Land of Dragons and Mantas: Flores and Komodo Travel Guide

I remember watching Komodo Dragons on Planet Earth. I didn’t think I would actually see them in real life! When we found out they were located in beautiful Indonesia along with some of the world’s best scuba diving, we knew we had to go!

Getting to Flores, Indonesia

We flew to Komodo from Lombok on Wings Air for about $75 each. It wasn’t until we were mid-flight that Grant mentioned that it wasn’t well reviewed and had poor safety ratings! Yikes! Thankfully it was only an hour and a half flight.

Where to stay in Flores, Indonesia

We split our 5 nights in Flores between a hostel and a boatel (yep that’s a floating boat-hotel!) both part of the Le Pirate chain we found in Nusa Ceningan. I loved both of these. The hostel was super cute and had a great restaurant and rooftop pool with a cinema night! We had a tiny private room but it was perfect for what we needed.

The boatel was so much fun! It’s an anchored boat offshore of Flores and each room has a hammock, lounging net, and an open air “wall” with a gorgeous view. You can jump right in and snorkel the crystal blue water! There is a big deck up top with a restaurant and games. The bathrooms are shared but they were nice enough. Plus you can always just rinse in the water!

Splitting between the two was perfect. At the hostel we were on land so we had more conveniences like walking to restaurants (from the boatel you had to water taxi in on their schedule so we ended up eating there). But the boatel was A BOATEL! For the aquatic lover it doesn’t get much better than that.

What to do in Flores, Indonesia

Scuba Dive!

This was the best diving I’ve ever done. (Even slightly better than Galapagos!) We saw huge (probably 3 meters) black mantas queuing!! We had form a human chain and hold on to a rock because the current was so strong. It was insane! We also saw turtles, beautiful coral, sharks, and fish but the mantas were for sure the star of the show.

It was also the best dive shop I have ever dove with. The dutch-owned Manta Rhei Dive Shop was pretty luxury. On the boat we had our own locker to keep our gear, a bean bag lounging deck, and fresh fruit and Belgian waffles!! Talk about surface intervals in style. These perks made the long boat ride fun and easy. We also rented a GoPro from them since ours was broken. Totally worth the money to get pics of these huge beautys.

Go on a boat tour

Every tourist shop in town is trying to sell you this boat tour. It’s an action packed day.

You start by heading to Pulau Padar to hike this gorgeous viewpoint. You can see multiple beaches from the top and it is literally picture-perfect.

Funny story: We had an Instagram vs reality moment on Pulau Padar. I wanted to take so many pictures and Grant was over it at this point in our trip and told me to just “enjoy the moment”. I was enjoying the moment but I also wanted to remember it! This caused a fight and there are tears behind my sunglasses in our forced selfie! Hey, when you travel 24/7 with someone if this is the worst thing to happen that’s not too bad.

Next the boat takes you to snorkel Manta Point and check out the Pink Beach. We saw mantas (smaller than the ones we saw scuba diving but still awesome) but unfortunately we still didn’t have our GoPro so we didn’t get any photos (but hey, I was forced to be in the moment right?!).

The last stop is Komodo Island which is a national park where you get up close with the dragons! On our scuba boat ride we saw a Komodo Dragon walking on land and it looked downright terrifying and fierce. However, when we arrived to Komodo National Park I was surprised to see them lazily laying around ready for a photo op. Our guide insisted they weren’t sedated but I didn’t buy it.

Our boat tour was great! It was a little crowded and the boat was dingy but we haggled for a super cheap one. But while we were at one of our stops I saw a couple who had rented a private boat and were sleeping on it. It looked super low key and affordable and would have been so much fun. I wish I would’ve thought about this option, the ultimate boatel!

Where to eat and drink in Flores

Head to Tree Top or Paradise Bar for sunset views and we really liked Happy Banana Komodo for sushi and poke bowls.

This was the perfect end to our Indonesian adventure. We spent 99% of the trip on (or under) water and it was amazing.

Having fun in Flores,


Note: We visited Flores in May 2019.

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