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We were in the Gili Islands, happily enjoying our days biking, snorkeling, working, and getting our travel feet back. After deciding that our next destination were to be Flores and the Komodo National Park, we started looking into how to get there. It would either be a 24 hour grueling bus and ferry combo or a 4 day/4 night snorkeling boat trip. Of course, we opted for the latter. Despite reading some pretty mixed reviews, we decided to go for it anyways. After all, we weren’t called Mr and Mrs Adventure for nothing!

Editor’s Note: Thinking of diving in Komodo? Check out our guide to the best Liveaboard Diving in Komodo.

Komodo Boat Trip Basic Information

Cost: 1.5-1.7 Million rph (depending on your haggling skills) $130

What it Includes:

  • 4 nights (basic) accommodation
  • meals 3x a day
  • 1 large bottle of water + coffee and tea throughout the day
  • snorkel gear (no fins)komodo national park

The Boat from Lombok to Flores

We booked with Kencama Tours who had a guide that dutifully meet us by the Lombok Pier. After a lot of waiting and confusion on where to go and what to do, we were finally on a bus with a group of people who seemed as equally clueless as we were. We were on a bus for what seemed like hours as we drove to their office in Mataram. After a stopover in their office, we were divided according to boat tour and were sent off in groups for another few hours on the bus.

Related: How to get from Lombok to Flores

As we arrived at the pier, we were greeted by a large shiny awesome looking brown boat. It looked like a proper pirate ship with sails and a large deck. We were stoked! As our bus stopped, our driver announced in his broken English that only one couple from our bus would go on this boat as this was only the 3 day/2 night tour. Chattering immediately broke amongst our bus passenger as we all nervously asked which one was our boat. The driver pulled up to this tiny white boat which was 3x smaller than the big brown boat that we first saw. A look of disbelief spread among us as we gazed at what would be our home for the next five days. Armed with a bag of snacks and our backpacks we entered the boat as I nervously glanced at Tom. What have we gotten ourselves into?

As soon as we settled in, we realized it wasn’t too bad. Our boat could hold 25 people and we luckily just had 13 passengers on board. The boat had an upper deck which were the sleeping quarters. As we climbed the ladder to peer inside, all we could see were thin mats laid out on the floor all next to each other. This was going to get cozy. We chose our beds, inspected the bathroom (or the lack of one) and the outside area which they called “the shower.” Despite the conditions, I was excited! I couldn’t wait to set off, unplug, and enjoy the scenery. With nothing else to do but get to know each other, take naps, and look off into the distant sea, I already knew I was going to enjoy this trip. We set sail at around 4pm, ready for a four day adventure. A man sitting inside a boat

As we stopped in the different destinations, I had the chance to compare our boat from the other tour companies. We were very lucky because other boats had 25 or more people and were packed to the brim. With our boat being only half full, we had more wiggle room and space to move around, and more food. However, our luck could only go so far as our boat guides turned out to be very difficult to deal with. In the end, they just wanted to get to Labuan Bajo, our end point as quickly as possible which meant they were constantly trying to rush us through activities or even bypass some. After a day of sailing, we started off with a crew meeting wherein our guide informed us that our fees for the Komodo National Park was not included in the price that we paid and that we had to hand him 270,000 rph that evening. This set us off in a bad note as some of us were promised that all fees were included and a lot of us didn’t feel comfortable to just hand over the money without seeing what it was for. After some explanation, our guide stormed off, clearly upset that we wouldn’t give him the money. This didn’t set a pleasant tone for the rest of our trip.

Read: Why Traveling Isn’t for Everyone

Komodo Boat Trip Destinations

The next morning, we were woken up by the lovely view of Moyo Island. The boat engine which “lulled” us to sleep finally stopped. After a quick meal of what seemed to be banana pancakes, we were told to jump off the boat so we could swim to shore to explore the island. After a cold refreshing wakeup call from the sea, we were told that we could walk inland to see the waterfalls. The waterfalls in Moyo Island wasn’t too spectacular and were slightly dirty in the pools below as some locals would bathe here using shampoo and soap. Our guide was a bit lazy and told us to stay in the first tier of the falls. However, Tom saw a group climbing up and decided to see what the fuss was about. True enough, just a little further, there was a larger pool to swim in, a rope swing to jump off! Before Tom could call us all to check it out, our guide was already calling us back to the boat. Our next destination was Satonda Island which was supposed to have great snorkeling and a lake to explore inside. Our guide collected 20,000rph from each of us, saying it was part of the entrance fees (BE WEARY OF THIS AS THERE ARE NO FEES!) Because the boat could only go so far, we jumped off, and started swimming to shore. The snorkelling was very beautiful! So much diversity for such a small amount of space. A group of people on a boat in the sea

This day, we were set to travel continuously through the night to get to our next destination. After 8 hours of continuous rocking, I suddenly felt it. My mind couldn’t focus, my stomach was queasy, and I was feeling very dizzy. I never, never, NEVER get seasick, but this time, it hit me. There were a few of us on the boat who were unable to move, pale in color, and just looked down right ill. I passed on dinner, and so did a couple of others who were feeling ill. After a couple of seasick tablets, I finally woke up after falling asleep on the floor of the deck. Finally, the world had stopped spinning! Hurrah!Two boats moored on the beach of an island

The next day was by far, the best day of our trip. Our engines had finally stopped after running continuously for 16 hours. We arrived in Gili Laba and our guide told us to scarf down our breakfast and go climb that mountain. Good morning to you too. To be fair, the view from our boat looked pretty spectacular and after a good 48 hours on a boat, we were happy to go on dry land. The hike up was amazing! It showed off the beautiful mountains and the turquoise waters of Komodo National Park. This was what we came here for! We headed back on the boat and managed to convince our guide that he had to take us to Laba Manta point where we could snorkel with Mantas. This was something that he wanted to skip as he said we should just head on over to Pink Beach. We had a pretty convincing and opinionated bunch on board so before we knew it, we were on our way to Manta Point. This part, MADE my trip! We reached a point in the middle of the sea where we could see loads of boats gathered. At this point, we were unsure what was happening, until one of our boatmen yelled, mantas! True enough, we could see them in the water gliding on top. We all scrambled to get our snorkel gear as Tom and our friend Ivan jumped in first. Tom pops back up and yells “Anna, you have to see this, this is unbelievable!” Without thinking, I jumped straight in, still partially clothed, mask and snorkel in tow. A couple with views of islands below them

The manta rays were huge, graceful, and were swimming fast. I was so excited, I could barely contain my breathing. Swimming with mantas have been a dream of mine and I was finally doing it. After a couple of minutes of swimming with them, jumping back on the boat, and trying to spot some more, we saw about 5 mantas and had the best time snorkelling with these incredible creatures. Happy and excited, we headed over to Pink Beach which was supposed to have amazing snorkeling. Although the snorkeling didn’t disappoint, the current was very strong at that time so I was a bit more cautious. We then wrapped up the day and started making our way to another island where we would dock and spend the night.

When we got to Kalong Island, all the boats dropped their anchors and that’s when the fun started. You could see each boat had a different thing going on. One boat had disco lights and music, one boat had the booze cruise party started. The fun part was we all anchored on to each other so at one point, we were boat hopping to meet the other people and mingle. There was a nearby local village who had men paddle out to us in their boats, selling Bintang Beer and other sorts of treats. After a fun night, we decided to call it a night as our boat ever so slowly detached ourselves form the loud party boat so we could get a good night’s sleep. A local man sitting in a canoe

Komodo National Park

The next day, we woke up, ready for our last day which meant we were going to see the Komodo dragons! We arrived at Komodo National Park at 7am, ready to start our day. Unlike what our guide was originally charging us, we paid 220,000rph each, splitting a guide between 5 people. We also found out that the other boats weren’t charged a 20,000rph upon entering Satonda Island. So in short, he was trying to rip us off 70,000rph each. Before you go, please double check all the fees and don’t let your guide arrange things for you. You are better off doing it yourself. Soon, we were trekking through the National Park, in hope that we would see the Komodo Dragons.

During the time we went, it was mating season so a lot of them were hiding in the jungle. We started going on the long trek with our ranger, but he got a radio call of a Komodo sighting in one of the hills. We backtracked and headed that way. The first one we saw was a large male dragon which was about 20 years old. It was quite large and was just laying there, basking in the sun. We continued our trek and later on got another call for another dragon. This time, they said because the hill was too small to hold all of the groups, they were going to lure the dragon down with goat meat. We gathered on the side, with the rangers standing in front of us. Soon, this massive dragon was waddling quite quickly, chasing a piece of goat hanging from a stick. It started walking towards us but the rangers quickly blocked it with their sticks. The size and speed of these creatures were pretty amazing!

READ: Diving in Komodo National Park ReviewAnimal skulls hung on fence

After, we headed over to Rinca, which was part of Komodo National Park. In Rinca, the dragons are said to be more aggressive as the island is smaller so the hunt for food is a lot more cut throat. Upon entering the park, the ranger mentioned that they have a few dragons hang around their kitchen so we were most likely to see some there as they are attracted by the smell of food. Sure enough, there were four large dragons just outside their kitchen. 2 large male dragons, and two female. We continued on our trek which was absolutely stunning. Through the trek, you would walk through grasslands filled with boulders and palm trees, which dotted the entire area. It was very beautiful despite the mid-day heat! Although we didn’t see any more komodos, we saw water buffalos, deer, and monkey through our trek. The last part of the trip was a stop at Kelor Island for our last dose of snorkelling. We reached Kelor and although it wasn’t the best corals, there were loads of interesting stuff which were in very shallow waters. We saw a large silver eel, quite a bit of lionfish, some stone fish, and a lot of other interesting creatures. Although the fact that these poisonous creatures were all pretty shallow was pretty freaky!

Our trip ended with our group saying our last goodbyes and exchanging emails. Although we had the option to spend our night on the boat, between all the arguments with our guide, we opted not to. To be fair, our boat had loads of good points which went to making our trip very comfortable.Close up of a komodo dragon's head

The Food on the Komodo Boat Trip

We weren’t as packed as the other boats traveling from Lombok to Flores, which meant we had loads of food (which was actually quite delicious). Very basic but still quite good! On the first day, we had a delicious fish curry, and the next few days were a mix of noodles, Tempeh, and Nasi Goreng. Our cook even brought a live chicken on board with us which he then served on the third day. The other people we spoke to were constantly hungry and were very cramped.

Read: What to Eat in Indonesia: Dishes You Need to Try

Where to Stay in Flores/ Labuan Bajo

Listed below is a short excerpt of our personal recommendations on where to stay while in Flores. If you want to read the full article with even more recommendations, check out: Best Places to Stay in Labuan Bajo, Flores | Hotels & Hostels

$ Budget: Bajo View

If you’re looking for cheap, go no further as Bajo view allows you to stay in tents for a pretty unique experience. We personally stayed at Gardena (another budget place) but they do not take bookings online. The tents here in Bajo view show off a spectacular view, but please do note that it does get quite hot in the rooms. (Prices start at $15 for two people/ $8 for one person)

To see prices, read reviews or to find similar deals, check:

Hotels Combined Booking.com 

$$ Mid Range: Green Hill Boutique Hotel

This mid range hotel is located behind an Italian restaurant (which serves amazing food). Ignore the long walk up the stairs and stay in a relatively well priced room offering you all the amenities that you need. Although it has mixed reviews online, our friends had a lovely stay there. Read the reviews and decide for yourself. (Prices start at $40 for a double room)

To see prices, read reviews or to find similar deals, check:

Hotels Combined Booking.com 

$$$ Splurge: La Prima Hotel Flores:

For those of you that want to splurge a little bit, spend a little bit more and  stay in this lush place which has a beautiful outdoor pool. Although the rooms could use a facelift, the pool and outdoors area make up for it. The hotel is  located a little bit outside of the main town, the hotel provides a shuttle for guests to use. (Prices start at $50-70 for a double room)

To see prices, read reviews or to find similar deals, check:

Hotels Combined Booking.com 

$$$$ Luxury: Plataran Komodo Beach Resort

For those of you that are looking for a luxurious getaway, this is as good as it gets! The Plataran Komodo Beach Resort has a beautiful resort compound whose helpful staff go above and beyond to accommodate your needs. (Prices start at $300 for a beach front villa)

To see prices, read reviews or to find similar deals, check:

Hotels Combined Booking.com 


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