Did you know that Komodo Dragons can run 13 miles per hour and smell blood at up to 2km away? This was what we were told as we stepped onto our speed boat to visit the only place in the world you can find them in the wild – The Komodo Dragon Islands in Indonesia.
After seeing wild Oragutans in Borneo at the start of our #WonderfulIndonesia trip I’d really got the taste for seeing incredible animals in their homelands and I’m pretty sure you don’t get cooler than an actual dragon! Just 90minutes away from Labuan Bajo via speedboat (yes we are that cool and it’s now the only way I’ll travel on water) you’ll find the Komodo Dragon islands each more beautiful than the next with incredible views and even more incredible wildlife.
We started at the Komodo Dragon National Park where we were joined by our guide Kevin who from then on in was affectionately called Komodo Kevin by our group. Flanked by three other rangers with pointy sticks to protect us from the dragons we set off on a trek through the mountains to find some of these incredible creatures.
Before we got to the park the women in our group were asked to inform the rangers if it was their ‘time of the month’ so they could be given another ranger for extra protection – at first we thought they were joking but we soon realised that shizz was about to get real. These are real and very deadly creatures and we’re about to go wandering through their home. We are actually in serious danger – I don’t know about you but for me that made it even more exciting!
We wandered up very steep hills and through thick forests to find our dragons and the views were absolutely incredible – I felt like we’d stepped right into Jurassic Park! We came across a mother protecting her nest in the shadows of the forest and were lucky enough to snap some photos while she watched us at a safe distance…thank goodness for telephoto lenses!
Seeing these magnificent creatures up close and in their world was amazing – they move with such grace and are quite terrifying too. It felt like a real honour to have seen them in such a breathtakingly beautiful place.
On our way home our speedboat stopped at Pulau Kalong (literal translation Bats Island) to watch the migration of Bats at sunset. We waited for around half an hour as the sun set and were beginning to think nothing would happen, and then out of the mangroves came an entire swarm of flying fox bats which littered the sky above us. They were huge and like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
Against the warm rose gold tones of the sunset this part of our trip brought me to tears, it was just so beautiful to watch. Sometimes the strangest moments take your breath away and make you truly grateful for the beauty of nature and your time on this earth. For me this was one of those moments.
The next day we hopped on our speedboat once again and skated across the water to Padar island for a trek up the mountain and one hell of a view. In the 30C+ heat it was pretty intense but well worth the journey. I had to pinch myself a little to make sure what I was seeing was real and that I was actually stood there. I’ve never in my 28 years seen such beautiful views as these. Incredible.
After a hairy trek back down the mountain we stripped down to our bikinis and got into the warm clear waters for a well deserved cool off. I’ve become so much more confident in open water since this trip and for that I’m incredibly proud. What’s not to love when the waters are this clear, calm and warm like a bath. We jumped back on our boat, enjoyed a Bintang beer and sped off to our final Komodo destination – The Pink Beach.
Ok, so when we pulled up I must admit we all said simultaneously “but it’s not pink!” and our instagram photo hopes crashed to the floor! But when we stepped foot onto those warm sands we saw it, just as the water meets the sand it turns pink! Tiny flecks of red coral broken down and washed up on the beach mix with the white sand and create this beautiful pink hue. We swam from the boat to the shore as we couldn’t wait to jump in so it’s gopro evidence only for this one. I think you’ll agree however that it’s beautiful no matter which camera you use!
Awesome underwater shots by Marc Bachtold
It was here I really found my love for snorkelling and learnt to free dive without my mask! After picking up a bit more confidence in the deep open waters of Wakatobi I was a little less hesitant putting on my mask and flippers and heading into the water this time. The coral and fish were out of this world and because it was shallow and clear I felt so safe – it’s a great place to learn snorkelling if you’re a beginner like me and it’s really given me a taste for the ocean…next stop, scuba lessons!
Finding Orangutans in Borneo
Snorkelling in Wakatobi and Visiting the Bajo Tribe
Not Just for Parties and Palm Tress | The Hidden Gems of Bali
Why The Komodo Dragon Islands are a Travel MUST See