So you were captivated by the dreamy viewpoint pictures of Padar Island, huh? Three years ago, I was in the same boat! I saw a photo of this island (clearly of volcanic origin) with huge turquoise bays, pink sand beaches and rugged cliffs, with two travelers taking in all the views from the top. And at that moment I knew I had to make the same trek to experience this unique view.
In this guide, you’ll learn exactly how to plan your day trip to Padar Island, the third largest island of the Komodo National Park archipelago in Indonesia.
How Do You Get To Padar Island?
This was the most difficult part of our journey… How in the world do you get to Padar Island? We researched everything we could find on the internet but couldn’t seem to get a clear answer. So here goes:
First, you’ll want to fly into Labuan Bajo, the capital of the western part of Flores Island. There are daily direct flights to Labuan Bajo from the following destinations:
- Lombok (WingsAir)
- Bali (AirAsia, NAM Air, WingsAir, Garuda Indonesia)
- Jakarta (Batik Air, Garuda Indonesia)
- Surabaya (WingsAir)
- Makassar (TransNusa)
- Kupang (WingsAir, TransNusa)
For us, the flight from Bali to Labuan Bajo was quick and affordable. We paid approximately $100 roundtrip for our flights.
If you’re anything like us, you’ll want the best bang for your buck on flights. Book your ticket through Skyscanner and use the tips in this blog post to score the best deal possible.
After arriving in the tourist hot spot of Labuan Bajo, it’s time to plan your Komodo National Park tour.
Our main concern was getting to the top of Padar Island, so we set out in search of a tour company willing to take us there. There are two ways to get to this small island: a private boat tour or a group boat tour.
When we arrived in Labuan Bajo harbor, we walked into several small tour company offices seeking island-hopping information. After the second tour company office, we had had enough.
Unfortunately, the tour companies we talked to tried very hard to rip us off.
There were constant phone calls to “the big boss” about pricing. We never received a straight answer from anyone. This was unhelpful and felt really slimy.
The types of prices they were giving us were not ideal for budget travelers… Or any type of traveler for that matter.
Frustrated, we started walking down the sidewalk in search of more information and less haggling. Good thing we didn’t give up, because we ended up finding an awesome company that offered us great prices.
We had the entire boat to ourselves and appreciated the flexibility of going at our own pace. Not to mention, this company charged a fraction of what other companies were asking for the same tour.
They picked us up bright and early for sunrise and we were able to visit so many places in such a short time frame. Since our next stop on Flores Island was Kelimutu National Park, we had limited time to explore Komodo National Park. But this company worked hard to accommodate to our short schedule.
Although we found them in person, you can find them on Viator by clicking the link below:
In addition to Padar Island, this tour will also include the following stops:
- Komodo Island
- Pink Beach (I bet you guessed they had sandy beaches here, but could you guess they have pink beaches?!)
- Swimming With Manta Rays
- Kanawa Island
When To Visit Padar Island
While most travelers visit Padar Island in the late morning, we recommend going earlier. Trekking to the top for sunrise will eliminate the crowds of people fighting to get to the top of the peak. This is the best way to experience Padar Island.
Going early will also help with the heat. Temperatures in Komodo National Park increase after 9am and the humidity makes it difficult to breathe.
Allow yourself an enjoyable trek to the top by arriving early. Then sit down and take in the great views of the surrounding smaller islands and beautiful beaches!
Another reason why you should plan your trip for the morning is that the ocean becomes VERY choppy in the afternoon with strong currents.
The route from Labuan Bajo to Padar Island is nearly impossible to traverse after 11am. Tour companies actually refuse to bring tourists out after a specific time due to safety concerns.
In addition, we recommend planning your trip to Komodo Island during dry season, which is from April to October in Indonesia.
Padar Island Entry Fees
The entrance fee for Padar Island might have been the most confusing part of the entire trip.
Upon arrival on the island by boat trip, you must visit the national park booth. This is where park rangers were collecting entrance fees. There were several fees that we were unaware of before we arrived on the island, some of which are still a mystery to us.
These fees included: a national park entrance fee, hiking fee, tourism tax, and boat parking fee; each of these ranged from 5,000 IDR ($0.35 USD) to over 150,000 IDR ($10.50 USD).
In total, we each paid approximately 225,000 IDR ($16 USD) to enter the island. But is was well worth it to experience this famous sight.
Note: Entrance fees are subject to change depending on the day of the week, what kind of tour you are taking, and what activities you choose to do.
Can You Stay On Padar Island?
The short answer to this question is no. There are no accommodation options on the island.
Most travelers stay in the fishing town of Labuan Bajo and take day trips out to Komodo National Park and the surrounding islands. There are plenty of quality hotels on mainland Flores Island.
Here are the accommodation options we recommend:
La Cecile Hotel and Cafe
We stayed at the top of the hill on Flores Island at La Cecile Hotel and Cafe. We spent several nights here and thoroughly enjoyed the staff, amazing views, food, and rooms. The rooftop restaurant overlooking the bay was to die for! – The best time to enjoy the views was at sunset.
This is a great budget option because for two people, we paid $41 total per night and it was central to everything we needed.
You can book La Cecile Hotel and Cafe by clicking here!
If you’re looking for something even fancier, head over to AYANA resort.
AYANA outdoes itself with its Komodo resort. Be sure to take advantage of their private beach, three restaurants, and four bars onsite.
You can book AYANA Resort by clicking here!
Another accommodation option is to stay on a LiveAboard. If you’re an avid diver, this might be right up your alley.
LiveAboards typically cost much more than a hotel and boat transfer, but the experience is out of this world.
Check out the handful of LiveAboard options in Komodo National Park by visiting LiveAboard.com.
Padar Island Hike And Viewpoint
Now for the really fun stuff: hiking to the top of the Padar Viewpoint.
The only way to get here is by boat.
It will take approximately two hours to reach the island from Labuan Bajo. If you plan on going for sunrise, I recommend taking a nap during the boat ride before arriving at the island; a 3am wake-up call is never fun.
The hike will take about 10 – 40 minutes depending on the kind of physical shape you’re in and whether you are hiking in the morning or during the day. Like I said, the Indonesian sun is brutal in the afternoon.
There are several places to stop during the hike for pictures, but just know that the higher you get, the crazier the view! – The panoramic view of the island with its mountains, deep blue waters and white sand beaches is well worth the effort.
Once you get to Padar’s summit you’ll feel like you’re in Jurassic Park! And with the Komodo dragons it almost is dinosaur country.
What To Pack For Padar Island
As with any hike, it’s important to come prepared. – Especially on Padar Island where you will encounter a rare combination of sandy beaches and steep, rocky hills. Here are some things I recommend to pack for your trek:
✅ Hiking stick – If you feel more comfortable with a little extra support.
✅ Good hiking shoes – Flip flops just won’t cut it in the steep hills and lush hiking parks.
✅ Snacks – Grab these the night before departing for the island. Convenient stores will be closed when you leave in the morning.
✅ Light jacket – It gets quite chilly on the boat in the early morning hours.
✅ Swimsuit – If you visit Padar Island early, you should have enough time to stop at one of the nearby islands to snorkel and swim with manta rays.
✅ Camera – we use the lightweight Canon Powershot G7X for amazing photos and videos.
✅ Drone – we use the DJI Mavic Pro. Several of our photos above were taken with the drone; an amazing accessory for adventure travelers.
Want more adventure on Flores Island? Check out our post on Kelimutu National Park: How To Plan Your Trip
Komodo Dragons On Padar Island
Before we arrived, I had no idea that there were Komodo dragons on Padar Island. After a quick chat with a local ranger, I was informed that there ARE Komodo dragons on this island.
Although Komodo dragons live on this island, it is very unlikely that you will see one.
Very few dragons call Padar Island home. Not to mention, most visitors stick to the viewpoint trek or ocean activities.
Since the hike and surrounding area is situated directly in the sun, Komodo dragons do not come to this side of the island. It is far too hot for them.
If you’re looking for an up-close and personal experience with the dragons, I recommend visiting Rinca Island which is part of Komodo National Park. We were able to see many Komodo dragons during our visit to Rinca Island.
Note: Although nothing compares to Komodo dragons, you can also find a remarkable array of wildlife. This includes green turtles and some of the neatest species of sharks.
The Wrap-Up: Exploring Padar Island
Padar Island is one of the most magical islands in Indonesia and its full of adventurous activities. The epic viewpoint is something most travelers can only fantasize about.
We hope this guide will help you plan your next adventure to Komodo National Park and see this incredible island for yourself.
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