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Komodo Island Boat Trip – A day on dry land in Lombok

Komodo Island boat trip - A day on dry land in Lombok

For many travellers, visiting Komodo Island is a must-do when in Indonesia. However, getting there on a budget isn’t exactly a quick and easy trip. We took a four day boat journey from Lombok to Flores, which resulted in an almost shipwreck and a few disasters before we finally made it to Komodo Island. 

Komodo Island Boat Trip from Lombok

After a blissful week in Gili Air, we had to figure out how we could to get to Komodo Island and back to Bali again within a tight time frame, thanks to being forced to book a flight to Surabaya before we had even left Australia.

We left Gili Air by boat, and landed back in Lombok. We were headed to Lombok’s surf spot, Kuta Beach for one night, and still didn’t know how we would get to Komodo Island. We wound up booking our boat ticket to Komodo on the minibus on our way to Kuta.

komodo island boat trip lombok Home Stay - Kuta, Lombok

We had been unsure of whether it was even possible to make to the island and back, but when the driver’s smiling friend appeared at our window with a ticket book in hand and bursting with enthusiasm about his new boat that miraculously wasn’t full, we decided to just go for it. We paid a deposit and continued on our way to Kuta. 

Day one of the boat journey to Komodo from Lombok, on land

And so, as is often the way with Asian backpacking journeys, our boat trip to Komodo Island from Lombok started with an early morning pick up time and not knowing whether anyone would come for us.

This time, our pre-arranged ride was a different guy in an ordinary car who stopped to pick up his – stunning- girlfriend and their baby on the way.

No one else was picked up, which was unusual, and the couple didn’t speak English, and we had no Indonesian. The journey through Lombok’s lush jungles and rice paddy fields was long and silent and peppered with the uncertainty that comes with not really knowing where you’re going.

Lombok Island - the traveloguer

After a few hours, we reached the city of Mataram. It was industrial, smoggy and busy. We were told to get out and wait, and were then abandoned by our driver.

A small man with a smile that was unnervingly wide introduced himself as August (not the right spelling!) and told us we had to wait. Confused, as is so often the way in South East Asian journeys, we were told that we would be picked up soon. We sat on a kerb surrounded by manufacturing factories and car workshops, and chatted to our new minder as we leaned against closed shutters.

After an hour, and one relocation when we were shooed away from our spot by a man opening the business whose kerb we sat on, August made a call, and told us that the others weren’t far, and that we should just keep waiting.

We looked at the varieties of mopeds passing with different Jenga-like combinations of people and goods slotted onto them. We watched the local shoe repair guy set up his jumbled assortment of shoes and sandals, and the woman in the food stall next to us who splashed buckets of grey noodle water dangerously close to us with vigour and rhythm. A man up in a tree used a small machete to hack the high branches, sending them crashing to the ground and away from the electricity cables they were becoming entwined with.

Komodo Dragons at Komodo Island boat trip from lombok

We chatted about the upcoming Indonesian elections, the tobacco industry and August’s family, but after more hours passed, our go with the flow attitudes began to strain. Were we even going to be picked up at all?

We probably should have been on the boat headed to Komodo Island by now. We had left our homestay hours ago.

After even more waiting, our new friend made a few calls. Then, he hailed a taxi and took us to a supermarket, where we were told we would now be picked up from.

All you can do in these situations is go with it and hope it all works out. Based on all my Asian travel, this almost always turns out to be the case. And that is the adventure of travel, right?


Once at the supermarket, we sat in the shade outside and amused ourselves by taking turns strolling up and down the aisles. All of the girls working in the supermarket kept staring, and giggling. I wasn’t sure if it was my short hair, or the fact that I was wearing shorts, but either way, it was relentless and really uncomfortable. Little did I know that this was giving me a little taste of what to expect in India!

Eventually, after I don’t know how long, a minibus arrived, and we joined a group of Czechs on board. The man who sold us our tickets the day before appeared from nowhere and joined us in the car. The driver then gave us all little cardboard boxes with green and white stripes with two little cakes inside. It was a nice little touch. As soon as the driver had loaded the car with supplies, we finally set off for the boat, and the four day journey that would take us to Komodo Island and its dragons.

And after another two hours or driving, and a stop for lunch, we arrived at our home for the next four days, the Versace Ammara.


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  • Reply
    Karoliina Kazi
    September 10, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Sounds like a quite an adventure! I like that you didn’t stress too much about it, go with it and hope for best is the ideal policy in these kind of situations:)

  • Reply
    September 10, 2016 at 10:34 am

    I love this post

  • Reply
    Laveena Sengar
    September 10, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    This was fun. My next trip is to Indonesia. It was great reading about this island. Il make sure that visit this place

  • Reply
    September 10, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Spoken like a true backpacker! Looks like you made the most out of your trip even during the mishaps. Maybe one day I’ll be as tough as you to try it out myself

  • Reply
    September 11, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Wow I really admire your relaxed way of just going with the flow! I’d probably be panicking too much and worrying about the trip and everything haha. Looking forward to read more about your trip to Komodo Island! 🙂

  • Reply
    September 11, 2016 at 9:54 am

    A friend of mine is also in Lombok right now. It is so beautifull!!

    X, Alex

  • Reply
    September 11, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Great article! I have really caught the travel bug, would love to take a leaf out of your book.

  • Reply
    Lara Dunning
    September 12, 2016 at 1:40 am

    Love your honesty. Sometimes our patience is tried when traveling, and all you can do is literally wait.

  • Reply
    September 12, 2016 at 2:23 am

    This looks awesome! I’m going to SEA for the first time in March and would love to visit this place. Your photos are beautiful!

  • Reply
    September 12, 2016 at 5:24 am

    Been to Indonesia several times but still failed to visit Komodo. I should make sure to visit this next time. Not sure if I will go on that long boat trip though.
    Jessica recently posted…Our Honeymoon Itinerary in Paris, FranceMy Profile

  • Reply
    Juliette @ Snorkels to Snow
    September 12, 2016 at 10:30 am

    What an adventure! At least these experiences make for a good story! I’d love to visit Komodo but I’d like to have a solid transportation plan with backups I think!

  • Reply
    September 12, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Wow, what an adventure. Not sure I would have been brave and composed if this had happened to me, but I bet it’s a trip you’ll never forget!

  • Reply
    Mary - A Mary Road
    September 12, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    I always want to visit Komodo, after reading this, I felt like Komodo will surprise me! 😀
    Mary – A Mary Road recently posted…Hitchhiker’s Guide to MyanmarMy Profile

  • Reply
    Jordan Adkins
    September 15, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    I absolutely love Komodo! Glad you could experience it – Not many places on this Earth are as truly special!

  • Reply
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