The Komodo National Park is not just about meeting the Komodo dragon but holds many more wonders.If you recall in my last post on the Komodo Dragons, I mentioned the three islands where these dragons are found – one of them being Padar Island. On the day we visited my new best friend – the Komodo Dragon, we first made a stop at Padar Island for a bit of trekking. I was warned that the trek was a little arduous but to be honest, it wasn’t too bad. What made the trek really memorable and amazing was the view that you get at the end of the trek. What was it ? Read on .
Facts about Padar Island
Padar Island is one of the three islands with Komodo dragons. However, there are very few of them surviving on it. A part of the UNESCO World heritage sphere, this island is one of the many that form the Komodo National Park. The island is barren with no human inhabitants There are no rangers, no concrete structures – nothing! And if you are wondering, why visit it at all – well, then you really need to read through the rest of the post.
Journey to Padar Island
We stopped at Padar Island enroute to the Komodo Island. This in fact, was our first activity of the day. The island is a pleasant 40 – 45 minutes boat ride from Labuan Bajo, with wind blowing through your hair, threatening to knock off your caps. The ride was proof to the fact that Indonesia has over 17,500 islands, each of different shapes and sizes . One could witness the gorgeous creations of nature as the boat sped towards our destination.
Along the way, if you are as lucky as I was, you can spot a few dolphins and leaping fish (yes, flying, leaping, bouncing….whatever you want to call them).
Starting the Trek
The first thing that struck me when I reached Padar Island was the crystal clear water and the beautiful white sand beach. The beach is filled with corals and not so pleasant to walk on but the water was another thing. You can just spend some time wading around the cool waters and watching the little fish swim around your ankles. I was a little distracted by that till I heard Tina our guide, warning us that we need to keep our eyes peeled as there could be a Komodo Dragon lurking amidst the rocks.
My heart just jumped into my mouth. Remember, this was our first activity and I still had not made friends with this guy. What if he ambushed me before I got to his other mates?
Tina had my undivided attention from that point on and the rest of the instructions were absorbed without any distraction. Tina explained that the climb could be a little hard to start with and coming down the hill could be a little dicey as the trekking path was a little rough and dry with a lot of pebbles. We needed to take it slow and pace ourselves as per our comfort. We were to also, not wander off and keep in a group. While she would be leading the front, Romi, her partner would trail us from the back. And with that, we were off.
Level One of the trek
As we began ascending, I realised how much fun this was going to be . The trek path was not a well marked one and had loose pebbles and sand that you had to overstep to avoid sliding back to the start line. Frankly this challenge is what made the ascend and descend fun for me. It was like a game to find the right foothold and keep climbing up. After we had reached the first landing point, it was a slight incline to the first view point or the level one of the trek. A perfect place to take a Group Snap as Tina suggested. Apparently, after this level, it was going to get tougher and our pace as a group would differ.
This is where we were introduced to the first sight of the unique beaches on either side of Padar island. The side we came from had the brilliant white beach while the other side of the hill enclosed a black beach. Stunning how the hillock separated the two colors.
View from Level Two
After that brief break, the incline did get a little steeper but not too difficult for most of us. Soon we were treated to the first glimpse of the reward that we could expect atop Padar Island. It was here, we realised that the hills of Padar Island did not just divide the coast line to two colored beaches. In fact, it enclosed tri-colored beaches – white, black and pink.
I went busy snapping up all possible angles, not sure of what I would be able to see from the top. It was just amazing!
The Grand Finale at Padar Island
With some captures, most of us scrambled up to the highest point of Padar Island. For me, the motivation to go up was to grab an unrestricted view of the entire coastline – a sight that was truly rare and something I knew that I would not be able to get anywhere else. To be honest, for me, the climb was not hard at all. And once I was on the top – voila! I will just let my pictures explain how I felt.
Leaving Padar Island
It was kind of hard to leave that mesmerizing view. I won’t say that I could have spend a lifetime there. I might not be able to but then, I was kind of reluctant to leave. I just wanted to grab more and more of those memories, keep snapping, keep clicking and well just take in more. I forgot about the threat of the Komodo dragon. It was just being there for that moment. Eventually, we started our descend and as warned, it was far more treacherous than climbing up. Fun nonetheless, but required some bit of caution.
Tina was amazing. While most of us with our boots and shoes were clambering down slowly, she just sped down in her slippers. She explained that she was used to the terrain and the best way to get down was to speed along with the stones. I tried it out and boy! Was that fun! Soon, we were back to our boats to take on the next leg of our trip – the Komodo island.
Padar Island and the view of the tri-colored beaches from the top left a mark within me -something inexplicable, something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It has been one of my most amazing treks and I for sure, will be recommending it to anyone who is headed to Flores in Indonesia. Are you guys game for it?
- To get to Padar Island, you need to head to Labuan Bajo and take a cruise or boat from there. There are several internal flight options in Indonesia that can get you to Labuan Bajo.
- Once in Labuan Bajo, you can approach any of the travel companies or cruise operators for a trip here. There are plenty that can be found along the main street of Labuan Bajo or you can even find them online.
- Our trek was a part of the package that was organized by Oradive. You can find similar packages online by various other operators.
- The best time for this trek is morning when the sun is not overhead.
- There are no toilets or any other facilities on Padar Island
- Ensure you wear comfortable clothes and trekking shoes for this climb
- Climb as much as you can. Do not try to push yourself if you are not up-to it
- Carry a trekking stick or a wooden stick to support you
- Do not panic if you spot a Komodo dragon. Your guide will be equipped to help you with the same.
- Carry enough water with you for the trek.