For many, nature exists as a curiosity, as somewhere to visit or occasionally recreate. There are those rare places, however, where one finds harmony in nature. Places time seems to have forgotten. Places where ancient creatures roam, and where the landscape seems conjured from the imagination. Komodo National Park is such a place.
Best known as the habitat for the rare and famous Komodo dragon, the park comprises some 600 km2 of protected lands and surrounding waters. Travelers to this relatively remote natural wonder stand to be richly rewarded. The park’s rugged beauty coupled with the Komodo dragon’s fearsome reputation belie the rich diversity of land and sea creatures calling the park home. It is little surprise Komodo National Park is regularly regarding as a must-see destination for avid travelers.
1）Travel and Accommodations
Due to its relative remoteness, visitors to Komodo National Park will have to arrive from elsewhere in Indonesia. Find a domestic flight to Komodo Airport located in the town of Labuan Bajo on the nearby island of Flores. Many choose to make the short trip from Bali. Intrepid travelers might opt instead for a local ferry service also out of Bali; however, be aware there is no direct ferry to Komodo National Park, multiple transfers are required. Even those flying from Bali to Labuan Bajo will need to board a ferry for the final journey to Komodo Island. Travelers looking to explore the park over several days should seek accommodations before departing for the park. There are a number of hotels located in and around Labuan Bajo. A small local population predates the establishment of the national park and has retained land rights within park grounds. Although travelers have been known to secure accommodation with local residents, there is no organized system for these sorts of arrangements. Local tour operators do offer all-inclusive packages providing accommodation and transportation to the park. Travelers interested in these can check with travel agencies in the larger cities.
2）Exploring Komodo National Park
The park is spread across three main islands: Komodo, Padar, and Rinca. Komodo is the largest of the three and most likely to be on any organized tour outing. The main visitor center is located on Rinca, where it is also fairly easy to find and observe Komodo dragons. Facilities in other parts of the park are sparse. Tourists should make sure they are well-prepared for eventualities. This includes traveling with plenty of water and sunscreen. A basic understanding of first aid is also advisable. For the vast majority of travelers, finding a local guide is simply the best (and safest!) option. Inquire either as part of a larger organized tour package or with park officials who will ensure you have paid the applicable park entrance and conservation fees. Once within the park proper, allow yourself ample time to explore the vast tracks and varied landscapes.
Indonesia sits along the so-called Ring of Fire and is dotted with active volcanos. As a consequence much of the soil and rock formations within Komodo National Park owe their character to these volcanic origins. The beaches and shorelines are excellent places to get a closer look at the exposed rock. Komodo’s geography and location result in a relatively arid climate. The flora is principally shrubs, grasses, and other savannah-type plants. Interior portions of Komodo and Rinca islands climb a bit in altitude. Above roughly 500 meters you will find forested sections and most of the park’s flower species. These forested areas are good places for bird watching.
3）Dive into the Crystal Waters
The terrestrial Komodo dragon may dominate the imagination; however, Komodo National Park sits among arguably the greatest collection of marine biodiversity anywhere on Earth. The confluence of the Indian and Pacific oceans, the warm tropical climate, and the abundant coral reefs help make the waters around Komodo National Park among the most pristine. Due to their protected status, pollution is not the same concern as it is in other parts of Indonesia. Any visit to Komodo National Park should certainly include scuba diving among the corals or snorkeling in the shallow waters near shore.
Brightly colored aquatic life performs a veritable ballet as whale sharks, ocean sunfish, manta rays, eagle rays, pygmy seahorse, false pipefish, clown frogfish, and countless others go about their lives absent large-scale human interference. Many tour operators can assist in setting up diving or snorkeling tours. As with land exploration, it helps to have a local guide who can point you towards more picturesque locations. In addition to life in the water, Komodo National Park features fantastic beaches, which are accessible to visitors. A distinctive feature is their pink sands, which result from the accumulation of corals broken down over many centuries.
Standing on the pink shores or venturing down weather-worn trails in search of Komodo dragons will convey nature’s harmony in Komodo National Park. There are few more unique or iconic natural destinations anywhere in the world. Given the mystical stature of its principle inhabitant, Komodo National Park looms large in the imagination. Satisfy your own curiosities and strike out on an adventure to visit this remote and natural wonder.