A trip to the island where dragons roam


Jurassic Park might have been a piece of full fantasy, however the first sight of Komodo National Park islands blurred the traces between fiction and actuality. Sure, it was CGI dinosaurs in the Hollywood blockbuster, however the heavy hitters listed below are true relics of a prehistoric age.

As a tropical nation, it’s simple to think about Indonesia coated with dense rainforests.

But the island is characterised by savannah vegetation as an alternative. It’s scorching and dry. The three important islands, Komodo, Rinca and Padar, have rugged, rusty-red volcanic hillsides and pockets of thorny inexperienced vegetation.

Even earlier than moving into the park, I used to be lucky to catch a glimpse of a large Komodo dragon outdoors the entrance, which appeared to be scavenging for meals on the seaside.

The unscripted look triggered a stir as excited guests rushed to get a close-up view of the reptile.

Barely flinching at the potential aggressive nature of the reptile, I, too, ran in the direction of it.

A information had to scramble to warn the vacationers to preserve a secure distance from the big lizard, though they have been already taking part in National Geographic photographers with their smartphones.

It was the excellent begin to a trip I had deliberate for years. Being dwelling to the largest reptile in the world actually warrants the archipelago being recognised as a Unesco World Heritage web site.

I wished to get there earlier than the yr ends as a result of there’s been speak of Indonesia elevating ticket costs for the park’s entry, and disturbing information stories about the building of a separate park for prosperous guests.

The writer with his wife, Florence, with a giant Komodo dragon at the park. The picture was taken by one of the rangers.The author together with his spouse, Florence, with a large Komodo dragon at the park. The image was taken by one among the rangers.

But greater than that, these lizards are quickly vanishing and at the moment are thought of endangered.

On Komodo island, solely about 1,200 stay from greater than 3,000 beforehand. In reality, at close by Padar island, the reptiles have fully disappeared.

The lizards at Komodo island can develop up to 3.5m (11 ft) whereas these at Rinca island are smaller at up to 2.5m (8 ft).

To attain Komodo island, I flew to Bali on Malaysia Airlines, and put up at a resort close to the Denpasar airport to catch the morning hour-long flight on Air Batik to Labuan Bajo, the gateway to Komodo island.

Labuan Bajo is a sleepy fishing village of about 5,000 folks at the western finish of the massive island of Flores in the Nusa Tenggara area of east Indonesia.

As Komodo island is a three-hour boat journey from Labuan Bajo, we started our journey at 5.30am, when the solar had peaked properly previous the horizon.

I had anticipated a pace boat however was, as an alternative, greeted by a wood, open-decked single engine boat, which seemed prefer it could possibly be used for fishing.

I felt cheated by the journey agent. But the lesson right here was that I shouldn’t have assumed in any other case. I ought to’ve requested for an image of the boat we had employed. A sluggish boat meant my spouse and I had much less time on the island.

But all was forgiven after we reached the land mass. We had hardly walked for 10 minutes into the park earlier than being greeted by two enormous dragons taking respite from the warmth beneath a tree.

There was a crowd, but it surely didn’t appear to trouble the animals, which have been the dimension of a median crocodile.

The 5 rangers, most likely used to seeing excited vacationers, tempered their enthusiasm professionally and even provided to take footage – all completed in an organised and orderly method.

They even stopped picture bombs and shooed away those that didn’t belong in the footage. They actually deserve a tip for that!

I had a very good dialog with a ranger, with a mixture of Malay and my half-baked Bahasa Indonesia, and he shared a narrative of how his colleague, who had labored in the park for 12 years, was additionally as soon as attacked by a dragon.

“But pak, please tell your Malaysian friends not to come during weekends. Come on weekdays when there are fewer people.

“The park opens at 7am and the weather is cooler. You will see more active lizards then,” he mentioned.

Visitors are consistently reminded to stay on the path to guarantee their security, as he shared anecdotes of cussed guests who ended up being attacked by these vicious residing dinosaurs.

During peak hours, the rangers are doubtless to solely take guests for a brief stroll and fulfill them with posed footage with the lizards.

Besides the reptiles, it’s simple to spot different animals reminiscent of deer, wild boars and monkeys.

Apart from the giant lizards, other small animals live on the island too, like deer and wild boar. Apart from the big lizards, different small animals reside on the island too, like deer and wild boar.

The park prohibits in a single day stays, however I noticed many schooners and yachts, with lodging services, berthed simply outdoors the island.

These are the critical guests who need to go to the park just a few instances, in addition to sail to close by islands.

But earlier than I walked to the jetty to board my boat, I noticed one other dragon, a a lot smaller one although, making its method lazily alongside the seaside, as if to bid me farewell.

My solely recommendation to those that haven’t seen the Komodo dragons is to simply make the trip since Indonesia is so shut to Malaysia.

When we have been on the island, my spouse and I have been the solely Malaysians, however we met individuals who got here from so far as Chile, Japan and different faraway nations, to see these disappearing dinosaurs.

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