Sailing Komodo Islands from Labuan Bajo for 3 days and 2 nights was something you’ve got to do when visiting Indonesia. You won’t just have so much fun, but you’ve got to see a few of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands. You’ll be able to frolic at the famed pink beach, hike the astonishing Padar island, swim with the manta rays, and go up close and personal with the Komodo dragons. These are just a few highlights from our boat cruise with hospitable staff who made us feel comfortable throughout the trip.
Below is our itinerary – in pictures.
DAY ONE – Friday
Our sailing trip started on Friday at noon. It’s not uncommon for these trips in Labuan Bajo to start at noon because travel agents have to wait for flights from other parts of Indonesia. Many of these flights’ passengers will be chauffeured from the airport to the boat.
As soon as everyone got settled, we sailed away from Labuan Bajo’s shores onto the Flores Sea’s calm waters.
This tiny island was our first destination. It wasn’t really a struggle to climb up to the top, but if you’re not wearing shoes, it would be hell for you. 🙂 From up there, you’ll see panoramic views of nearby islands, big and small.
We didn’t really explore the island itself. Our boat was anchored at sea, and those who wanted to go snorkeling were brought to the snorkeling area. I didn’t go because I’ve been on many trips like this in my travels. However, I did walk the long broken bridge and lay down to sunbathe. I apologize if I can’t say anything about the status of the corals there.
Sunset at the Bat Island (Kalong Rinca)
It’s a long journey from Manajriti Island to Kalong Rinca. Known for the bats, Kalong Rinca island is covered entirely by mangroves. From where we were, it was like occupying the first rows in a theatre to witness the spectacular show of nature – the sunset. When the sun’s golden rays dim their lights, the bats start to come out of the island to hunt for food. There are thousands of them flying above our heads, and it was mesmerizing!
DAY TWO – Saturday
Our boat was berthed a few meters from Padar Island, where we spent the night – on the boat, of course! We woke up at 4:30 in the morning, and by 5:00, we started our hike to the summit.
Hiking Padar Island is, perhaps, the most beautiful short hike I’ve ever done. It took me less than 30 minutes to reach the peak in the early morning darkness. When I got there, the sun started slowly rising behind one of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands. As the golden hour faded, the rugged cliffs, volcanic mountains, and hills revealed their astounding, jaw-dropping natural beauty. The lush bushes and grasslands that creep all the way down to deep bays with beaches in four colors: pink, white, black, and gray – all contribute to the stunning scenery.
It was a phenomenal experience to be there at the start of the day. If you could ignore or move away from the maddening crowd and find a place of your own, the serenity in front of this staggering natural wonder will transport you to a realm where a respite with nature can truly heal your tired, wandering sole.
This was my very first pink beach experience, and it never disappointed me. The long stretch of pink (and white) sand brought the inner model of everyone who landed there. But here’s the thing – the pink sand is clearer when wearing sunglasses. 😂
Komodo dragons are giant lizards that are unique inhabitants of the island. Most tourists are looking forward to seeing these animals up close and personal. It’s good that guides don’t force or push or halt these animals for the tourists to have their photo op. They let them roam free, and we were mindful of not blocking their way. You’d be lucky if you could see one or two chillin’ by the beach or under the trees. If not, the staff will guide you on the hiking route where these dragons frequently unwind.
This narrow sandbar of sugary white and pink sand can only be seen when the ebbing tide is low. We were so lucky that we were able to get off our boat and frolicked in here for an hour – before the sea swallowed it.
Snorkeling with the Manta Rays
I only saw a few manta rays from the boat because I didn’t go down there and swim with these wonderful sea creatures. I prefer to leave them alone in their natural habitat.
DAY THREE – Sunday
We had an overnight stay at sea, not far from Kanawa Island. It was a long day, so I slept early on the second night and woke up early the next day. The last day was very relaxing!
Watching the Sunrise
If the weather would be kind to you, I’d want you to wake up early and watch the sunrise from the sailing boat. Goodness, it was spectral!
Snorkeling and Chillin’ at Kanawa Island
Again, I didn’t go snorkeling, but I did swim for a drone video. 🙂 Mostly, I spent my time on the island sunbathing and reading a book. What I love here is the crystal clear water that you can see the sea bed.
Kanawa Island was our last destination before we headed back to Labuan Bajo. It was a long voyage back to where we started, but we all wore a smile of satisfaction. At the end of the sailing trip, we said our goodbyes and moved to our next destinations. I went back to Bali.
Booking with a Travel Agent
If you are going on a solo trip, there are many Open Trips that you can book. I booked myself via the GetYourGuide and took care of everything from safety to food, and documentation. The staff were nice and went above and beyond to make our sailing trip memorable. There are ample spaces in the Phinisi boat where we all can read a book, chill, or sunbathe. The room was of good size and equipped with its own bathroom and shower. The food was also fine, but I did love the fried (pisang goreng) they prepared for us. I wish they had enough extra pieces for everybody so I could eat more. 🙂 The boat was abundant with bottled water supply but no soft drinks. 🙂
Where to Stay in Labuan Bajo
I stayed at the Seaesta Komodo Hostel and Hotel, which reminds you of Santorini. With sunset views on the rooftop and from the pool, you’d wish nothing more than anything else. The hostel/hotel is just 250 meters from the town center and a few minutes drive to/from the airport. The rooms are clean, and the staff is excellent! They also have a restaurant and bar on the rooftop with live bands on Thursday.