An Indonesian folk tale tells of a mystical princess who lived on a remote isle. She gave birth to twin sons, one human, one a giant lizard, who learned to live together in harmony on the ‘island of dragons’. Locals to Komodo still believe the truth in this old myth, and that the immortal princess regularly revisits the island to protect her descendants — a population of the largest reptiles in the world.
Komodo and the nearby islands of Rinca and Padar make up Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the Komodo dragon. It also protects a rich marine environment of mangroves, seagrass and coral. As part of a boat tour of the park, you have the opportunity to stop and snorkel (diving can also be arranged).
More than 14 species of whales and dolphins have been spotted in the deeper waters, while glimmering shoals and dugongs ply the shallows. In many places, coral almost completely covers the sea floor in carpets of orange cup corals and frothy clouds of leather corals. A popular dive site, the channel of Manta Point off Komodo’s northeast coast connects the Indian and South West Pacific Oceans, creating a plankton-rich habitat that attracts reef manta rays.
We recommend basing yourself in Labuan Bajo, on Flores, from where our Indonesia specialists can arrange for a local guide and boat to take you on a tour of Komodo and its surrounding islands.
Alternatively, you can board one of the yachts or schooners that ply these waters: having sailed on them, our specialists can suggest your best option, whether you’re looking for a private charter or a small group tour.
Accompanied by a local ranger, you can walk the trails that crisscross the island in the hope of spotting the Komodo dragon. While they can grow up to 3 m (10 ft) in length, their stone-hued scales match the dusty ground of the island’s savannah forest: an eagle-eyed expert comes in handy.
We also recommend being accompanied by an English-speaking guide who can explain more about the dragons, from their ability to reproduce parthenogenetically to their cannibalistic tendencies.
While the dragons gain the attention, they don’t live here alone. You might spot endemic rats, Timor deer and the constantly-surprised-looking orange-footed scrubfowl. Climb to the top of Gunung Sartalibo, the island’s highest volcanic peak and you’ll pass through shrubland and scraggy quasi cloudforest until you’re rewarded with views across the island to the Flores Sea.
Suggested itineraries featuring Komodo Island
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Komodo Island, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Komodo Island
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Komodo Island
- Tambolaka 61 miles away
- Pantai Marosi 83 miles away
- Pantai Nihiwatu 83 miles away
- Sumba 93 miles away
- Flores 108 miles away
- Moyo Island 135 miles away
- Mount Rinjani 208 miles away
- Lombok 213 miles away
- Medana Bay 231 miles away
- Sire Beach 233 miles away
- Senggigi 236 miles away
- The Gili Islands 236 miles away
- Candidasa 269 miles away
- Lembongan Island 277 miles away
- Tembok 280 miles away
- Ubud 290 miles away
- Sanur 290 miles away
- Jimbaran 296 miles away
- Bukit Peninsula 297 miles away
- Seminyak 297 miles away
Our expert guides to exploring Komodo Island
Written by our specialists from their own experiences of visiting Komodo Island, these guides will help you make the most of your time there. We share both our practical recommendations and the best ways to appreciate Komodo Island at its best.