Travel itinerary by
Zoe and Simon
May 8, 2023

Our Ultimate Guide To Komodo National Park – Liveaboard Boat Trips (3 days, 2 nights)

Our Ultimate Guide To Komodo National Park – Liveaboard Boat Trips (3 days, 2 nights): The Best Way To Explore Amazing Komodo

Visiting Komodo National Park was the trip of a lifetime for us and it’s one of our favourite memories from our last long-term trip through Asia and Australia. The beauty and wildlife of Komodo National Park is amazing and on our three day, two night liveaboard boat trip, we were very fortunate to experience this Indonesian gem to the fullest: we saw incredible sunsets and sunrises, hiked up to amazing viewpoints, went on jaw-dropping snorkel trips to some of the best reefs we’ve ever seen and spent an amazing time with like-minded travellers living on a beautiful boat. And of course – one incredible highlight of our trip was seeing Komodo Dragons in Komodo National Park!

To get the best overview of what our Komodo liveaboard experience was like, watch our video on YouTube. The video will give you a great overview of our trip and will hopefully also make you want to book your own Komodo boat trip immediately.

In the following guide, we’ve summarised how to plan and book your own liveaboard (3 days, 2 nights) experience in Komodo National Park in Indonesia.

We’ll cover:

  • Why a liveaboard boat trip is the best way to explore Komodo National Park
  • What’s the best tour company for booking a Komodo National Park liveaboard trip?
  • Which Komodo tour company can we recommend?
  • How to book the best Komodo liveaboard trip?
  • What does a typical itinerary look like on a liveaboard boat trip to Komodo National Park?
  • How do you get to Komodo National Park?
  • Where should you stay before your Komodo trip?
  • When is the best time to visit Komodo National Park?
  • Our best tips for making the most of your Komodo National Park trip
Hiking up Padar Island to watch the sunrise is definitely a highlight of the trip!

Why a liveaboard boat trip is the best way to explore Komodo National Park

If you're looking for a unique and adventurous way to explore the stunning Komodo National Park, then a liveaboard trip is the perfect option for you. A liveaboard trip is a type of trip where you stay on a boat for several days, allowing you to explore multiple snorkel sites and locations. If you want to go diving in Komodo National Park there are also specialised diving tour companies that you can find that will take you to the best dive spots. Komodo National Park has so much to offer that trying to see everything in one day is pretty much impossible.

A 3 day, 2 night liveaboard trip to Komodo National Park is the best way to explore the park's diverse marine life, stunning landscapes, and unique wildlife. During your trip, you'll have the opportunity to visit some of the park's most popular snorkel sites, such as Manta Point and Turtle Bay. You'll also have the chance to witness the famous Komodo Dragons in their natural habitat on Rinca Island or Komodo Island. Also, living on a boat is just a great experience in itself.

The liveaboard trip offers a comfortable and convenient way to explore the park. You'll stay in a shared or private cabin on the boat, which usually includes air conditioning and private bathrooms if you’re staying in a private cabin. The boat will also have a dining area, a lounge, and a sun deck where you can relax and enjoy the stunning views of the different islands. Most Komodo tour companies will also cover breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as supply you with water. Most liveaboard trips include at least a few snorkel trips per day and basic snorkel gear is usually provided.

What’s the best tour company for booking a Komodo National Park liveaboard trip?

Which company you should book your Komodo National Park tour with is entirely up to you and your preferences. While we highly recommend Captain Komodo, the company we booked our tour with, there are many different reputable companies out there that also offer great trips with friendly crews. And as we’ve only tested one company out of all of them – we can only give you a few guidelines in the following sections that cover what to look for in your research. Most companies will have very similar itineraries, so it’s all about the details.

View from our private cabin (we even had an own balcony!)

With which company did we book our Komodo National Park trip?

We booked our Komodo boat trip with Captain Komodo. We can highly recommend the tour company, as the crew was great, the boat was comfortable and we had an incredible time exploring Komodo with other backpackers (the age range of our group was 20-35).

The boat was comfortable and the atmosphere on the boat was great. Captain Komodo’s standard boat wasn’t available when we went on the trip, so the company used the boat from another company, which was also great. It had a funny pirate theme going on, which probably made all other boats very jealous. From what we’ve heard, however, Captain Komodo’s regular boat is also supposed to be great!

You can check the current prices for this trip on Captain Komodo's website. For a shared 4-bed cabin the price is around 220€ per person and for a private cabin with double bed 330€.

How to book the best Komodo liveaboard trip

As mentioned above, the best Komodo trip is the one that matches your preferences. So the Komodo tour company that you book with should also match what you’re looking for when travelling. It’s definitely best to book your tour as early as possible, as popular tours can be booked out a few weeks in advance. When you’re researching different Komodo tour companies make sure to check the following:

  • Does the company have great reviews on sites, such as Google Maps or Tripadvisor?
  • Do the free booking dates match with my itinerary?
  • Does the tour itinerary include the sights I want to see (snorkel spots, islands)?
  • If you have any specific food preferences - make sure to contact the tour company to check if they can accommodate them.
  • What kind of travellers usually go on the company’s trips? Are the tours geared more towards younger travellers and backpackers? Are the trips family friendly, if you’re travelling with children?
  • How much “luxury” do you want on your trip? You can find a lot of great budget options out there if you’re up for sleeping in a shared cabin with other travellers. These boats will often times also offer private cabins with private bathrooms, if you’re looking for more privacy.
  • The food on most budget tours will be basic, but in our experience – good (on our trip it was mostly tasty Indonesian dishes and sandwiches). If food is your priority there are companies out there that will provide a more “luxurious” dining experience.
Incredible sunset while thousands of flying foxes fill the sky.

What does a typical itinerary look like on a Komodo National Park liveaboard trip?

In total we made around 12 stops on our 3 day, 2 night liveaboard boat tour in Komodo National Park. However, the time on our boat in between stops was also always a highlight for us – which meant that we pretty much the whole trip was packed with only highlights and you’ll be blown away by how much you can experience in such a short amount of time. This is a typical Komodo National Park itinerary that we experienced on our 3 day, 2 night trip. Every itinerary will vary a bit from tour to tour and from tour company to tour company, but the following itinerary will give you a good overview of what to expect on a liveaboard trip:

Day 0 - Arrival

  • Flight from Bali to Labuan Bajo, Flores
  • Check in to our hotel “Blue Parrot” for one night.

Day 1

  • Pick up from our hotel and drive to harbour
  • Buy snacks and drinks at supermarket
  • Take small boat to bigger boat, check into our cabin
  • Hike up to Kelor island for some great views
  • First snorkelling session at Manjarite Beach
  • Another great hike and viewpoint on Strawberry Rock
  • Incredible sunset with a sky full of flying foxes at Koabe Island

Day 2

  • Sunrise hike early in the morning up to Padar Island
  • Visiting famous Pink Beach for more snorkelling and relaxing
  • Visiting Komodo National Park and seeing Komodo Dragons
  • Snorkelling with Manta Rays at Manta Point
  • Checking out a small, beautiful island in the middle of nowhere
  • Drive to our next anchorage at Turtle Point

Day 3

  • Early morning snorkelling at Turtle Point (saw some sharks here!)
  • Second snorkel spot at Pulau Sebayur Besar (saw some turtles here!)
  • Last snorkelling session at Kanawa Island (saw sharks, turtles and a lot of beautiful fishes)
  • Drive back to Labuan Bajo in the afternoon
  • Fly back to Bali in the evening

As you can see a Komodo liveaboard trip is packed with amazing activities! Although the whole trip is also exhausting, we didn’t want to leave!

How do you get to Komodo National Park?

Komodo National Park is an island that can only be reached by boat. So most Komodo National Park boat trips will leave from Labuan Bajo, a small fishing town on the Indonesian island of Flores. Flores itself is also a beautiful island to explore, but many people come here only to visit Komodo National Park. From Labuan Bajo you can go on day trips to Komodo National Park or start your liveaboard trip to spend multiple days exploring the hundreds of islands, reefs and beaches.

The most convenient way to get to Labuan Bajo is by flying from Bali. There are also ferries that go from Bali to Labuan Bajo, but we don’t have any experience with them, so we can’t say if they are a good budget option. As with booking your Komodo boat tour, it’s a good idea to book your flights as early as possible – because they can get expensive.

We ended up booking our flights with Garuda Indonesia, but there are other airlines available as well. Make sure to search for the best offers on sites, such as Skyscanner.

Most people will fly to Flores from Bali one day before the start of their Komodo boat tour and then fly back on the last day of the boat tour or the day after that. So when you fly from and back to Bali is up to you, depending on how much time you need in between and how tightly packed you want your travel days to be. Also consider combining your Komodo National Park tour with some extra time on Flores, as many travellers love it there, too (sadly, we didn’t have enough time for this).

We can also recommend asking your tour company to see when the boat will return to Labuan Bajo on your last day. This way you can check if you can fly back to Bali on that day or if you should spend another night in Labuan Bajo.

We've had some of our best snorkelling sessions around the Komodo Islands.

Where should you stay in Labuan Bajo (Flores) before your trip?

As Labuan Bajo is a small town, you can pretty much choose any accommodation that suits you. But just to be sure – check with your tour company that they can pick you up from your accommodation to bring you to the boat. A popular option for backpackers is to stay in Seaesta Komodo Hostel & Hotel before your trip. This hostel has a great vibe and chances are high that you’ll already meet people from your boat one night before. Unfortunately this hostel was already fully booked for our dates, so we looked for a good accommodation close by. Luckily, we found a great guesthouse called Blue Parrot which is run by an incredibly nice owner and offers very comfortable rooms and beds, good breakfast and really great views of the sunset over the bay.

When is the best time to book your Komodo National Park tour?

We went on our Komodo National Park tour in June and we had perfect weather and water visibility. It was warm, but not too warm (bringing a lot of sun screen is very important) and during the night it cooled off a bit, so that we could sleep comfortably.

We don’t have any personal experience from other months in the year, but we’ve heard from other travellers that visiting Komodo is great almost year-round. If in doubt – contact the tour company that you’re interested in to check if they have any recommendations.

Swimming with these giant Manta Rays was an incredible experience.

Our best tips for making the most of your Komodo trip:

  • If your itinerary can accommodate this, book a tour during the week, as it gets much busier over the weekend.
  • Take your own snack and drinks of choice, as most tours will only cover the basics, such as breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as water.
  • If you can’t book your Komodo trips a few weeks in advance, you can always try contacting companies even if their trip are already sold out. They can put you on a waitlist in the case that spots become available later on. This was the case for us, too. We were only able to go on our trip on the dates that we were looking for because of a cancellation, which meant that luckily we could book our trip only two weeks in advance.
  • If you’re staying in a shared cabin on the boat, it might be a good idea to check with your hotel or hostel that you’re staying in the night before, if you can leave some of your luggage with them for the trip. This way you’ll have more room.

We hope this guide was helpful for planning your own liveboard trip to Komodo National Park! If you haven't yet, watch our video on YouTube to get a great overview of what to expect: click here.

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