See Komodo Dragons in Indonesia

Lonely Planet Travel Editor Tom Hall is on a mission to discover 52 of the most awe-inspiring places to visit across the world. This week he encounters Komodo dragons.

Komodo Dragon

Dragons do walk the earth – and coming face-to-face with one is an unforgettable experience. To do so, you must first journey to Indonesia’s eastern islands, Lombok or Flores. The former is a ferry ride from Bali, the latter a longer journey by sea or air.

Where can I see a Komodo Dragon in the wild?

Dragons are found living wild on the islands of Komodo and Rinca, as well as a couple of smaller islands. These hot, desolate places are only accessible by boat. You're almost guaranteed dragon sightings on both islands.

The largest of lizards, Komodo dragons can grow to 3m long and weigh 70kg. Particularly impressive – or terrifying – while feeding in packs, the Komodo dragon can swallow a goat whole. Some survive on only 12 meals a year.

The Indonesian island of Komodo

The Indonesian island of Komodo

Travel tips for the Indonesian islands

The practicalities aren’t as daunting as you may think. Charter boatas are best arranged in Labuanbajo on Flores – the sea journey takes around two hours to Rinca, and four hours to Komodo. It should cost about £70 for a drop-off and pick-up. Another option is to travel between Labuanbajo and Lombok via Rinca or Komodo, with dragon-spotting and snorkelling stops along the way. Choose an operator carefully as the condition of boats varies hugely.

Two nights camping should be enough on either island and is the only sleeping option. Tents can be arranged when booking a tour. Pack for rugged travel in tropical conditions. Guides are mandatory and useful to inform and protect you during your visit. Though rare, dragon attacks on humans do occur.

Planning your trip to Indonesia

Information can be hard to come by unless you’re in the area, but Komodo National Park is the best place to start.

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