by Kyle Dougherty
Have you ever wanted to go somewhere where you can see beautiful views, unique local culture, and real-life dragons (yes, you read that right!) all in one place? Then the Komodo National Park, spread across nearly thirty separate islands between East and West Nusa Tenggara, is the place for you.
But how to explore a national park that’s separated by, uh, a lot of water?? A fun (and adventurous) way to solve this problem is to take a “liveaboard” boat tour. Lasting between three and four days, a liveaboard tour will take you to all the main attractions of Komodo national park while, in the meantime, you’ll be living on the boat (just as the name suggests)!
We’re here to help you learn what to expect, what to prepare, and how to best enjoy your own liveaboard trip through Komodo.
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A standard liveaboard trip will run you around IDR2,5 million per-person for a private 2-person cabin, or IDR1.8 million to sleep on-deck with about twenty other passengers. This includes food and tickets to the attractions you’ll be stopping at.
Begin by flying from Jakarta to Lombok. Most tour-companies will provide a pick-up from the Lombok airport and take you to the harbor, which is about a two-hour car ride.
Liveaboard boats in this price range are fairly rustic, but they have what you need. Private cabins are recommended if you want somewhere comfortable (albeit small) to go to escape from the crowd and get a break from the rest of your tour group. The majority of passengers will be sleeping on thin mattresses on the floor of your boat’s main deck. This option is cheaper, and you get beautiful surrounding views of the Flores landscape at all hours of the day and night. However, being this close to nature has its negative side too, as at night-time the boats are buffeted by strong winds and waves that can make sleeping on-deck even harder than in the cabins.
A standard tour-group is 20-30 people, including the boat crew. Komodo Park attracts a lot of international tourists from all over the world, as well as local Indonesians. The tour companies tend to group all the foreign tourists and all the local tourists together on separate boats.
The bathrooms onboard are generally small, with both Western and squat styles. Most boats don’t have real showers, except for a bucket with a scoop to pour saltwater over your head. You can bring some soap and clean yourself off with a swim in the ocean! The bathrooms also serve as changing rooms for those staying on-deck.