Monday, October 17, 2016

Indonesia's Komodo National Park: Gorgeous Beaches and Underwater Panoramas


It’s true when they say that there’s a different world down there. I could get lost inside it for hours. As my buddies shrieked on the mere sight of nice sugary white sand, I couldn’t be more excited to discover what’s underneath the turquoise water. And the underwater scene in Komodo National Park didn’t fail me. It was gorgeous as it is on the surface but more beautiful underneath, totally forgetting about komodo dragons could be swimming somewhere.

Komodo National Park Indonesia Diving
Just add water, and then happiness!
I’ve had my fair share of excellent underwater escapades; from finding Nemo at El Nido in the Philippines, to exploring the clear waters of Koh Rok in Thailand, to playing with wild dolphins at Palawan in the Philippines and swimming with whale sharks in Maldives. I could pass as a mermaid, or probably a merman, in my past life. I could stay in the water for hours without getting tired or bored. Water is my element and I always, like always, gets super hyperactive when I see one.

Komodo National Park Indonesia Sunset
Sunset at Paradise Bar in Labuan Bajo town
Labuan Bajo was our fifth stop on Trip of Wonders 2016, a twelve-day exploration on different key destinations in Indonesia by the Ministry of Tourism with 40+ souls from different Southeast Asian countries. We enjoyed the first leg of our trip when we visited Jakarta (for a quick overnight stop), Bandung, Yogyakarta and Lombok.

Komodo National Park Indonesia Sunset
Sunset at Paradise Bar in Labuan Bajo town
Labuan Bajo is the capital city of Mangarral Barat regency, the westernmost region of Flores. It is usually the jump-off point to great expeditions around Komodo National Park, declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 and selected as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2011. We’ve got two full days of exploring the park and that entailed being drenched in seawater for the whole day, which I really don’t mind at all.

Komodo National Park Indonesia Speedboat
Get a speedboat tour around Komodo, it's faster and easier.
On this first part of our Komodo National Park trip, I will focus on our great beach and underwater adventures. Some islands are just one hour away from Labuan Bajo via speedboat and are famous for impressive diving and snorkeling sites. There are many tour agencies around town that offers island hopping trips, either shared or private.

Pink Beach

Pink Beach (Pantai Merah) is one of the famous beaches in Komodo National Park. I’ve been to Zamboanga’s Pink Beach in the Philippines and I learned that certain red pigment on corals (produced by a microscopic animal, Foraminifera) that were crushed through the shore and mixed in to the sugary white sand makes everything pink. There are only seven pink beaches in the world and fortunately, I’ve been to two of those.   

Komodo National Park Indonesia Pink Beach
The sand is really pink, like rainbow brite pink!
Komodo National Park Indonesia Pink Beach
Pink Beach
We had a hefty barbecue lunch on the beach, (I will dedicate a separate post for our great Indonesian glutton sessions) and then afterwards, we were given so much free time to explore the island.

There were two trails on each side of the uninhabited beach. Me and my buddy chose to hike on the easiest one, they said that it’ll only take us around five minutes to reach the top so we did that while the others went to the other one (which we didn’t plan to hike at all, old age that is. Haha).

Komodo National Park Indonesia Pink Beach
View from the hill
The hike was easy enough but the intense afternoon summer heat almost burned us. We reached the top in no time and viewed the coves around. It was nice as we got to see that the beach is truly pink, like rainbow brite pink (80’s kid here).


We went back to the shore and and took a refreshing dip to cool down after the hike. The underwater scene looked promising so we geared up (snorkels, fins, underwater camera) and dove into the water. I was just swimming a few meters away from the shore and I got a really good spot already.

Komodo National Park Indonesia Diving

Komodo National Park Indonesia Diving

Komodo National Park Indonesia Diving
I can swim all day given this scene.
Vibrant coral reefs, colorful marine life and unspoiled water; it was beautiful beyond imaginable. I stayed in the water for an hour or so and had a really nice time.

Komodo National Park Indonesia Pink Beach

Komodo National Park Indonesia Pink Beach
Island life
Kanawa Island

Our speedboat docked on a stilt house and the group immediately marched to the boardwalk going to Kanawa Island, still a part of Komodo National Park. As for me and two of my buddies, we chose to stay above the stilts as we had this gutfeel that it’s the right spot to start our adventure.

Komodo National Park Indonesia Kanawa Island
Kanawa sIsland; the best snorkeling site we've been to around Komodo.
We took turns on diving and we were right, the snorkeling site in that area was really outstanding.

Everything, like every little thing underneath the surface was in perfect unison with the beauty of the underwater scene. The healthy corals, vivid colors, glowing sun piercing through the water and the flamboyant school of fishes; everything was in order, like an aquarium channel if you’ve seen one.

Komodo National Park Indonesia Diving

Komodo National Park Indonesia Diving

Komodo National Park Indonesia Diving
Very vibrant marine life
I finished my first dive when my buddy insisted for me to go back as he discovered a sudden drop at the seafloor. I went to that spot and was amazed on the wonderful sea creatures and reefs forming on the steep drop off. It was overly beautiful.

Our wonderful time was suddenly cut short when the rest of our buddies came that signaled our departure. We were just in the middle of exploring some more but we needed to go. We couldn’t get enough of our great discovery that we showed everyone some snaps of it as we proceeded with our last island for the day.

Komodo National Park Indonesia Diving

Komodo National Park Indonesia Diving
An hour felt fleeting when you're having fun
Kelor Island

Kelor Island is our last beach stop around the Komodo National Park. The picturesque rolling hills and sugary white sand made if famous for Labuan Bajo tourists.

There’s a hiking trail that made some of us excited the moment we stepped on the island. But as for me, the steep incline hindered me to join them. We wanted to do some more diving but were just simply tired, so we ended up lounging on the shore and wasted the time away with more of our underwater stories.

Komodo National Park Indonesia Kelor Island
Kelor Island
My love affair with water was rekindled during our island hopping adventures around Komodo National Park in Labuan Bajo. I was having a 3-month withdrawal from Beach Hop Asia 2016 before the trip and I was so happy that we explored the rich marine biodiversity of Indonesia. With this in mind, I’m now thinking of exploring other beaches in the country in the near future, like next year perhaps?

Komodo National Park
Flores, Indonesia
Website: http://www.komodonationalpark.org/

Check here for discounted hotels in Labuan Bajo

Special thanks to Indonesia's Ministry of Tourism for making this trip possible. 
As always, opinions and opinions are all mine.


Facebook: /indonesia.travel
Twitter: @indtravel
#WonderfulIndonesia
#TripofWonders







No comments:

Post a Comment