30 hours of travel by multiple ferries, cars and buses, we arrive at Labuan Bajo, on the island of Flores. From here you can access world class dive locations and visit the famous Komodo Dragons in the national park on the neighbouring islands. Labuan Bajo itself is a small town, with just one main block with accommodations, a few restaurants and shops. The town is pretty quiet during the day since most people are out diving and island hopping until the evening.
We book a combo pack with the Bajo Dive Club that includes two dives on the reef and a stop at Rinca Island, home to the Komodo dragons. Each of the dive stores offer different dive sites each day, so you can have your pick of where you want to go. There is also a combo pack offered almost each day by a different shop, which is a much better value than booking the two events separately.
It’s up and at it early as we head out onto our dive boat for the day. The group is small with just Andrew and myself and 4 other guys from Holland. We speed away from Flores over water as smooth as glass, past dozens of small uninhabited islands. Tea and biscuits are provided as we make the hour journey out to our first dive location.
We arrive at Pelau Tengo, dive site number one, and within a few minutes are in the crystal clear water descending down to the coral gardens below. The visibility is great, and the coral structures luckily haven’t been damaged in these areas thanks to their national park protection. Just under an hour later and we are back at the surface, moving onto our next dive location. Although our dive in Gili T had more large aquatic life, the coral structures here are better.
Lunch is served as we start our journey to Rinca Island. Komodo dragons are the largest lizards in the world and are only native to Komodo Island and Rinca island in Indonesia. It isn’t cheap to see them unfortunately. Besides the cost of the boat trip out here to see them (with our combo deal it was about $25 each), you then have to pay another $20 US each to enter the park.
Besides diving itself, this is by far the most we’ve spent on any activity. Was it worth it? Definitely not! The only dragons you will see are lounging under the camp kitchen hut, a few meters passed the park entrance. And while they were interesting to see in person, I can think of many other ways our money could have been better spent. The rest of the time you go on a guided hike through a path in the woods, where you don’t see more than trees and maybe a few birds. If you aren’t absolutely dying to see them, buy the postcard and treat yourself to a night in nicer accommodations.