Komodo National Park isn't just where komodo dragons live. The Komodo National Park is a conglomerate of islands within the Lesser Sunda Island region of Indonesia. The park consists of three larger islands (Komodo, Padar and Rinca) and 26 smaller ones, all with their own ecosystems, marine life and, of course, instagrammable locations! This area of Indonesia is so beautiful and scientifically important that it was included in the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
In the video above we take a tour of the gorgeous islands of Komodo National Park and visit all the most insta-famous hot spots! In this article I'm going to give you the real scoop on the photogenicness and quality of experience for each location! Keep reading for tips on how to capture that perfect shot! (If you found this page while looking for komodo dragon info, click on that text to be directed to my article about those deadly and exciting creatures!)
1) Padar Island (Screensaver worthy!)
As you can tell by the video, this island is absolutely stunning. It almost looks like I'm in front of a green screen, it's that amazing! I believe this is one of the most beautiful mountainous regions that requires the least amount of hiking! There is a short hike to get to the top, but there are steps and guides along the way to help. Another plus of Padar's outlook is that there are various vantage points which help spread out tourists so you don't have to wait in line too long for a picture. Whether you visit all of the Komodo National Park islands or just one during a day trip out of another Indonesian area, Padar Island is the one you should choose!
- Visit in the morning to get the perfect sunlight!
- Wear good walking shoes for that pesky hike!
- Bring props! For example, I've seen photos of people holding flags from their country.
2) Pink Beaches (Hi Barbie!)
There are two pink beaches located in the Komodo National Park! One is on Padar Island and the other is on Komodo Island! Around the world, there are only a handful of pink beaches which all get their color from foraminifera, a microscopic red organism that lives in the coral reefs. These organisms get washed up and mixed with the pale cream sand, creating the pink color. Pink beaches are rare and hard to come by - in fact there are only seven in the world. So if you're visiting a country that has one, book a day trip to see it!
Pantai Merah Muda (Komodo Island Pink Beach)
"Is it really pink?" That's what I asked myself as our tour boat got closer to the beach's edge. This notorious pink beach is on the famous Komodo Island. This is the one we visited, it's the more famous of the two, but the least pink in hue! Although the saturation isn't ideal, this beach has mountains with hikes for better views of the overall landscape, plus the warungs shops and huts are shaded by trees so they don’t interfere with the scenery. We had a fun time observing the red specs of foraminifera within the sand. I tried to show this in the video, but of course the older model GoPro we used isn't as high tech as other cameras so the organism specs weren't quite prominent in my movie!
Pink Beach Padar (Padar Island Pink Beach)
This is the one I wish we visited because apparently it's more pink! This Padar Pink Beach is known for its convenient close proximity to the famous views of Padar's mountains. Some tours go here after the hike to relax, refresh, use bathroom facilities and get snacks. The only downside of this pink beach is that the warang food shops cover the shoreline which may interfere with photographs.
No matter which Pink Beach you end up visiting, just keep in mind that all of the images you see online are enhanced to make the beaches appear more pink than they actually are. If you go in with low-expectations and a high quality camera you may be able to capture some of that pink hue in your images. I brought an older GoPro model which wasn't great with color capturing. Also, I went to the least saturated of the two islands. Even though I have amazing photoshop skills and often tend to use my expertise on my travel photography, I decided to remain transparent with my followers and report honestly about the barely-pink-ness of Komodo Island's Pink Beach Pantai Merah Muda.
- You'll have to swim from your tour boat to the island, so bring a high quality waterproof camera.
- Go to Padar Pink Beach for the highest saturated pink sand.
- Wear a pink bathing suit to complete the look!
3) Manta Point (Beautiful aliens)
This was a location that exceeded my expectations! We figured we would probably not see any manta rays while we snorkeled this shoreline. However, as you can see in my video of this tour, we did in fact see not one but many manta rays! This is one of the most memorable moments from our whole backpacking adventure. The manta rays at manta point are gigantic, measuring about 7 to 10 feet! Seeing these in person made us feel like we were on another planet!
- Avoid shaky footage! Use an underwater stabilizer for your GoPro!
- Visit at the end of May, like we did, to see the most manta rays.
- Book a scuba diving trip here for better views with the closer proximity you'll get to the manta rays!
4) Kanawa Island (Snorkeler's paradise)
This is another great snorkeling location! We saw a lot of wildlife while snorkeling here, even a sea turtle! Its shallow waters make it easy to spot sea creatures up close! You can also view swarms of bats in the sky at night, which they fondly call "flying foxes". Everything is great about this place, but you must watch out for the poisonous sea urchins that cover the ocean floors. You can see a shot of these black spikey critters in my video.
- Avoid shaky underwater footage! Use an underwater stabilizer for your GoPro!
- Buy a beach chair from the locals to lounge on between swims.
- Stay close to shore, the currents are stronger the farther you swim from the mainland.
Do You Plan Pictures?
Do you plan picturesque locations into your travel itinerary? If so, follow this blog for more in this ongoing series of "instagrammable places". Check out my first article on this topic called Instagrammable Places in Kuching. Which area should I give photography tips for next? Leave your comment on my Komodo National Park YouTube Video.