Komodo Boat Trip from Lombok to Flores

As a thrifty backpacker, the adage, “You get what you pay for,” often does not apply; only suckers pay the full asking price. I always make sure to shop around and try to find a place that’ll provide me deliver the best service for the most affordable price. This was the goal I had in mind when I decided I wanted to visit Komodo Island; home to superb beaches, amazing underwater life, and of course, the elusive, Komodo Dragon.

When looking for a boat trip that would take me from Bangsar in Lombok to Labuan Bajo in Flores, with stops at Komodo, Rinca, Moyo and Laba islands, I managed to find a trip vis-a-vis Komodo Adventures and Beyond for 1,750,000 RPH (around $150USD). The price included breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, free coffee and tea, six 1.5L bottles of water, plus all of the Komodo Island fees and transport from my hotel in Senggigi.

Scary Komodo Dragons at Flores

Komodo Dragons – the least scary thing I encountered on my trip at Flores.

After asking to see photos of the boat, which looked simple yet sturdy (this was no cruise trip I know) AND which also included a Western style toilet (a luxury on this side of the world) I agreed to join the tour and handed over the money. The next morning, a van came and picked me up and brought me to the port, we waited a few hours at Lombok Café for a briefing. Everyone at the restaurant was super nice; it seemed almost too good to be true.

Captain boat Lombok Flores

Komodo adventures and beyond with only one captain!

As soon as the brief started, something felt wrong. Since it was the day after Ramadan, the man giving the briefing told us that despite there being two ships, there would only be one captain because no one else wanted to work that day. We all nervously laughed, thinking it was a joke, but nope, he was serious. After his speech, we made our way to the harbour where we were greeted by an unfamiliar looking boat.

Komodo Boat from Lombok to Flores

Our “cruise” boat from Lombok to Flores

Unlike the images I saw the day before, the boat was essentially two stories of poorly constructed wood tethering on the edge of collapse. The first floor included a small front area, a covered space in the middle with two benches, the captain’s room, plus one cabin and a squatty potty at the back. Upstairs was a covered platform about four feet tall with 20+ mats strewn across the floor; this was apparently our sleeping space. Never one to be deterred, I decided to grin and bear it and enter the boat—after all, it’s about the journey and not the vessel, right?

Komodo Boat from Lombok to Flores

Sleeping condition on the boat trip to Komodo

After 4 very long days living in close quarters on the open water, I’m happy to say I survived. The conditions on the boat did not get any better. The engine broke down on our first night, plenty of people got seasick due to the choppy waters, the food was ALWAYS a variation of mie goreng or nasi goreng, and we never did end up getting a captain which meant we had no idea what was going on most days.

Food onboard Komodo boat trip

Food onboard Komodo boat trip

Despite all of this, seeing the komodo dragons up close, snorkeling with huge manta rays, seeing dolphins, laying out on a pink sand beach, and sleeping under the stars with good people made it all worth it—plus I picked up a few new Indonesian words after becoming friendly with the crew, who while spoke no English, always had big smiles on their faces.

boat crew sailed from Lombok to Komodo Island

Happy boat crew that sailed from Lombok to Komodo island

Here are some helpful tips on how to decide what company to use and what to pack when you brave this adventure:

  • Ask friends for a tour recommendation While I cannot recommend my tour company, komodo dragon, Wanua Adventure seems to be a safe bet. Since our captain never showed up due to an engine problem on the other boat, the captain of the Wanua boat came over and decided to explain the agenda for each day since all the boats more or less have the same schedule.. very nice guy!
  • Ask about how many people will be aboard the ship. We only had 13 people on our boat, which is far less than some other boats that try and squeeze 30 people aboard. Not only is this completely unsafe, but it also means a lot of people are not fed and that there’s not a lot of room to relax.
  • Make sure the komodo park entrance fee is also included in the cost of the cruise. I’ve heard about people having to pay an additional $25 because the fee was not included in their deal.
  • Pack a separate bag filled with your essentials to bring to the sleeping deck. Luggage is stored under the boat and a pain to get to. In addition to sleeping clothes, a bathing suit, a towel and your toiletries, I suggest packing a sarong to use as a cover while you sleep, ear plugs or music to help drown out the noise of the loud engine, baby wipes since there are no showers, and a portable charger due to the high probability the electrical outlets on the boats will either be taken or not working. And if you want, take cards, a wireless speaker, a guitar if you can play, etc. for entertainment on the boat.
  • Bring motion sickness tablets. Even if you don’t end up using it, someone aboard will most likely need them and you’ll have a friend for life.

Our own private beach during Komodo boat trip

Our own private beach during Komodo boat trip

The safety of a boat trip/tour to Komodo has been criticised numerously, there are reports of accidents, so proceed with caution. Decide if this is the adventure for you and use our tips above to make an informed decision. Happy and safe travels!

Related articles:
Komodo National Park, Flores
Flores Travel Guide

Top 10 Indonesia Airlines

Both domestic and international flights in/to Indonesia is growing rapidly over these years. The top 10 airlines for serving travel flights to Indonesia for 2012 are:

Airlines – Domestic / International
Lion Air – 23.94 / 1.24
Garuda Indonesia – 14.07 / 3.18
Sriwijaya Air – 8.1 / 0.18
Batavia Air – 6.02 / 0.41
AirAsia 1.72 – 3.19
Wings Air – 2.09 / 0.09
Merpati – 2.12 / 0.06
Citilink – 1.44 / –
Trigana Air – 0.7 / –
Kalstar Aviation – 0.4 / 0.01

Lion Air is Indonesia’s low-cost airlines while on the other hand, Garuda Indonesia is the country’s 4-star top-class airline. Together they make up half of the flights serving Indonesia.

Related articles:
Best International budget airlines flying into Indonesia

Jakarta Monorail

Jakarta monorail is a planned two-line monorail system that would span 24 km in Jakarta, Indonesia. As we all know Jakarta is notorious for its traffic where sometimes spending few hours in the car is a normal experience. In fact you have not traveled in Jakarta if you haven’t being stuck in the road for an extended amount of time.

Jakarta Monorail Route Plan, Indonesia

Jakarta Monorail Route Plan, Indonesia

Hopefully with this new monorail project, that previously had been stopped and now revived earlier this year in February 2013, will be completed and alleviate the problem for the locals and to aid travelers in their visit here in Jakarta.

Jakarta Monorail Track Simulation, Indonesia

Jakarta Monorail Track Simulation, Indonesia

The monorail will have two lines – Green line is around 14 km with 16 stations and will run in the South of Jakarta and Green line of around 10 km will run from East Jakarta to West Jakarta. There will be two interchange stations that will allow passengers to change between these two lines and also onto Jakarta Busway and Jakarta railway network.

This project is projected to be completed in 2-3 years, so let’s all look forward to a better connected Jakarta. From there maybe it can grow to be the hub of traveling in Indonesia besides Bali, Indonesia’s current most famous tourist attraction.

Jakarta Monorail Sketch, Indonesia

Jakarta Monorail Sketch, Indonesia

Related articles:
Indonesia Train Rail Map, Timetables and Fare Price
Train Travel in Indonesia
How/where to buy Bus Tickets in Jakarta

Best transport between Yogyakarta to Solo?

I am planning to have a day or two visit to Solo from Yogyakarta during my visit, I heard that they have the best batik there. Can you recommend the best transport to get from Yogyakarta to Solo and also back from Solo to Yogyakarta?
– Fatir

If you want the comfort and don’t mind paying a little bit more, you can catch the train from Yogyakarta to Solo, newly opened a few years back call Batara Kresna railbus which will only take an hour. This is 20,000 Rp more expensive than the regular train. You can of course choose to take the regular train as well, see our train transport in Indonesia for more details. Train is the best choice as it get you to the city center. As for bus there are many choices but the terminal is 12 km west from city center. If you are doing a one day trip, maybe hiring a car would be a good idea for both ways and also around Solo.