I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive when told we’d be spending a night on a boat cruising around Komodo Island National Park. All the scenarios of what could go wrong filled my imagination. A freak storm, rough seas and not forgetting the Komodo Dragons, I’d be shipwrecked and eaten alive. Of course, this was not to be and my time onboard the Raja Ampat Explorer was definitely the best way to experience Komodo Island National Park. During my two week trip with Indonesia Tourism, this activity would be the most memorable.
Komodo Island National Park is made up of three large islands and 26 smaller ones, therefore, water transportation is the way to get around. The easiest way to reach Komodo Island National Park is to fly to Labuan Bajo airport on Flores Island. Flights here take around 60 – 90-minute from the nearest international airport in Bali. Before I go into more detail on why the boat was such a great experience here’s a snapshot of the places we visited on this 24-hour adventure.
You can read about these in more detail here.
Padar Island Sunset Hike
Sunbathing At Pink Beach
Snorkelling At Kanawa Island
Seeing The Komodo Dragons
The Best Way To Experience Komodo Island National Park
Setting sail at around 9am we excitedly gathered in the spacious dining area of our ship. First of all our friendly crew served fruit and welcome drinks as we were given our trip brief and safety talk. Our trip participants were split across three different ships and our boat was home to 14 travellers for the night. While some of us slept in cabins, others would sleep under the stars.
I couldn’t fault my clean and cosy twin share cabin for an overnight stay. It was equipped with air conditioning, a full-length mirror, power points, hanging space and our bathroom offered a shower, sink and toilet. I probably would’ve had a solid night of sleep if it wasn’t for the rocking of the current and the engine noise. But that’s not really what this experience was about and despite the broken sleep I still had a fantastic time.
Our meals were all prepared on board and served buffet style. I found the food to be some of the best I’d eaten during our two-week trip. As I had decided to eat only vegetarian options while in Indonesia, the ship offered plenty of choices. Guests can help themselves to complimentary water, tea and coffee throughout the day. A stocked fridge is also available with drinks to purchase if you prefer a Bintang or two.
The Komodo Island National Park area is as beautiful as it is rugged. Some parts are so dark and dry that it really does look like a scene from Jurassic Park (although perhaps that’s just because I know Dragons call it home). Sailing to each of our stops wasn’t a quick process so having the striking scenery to gaze at assisted in passing the time.
We relaxed in the afternoon sun on loungers and bean bags on our communal top deck. It felt like we were the only people out on the water. Our longest sailing period between stops was about four hours so we chatted, laughed and listened to music as we glided across the ocean. One of the most pleasing things about this overnight trip was the lack of mobile phone service. If you’re going to switch off from technology then a sailing trip around Komodo Island National Park isn’t a bad place to do so. As night fell we made our way back to the deck to see the stars. Never in my life have I seen such a beautiful clear sparkling sky. It was magical realising what a small part of this universe we actually make up.
With over 17,000 islands in Indonesia, liveaboard boat trips are very popular. It is important to ensure you complete proper research when choosing a company to sail with. As the old saying goes pay peanuts, get monkeys. Waters throughout Indonesia can be rough and dangerous throughout the year. It is in your best interest to ensure the company you sail with has your safety as their number one priority. I really did have a fabulous time on the Raja Ampat Explorer and would highly recommend it. Grand Komodo Tours operates this ship and they offer a whole range of liveaboard itineraries.
If you’re travelling in a large group these ships offer a unique travel experience. But, if you are joining other travellers the ship provides privacy as well as that fun community atmosphere. This isn’t a luxury cruise, but the ship was definitely comfortable and suited our travel style very well. Thankfully on my trip there were no freak storms, no rough seas and no dragons made their way on board.
I was a guest of the Indonesian Ministry Of Tourism. As always, the opinions are my own.