East of Bali and west of Timor, the island of Komodo provides visitors with an undeniably unique experience. Indonesia is comprised of over 17,000 islands, but this one is really something special. With a human population of only 2,000 or so, Komodo is a home to the largest lizard in the world more so than a place for people – and this is what makes it such an intriguing island to visit.
The adventurous traveller can embark on a walking trek around the island or check out the pretty pink-sand beach. While exploring, it is important to remember that you are in the natural habitat of wild animals. For this reason, a guided and approved tour is the only recommended way to explore Komodo. Ultimately, your safety and the protection of the native wildlife is of utmost importance.
As a major part of the Komodo National Park, this small mass of hilly savannah aims to protect the titular animal and the other animals that live here. The islands of Rinca and Padar comprise the other parts of this national park.
The waters around the island present some of the world’s most pristine diving opportunities, with colourful coral and an eclectic mixture of marine animals enjoying the merging of cold and warm currents.
Cruise lines that make this exciting destination available to passengers include Holland America Line and P&O Cruises.
There is no port on Komodo, so cruise passengers are tendered ashore. The island is part of the Lesser Sundra chain in central Indonesia, with the neighbouring islands of Flores and Sumbabwe lying to the east and west respectively. Komodo is surrounded by the Savu Sea towards the south and the Flores Sea in the north.
Make use of the facilities on board as amenities on Komodo are very limited. There are some small souvenir shops where you can pick up a reminder of your special time on the island.
How to Get Around
Boats will tender you ashore. You will need to pre-organise an approved private tour or take part in a ship-organised excursion to explore the national park by foot.
Currency – The local currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (Rp). Though each rupiah is technically divided into 100 sen, this subdivision has been made obsolete. The coins currently in circulation range from the 50Rp coin to the 1,000Rp coin, while notes start at 1,000Rp and go up to 100,000Rp. You will have little need for money while on the island.
Time Zone – The people of Komodo run on Indonesia Central Time (8 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time). The island does not observe daylights savings at any point during the year.
Weather – Komodo’s climate is classified as tropical. The wet season runs from January to early April (though the island receives less rainfall than other regions of Indonesia), while the rest of the year yields dry, arid conditions. The area experiences strong winds most of the year, but these are typically calmer in June and July. The summer months can see temperatures reaching as high as 40 degrees Celsius, while these can drop to about 17 degrees Celsius on the coldest days of winter.
The Animals – Unsurprisingly, the island’s main attraction is the monitor lizard it is named after. These beasts can grow longer than 3 metres and are certainly a sight to behold – particularly here in their only native habitat. Komodo dragons are dangerous and often ill tempered, so be sure to only venture on the hiking trails with a trained guide. Every predator needs prey, so expect to see some other fascinating creatures while on the island. The wildlife here includes water buffalo, deer, birds, snakes, macaques, and civets. Several species are endemic and endangered.
Diving – The conditions in the waters around Komodo are perfect for a diverse range of sea creatures and plants. Dolphins, sharks, blue whales, and manta rays are just some of the marine animals you can bump into when diving here. Even without the animals to consider, the delightfully colourful coral will make you realise why the diving sites here are among the best in the world.
Pink-Sand Beach – Komodo is home to one of the earth’s rare pink beaches, a phenomenon caused by a unique blend of white and red sand. The scene isn’t just pretty to look at though; immerse yourself in the vibrant beach by snorkelling and walking along the sand. The background of green scenery and sparkling clear waters make this a truly picturesque and photogenic spot.