When many think of Indonesia, the island of Bali is the first location that comes to mind. While resting on the beach and indulging in the cuisine will do wonders for the soul, for those looking to get the heart pumping, it's worth considering a side trip to the UNESCO-listed Komodo National Park.
Located in the dry and warm climate of the Lesser Sunda Islands, the Komodo National Park comprises three main islands: Komodo, Rinca and Padar. As the only destination in the world where you can observe the Komodo dragons in their natural habitat, they are indeed a sight to behold. The Komodo National Park region is considered exquisite, providing unmatched beauty both on land and within the ocean. It's worth pairing a hike to observe these reptiles with scuba diving or snorkeling, to delight in the coral reefs, tropical fish, turtles and dolphins.
There are an estimated 5,000 Komodo dragons within the national park. Recognized as the largest living lizard, they grow to a maximum of 3 meters and weigh approximately 70 kilograms. Dominating the ecosystem they inhabit, Komodo dragons are fierce predators and can reach an impressive speed of 20 kilometers per hour. They will devour almost anything including buffalo, deer, pigs and monkeys. Thankfully, there are enough wild animals on the islands to keep them nourished, so they tend to refrain from hunting humans! However, it's still best to use caution when hiking in their habitat.
While initially you might go for the dragons, you will soon realize there is much more to experience in the Komodo National Park. From breathtaking mountaintop views to scuba diving and hiking among the best of nature, you will be glad you took the family on an authentic island-hopping adventure. Be sure to watch an unforgettable sunset and make memories to reflect upon in the years to come.
The gateway to the Komodo National Park is through Komodo Airport on the island of Flores – a 90-minute flight from Bali (approximately RMB1,000). Spend time touring the island and soaking up the simplicity – the antithesis of Shanghai will be a welcome relief. You can stay in Flores and rent a boat (from RMB220 per person) or take a guided cruise (from USD650 per person) to the islands of Rinca and Komodo. It's recommended to hire a Ranger (from USD450 per person) on the islands you explore, to gain the benefit of their knowledge, go at your own pace and keep you safe.
[Images via Wikipedia]