National Park, which by the way is listed as one of the 7 new wonders of nature.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *