Navigating the dragon’s lair

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With 3 major islands and at least 26 smaller islands, Komodo National Park is one of Indonesia’s most popular destinations. The huge area and distance mean that liveaboard (multi-night boat trip) is the best way to explore and enjoy the area.

This is exactly what we did in May aboard Leyla Liveaboard.

Our trip starts at 9am with a pick up directly in front of our resort where we stayed the night before. The small boat takes us to Leyla, where after a short ride and a welcome drink, we set sail for the park, approximately 3 hours away.

The national park is dotted with numerous islands characterized by rolling savannas and rugged hills. It was mostly green and yellow when we sailed as the rainy season has just ended, but they would turn brown towards the end of the year. The fantastic view all around made the 3 hour journey very pleasant, especially on the sundeck of the boat. Before we know it, it’s time for lunch.

Next, our first real action on the waters begins. Michelle went diving, while I settled for snorkelling. Away from crowded places, we were the only ones to experience the underwater beauty of Batu Pengah. Marked by a stone hill a few miles off Pengah Island, the sub is teeming with healthy coral and the usual marine life. Saw a huge puffer fish while Michelle had a close encounter with two hawksbill turtles.

Sunset was fast approaching and we decided to enjoy it at one of the most iconic places in Indonesia – Padar Island. You’ve probably seen it somewhere before, jaw-dropping landscape of four distinct beaches curving left and right, portrayed by textured, exotic hills.

It was truly magical to see firsthand and well worth climbing the 800 steps to reach the top.

There we were, enjoying a glass of Chardonnay as we watched the sky go from yellow to purple to dark.

Rising early the next day, we visited the Komodo Islands for a walk to see dragons firsthand. Doing this walk early was great as there are fewer people, the temperature is cooler and the dragons are more active.

After a leisurely afternoon and some more snorkeling and diving, we sailed to the eastern part of the park, where a nature show takes place every sunset. At dusk, thousands of enormous fruit bats will fly out of their small mangrove islands in search of food on land, making for an incredible sight to witness.

Afterwards, a special dinner is prepared for us on the beach on a nearby secluded island. The island faces south, which in Indonesia means the sky direction of the Milky Way in the month of May – October. Coupled with the fact that you are enjoying dinner at a remote beach with no one else make this a truly magical experience.

At this point, we wished we had more nights to spend on the boat. At least three nights is ideal for exploring the main sites and up to eight nights if you want to see everything the park has to offer.

We will definitely be back!


Cris and Michele

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