6 Essential Komodo Liveaboard Tips: What to know before you go

Updated: May 8, 2020

Perhaps it seems overwhelming at first. Planning your trip far away from home, visiting a country that you never heard before.

Indonesia is located in South East Asia, between the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. It has more than 17,000 islands. A tropical country that only recognizes two seasons, summer season and rainy season, and is located precisely in the middle of the equator.

If this is the first time you want to visit Komodo island, no need to worry because i have summarized about the initial steps you need to take in order for you to plan a smooth trip to this amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site.

1. Learn How To Get To Komodo Island

Many people only recognize Bali as one of the world's best tourist destinations. I remembered one time I was chatting with my European friends and later we discussed about planning a vacation to southeast Asia. When I was mentioning Bali, some of them still thought that we need to apply Bali Visa to go there. They had no idea that Bali is part of Indonesia. This is something that isn't surprising anymore. It has become a common misconception among foreigners that Bali is a country, totally separate from Indonesia.

We Indonesians also not much of any different. Around 12 years ago when I asked my fellow Indonesian if they knew Labuan Bajo, most of them couldn't answer. Maybe because we have more than 17.000 islands and it’s impossible to recognize them one by one. But maybe the reason of this is because at that time, the airplane transportation access was also still very limited and the ticket price very expensive. But thankfully, right now plenty of airline companies are opening their route to Labuan Bajo and more people can easily access the Komodo National Park without difficulties. Now it has become one of the World’s most sought tourist destinations in the world.

There are plenty of flight to and from Labuan Bajo

The simplest and most economical way to reach Komodo national park is by plane and the airport is called Komodo Airport. Located in a small town named Labuan Bajo, in Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia.

Even though you’re traveling from Bali or Lombok island, we strongly advise you to take a flight directly to Labuan Bajo. Start your liveaboard tour from Labuan Bajo, and return to Labuan Bajo again.

There are many tour operators that offer trips to Komodo island from Bali and Lombok island. In my personal opinion, better to avoid this kind of trip, because it will take around a minimum of four to five days to reach Labuan Bajo, for just a one-way trip only. Besides, the sea conditions along the island of Sumbawa (an island between Lombok Island and Komodo Island) is famous for its violent waves and strong currents, especially on the strait called the Sape Strait.

Some important things to consider before you buy a flight ticket to Komodo Island:

  • Book your Flights to Komodo Island or Labuan Bajo 2-3 months in advance. The demand for tickets to and from Labuan Bajo is very high, especially during high season. You can see the schedule of domestic flight tickets to Komodo Island in our article here.

  • Avoid visiting Komodo Island during the rainy season or West Monsoon Season. This season starts around the mid of January until the end of March. The highest peak of rainfall and high waves is in February up until March. Conversely, April to November is the most suitable time for you to plan your trip. The weather is sunny, the sky is blue and the sea is friendly.

2. Choose Your Boat Tour Preference

Komodo National Park is so vast and covers an area of 390 km2 or 150 sq miles. Plan ahead for the duration of your vacation, calculate your budget, and your traveling preferences.

There are several types of tours to Komodo Island, such as:

  • Daily Komodo tour. Usually, it starts around 9 am and ends around 5 pm. If you use a speed motorboat, then you can reach many destinations on Komodo Island in a short time but with a much higher price. If you use a wooden-engined boat with speed around 8 knots, you won't get many choices of the itinerary, and only be able to reach a few of the closest islands near Labuan Bajo.

  • Group sharing trip or famously called Open Trip to Komodo Island. This is some kind of a multi-day liveaboard tour that offers individual price packages or counted as per-person only. Mostly the boat will only start the trip if the minimum number of the quota of people has been met, so sometimes it’s prone to cancellation with plenty of creative reasons, especially during the high hectic season around July to November. The advantage of this type of trip is the economical price. The drawback is that there are zero privacy and zero flexibility over the itinerary. Usually, these boats are also intended for party-type groups, suitable for those who prefer to socialize more often with fellow travelers or backpackers.

  • Private Komodo Liveaboard tour. This trip option is suitable for those of you who want to rent the whole boat privately for your group or your family members without the need to share the space with strangers. This feels like having your own private floating hotel that is arranged specifically just for you, complete with a Captain and a private crews who always serve and cook you during your trip. This is also perfect for the honeymoon couple who want to seek privacy and tranquility during their special moment.

3. Learn Komodo National Park map and itinerary

You can see on the map above that Komodo National Park covers a very wide area with plenty of islands, including the big famous of four, islands of Rinca, the island of Padar, the island of Gili Lawa Darat (Gili Laba) and the island of Komodo.

That’s why you need to invest your time more so that you can experience an opportunity to explore this amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sleeping on the top deck of your boat accompanied by the sound of soft waves hit the nearby shores while looking at the glittering stars of the Milky Way. Visiting small exotic islands and uninhabited beaches, and perhaps, climbing a beautiful savannah hill at Padar Island, watching a beautiful sunrise. That will be a once in a lifetime experience that will never be forgotten. It would be very unfortunate if you choose to spend too long at the hotel in Labuan Bajo or doing a one-day trip only and missed this opportunity.

You can download the Google Earth map to obtain Itinerary Map file below. Make sure you first download the Google Earth application if you opens the file from your mobile.

Komodo National Park - Laba Laba Boat
Download KM • 49KB

4. Make Sure You Pick The Right Komodo Boat Tour Provider

After you landed on Labuan Bajo, there is no other access to Komodo National Park other than by using a boat, therefore you need choose the right Komodo boat tour operator that is suitable according to your preferences.

Rent your Komodo boat well in advance before you arrive in Labuan Bajo. There are many choices of tour operators if you search online on the internet. Mostly the tourists book their Komodo boat 2 to 3 months prior to their arrival.

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Things to consider when you choose a Komodo Boat tour operator:

  • Make sure their boat and its facilities meet your expectation.

  • Check their itinerary package and what facilities are included or not included in their offer price.

  • Most importantly, make sure that your tour operator really owns a boat and not act as a "middleman" of someone else’s boats. This is to ensure there are no overlapping booking schedules, mismanagement or human errors that will certainly disrupt your overall Komodo trip plan.

Laba Laba Boat is among the key players as a tour operator in Komodo island, with more than six years of experience. They offer several attractive private Komodo liveaboard tour packages to choose from if you feel that this the kind of tour that is more suitable when you go on a vacation to Komodo island. You can check it here for more detailed info and rates. It specifically offers a private Komodo liveaboard itinerary options that you can choose, such as:

  • 2 Days 1 Night private Komodo liveaboard tour. This is the shortest and most compact private liveaboard Komodo tour. You are still possible not just to experience the Komodo dragon tour, but also still be able to enjoy the beauty of some pristine Islands in Komodo National Park. You can check the detailed itinerary here.

  • 3 days 2 nights private Komodo liveaboard tour. Neither too long nor too short. This trip duration is often being chosen by most of the guests. You will visit Rinca to experience adventure trekking to see the Komodo dragon and watch them in their natural habitat, and you will also visit plenty of iconic islands and interesting spots around the National Park. The itinerary will be arranged efficiently to match it according to your flight's arrival and flight return schedule. You can check the detailed itinerary here.

  • 4 days 3 nights private Komodo liveaboard tour. This type of tour will not rush and force you to jump from one destination to another in a short time. The journey is more relax and you can spend your time longer on each spot while enjoying the beautiful scenery, snorkel on a small exotic island and empty beaches. The itinerary will be arranged efficiently and match according to your flight arrival and return schedule as well. You may check the detailed itinerary and information here.

5. Where to Stay in Komodo Island

There are plenty of attractive resorts to choose from in Labuan Bajo. Starting from luxury resorts such as like Ayana Komodo Resort, Puri Sari Beach Hotel, or Plataran Komodo resorts, as well as middle and budget hotels that can be matched according to your pocket that you can find in many online booking platforms. But I suggest you to pay attention to hotel facilities and their location.

Here’s the reason.

Labuan Bajo is a small fishing town that is still in the stage of development, which means that until now, plenty of facilities, infrastructures, and businesses, such as restaurants, ATM's, banks, money changers and shops are centralized mostly in the main road called Soekarno Hatta Road.

Some shops and restaurants usually close above 6 or 7 pm and transportation is still very minimum. Most so-called "taxi" is actually a privately owned car. There is no official taxi company yet in Labuan Bajo, and a lot of transportation being used by the locals are scooters. So if your hotel does not have a restaurant or dining service and located very far from this main road, and you may get a problem. That's why hotel facilities and hotel location are still important benchmarks among tourists.

Most of Laba Laba Boat guests were stay at the Ayana Komodo Resort Waecicu Beach, Plataran Komodo resort, or Puri Sari Beach Hotel. But it is also possible if you want to be picked up directly by our driver from the airport and start your Komodo liveaboard tour immediately, without spending a night in a hotel. Laba Laba Boat trip coordinator will be happy to discuss with you to arrange a special itinerary and pickup service that suits your arrival and departure schedules. For more info, you can contact them directly here.

6. Understand the Internet Quality Around Komodo Island

A trip to Komodo island can be a perfect moment for you to take a break from the internet. Immerse yourself with nature and recharge your soul. But if you’re the internet savvy type, don't worry. Around 60% of the area is already got internet or cellphone network coverage. Until now, several locations that are still difficult to get an internet network are Rinca Island, Padar Island, and Kanawa Island.

If you want to buy a cellular number or sim card with an Indonesian internet package, the best is Telkomsel. Around $14 for a 2GB internet package that can be valid up to 30 days. Don't buy it at the airport because they will charge it 4-10 times higher than the actual price.

Hopefully this information can help you and can provide an initial overview if you want to start an exciting Komodo liveaboard adventure at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

About Labalaba Boat

Laba Laba boat has been proudly operating our own Komodo liveaboard tour for 7 years. Our boat is a sturdy wooden boat crafted by the experienced Phinisi boat maker in Sulawesi Island, made from the best material of Iron Wood and Teak Wood. We maintain the classic design of a traditional Indonesian wooden boat called Phinisi but in a smaller version.

Visit our website to learn more |