When you think of visiting Bali you think of lush rainforests, temples galore, pristine beaches and friendly locals. Most don’t explore beyond and its a shame because outside of Bali there are so many amazing places to see. Before my trip I did lots of research on surrounding areas near Bali worth visiting. I discovered Padar, Komodo Island and the magical pink beach. I knew I had to make a trip there.
How to get there
To fully enjoy the other islands of Indonesia flying is your best option. You can book a roundtrip flight from Bali’s main international airport to Labuan Bajo. The flight is only about an hour and ten minutes and flights can range from $150 to $170 dollars. I used Skyscanner to find the best price and easily found a ticket a week before flying out. I highly recommend flying with Nam air, they serve a small snack and the plane was much larger and comfortable then the other airlines.
Where to stay
Once you arrive in Labuan Bajo you will have many options on where to stay. I recommend staying at least two nights and three days. The first night being your arrival and the second night being after your day trip. Any longer is unnecessary unless you have dives or day trips planned, there is not much going on at Labuan Bajo. Le Pirate is one of the most popular locations to stay and they have many different options. They have their on land hotel in Labuan Bajo as well as a fleet of “Explorers”, the explorers are small wooden boats that combine day trips with overnight stays. They also launched a new floating hotel called their boatel, that is a ten minute water taxi from their on land hotel. I stayed on their boatel during my time in Labuan Bajo and have done a full review on my stay.
I used Ora Dive for my day trip to the islands and they were great. They have two options a wooden boat which takes about four hours to get to the first stop Padar. This option is much cheaper but much slower than their second option. They also have the option of a speedboat which is much faster but more expensive. They do custom trips and really will work with you on your trip. We had originally planned on Padar, Komodo, Pink Beach and Manta Point. However due to some boat issues we left late and had to scrap Manta Point but they did make it worth it. I also ended up being the only one on the boat! It seems people had cancelled before we left so it really worked out I had the whole boat to myself and got to go at my own pace at each stop.
1st Stop : Padar
Difficulty : Average
Hike Time: 30 minutes to 60 minutes
Cost: No additional fee
If you ever google Padar the most common image you will see are the three crescent shaped beaches. Its a natural phenomena because one is white, one is black and one is pink. Its a must see if your in Indonesia and will be well worth the day trip to get there. If you take a wooden boat (which I did) its about 3 to 4 hours to get there. Once you arrive your boat will dock on the white beach side. You have quite a hike on your way up so be prepared and its HOT! Bring lots of water, a hat and make sure to wear shoes. They are in the process of adding stairs to make the trek easier but as of now it has not been completed. So about 1/3 of the way up will have a path and then you will hike the rest of the way up in the dirt. It can be super slippery and strenuous especially if you get there mid-day (which we did…sigh). The hike is well worth the view and I encourage you to keep going! There are two view points, one is near a huge tree that offers some shade. It has a rock (pictured above) that sticks out perfectly to get the best shot. If you keep trekking up you will run into a similar view just higher up.
2nd Stop : Komodo National Park
Difficulty : Easy
Hike Time: 15 minutes to 30 minutes
Cost: 310,000 Rupiah
Just call me the Mother of Dragons, I have dubbed myself a dragon whisperer after my trip to Komodo National Park. Komodo National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its also a must see for any animal lover. It was my second stop on my day trip and all I can say is WOW. Once you arrive to Komodo National Park you will need to stop in the information center to get a guide. Be prepared to pay for your entrance fee. I paid 310,000 rupiah or $23, which honestly was the most expensive one thing I paid for. The guide will offer you three different routes, short, medium and adventurous. They can’t guarantee you will see dragons and recommend the longer trek for more opportunities. However since it was later in the day and we had one more stop plus a four hour boat ride we opted for the short hike. I was so lucky we saw two dragons within a minute of walking! Then another five minutes and we saw another four. I was very lucky to see so many at one time and without much walking. Definitely worth the stop, Komodos are amazing to see in person. They are wild animals though and its important to remember they can kill people ,their bite can be lethal so don’t wander off and make sure to be vigilant.
3rd Stop : Pink Beach
My final stop was Pink Beach and this was a different Pink Beach then the one at Padar. This one is about a 30 minute boat ride from Komodo National Park and you can snorkel here. The reason the sand is pink is because the coral that breaks off is red and when it dyes the sand you get a pinkish tint. However the beach is not as pink as it once was because tourist are taking the sand. Please don’t take sand you will have it confiscated once you arrive at the airport. The snorkeling here is great, there is so much coral and its very active with marine life.
I highly recommend taking a day trip to go and see these amaze locations. It is a different perspective of Indonesia and will be the highlight of your trip.
Total Cost : 1,310,000 (1 million Rupiah with Ora Dive + 310,000 Rupiah for entrance to Komodo)
Duration : 13 hours (can vary)
Level of Activity : Moderate
Keep a wandering spirit my friends and thanks for following along!