Our Kencana Komodo boat trip, from Gili Trawagan Island near Lombok to Flores. You can read the Komodo Dragons Trip – Booking Options & Tips for more information about booking your Komodo Boat Trip and what to bring.
DAY 1 – It started with a short boat ride… 40mins with 60+ humans crammed with luggage on to a boat 3 meters wide.
While beached, the ferry leaned dangerously as we all boarded. Thankfully the sea was perfectly calm and we all survived the short trip from Gili Trawagan Island to Bangsal harbour, on Lombok’s mainland.
Before you even step off the boat, there are calls to buy tickets. Be warned, random men will try taking your bags then charging you extortionate amounts for carrying it the 20meters up the beach.
Our Kencana man from Gili T conveniently disappeared in the chaos. One man insisted the Kencana passengers were to go with him. He took our tickets, which I was not happy about, and said we had to get on a horse cart to go to the bus station. He started driving off, then stopped and said it would cost 10,000 IRP each. Now I knew him for a fake. I demanded our tickets back and we walked what was only 500 meters, straight along the main road, to the bus stop.
From here we had a 1 hour ride to Senggigi, in an air conditioned shuttle bus. In Senggigi there was another hour wait so you can make use of the supermarket, ATM, shops and very cheap massage places.
The bus ride to the boat took approximately 3.5 hours, this included multiple stops to buy supplies for the trip and around 2.30pm, we were given lunch, in the form of takeaway containers on the bus.
When we arrived at the dock, we were a bit shocked to see the boat. It seemed too small and although freshly painted, old. Another traveler and I made sure there were life jackets on board before we set off.
It is important you ensure the boat’s safety prior to leaving: capacity is not exceeded, there are enough life jackets and the season is safe enough. There is a history of some of these boats sinking in rough seas with overcrowding and little safety equipment. Indonesia only has volunteer coast guards, whom have very limited resources, sometimes not even radios.
Everyone now picked a mattress and spot in the upper deck. The more polite passengers missed out and had to sleep on the lower communal deck that everyone used for eating, socialising and relaxing. Down there it was wet when it rained, noisy and they had to wait until everyone went to bed. So pick a spot quick!
The first boat ride was to an island 5 hours away, where we dropped anchor, had dinner and a night swim before hopping into our beds.
The boat started moving again at 2am. It’s very loud but most of us got some sleep with ear plugs.
The mattresses were thin but surprisingly soft and brand new. A lot of the gear was brand new: the snorkels, masks and blankets included.
We woke with the heat, at Mojo Island. After a quick banana pancake breakfast, we swam to shore (you can be taken in a small boat) for a walk to the waterfalls (about 10mins). The waterfalls were beautiful, and we climbed to the top, to a water hole, which was great fun jumping in. After at least half an hour swimming and playing in the stream, a water snake was spotted, though apparently harmless, so take care to stay with the group.
Back on our floating home, we motored for 3 hours to Satonda Island. Here we had lunch then snorkeled with pretty corals and an array of fish before taking a very short skip and a jump to the inland, salt water lake. Mark and I jumped in to warm up, as the water was like a bath, and we had been snorkeling for over an hour.
The next ride was for 18hours, which isn’t as bad as it sounds. From afternoon, arriving at around 9am at another island, opposite Komodo Island.
After breakfast, there was a lovely, but steep walk to the summit for an incredible view of the many islands and the surrounding coral reefs. We lingered here for quite a while before another quick snorkel (some saw small reef sharks) and we were off again. Just make sure people know you are snorkeling. Another traveler and I had gone off on our own quite far and the boat left without us before my partner, Mark, had them turn around, oops!
Not much further and we had reached pink beach, which today wasn’t very pink. However we were able to snorkel again. Just be careful as the current is super strong, make sure someone on the boat looks out for you and makes sure you get back. Swim so you can come down current at the end when you are more tired.
The coral and fish here were great, we even saw sting rays and a turtle, however the visibility wasn’t fantastic, due to the current. We also were getting little stings from something, still unknown and unseen.
A late lunch was served as we headed to Komodo Island, another short trip. Our entrance fees were covered by the trip cost, which made the guided walk (around 30mins) a lot smoother. Six Komodo dragons graced us with their scary presence, before we had some junk food at the tuck shop (take some cash with you).
We anchored in a nearby bay for dinner. It was the best sleep due to the sea being super calm and the boat not leaving until 7.30am.
By 9am we had docked at Rinca Island. We had around 2 hours exploring with a guide and then relaxing at their tuck shop. We enjoyed Rinca even more than Komodo Island, seeing juvenile Komodos, a nesting area as well as 8 adult dragons and many monkeys.
We were reminiscing while the boat made the final 2 hour journey back to civilisation, at Labuan Bajo harbour.
Many of us decided to stay overnight on the boat (included in your ticket price) as the accommodation in LB is expensive, but went out to socialise on the town.
The boat had to leave early so we were up and packed by 7am, and off to a nice cafe for breakfast.
Overall a great experience, value for money and we met people we hope to stay in touch with for life. It was also a good place to meet others to continue traveling with – Kri travelled with us for 3 weeks after our Komodo boat trip adventure.