Well, no. I didn’t actually touch Komodo by my hand. But I did, went to visit the dragon in their habitat, Komodo Island, one of The New 7 Wonders Of Nature.
There are several ways to visit Komodo Island. In my case, I took The Hunting Komodo by Camera 2N/3D by Perama Tours.
The journey starts early in the morning on October 9th 2013 in Perama Office at Senggigi, Lombok. Using Perama bus, we went to Labuhan Lombok in the east part of Lombok to then ride the boat to Komodo Island. On the way to Labuhan Lombok we made stop at several shop and also to a village in Lombok (which I can’t remember the name) that famous for its people’s skill on making pottery in traditional way (using bare hands).
Then we later went to continue our trip to Labuhan Lombok with the scene of Mountain Rinjani accompany us along the way. They provide “Kue Bantal”, lombok traditional snack made from sticky rice and banana, on the way.
Soon after we arrived at Labuhan Bajo, we ride on the boat and depart. Our first stop was Perama Beach Resort, a private island of Perama Tour itself where we spent our time playing volley ball and snorkelling. We also had our experience doing coral plantation by simply binding a coral to a pipe and drown it to the sea.
After dinner, the crew invited us to do “Poco-Poco” dancing on the beach which is not a common dance even for Indonesian like me.
After sweating up our body, we then continue the journey in the night to the next stop, Satonda Island. It took the whole night to reach the island. If you ever join this trip, please make your time spend some minutes in the front deck to enjoy the stars. I’ve never seen the stars in the sky that many in my entire life. It was like the stars were all around you.
Satonda Island is famous for its stunningly beautiful lake. The salt level is higher than the sea that you would easily be able to float on the water. It was so good to enjoy the morning sunlight, floating in the lake, hearing nothing but the sound of nature. Ah! Serenity.
Somewhere in the middle of the lake, you can also sit down on the stromatolite stone. This is a stone with ability to grow it’s size just like a living creature. Rumour has it that there are only 5 places in the world that has this stone.
The next destination is an island called Dempu. There’s not much to see here, we just wait here until night so that the boat will arrive at Komodo Island in the morning. They do this because Komodo Island is surrounded by many small islands, makes it hard for the captain to steer the boat in the night. This also to avoid the shipwreck tragedy that happens some years ago.
BAM! When I woke up the next day in the morning, I was stunned by the rare landscape of Nusa Tenggara area. It consists of many hilly small islands with dry savannah covering most of the island surface.
About 9 AM, we finally arrived at the long awaited Komodo Island!
Upon arrival, we needed to wait for the ranger for about 15 minutes, which then he explained to us about 3 available routes to explore the island. We took the longest route which require about 1-2 hours to complete. 50% of the track is flat, the other 50% is sloppy hill. It is not so hard to walk on the track. You can survive even if you’re wearing flipflop even though a proper tracking gear would be better. The surface of the island is about 390 square kilometers, and there are only 2800 Komodos live on it, so that it’s quite a challenge to locate on of them in the jungle. We were so lucky that we were able to find one in the jungle and see it very closely!
Even though most of the dragons we find were just laying around in the ground, we were prohibited to get near to it closer than 6 meters. We would never know when they would feel threaten or hungry. And you don’t want to be like Mr.Rudolf from Switzerland who were eaten by the dragons years ago. During our tracking in the jungle, we only managed to see one dragon, and that’s already consider lucky. Even so, we were able to see more of them in the kitchen area.
After we had enough of cam-whoring The Komodo, we continue our trip to the other part of the island to enjoy the pink beach. Yes, the pink beach! A beach that is pink!
Beside the long vast pink-colored beach that is very comfortable to chill down, this place also offers majestic view of rich underwater ecosystem! This is the best snorkeling spot on this trip even though the water temperature is so cold that I can only endure for 30 minutes in the water. But I enjoy it so much. Too bad, I didn’t bring underwater camera with me.
The pink beach concluded my long adventure. I was dropped at Labuhan Bajo and spent a night in there. This is a small seaport. The length is probably not more than 5 kilometer, yet along the main street you can find a lot of cafes, diving centers, and tour organizer. I am a bit regretful for not staying there longer. I could have been diving or visiting any other beautiful places in Flores from there.
The trip was ended by a party hosted by Perama. I don’t quite like it since the music is too loud and the sound system is so trashy. They should have provided a better sound system if they want everybody to join the party. Nevertheless, The “Poco-Poco” dance is again one more time entertained us.
And, it’s the end of my adventure, looking for the Komodo dragon.
My first impression on joining this trip was: I feel like being a stranger in my own country. Of 23 people, only 2 including me are Indonesian. The crew said to me that it is actually not normal to have Indonesian on the trip. Most of the time the participant are domestic tourist. The last time they had Indonesian participant was in June. I really don’t understand why Indonesian is not so into this kind of adventure. I don’t even see any single local tourist from other tour in Komodo Island nor in Labuhan Bajo.
Yet, I have extraordinary feeling about this trip. The people on the tour are sooo nice and friendly. They are from many different places around the world and are very open to talk and share stories. There was a sweet old couple from Holland (husband is 80 years old, wife is 70 years old) that makes me so inspired to never stop travelling. There was also a Czech couple that are very friendly. I spent most of my time with them. And some other more! I made friends with all of them at the end. It made me a bit sad when the trip ends.
Also, kudos to all the friendly and helpful crew of Perama. As far as I know, there is no single complain from the participants to the crew.
Well, we have 2 options to sleep; in the cabin or in the deck. Sleeping in cabin will cost IDR 1.000.000 more expensive that the deck. Yet, after the first night, I regret for have choosing cabin. In my opinion sleeping on the deck is nicer because the room in the cabin is so small and the worst that it has a bad smell. The only advantage of sleeping in the cabin is that we protected from the strong wind and we can store our things more securely.
Beside the not so pleasing place to sleep, the other thing is quite okay. They have enough bathroom and fresh waters to keep us clean. The food is also okay, it’s not a 5 star restaurant quality, but it’s still nice to chomp; and we can have our meal as much as we want.
In the end, I will give this Hunting Komodo by Camera from Perama 7/10. It is definitely not as good as Titanic, but I think this is quite okay. And of course, who are expecting for a fancy facilities if you’re looking for an adventure?
There are many other ways to visit Komodo Island. You can just buy a ticket to Labuhan Bajo and go to local tour organizer to Komodo Island, or charter a boat in the port. For me, I prefer this boat trip because it is more adventurous. And since I was travelling alone, going on the boat and live on it for some days is a good way to meet new people. As a result, now I feel more inspired to travel more, share more stories, and inspire more people. Ciao!