Exploring Komodo National Park

5 Aug 2011

ts 3 in the morning right now and Im smiling. With the tan on my skin, Im proudly announce that I just back from Komodo National Park

I wrote about Komodo National Park once, in a complete article for entering Bubu Awards 2009. And I won! I never been to Komodo National Park before. I wrote the blog post through research on the internet . I never imagine that a year later, I get to experience Komodo National Park myself! Of course I had a plan to go there.

First of all, you must know where Komodo National Park is located in Indonesia Map Thats basic. So, heres Indonesia Map, and Komodo is located in eastern part of Indonesia, around Timor & Flores.

Map from tourism-and-travel-at.blogspot.com

To go there from Jakarta, we must first go to Denpasar, Bali, and then jumping to next plane to Labuan Bajo. At first I was afraid because they say the plane is small. Aviastar is not that big, but I think its one of the best plane to go to Labuan Bajo. Its also steady. The journey is smooth. I just got a little nervous when the stewardess ask us to pray to God before take off. Not that its wrong, its just no stewardess has been suggesting it in other flight before -_-;

Anyway after 1 hour 45 minutes journey from Jakarta to Bali and approximately 1 hour journey from Bali to Labuan Bajo, we finally arrived at the exotic city. The airport is small, only four walls, with a lot of Komodo pictures hanging in each of the wall. Our group gathered and walking towards our bus that has been waiting. Welcome to Labuan Bajo!

The first impression of Labuan Bajo was its green landscape. Its very similar to Java island. When I think about eastern part of Indonesia, I always have this dry and yellowish image of dry grass of savannah. But what I saw is nothing like it. Great news! Rain really helps Labuan Bajo farmers.

Culture

We stop by at Melo village to watch traditional dance performance by the locals. The first dance was Caci Dance. The dance is basically about friendship and war. The performers would whipping each other and then doing some funny talk & walk. So its basically combination of strength and sense of humor :p I really enjoy it. Very entertaining.

The other dance was Angkuk Alu. They said its a dance to find soulmate! When I twit about it, one of my friend asked me to dance on behalf of him -_-; I guess thats not how it works. Angkuk Alu was usually performed at night, as a gathering connector for men & women. And thats where they usually meet their soulmate. Watch Angkuk Alu dance in this video.

We sealed the day by checking-in at Bintang Flores hotel. Its a 4 stars hotel in Labuan Bajo. Very nice one. Helps me get a high quality sleep before the journey to the dragons island.

Komodo

Of course. All of us are curious of how Komodo looked like. We heard stories about them. How prehistoric they are. How unique and one of a kind (you can only find their habitat in Indonesia). How they can also be deadly. And now we cant wait to meet them.

At 4 in the morning, we gathered at Labuan Bajo harbor to get ona fancy yacht, Merry Makin.

We planned to go to 2 islands where Komodo live. Theyre Komodo island & Rinca island. The journey from the harbor to Komodo island took around 2 hours. I take a nap after breakfast (and many more napping, I dont know, I get sleepy so fast :p), but after refreshed, managed to look outside to enjoy the breathtaking view. We cruise through the beautiful hills around the islands. So beautiful! I imagine myself sitting on the yacht and writing my next romance novel, and stay that way for couple of weeks. *daydream*

Entering Loh Liang, Komodo island is like entering a mystery castle :P Mysterious yet intriguing. I prepared my camera. This going to be an awesome photo hunting.

We walk along the beach line til we saw the Komodo National Park sign and start happily took pictures of each other :P Mita, my travel buddy, ask me to pose like a Komodo. And this is the best that I can do *un-creative* -_-; By the way, the way I dress is recommended for Komodo trip. Everything must be covered (to prevent mosquitos bite)! And dont forget to use sunblock.

Komodo rangers welcome and guide us to track inside the forest. They use branched stick as weapon to control Komodo dragon. Before entering the pond, where Komodo usually wait for their prey, our ranger ask us to keep silent, because Komodo attracted to noise and easily distracted with fast moving thing (aside from his natural attraction: smell of blood & bad smell). So, if you want them to go after you, just talk loudly and swing your bag back and forth (not recommended though :p)

And finally, the moment of truth! We met our first Komodo! He looked calm while we took pictures of him.

The scariest Komodo was our second Komodo that we saw near the beach. He basically ran, and everybody start tumbling because theyre not expecting how fast Komodo can ran after them (Rangers said Komodo could run up until 18 km per hour). While Komodo chasing my friends, Im watching from afar in Ora Cafe chatting with Mr. Nobel from Ministry of Culture & Tourism haha :P (By the way, Ora is the local name for Komodo. Theyre actually getting along well with the locals).

We saw more Komodos at Loh Buaya, Rinca island. Maybe because the island is smaller, so the Komodo tend to gathers in one place. Here, Komodo blend real well with the nature. We cant see them coming! Everybody keep alert on the whole journey, but we trust our rangers and feel safe.

I came with many hardcore photographers (this is indeed a heaven for photographers). And they bring a loooot of lenses & tools. Dont worry, if youre like them, you can hire a porter. I even hire one of them to carry my urban fashionable bag *purely-out-of-my-uncured-laziness* :p


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