We’ve just spent 4 days / 3 nights on the most amazing boat trip from Lombok to Flores island!!! We sailed through Komodo National Park and saw some truly spectacular scenery and wildlife! Indonesia has been full of incredible experiences for us, but this Komodo Island boat tour has definitely been one of the highlights!
At first we weren’t sure whether we would manage a trip…
An initial search of Komodo tour options seemed to suggest it was super expensive to visit Komodo National Park by boat. But, being so close to Komodo Island and not going to see the Komodo Dragons would have been a huge disappointment.
After digging in and doing a bit more research, we ended up going on a boat tour around Komodo National Park that was both affordable and, in my opinion, amazing value for money!
If you’re thinking about visiting Komodo National Park to see Komodo Dragons, beaches with pink sand, the Instagramable Padar Island and much more, keep reading!
I’m giving you all the insights you need for an unforgettable Komodo Island boat tour!
PS – This post may contain affiliate links: That means that if you purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Of course, I only recommend products/services that I have used and believe are great! Please read my disclosure for more info.
Lombok To Flores Boat Trip – Which Company To Choose?
Although there are lots of shorter boat tour options to Komodo from Labuan Bajo on Flores, this means you first have to get to Labuan Bajo.
There are regular flights from Bali and Lombok to Flores, but we felt it was an unnecessary expenditure when we could simply hop on a tour from Lombok.
There are a lot of companies offering boat trips through Komodo National Park. Some have better reputations than others, so do your own research before booking.
After a lot of research, we settled on booking a 4 day / 3 night boat tour from Lombok to Flores through South East Asia Backpacker.
The trip itself is run by Wanua Adventure, but as the price was no different with South East Asia Backpacker, yet they provided additional information and an added level of support, we went right ahead and booked through their website.
Either way works, but I’m a big fan of supporting other travel writers where I can! And, more importantly, we were beyond happy with our choice and had one of the most memorable 4 days of our travel adventure so far!
How Much Does The Lombok – Flores Komodo Boat Tour Cost?
Honestly, this trip is such great value for money!! In fact, it’s ridiculously cheap for what you get.
Bear in mind that this is a backpacking adventure. It is not a luxury cruise. But, if you’re open to meeting a bunch of new people and don’t get too restless during extended times at sea, the Komodo Island boat tour that we chose with South East Asia Backpacker is right on the money!
- Deck class – IDR 2,300,000 per person (approx US$165 / €150 / £128)
- Cabin class – IDR 3,000,000 per person (approx US$215 / €195 / £166)
If you book with South East Asia Backpacker, you pay a US$16.50 deposit per person, and then you pay the remaining IDR 2,100,000 / IDR 2,800,000 in cash to Wanua Adventure upon check in on Day 1.
*Note* It is also possible to do this trip in reverse – starting in Flores and finishing in Lombok instead.
What’s Included In The Price For This Komodo Island Boat Tour?
- Pick-up on Day 1 from your hotel in Mataram, Senggigi or Bangsal Harbour
- If you are coming from the Gili Islands, you can opt to either stay overnight at Bangsal Harbour or arrive on the first early morning boat. Pick up is between 8.30-9am.
- If you’re staying in Kuta, you can arrange pick-up for an additional Rp 100,000 per person
- 3 meals a day + afternoon snacks
- There was always plenty of food to go around, so don’t worry about going hungry. We often had seconds and even thirds!
- There was always plenty of food to go around, so don’t worry about going hungry. We often had seconds and even thirds!
- The variety of food was really impressive for the small kitchen area where the staff prepared our food. Everything from banana pancakes for breakfast to gado-gado for lunch and nasi goreng with freshly cooked kurupuk for dinner. Snack included crackers, fresh fruit and more
- Note that you won’t get a lot of meat since you’re out at sea and it’s hard to keep meat fresh. Still, we didn’t mind that at all and like I said, I was never hungry
- Unlimited drinking water, coffee and tea
- Wanua Adventure provides each passenger with a reusable 500ml drinking bottle that you get to keep as a souvenir! You can use this throughout the trip to refill from the drinking water dispensers
- There was also always plenty of hot water provided in thermoses for coffee and tea
- A mattress, pillow and blanket for sleeping
- If you book a cabin, I’m told that you’re also provided with a towel
- The mattress is quite thin (about 5cm), but perfectly adequate and with the rumbling of the engine I slept like a baby most nights!
- Dive mask and snorkel (no fins)
- If you have your own mask and snorkel, you might want to bring them. The ones that are provided are fine but not the best quality
- All entrance fees to the National Parks
- This includes all fees to Komodo National Park, Rinca Island, Padar Island, etc. You pay your Komodo Island Boat Tour fee to Wanua Adventure and that’s it! No unexpected or hidden charges
- An experienced and enthusiastic crew
- In my opinion, a tour can be made or broken by the staff running it. We were so happy with our crew – everyone from the Captain to the main tour guide to the chef were always happy, friendly and really engaging
Komodo Island Boat Tour – High Level Itinerary
Day 1 – Travel Day! Transfer to Pelabuhan Kayangan Harbour in East Lombok by minivan before boarding your boat and setting off for Kenawa Island.
Day 2 – A long day of sailing with some swimming and snorkelling from the boat to break up the day. Grab a book, a pack of cards or get to know your fellow passengers!
Day 3 – Time for the main event(s)! Komodo Island is the first opportunity to see the awesome Komodo Dragons. Afterwards, visit two separate beaches with incredible pink sand, and finish the day at the spectacular Padar Island.
Day 4 – Rise early to watch the sunrise over Padar Island before getting another chance to spot Komodo Dragons on Rinca Island. Enjoy a final swim and some beach games before finishing up the tour in the afternoon at Labuan Bajo on Flores Island.
Day 1 – Departure from Lombok – Kenawa Island
A minivan picked us up at Bangsal Harbour around 9am, and we drove to Wanua Adventure’s office in Mataram along with 9 other people who had come off the Gili Islands that morning.
After about an hour and a half in the van, we were met by the smiling staff of Wanua Adventure, who offered us coffee, tea and plates full of snacks.
We paid the rest of our fee for the 4 day / 3 night Komodo Island Boat Tour and eyed up the rest of our group, who we’d be spending the next 4 days with.
The Komodo Island Boat Tour with Wanua Adventure starts from Pelabuhan Kayangan Harbour in East Lombok. This is another 2 hour drive from Mataram.
We made a short stop at a convenience store before getting to the harbour, to allow people to buy snacks and drinks if they wanted to. While we did buy some, it really wasn’t necessary in my opinion. Food was always plentiful on board.
While there is a good chunk of time spent on transferring to the harbour on Day 1, we finally set sail for Kenawa Island around 1.30pm.
After claiming a mattress each on the sleeping deck, we were served our first meal on-board.
We arrived at Kenawa Island late in the afternoon. Most of us chose to swim ashore, but there is also a small dingy to take you from the boat to the islands if you prefer. We had plenty of time to explore this tiny island before heading up to the top of the hill for sunset.
After sun down, we returned to the boat and set off again towards Bola island where we docked and slept that night. We ate our dinner together as a group as a full red moon rose! What a great start to the trip!
Day 2 – Moyo Island – Mata Jitu Waterfall – Sailing Day
We set off for Moyo island at 2am. The engine sound and vibrations actually helped me sleep really well but you might want to bring some ear plugs along just in case anyway.
After breakfast (banana pancakes with chocolate sauce!! I mean, what!? I was so happy with that awesome surprise!) we headed on to Moyo island and walked the 15 or so minute track to Mata Jitu waterfall.
You can climb up the waterfall if you choose, and there’s a deep swim hole at the top.
As we visited right at the end of dry season, the waterfall wasn’t too spectacular, and certainly not as blue as the photos I’ve seen from other travellers. Still, it was a fun way to start the day. Afterwards, we did a bit of snorkelling off the beach and saw some amazingly colourful fish and coral.
We set sail again late morning – for 16 hours straight this time! Which might sound boring but I really enjoyed our time at sea!
We were really lucky in that the weather was beautiful and the seas were calm all four days. No one got seasick and we were able to sit out on deck under a sunshade all day while we were sailing. People spent the time chatting, reading, playing cards or just lazing about on deck. While the boat isn’t huge, there was always plenty of room for everyone to spread out.
An added bonus on Day 2 was spotting a big joint pod of dolphins and porpoises!
Our captain circled around so that we could get a good look at them which was great. This was just another example of never feeling rushed and always making sure we got the most out of the experiences on the tour.
Late that night, we saw Sangeang Island in the distance which has a very active group of volcanoes.
The crew had mentioned earlier on that we would see lava later that night… I thought there must be some communication issue and that I had misunderstood but no – as I was standing on the side of the boat brushing my teeth there was suddenly a ball of orange fire in the sky – Sangeang Api was erupting lava bombs!
Apparently it erupts for about an hour every evening! Very cool to see.
Day 3 – Komodo Island – Pink Beach – Long Beach – Padar Island
Komodo National Park – Komodo Dragons Take 1
We sailed until about 3am at which point the engine was turned off and it suddenly seemed super quiet!! Breakfast was around 7am like most mornings, and not long after we jumped off at Komodo Island (Loh Liang) to see what most of us came for – Komodo Dragons!
While I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t blown away by our walk around the Komodo National Park on Komodo Island, it was still pretty awesome to see the dragons. After all, they are the largest species of lizards on earth!
But, we only saw one young female “out and about.”
There were a few big males lazing about by the cafe but they barely lifted their heads despite a big group of us crowding around.
Overall, a slightly disappointing first encounter with Komodo dragons. We spent almost as much time at the cafe as we did walking around with a ranger…
Once we set off again, we were headed to Pink Beach on Komodo Island, not far from Komodo National Park entrance. I didn’t have very high expectations as I’d read some people saying that the beach wasn’t nearly as pink as they were expecting and photos must have been enhanced in order to create the pink hue.
Well, I wholeheartedly disagree!
The beach absolutely has a pink strip, and the view from the top of the hill was breathtaking!!
The sand was soft and lush, with very little broken coral for a change, so it was lovely to swim there too!
We had another chance to snorkel here and even spotted a turtle which was fantastic! Again, lots of beautiful fish and coral too so all in all, a very worthwhile few hours!
Next up was Long Beach (Namo Beach), on Padar Island. Despite the name, this beach is actually even more pink than Pink Beach!
Honestly, it is such an amazing thing to see!
Red coral that’s been ground down to small particles over the years has mixed in with the white sand creating the pink beach.
As the name suggests, the beach is long and we wandered down the far end where we had a couple of peaceful hours to ourselves. Nice to break away from the group for a little bit too.
Padar Island – Take 1
And just when we thought the day couldn’t get any better, we docked on the other side of Padar Island and were able to hike up the hill for sunset.
I mean, words can’t even describe how stunning this place is!
The shape of the island with all the little bays is just spectacularly beautiful, and the sunset really put on a show for us with shards of bright orange, pink and purple light colouring the sky.
It’s about a half hour hike to the top and I’d suggest wearing proper shoes rather than sandals or flip flops for this.
Most of the way is paved with steps but it does get sandy towards the top with some loose rubble. Well worth the effort though and although sunset wasn’t technically on the itinerary, make sure you go up!
To me, it was even more beautiful at night time than at sunrise the next morning, if for no other reason than that there were much fewer people up there for sunset.
Day 4 – Padar Island – Rinca Island – Kelor Island – Labuan Bajo Flores
Padar Island – Take 2
A 4:30am wakeup call and a 5am dingy ride to the shore for sunrise meant that not everyone from our boat joined this activity although as I mentioned, plenty of other boats had arrived throughout the night and it was quite busy at the top!
Still, that didn’t deter us or take away from the enjoyment of watching and hearing the world come alive on Day 4.
We headed back down around 6:30am and breakfast (banana pancakes again! Yum!) was ready and waiting for us which was just as well as I was starving!!
Rinca Island – Komodo Dragons Take 2
As soon as everyone was back on board we set off again, for our second opportunity of spotting the famous Komodo Dragons.
Rinca Island is completely different to Komodo Island. It is very rugged and with very few trees meaning it is HOT. Make sure you bring your water bottle and wear a hat and sunscreen!
I very much preferred Rinca Island over Komodo Island.
While it is still a park with rangers and many Komodo Dragons loiter around the rangers’ huts due to the smell of food, these Komodo Dragons were definitely both more active and more aggressive!
Plus, there were quite a few more around!
We were able to get up close and personal, and at one point were practically surrounded by them. Some of the fully grown males were absolutely massive – they are about 3 meters long when fully grown.
For our last stop, we headed on to Kelor Island for a final swim.
You can see Lajuan Bajo in the distance so the end of the Komodo Island boat tour is near once you get to this point.
Still, we enjoyed the turquoise water and played some ball games in the sea before finally packing up our stuff and sailing the final hour or so to Labuan Bajo Harbour.
Labuan Bajo, Flores – End Of Tour
At Labuan Bajo Harbour you are dropped off with lots of hugs and promises of keeping in touch.
From Labuan Bajo you can catch a flight to Lombok or Bali, or continue on and exploring more of Flores Island. Either way, I’d suggest staying the night in Labuan Bajo as the tour ends anywhere between 3pm – 6pm depending on the weather.
Important Notes & Tips – Komodo Island Boat Tour
While I highly recommend this 4 day / 3 night Komodo Island Boat Tour with Wanua Adventure, please recognise that it might not be for everyone. Below are some key things to bear in mind when deciding whether this trip is right for you.
- This is not a luxury cruise!
- You’ll be sailing on a relatively small boat with relatively basic facilities and 20-40 other people. It is cozy, but also a lot of fun!
- The crew kept the boat really clean throughout. You’ll be on your bare feet while on the boat to help keep it clean
- Most of the time you’ll be sitting on the floor out on deck – there are some benches below deck but get used to sitting on hard surfaces
- Note – There is no air conditioning!
- Pack what you think you’ll need for the 4 days in a small bag
- While your big pack will be accessible, there isn’t room for it up on deck where you’ll be sleeping
- The exact facilities are dependant on the boat you get, but will generally include;
- A western toilet and a squat toilet
- Cold water showers to rinse off
- Plenty of charging points in the bridge for your electronics
- Small lockers for your valuables
- Big cool box with ice for any drinks you bring on board
- Safety equipment includes life jackets and life boats
- You’ll be sleeping in the (relative) open (unless you choose a cabin)
- Depending on the weather, it can get chilly at night time
- While you’ll be provided with a blanket, we also had our silk travel liners with us, which I was glad for!
- The weather can be unpredictable. The seas might be calm or they might be rough. This isn’t something that can be planned so come prepared with some seasickness tablets just in case
- Also – the sun might not feel as hot when you’re out at sea but you’ll burn quickly! Make sure you wear good sunscreen and cover up
- The boat will mostly dock a little way off-shore, but each boat has a small dingy to take you to the islands you’ll visit
- Getting in and out of the dingy can be rocky and you will get wet
- Previously, this tour would have included snorkelling at Manta Point to see Manta Rays!
- Unfortunately this is no longer part of the trip so you’ll have to tick this experience off the list elsewhere
What To Pack For Your Komodo Island Boat Tour
- A couple of sets of clothing
- We spent the majority of our time in our swimwear. This is not a trip to worry about fashion!
- Some slightly warmer clothing for the evenings can come in handy, but don’t over do it
- If you have an underwater camera like a GoPro or similar, you’ll get some awesome underwater shots whilst snorkelling
- Chargers for your electronics
- Ear plugs
- Flip Flops and walking shoes/sneakers
- Water shoes if you have them are a great idea as there is a lot of coral on the beaches in Indonesia
- You’ll be happy to have it to cover your shoulders or to sit on on the beach
- Seasickness tablets
- Silk Travel Liner
- Your own mask, snorkel and fins if you have them
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