Travel

Best Eco-Tourism Destination: Komodo National Park

If one day your friend asked, “Have you ever seen a dinosaur?” and you said “Yeah, sure! At the movie…!” then you really have to pack your bag and go straight to Komodo National Park (Taman Nasional Komodo), East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Indonesia. Because what’s you’re going to experience is the real deal!

Unforgettable adventure with the Komodo Dragons

Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is the closest prehistoric creature that we can still see alive, not just from the Jurassic Park movie. Komodo has muscular body, with almost 10 feet (3 meters) in length and more than 300 pounds (136 kilograms) weight, Komodo dragons are definitely the biggest lizard on earth.

Komodo Dragons are very athletic. They can run fast, climb a tree, swim, dive, and in the end they got very hungry and get to eat… and then they eat a lot (almost 80% of the prey) in a single feeding. If any animal can run away from Komodo Dragons attack, they  won’t survive for long. Komodo dragons tongue is very deadly, because it contains some gross bacteria that kills. You really don’t want to kiss them! Weird thing is, despite the toxicity of a Komodo Dragon’s bite, Komodo Dragons bitten by their own species seem unaffected by the bacteria. That’s not fair! :D

The only place you can find Komodo Dragon living in his natural habitat, is in Komodo Islands, Indonesia. It’s the most unique eco-tourism destination in the world. To get there, the easiest way is to go to Denpasar, Bali and use airplane from there to the nearest city to the island, Labuan Bajo. From Labuan Bajo, you can rent a boat to start the adventure in the islands. Make sure you visit the island around July – October, because the dragon likes it hot!

In the island, you can immediately start the journey to watch the life of Komodo Dragons, enjoying the suspense of Komodo Dragon’s arrival, exploring the land (guided by the trained park guide armed with a branch with a forked end that were used to poke Komodo Dragons in the nose), walking through the dry savannah, smell the beautiful flowers and spoil your eyes with the breathtaking view of the beach and the hills. It’s almost like a wonderful journey to the prehistoric past!

Taste of Paradise

Who knew! Komodo Dragon has perfectly choose to life in a peaceful paradise :D One of the most famous beach in Komodo Islands is the Pink Beach. It has pink sand, the perfect blue sea and the green hills. You will want to spend your time a little more longer here. Don’t forget to use your sunblock :)

The unique plants and other wild animals

In 1980, Komodo Islands (consist of Komodo, Rinca and Padar Island) was declared National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site to protect the distinctive animal, Komodo dragons, and other fauna and flora that make up their environment. That’s why, here you can also see wild pigs, buffalo, eagle, and also beautiful native trees and flowers.

The Komodo National Park administrative offices are located in Labuan Bajo in west Flores. An information center and travel agents where transportation to and from the Park can be arranged are also found in Labuan Bajo. The majority of tourists to the Park pass through the Loh Liang ranger station nestled in the sweeping arc of Slawi Bay on Komodo island. This is the largest facility in Komodo National Park with bungalows and rooms, a restaurant and a dormatory for the park rangers.

The most popular tourist activity is a hike to the Banugulung viewing area, a two-hour roundtrip level walk that originates from Loh Liang. Hikes to other areas of Komodo are also possible, and vary from one to two days: Gunung Ara, Poreng, Loh Sebita, Gunung Sata libo, Soro Masangga. On longer walks overnight accommodation can be arranged at ranger posts at Loh Sebita and Loh Genggo. For certified divers there is a compressor and diving equipment available for hire at Loh Liang as well as masks and fins for snorkellers. Handicrafts made in the nearby village of Komodo are for sale at the arrival jetty.

The hiking on Rinca is less strenuous than that on Komodo, and has the added attraction of viewing the wild horses and monkeys which are not found on Komodo. On Rinca wild buffalo are more common and easily seen as well. On the north side of the island, behind Rinca village, is a large cave with a resident bat colony. Rangers at both Loh Liang and Loh Buaya are readily available to lead walks, and are knowledgeable about the local fauna and birdlife.

The under water glory 

Not only great on the land, Komodo Islands also have a great under water scene. The variety of marine life for scuba diving in Komodo rivals the world’s best dive destinations. This is the world’s epicentre for marine diversity and you’ll see loads of stuff here on a diving cruise that you just won’t see anywhere else in the world, from sunfish, mantas, dolphins and eagle rays to pygmy seahorses, ornate ghost pipefish, clown frogfish, nudibranchs and blue-ringed octopus, all at home amongst a spectacular range of colourful sponges, sea squirts, tunicates and corals. Komodo Islands is simply the best place to dive!

Best sunset

Enjoy sunset view with the best scenery of Komodo islands, it’s peaceful and calm. Take some pictures to upload on your photo gallery  and enjoy a sip of coffee to wrap the day.

Learn new culture

After you’re busy taking Komodo photos, you can relax for a while and mingle in Labuan Bajo local market. Buy anything local, like souvenirs or cultural accessories. Get in touch with the smiling and happy people, accept their generosity, learn some new phrases and get to know their culture. You always can find some great values in them.

I’ve spent years of my teen life in NTT and I’ve travelled to some of the most interesting places there. I still can feel the amazement when I saw endless beautiful savana, I can almost see some horses running around the dry grass and some cockatoo flying right above my head. It’s just too exotic and every time I remember it, I just want to go back! You’d know how it feels :D

Komodo National Park is currently among three destination in Indonesia that has been  qualified in the New 7 Wonders of Nature campaign held by the New 7 Wonders Foundation (two other candidates is Lake Toba and Krakatau Island). You may support Komodo National  Park to become the New 7 Wonders of Nature by voting through the following the URL:

http://www.new7wonders.com/nature/en/vote_on_nominees/

Have a great adventure!

Note: This article is also submitted to Bubu Awards V06. Alhamdulillah I win the competition. Click here to read my creative process of writing this post.

Image Sources:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thejerk/292140488/in/set-72157600175423244/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thejerk/292161411/in/set-72157600175423244/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/odesya/3230371453/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/abra_kadabra/3214984666/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/komodo_underwater/3612758085/in/set-72157619533201724/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/raxzanema/2599106923
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pat_cahalan/357623385/

Article Sources:

http://www.indonesia.travel/destination/37/komodo
http://www.komodonationalpark.org/
http://www.komodo-gateway.org/getthere.html
http://www.dive-the-world.com/diving-sites-indonesia-komodo.php

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A writer of 30 books. Co-Founder & CMO Storial.co & NulisBuku.com. Initiate StartupLokal, the biggest startup community in Indonesia. Co-Managing Director of Girls in Tech Indonesia.

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