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“Glad we didn't see too many.”

Komodo National Park
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$426.25*
and up
2-Day Komodo National Park and Rinca Island Wildlife Adventure from Bali
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Reviewed April 8, 2013

There are two popular access points for seeing Komodos in the wild, Komodo and Rincin Islands. (They also inhabit a couple of other spots including isolated patches of forest in Flores where the animals are very elusive and apparently a rusty colour, rather than the common-garden-variety sooty black) We visited both islands and preferred the former mainly I suspect because we hadn't at that stage spoken to any Komodo dragon tour guides, so were blissfuly unaware that 3 of them had been attacked in the past 3 months with fairly serious consequences. One guide told us he had been attacked six times but escaped unscathed, another that his best friend had recently been badly maimed and was still off on (very) sick leave. Scientific literature scoffs at such alleged violence toward humans by this giant lizard so I wonder if it's all about demonising the mythical creature (which did after all inspire the movie King Kong), in order to maintain its fearsome mystique (and perhaps elicit a bigger tip?) The fact that the guides carry nothing more protective than a 2 cm thick stick to ward off these 3 meter long monsters (which can apparently launch themselves at deer, pigs and water buffalo at 23 kilometres an hour), tends to support the scientist's perspective, but there is no doubt that they can be dangerous. That risk was not lost on our normally unflappable 13 year old who clambered up a tree clutching a rock and refused to come down when a big male latched his beady eyes on her.
Although Rincin is supposed to have a lot more "wild" animals than Komodo we saw a couple at each and I suspect most of the specimens one sees are in fact, pretty well semi-domesticated and hang around to entertain tourists, attracted by the odd food handout and left overs from the guide's kitchen. (A resident guide was savagely mauled in his kitchen earlier this year) Apparently tour ships drop by and spew out 2000 people at a time so it's understandable that the rules of non-interference with any threatened species (it's estimated that there may be as few as 300 to 400 breeding females in the total population of 4000 or 5000, spread over 4 locations) are bent a little to keep them visible, and the shiploads of dollars coming ashore. There are always about 6 to 10 hanging around the tour guides quarters, so you won't not see one.
I suppose in the end we all find the idea of a bloody great lizard which doesn't differentiate between a human being and a pizza; which both envenomates its prey and slobbers hyper-toxic red saliva into the wound it inflicts, then sits back and waits for it to die ( Estimates: Human 1 to 2 days, Deer, 2 to 3 days, Water buffalo, 1 to 2 weeks) from a cocktail of some 57 super-virulent strains of bacteria (up to 3 times more potent than normal) - morbidly fascinating!

The parks themselves are just patchy scrub and grass so pretty dissapointing after the visual feast of watching the islands take shape from a distance, rising like domes of lime green fuzz from the glassiest most inviting sea I've ever had the pleasure to dive into. Whatever you do don't miss snorkelling just 30 metres off Pink Beach on Komodo, the meticulous patchwork quilt of coral gardens here had my coral-savvy family enthralled for almost two hours.

9  Thank RalphH334
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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318 - 322 of 571 reviews

Reviewed April 2, 2013

The beauty of the island when first viewed from the cruise ship deck and the tour itself getting so close to the Komodo Dragons in their natural habitat. The wardens were helpful and knowledgeable. Only dislike was small amounts of rubbish on the beach where we landed but other beaches on the island were fine.

3  Thank glynn t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2013

The park is very nice, and it was great to see wild Komodo dragons in their somewhat natural environment. I say "somewhat" because they mostly hang out near the ranger's lodges, since they smell food there.

Be warned that there are dozens of little fees they charge you, which are not excessive though you get the feeling it is all lining someone's pocket and not going toward the park. Entering the park is a slow process.

We went in the morning, when the dragons are just beginning to heat up, so they were sedate, but that didn't lessen the experience any. The park is also full of birds, and if you like birds be sure to have the guide point them out.

We also visited the park at Rinca Island, and I preferred the one on Komodo Island (though I also suggest you see both, if you can).

3  Thank Krotz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2013

yeah, you must do that 2 things. Snorkeling spot was so awesome.. Ask your guide to snorkeling around Komodo National Park

1  Thank azhariharris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2013

Great job by the rangers keeping the dragons at bay and leading us past a group of 6 salivating dragons.
We were there at the green time and the island was beautiful and the dragons very active.

Snorkeling on Pink Beach in the park is spectacular too. So many live corals and fish varieties in crystal water!

Thank lizianp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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