For travellers who seek the finest that the world has to offer

Six reasons to visit Komodo National Park in 2024

Crystalline waters, pink sand beaches and the world’s largest lizard are just the tip of the iceberg in Komodo National Park, a pristine paradise of unique biodiversity.

There are few places so spectacularly untouched as the islands of Komodo National Park. The region is made up of 29 volcanic islands famous for mountainous terrain, tropical rainforests, pristine beaches and mind-boggling biodiversity. However, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is perhaps most famous for its namesake resident, the Komodo Dragon, the largest lizard in the world. Those who find reptilian critters less than appealing may balk at holidaying on islands famous for the 5000-strong population, but Komodo National Park is so much more than a haven for three-metre-long dragons – it offers a range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences for those who dare to explore its shores.

Where is Komodo National Park?

Komodo National Park is located in the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. The archipelago has three major islands, Rinca, Komodo Island and Padar, and 26 smaller islands.

Komodo National Park.
Komodo National Park. Image courtesy of AYANA Komodo Waecicu Beach

How to get to Komodo Island

Travellers can only visit Komodo Island on a private tour. The closest accessible location by plane is Labuan Bajo via Bali, then the journey continues via a private boat tour to Komodo Island. Labuan Bajo is a small village at the western end of Flores Island in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. It is the capital of the West Manggarai Regency.

Where to stay in Komodo National Park

AYANA Komodo Waecicu Beach is a five-star resort with 205 elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites and seven distinct dining options that make the most of Labuan Bajo’s spectacular scenery. Catering to every age group, it offers a diverse range of activities and experiences managed end-to-end by the property. Guests can engage in marine conversation activities, set out on a guided hike to observe Komodo dragons in their natural habitat or contribute to the livelihood of the ecosystem by participating in AYANA’s in-house Marine Biologist experience.

Deluxe full ocean view room.
Deluxe full ocean view room. Image courtesy of AYANA Komodo Waecicu Beach

Three ways to tour Komodo National Park on board a private vessel

The only way to experience the beauty of Komodo National Park is on board Amandira, a private yacht owned and operated by Aman Resorts. Amandira is Aman’s flagship yacht and is a custom-built, two-masted Phinisi sailing and diving vessel with five spacious cabins and a crew of 14 that includes two chefs, a dive master and a massage therapist. Charter the vessel for a five or seven-night sailing through the homeland of the Komodo Dragon with expedition itineraries tailored to suit personal preferences by Aman’s Private Yacht team. Amandira can carry up to 10 guests in the air-conditioned cabins.

Amandira luxury yacht at sea
Amandira © Aman Resorts

AYANA Komodo Waecicu Beach also has a 54-metre luxury wooden ship, the AYANA Lako D’ia, for multi-day cruising adventures with five-star accommodations and AYANA’s signature hospitality. The resort also has Ayana Lako Sae, a stylish three-deck boat with ten VIP Cabanas for sunset cruising; the Ayana Lako Taka, a custom-made glass-bottom boat; the Ayana Lako Cama, a luxurious compact guest cabin with a sunroof; and the Ayana Lako Lelo for professional fishing trips or snorkelling experiences.

Mutiara Laut is another private vessel available to explorers venturing in Komodo National Park. The two-mast schooner is a classic indonesian design and the seven well-appointed cabins are fitted with contemporary luxury furnishings and touches of teak. A sailing on board Mutiara Laut includes a private cabin booking, up to two dives per day, three meals per day plus snacks, soft drinks, dive guides and snorkelling, and land excursions.

Ayana Lako Di'a.
Ayana Lako Di'a. Image courtesy of AYANA Komodo Waecicu Beach

6 reasons to visit Komodo National Park in 2024

Meet the Komodo Dragon

Growing up to three metres in length and weighing more than 100 kilograms, the Komodo Dragon is an ancient reptile whose existence is believed to date back to the Early Pleistocene period more than a million years ago. Witnessing this prehistoric animal in its natural habitat is a sight to behold, and those who visit the island often have the opportunity to take photos of the animals. There are other animals on the islands, too, such as snakes, frogs, Timor deer, horses, water buffalos and wild boars.

Komodo Dragon
Komodo Dragon. Image courtesy of AYANA Komodo Waecicu Beach

Explore one of the world’s rare pink beaches

Pink sand beaches are a rare occurrence across the globe. Recent data suggests there are as few as fifteen to be found, and Komodo National Park is home to one. Pantai Merah, as it’s commonly known, gets its colour from microscopic organisms called Foraminifera which produce a red pigment on coral reefs that leave small red particles behind. This blends with white sand to give the beach a gentle rosy glow that’s beloved by photographers and vacationers alike.

pink beach with two women sunbathing
Pink beach. Image courtesy of AYANA Komodo Waecicu Beach

Discover a wondrous underwater world

More than 60% of Komodo National Park is marine, and a trip into the deep here will reward swimmers with a glimpse of the ocean’s best-kept secrets. From more than 200 species of reef-building coral to mangroves, seagrass beds, seamounts and tranquil bays, the scenery is spectacular. This area is also a whale migration route with more than 1000 species of tropical fish, seven species of sharks, dolphins, dugongs, sea turtles, manta rays and more. Snorkel the shoreline for a cursory glance, or book a diving experience to maximise your chances of a wildlife encounter.

two people snorkelling
Image courtesy of AYANA Komodo Waecicu Beach

See the bats of Kalong Island take flight at sunset

As the sun sets over the island of Kalong, hundreds of the world’s largest fruit bats rise from the trees to take flight on their evening food run. Wave after wave emerges from the treetops, a natural spectacle that can last as long as 30 minutes and is best seen from a boat anchored just offshore.

Bats on Kalong Island at sunset.
Bats on Kalong Island. Image courtesy of AYANA Komodo Waecicu Beach

Hike the summit of Padar Island

Embark upon an unforgettable (yet relatively short) adventure to the summit of Padar Island by taking on the hike. This two-hour hike is only four kilometres long and, while it is steep and challenging in parts, is easily undertaken by anyone with bushwalking experience and good physical fitness. Climbers are rewarded with some of the most beautiful views in Indonesia, a panorama of crescent bays, reaching peninsulas and lush green wilderness.

Padar Island
Padar Island. © Unsplash/Killian Pham

Learn about the Bajau people

Tucked away on Mesa Island is a collective of people known as the Bajau. These individuals lead a traditional life in a fishing village of just 1500 people, and live in stilt houses propped above the shoreline. The islanders generally welcome visitors who are open to learning about their ways.

Read more:
28 incredible wildlife encounters
Four Victorian wildlife tours to find elusive Australian animals
13 luxury horse riding tours for globetrotters

This article is a Signature Luxury Travel & Style digital exclusive. Be the first to see more exclusive online content by subscribing to the newsletter below.