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A 4 Day Diving & Hiking Holiday in Komodo National Park

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Getaway Category: Adventure & NatureGetaway Tags: adventure, Asia, diving, hiking, indonesia, islands, and weekend

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  • With stunning coastal views, world class diving and the promise to see live dragons, Komodo National Park in Indonesia is a popular destination visited by many. From personal experience, the diving there has been some of the best diving in the world and is considered a MUST for avid underwater explorers.

    Day 1: Arrival in Labuan Bajo, Flores

    2:00 PM Arrival at Labuan Bajo Komodo Airport

    While the two flights going to Flores may seem tedious, we assure you it is well worth it! Upon arrival, take a taxi from the airport to the harbor. There are lots of local ojeks (local motorbikes) waiting but going with a taxi is your best bet if you have a large bag. The taxis will try charging you a lot so if your hotel offers it, coordinate with them to opt for a free airport transfer service. Ojeks should be around 15,000-20,000 ($2 SGD) while a taxi should be around 50,000 ($5 SGD). The airport is only 2km away from the main town where all the hotels are.

    3:00 PM Arrival in Your Hotel

    Upon checking in, your first order of business is to organize your diving. We recommend one full day of diving (3 dives) and one day of diving & trekking (2 dives). The town of Labuan Bajo is full of various dive schools and tour operators so there is no shortage of options. Uber Scuba is a good option. Their dive boat is one of the nicest amongst the dive schools and the staff are all wonderful. The second day would be a mix of diving and paying a visit to the Komodo Dragons. Most dive schools offer this as a package deal.

    Things to Consider When Choosing a Dive School:

    • Dive spots the school will be visiting during that time
    • Fees (most of the schools in Komodo have similar rates)
    • Your dive skills (inquire about the strength of currents. If you’re not a confident diver, avoid heavy current dive sites)

    If you’re not a certified open water diver, inquire about possibly doing a fun dive then spend the rest of your time going on a day tour taking you from Komodo to Pink Beach and Rinca Island to see the dragons.

    8:00 PM Dinner

    After you’ve arranged your tours for the next three days, it’s time to relax and get ready for your big day of exploration. The town of Labuan Bajo is full of various Western places to eat. We recommend trying out Bajo Taco, a Mexican place with delicious food! If you’re not in the mood for Mexican and want some local Indonesian fare, try out Warung Mama, a super local eatery with insanely cheap food. You will find it right along the main road when walking away from the pier – it’s impossible to miss. After dinner, head back to your hotel for some sleep as you have a full day of diving ahead.

    Day 2: Diving Day

    6:00 AM  Breakfast

    The dive schools will ask that you meet in their shop by 7:00am. As this is a huge diving town, most of the hotels serve breakfast relatively early. If your hotel doesn’t have breakfast, pass by a couple of the bakeshops by the street and grab a few pastries and bread.

    7:00- 7:15 AM Meet at the Dive Shop

    From here, your dive school will fill you in on the dive sites you will be visiting, get waiver forms done and secure all the last minute dive equipment, etc. As the dive sites are subject to weather conditions they end up changing to give you the best dive conditions possible.

    8:00 AM Exploring the Underwater World

    The dive sites in Komodo are very exciting with large pelagics, tuna, barracudas, trevally, turtles, sharks, manta rays and small ornate ghost pipefish, clown fish and seahorses.

    A few of our favorite dive sites are: Batu Bolong, Manta Alley, Tatawa Besar, and GPS point. Whatever dive sites your school goes for, you’re in for a treat! Please make sure you discuss your diving experience before the dive as a few of the dive sites in Komodo (including some of the manta cleaning stations) have strong currents so you need to have the right level of experience.

    6:00 PM Return Back to Labuan Bajo Port

    By the end of the day, you will be exhausted. The ride back to the town of Labuan Bajo is stunning as you gaze out into the sunset. If you’re lucky, you will also spot pods of dolphins swimming alongside the boat. Upon arrival back in the port, you will head back to your dive school and they will coordinate last minute details about tomorrow’s dive & hike tour.

    7:00 PM Dinner

    Before heading to bed and hitting the sack (trust us, you will be tired!) grab some food and enjoy the many culinary offerings available. Mediterraneo is a great place with a beautiful vibe offering delicious Mediterranean food (on the slightly pricier side) or if you’re in the mood for some Italian, MadeinItaly is a good option. Their pizza is delicious!

    9:00 PM Off to Bed

    The entire town of Labuan Bajo is organised for divers. Everyone goes to bed relatively early. Of course, there are loads of places to have a cheeky beer if you want to stay on a little longer. So after dinner and drinks, head back to your hotel, ready for a day full of diving and dragons.


    Day 3: Diving & Dragons

    6:00 AM  Breakfast

    Same as the previous day, if your hotel doesn’t serve breakfast, grab a few pastries. Bajo Bakery offers great breakfasts and sweets so make sure you drop by!

    7:00- 7:15 AM Assembly at the Dive Shop

    As you are doing a full day of diving and hiking, bring your trainers with you. Although the terrain isn’t demanding, it’s still better to have proper shoes with you. Sunblock is a must on Rinca Island too.

    8:00 AM Diving & Trekking

    Komodo Dragons are the largest species of lizard alive and are absolutely fascinating creatures. They can grow up to 3 meters (10 ft) and can even weigh around 70 kilograms. These Komodo Dragons are big carnivores, surviving off eating birds, invertebrates, and mammals. These dragons are said to have a poisonous bite which infects their prey so even if they escape, the bacteria will set in and weaken them eventually.

    During most of the dive and day tour packages, you will be going on at least one dive before you head on over to Rinca Island, the second largest island in the Komodo National Park with the second largest population of dragons. Komodo Island has the largest population of dragons but the trekking in Rinca is much more scenic  After your dive, you will be endorsed to a park ranger who will be your guide for the trek. The ranger gives you all the safety rules and regulations which have to be followed at all times. The Komodo Dragons are fierce creatures that can be very aggressive, depending on the season. The ranger advises to always stick with the group, never go to the toilet alone and not to look at the Komodo Dragons directly. The group always travels with one ranger in front and one in the back, protecting the group.

    While it all sounds a bit over the top, there have been dragons which have attacked guests, especially when they feel threatened. You have the option to do either a 1 hour or 3 hour trek throughout the island. This will take you to the top of a few breathtaking viewpoints and of course, through fields and patches to see dragons. The heat can get unbearable so make sure you bring a hat and a bottle of water with you.

    6:00 PM Return Back to Labuan Bajo Port

    Again, as you return to Labuan Bajo port, enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding islands as you watch the sun set into a cloud of blues, oranges, and pinks.

    8:30 PM Dinner

    For dinner, we recommend trying out La Cucina, another well-known place in Labuan Bajo which offers great pizza! Bajo Bay Fisherman’s Club is also a good option for those that want to try out some fresh seafood. While there aren’t many full bars in Labuan Bajo, the restaurants stay open quite late and some even have live music. After dinner, you can head back to your hotel to catch some sleep.

    Day 4: Travel Back to Singapore

    10:00 AM Breakfast & Relaxing

    Today, you can luxuriate in bed without a 6am wake up call. After breakfast, you can wander around the town exploring or relax by your hotel’s pool. We recommend visiting Cafe.In.HIT Coffee Shop for some pastries and good coffee. For those who don’t have breakfasts included in their hotel, the cafe’s muesli and yogurt is delicious. If you’re still feeling hungry, consider eating a light lunch before you head to the airport.

    1:00 PM Pack Your Bags & Head to the Airport

    The airport isn’t too far away so there is no need to rush. Everything in Labuan Bajo can be reached within 10-20 minutes.

    share your experience by using #singaporenbeyond on social media!


  • Where to Stay in Komodo, Indonesia

    Budget:

    For budget travelers, the Komodo Lodge is a good option with double rooms starting at $49 SGD for two people with breakfast. The lodge is clean and has spacious rooms. The breakfast provided is basic but is good enough to fill you up until your dive boat serves you snacks. The room is air-conditioned which is great to have especially during peak summer months.

    Mid-range:

    Puri Sari Beach Hotel is a great option for those who don’t mind staying further away from town. The hotel offers free shuttles to and from the town, as well as to the airport. The beach itself isn’t that great (depending on the season) but is still nice to have. The pool is a great addition and can be an ideal place for your to relax before catching your flight on the last day. Prices start at $71 SGD a night for two people with breakfast.

    Splurge:

    While there aren’t many luxurious accommodations in the main town, for those who want to splurge a little bit, you can opt to stay at Laprima Hotel Flores located about 10 minutes away from the main town. Like most of the hotels, they offer a free shuttle to and from the main town. Airport transfers may also be arranged ahead of time through the hotel. A double room for two costs around $100 SGD with breakfast.

    For another luxury options away from town try Plataran Komodo Beach resort which has its own stretch of beach and a pool and offers locally sourced pavilion huts on the beach and garden grounds. Plataran is a local Indonesian chain of 4* hotels that promote local architecture and traditions so it is a good option to learn a bit more and stay at a comfortable place. Bear in mind that, if you book at Plataran, they can organise the entire trip including liaising with the local dive centers for the diving and trekking.

    If time (and money) is not an issue and you can spare a week, there are other over the top experiences. Alila Purnama offers trips around the Komodo archipelago including diving and trekking to see the dragons. Amanwana a combination of Aman’s Moyo Island tented luxury camp and Amanikan sailing boat offers the ultimate in luxury getaway that only Aman knows how to.

    Getting There

    Unfortunately, there are no direct flights from Singapore to Labuan Bajo. Garuda Indonesia flies from Changi International Airport at 7:25 AM, stopping at Denpasar International Airport by noon time. From there, you have a 2 hour wait in the airport which you can use to grab lunch. You will arrive in Labuan Bajo by 2:00 PM. From Labuan Bajo, you can catch a returning flight at 2:40 PM, taking you back to Singapore through Denpasar. You will arrive in Singapore by 9:00 PM. Although there are flights leaving Labuan Bajo earlier, the travel time is longer by a couple of hours. You can opt to take that if you don’t mind a few extra hours during the layovers.

    What to Pack:

    For this trip, you won’t really need much. Apart from the basic clothes, don’t forget to bring your swimsuit, trekking shoes, a sun hat, and a reusable container for water (you can refill this in your dive boat). A waterproof bag to store all your belongings while on the boat is always useful. Good sunblock is important as the sun can be very intense. If you’re a certified diver, don’t forget to bring your ID card and log book so you can keep track of your dives. A light hoodie is also recommended for the boat as it can get a bit chilly once the sun sets.

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