Face to Face with Dragons!


Arriving to Komodo National Park feels like you’re on the set of a dinosaur film franchise. Instead of the busy port town I expected, we were greeted by a looming concrete pier, rudely jutting out to sea from a desolate, yellow sand beach. The dark treeline had a gap which suggested that was where we were supposed to walk, and the barren mountains stood silently behind, watching us walk onto this eerily quiet island.

We all grouped together,  no one really knowing where to pay our park entrance fee. We were pointed in it’s direction by locals, and eventually reached the ticket office. We went up first, and received a ticket for a ranger. This small man, carrying only a pronged stick and speaking limited English, led us off into the dry, dusty interior in search of what we’ve all come here to see – the komodo dragons.

  We had barely left the village when he pulled us behind a derelict house, and pointed. Lying beneath the floor and resting from the midday sun lay two dragons, looking almost like they were spooning each other! They didn’t move a muscle, but their eyes were keeping a watchful gaze.

After a quick photo, we were off into the forest, the dry sand crunching beneath our feet. The guide told us a cautionary tale about a Swiss tourist in the 70s, who got left behind after stopping to take photos. When the rest of the tourists got back to the boat, they realised one person was missing. They searched the local village, he wasn’t there. They went back on the trail, no sign of him. A search party of locals went into the forest, and found his camera, broken glass and a smear of blood. They never found his body. We passed cotton trees, coconut groves and bone dry bushes, and I made sure I stayed right next to Ben and the guide!

On our trek we spotted wild boar, wild deer and another dragon. But Komodo was saving the best for last. We had almost finished, when beneath another hut lay three dragons. And this time, one of them was on the move. As he crawled out from beneath the wooden boards, his huge tongue flicked and his eyes took everyone in. The guides were enticing him out with an empty cup that had been discarded, held on the end of their stick. It’s hard to explain how incredible these creatures are up close – it’s like being face to face with a dinosaur.

It was time to leave the Komodo dragons in peace, and with a thank you to our guide for keeping us safe, we boarded the boat. It was time for a snorkel at Pink Beach, and a trip to Manta Point to swim with manta rays. We managed to find the rays, but I should really do a whole blog post about that. Swimming with those creatures was an almost spiritual experience. The Komodo islands are up there with my favourite places I’ve ever visited. Wild, untouched and completely sublime.


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  • Unfortunately it’s a true story! But it just makes you appreciate how wild and untouched this place is. Wish they could fly like in GoT though, that would be awesome!

  • What a unique experience that is to see these komodo dragons up-close. I have heard so much about this park but not really sure what it entailed. I am not a fan of these kinds of parks, but I think that you have captured my interest to want to give it a try if I am in Indonesia.

    • Ah that’s awesome. I couldn’t recommend it enough if you are in this area 🙂

  • Martha Lueders

    I love that the sign says it’s one of the new seven wonders of the world! I desperately want to go visit the “new” list of the 7 worlds because I think more than seven landmarks deserve a lot of hype. In other words, I’d love to visit Komodo National Park. It’s like being transported into Jurassic Park, so surreal!

    • It was just like Jurassic Park! We loved it. I agree, I really want to tick off all the 7 natural wonders off my list 🙂

  • Aditi Shukla

    Oh wow!! That must’ve been quite an experience. As scared as I would be, I’d love to check it out too. I really want to go hiking in the forest and interact with all sorts of species too. PS: lovely pictures! Cheers!!

    • Thank you! It wasn’t too scary, as long as you have common sense then it’s nothing but an amazing experience 🙂

  • Mel B

    As soon as you said Komodo National Park feels like you’re on the set of a dinosaur film franchise, I thought of the Jurassic Park movies. To be honest I had never heard of Komodo it sounds and looks like such an interesting place to visit and I am definitely adding it to my list. It must of been scary and exciting at the same time being up so close to those Komodo dragons and I am glad you said that they were spooning because I thought there were doing something else.

    • Yeah definitely. Scary because they are so big and they are predators, but it was amazing to be so close to such unique creatures. Hahaha they were far too lazy to be doing anything else 😉

  • Lois Alter Mark

    Though that story about the lost traveler would have me running in the other direction, I can imagine how magnificent it was to be in the presence of such majestic and imposing creatures. Glad you all stayed safe during your trip and were able to enjoy your visit to the island. What a unique experience- definitely one that I hope to someday check off my own list!

    • Thank you! I hope you get to check it off your list, it truly is an unforgettable experience 🙂

  • Dada KS

    It is interesting to read blog posts about places I have already been to! To be honest, we didnt enjoy Komodo island as much as you guys did. I just cant tell what it was but we appreciated more other thing around this area than the Komodo dragons itself…
    But I am looking forward to read your post about the Manta point!

    • Yeah it’s really interesting how different people find places. We loved Komodo, but we had come from a long and tiring journey across Indonesia from busy cities, so to us, the Komodo trip was a slice of paradise and calm. Plus, we’re huge fans of Jurassic Park and it felt like we were on set there 😉 haha

  • OMG so close… You are so brave! Enticing with empty cup… I would have run away from there may be.
    But a great photo opportunity I will say. Hope their tribe flourish.

    • I know! I couldn’t believe he was enticing it. Very sketchy. But we kept a good distance, the zoom on our camera came in very handy 🙂

  • Lisa Rivera

    Oh wow, you’re so lucky you got so close, not too close though, to these incredible creatures! Very scary about the Swiss guy that probably got eaten! I’d love to see these animals if I ever go back, just magical animals.

    • Yes, we definitely had to keep a respectable distance! He told us that story about the Swiss guy when we were in the middle of nowhere, very scary indeed. You should definitely make the trip if you’re ever in that region, I would say it’s one of the top travel experiences I’ve ever had. Not just the dragons, but the entire trip/landscape there. It’s truly breathtaking.

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Chesca

Chesca

↠ a travelogue of adventures ↠ travelling the world with my love and working as we go. these are our stories.

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