You know the saying, “third time’s the charm”…?  Well, that’s how many times it took me to come to Indonesia and finally hop on one of the Komodo Island tours.   I’m actually kinda mad at myself it took me this long, because the entire experience was absolutely incredible!  This Komodo Island Trip review will go over all your questions, the itinerary, and help you plan your trip to this amazing corner of the world.  After researching different Komodo tours, I decided to go with one of the higher recommended companies — Wanua Adventures.

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There are a few of other options, but the most important factor of these types of tours is the boat.  ALL of the companies have the exact same trip itinerary, so you want to get on a tour with a decent boat — which is why I chose Wanua Adventures.  They have departures from the Gili Islands / Lombok every Wednesday & Friday.  They also do the same trip in reverse from Flores – Lombok.


THE BOAT

Compared to the other companies boats I saw, the Wanua Adventures boat was much larger, and seemed much more comfortable.  There was plenty of room in the main deck / eating area, and a nice spot at the front of the boat to enjoy some sun while sailing.  I’d say one of the biggest differences I noticed was that our boat had a great balcony at the back of the boat that was prime for sunset watching.  It also allowed for people to get into the deck (sleeping area) at two different spots.  Which really comes in handy if there’s a full boat.  It was also a great area to hang up your wet clothes and towels after swimming.

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DAY 1 – TRIP DEPARTURE AND SAIL TO SUGIAN ISLAND

I’ll be honest when I say that this trip got off to a very ROUGH START.  The weather conditions were poor for sailing, and for hours the boat was making everyone a little queasy.  I do not get sea sickness, but even my stomach was a little upset.  After a few hours, the water smoothed out, and we made it to our location.  Even though the waters were a little choppy, the views of cruising alongside the coast of Lombok were stunning!   We ate dinner, enjoyed the sunset, drank a few beers, went for a swim, and had a little group bonding with our fellow travelers.

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DAY 2 — MOYO ISLAND WATERFALL TREK & STUNNING SATONDIA ISLAND SNORKELING

We woke up bright and early around 7 A.M, enjoyed some breakfast and coffee, and prepared for the day’s activities.  The first was a mini-trek through Moyo Island to a nice waterfall.  Now, I’m not a morning person, and the idea of trekking that early was not my ideal way to wake-up, but it actually wasn’t bad at all.  It was a short 20 minute walk through the jungle to a tucked away waterfall.  Compared to other waterfalls in South-East Asia, it was nothing special, but still great to look at and take a quick swim in.  We then hopped back on the on the boat and made our way to Satonda island, which had some of the most amazing snorkeling of my entire life!

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DAY 3 — GILI LABA VIEWS — MANTA POINT  — RED BEACH

This was by far my favorite day of the trip.  It was another early start of the day for a quick 20-30 minute hike to the top of the Laba Island View Point.  It was not until this moment that I realized how incredible Komodo and the surrounding islands are.  The landscape of the islands rising out the sea was incredible.  The hike was not bad at all, and was worth every drop of sweat for the pictures.

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After the spectacular Laba View Point, we head back down to our boat, and set sail for what I was hoping to be one of the highlights of the trip — MANTA POINT.  Unfortunately, the water conditions were so rough that we barely got out to swim for a brief 15 minutes.  There was no chance of us seeing a Manta.  I had heard that on this trip they market that it is a possibility, but it is not guaranteed.  We then decided to swim to an amazing beach located near Manta point.  It is honestly postcard perfect.  The swim was actually pretty difficult because of the strong currents, but it made for some good exercise and even better pictures.  We got to do a bit of decent snorkeling, and then made our way to the famous Red Beach.  (Which too be honest, was a beautiful beach, but typical pictures make it look ALOT more red).

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DAY 4– KOMODO NATIONAL PARK & RINCA ISLAND

The fourth and final day of the trip.  The day the trip is named after.  It’s time to visit Komodo National park and see these beasts in person.  We got off the boat and made the short walk to the entrance of the national park.  We were told that since it was mating seasons for the komodo dragons, it was actually pretty rare to see them on the island.  I could tell everyone in the group was saddened to hear that, especially after we hadn’t seen the manta the previous.  We began our tour through the jungle, in hopes to see what the famous Komodo Dragon.

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Then we soon found out, that lady luck was on our side.  I turned a corner and saw our group taking pictures at a smaller Komodo dragon.  Our guide told us it about 3 years old or so.  It was awesome!  We continued taking our pictures until everyone was satisfied, and continued down the trail.  We thought our tour was over, and at least we saw a young Komodo dragon.  Then out of nowhere some yells “DRAGON, DRAGON”, as if it were a scene of Game of Thrones.  We rushed out, and saw this big beast just strolling along the beach.  We followed it for 10-15 minutes, all trying to get the perfect picture, and I’m happy with mine.

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After the excitement of seeing two different Komodo dragons when the expectation was rather low, we got back on our boat and made our way to the last stop; Rinca island.  I wasn’t feeling very well, and wasn’t up for an hour & a half trek, so I just journeyed into the main area.  But still enjoyed checking out the visitor area.

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After the group returning from the trek through Rinca Island, we set sail for our final destination — Labuan Bajo.  We did however make a pitstop for a quick swim and snorkel session at an island really close to LB.  The way back was full of beautiful views, and it was really hard to put the camera away.  It was a nice time to really think about the past few days, and how amazing this part of Indonesia is.

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FOOD & DRINK

I’m a big guy, and I eat pretty often — so I was actually pretty happy with the food served on board.  You get three meals each day, and there’s pretty much always enough for seconds.  Most of the meals are served with some soy based dish like Tofu or Tempe, a vegetable dish, plain rice (and noodles occasionally), and a fruit platter.  They have tons of cases of bottled drinking water.  You grab a bottle, and write your name on it so you don’t confuse them with others.  There’s also unlimited coffee and tea.  Also — before you get on board you have the option of buying beer and soda from a vendor who will run to the store and grab them for you.  I brought 12 large Bintangs on board, as well as a bottle of Vodka.  (What can I say?  I like to party).  There were actually a couple nights where we had a decent party going on.  Music playing, drinks flowing, and good vibes.

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USEFUL TIPS & INFORMATION

  • Bring Snacks — They do serve food often, but it definitely will come in handy after snorkeling or swimming to have something small to snack on.  Pringles, oreos, peanuts, and the ever so popular kit-kat.
  • Bring a Book — There were a couple times I found myself thinking I should have brought a book.  There are long days where you sail for hours, and it’s nice to have something to read.
  • Sunscreen is your friend — A lot of this trip is spent in the sun, and if you don’t want to look like a burnt lobster, then definitely plan on bringing plenty of sunscreen.
  • Underwater Camera — Whether it’s a GoPro or just a waterproof camera, you’re going to want to take some photos while snorkeling.  There is some amazing snorkeling, especially at Satonda Island!
  • Plan Ahead — I’m talking about your plans after getting to Labuan Bajo.  If you plan on exploring Flores, that’s great!  But if you have a plan on getting a flight back to Bali or Jakarta, book in advance, because flight prices can be ridiculous.  And I can almost guarantee you won’t want to spend another 3 days on a boat journeying back to Lombok.

Conclusion

If you have the time, than I couldn’t recommend this trip enough to anyone traveling Indonesia!  You’re comfort levels are tested at times, but it is absolutely worth it.  You’re guaranteed to see some incredible sights, meet awesome people, and have the trip of a lifetime.  Check out the Wanua Adventures website for more information.  I would definitely recommend traveling with them.  The staff were all really friendly, the boat was decent, and they showed us an amazing time.  I also have to give a shoutout to everyone on board our trip.  It was a pleasure meeting all of you, and I hope to see you around the world again soon!

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15 replies
  1. Jones says:

    Hey Wilfred! Thanks for the comment. Glad you found it useful! Definitely get out to Komodo someday, it was such an incredible experience !

    Reply
  2. Chayenne says:

    Hi Jones!

    Thank you for this review! I will leave in ten days for Indonesia and I’m planning the same trip, but the way back, from Lauan Bajo to Lombok. I’m really getting mad trying to decide among Perama, Kencana Aventure and just yesterday I discovered Wanua Adventures. So do you think the last one is the best one? And can you tell me please the price?? I’ve heard that if you book directly there you can maybe get a discount, anyway I prefere to plan my trip to book other things, so I need to book it now.

    Last question: on the boat can I charge the battery of my photocamera?

    Thank you very much for the help and have good travel around the wordl!!

    Reply
    • Jones says:

      On the Wanua Adventures boat, there was a charging area behind the captains area that I used often to charge my camera, GoPro, and phone! There were a couple other ones, but I heard they didn’t work most of the time, but I never had a problem charging my stuff.

      As far as the competition, they really are quite similar. I’ve heard great things about Kencanca, and Perama is definitely one of the more expensive companies. From my experience in South-East Asia, you get what you pay for.

      I was on a tighter budget, so I chose Wanua — and loved my time. I thought the staff were great, the food was decent, and we got lucky with a great group of people.

      For price, most people on the boat paid around 1.3 -1.4 Million. You can definitely bargain them down! It really just depends on what fits your itinerary best, and which companies depart on certain days.

      Hope all is well man! Enjoy the trip! It really is awesome!

      Reply
      • Chayenne says:

        Dear Jonas,

        thank you very much, you’ve been very kind and helpful to me!

        Now the problem is I can’t get in touch with them! :-( I completed the form on their website 3 days ago (before sending you the email) but I didn’t receive any reply, then I wrote a private massage at the Facebook Page Wanua Adventure, they saw the message but didn’t reply and in the end I wrote an email to info@wanuaadventure.com… but no reply.

        About the price, it could be defenetly the one that fits for us, anyway I was wondering if it is recent, because I was searching for a date, maybe you wrote it but I coulnd’t find it.
        Reading the first comment by Wilfred on 5th July 2015, I supposed you did this trip just the past month.

        Thanks again very much, also for the quick reply, and I wanted to say that the review about Gili TRawangan was great and also the pictures!!

        Bye!!!

        Reply
  3. Ann Alice says:

    Hi Jones,
    Thanks a lot for the post.This was exactly the info that i was searching for. I am planning a trip end of Aug to see the dragons but starting from Labuan bajo to Lombok. Would you by chance know what days they start the trip from labuan Bajo? we are planing to buy the tickets once we get there , would you know where to get the tickets from? and how can i contact them?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Jones says:

      Hey Ann! So glad you found my post useful! :-) I’m not entirely sure if they offer the trip in reverse, but you can check their website for contact and info: http://wanuaadventure.com/our-offer/special-tour/ . You can negotiate prices with them, talk dates, and figure out the ebst deals. If this company doesn’t offer the tour, I’ve heard Kencana tours are okay as well, but I wouldn’t know firsthand!

      Reply
  4. Ashita singh says:

    Hi Jones,

    This was a very insightful post.
    I have two questions:
    1. Which travel company did you use to book your trip with Wanua adventures? I have been writing to Wanua directly but they don’t respond.
    2. Which camera did you use for the pictures you have posted above? Did you use the same camera for under water pictures as well?

    Reply
    • Dave says:

      Hi Ashita,

      I booked with them directly, but you can book this trip through them with any of the travel agents on the Gili Islands. Just shop around and try to bargain them down. I think the standard price was around 1.4 mill? But I can’t qutie remember exactly.

      For these pictures, I was using my Nikon D3300, and I also used a GoPro Hero 3+ black. So different camera for the underwater shots.

      Enjoy!

      Reply
  5. Birgitte Jespersen says:

    Hi Dave
    We are a family of 5 there are planing that trip. Were there families on the boat or was it only young people on your tour and what about your cabin. How was the quality and how big are the cabins

    Reply

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