So you were captivated by the dreamy viewpoint pictures of Padar Island, huh? A year ago, I was in the same boat! I saw a photo of the island sprawled out in front of two travelers and at that moment I knew I had to make the same trek.
In this guide, you’ll learn exactly how to plan your trip to Padar Island, part 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 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 the island: a private boat tour or a group boat tour.
Group Boat Tour
When we arrived in Labuan Bajo, 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.
If you’re curious to know the prices they were giving us for a Padar Island tour, they hovered around 2 million IDR ($140 USD) per person. This price included the boat ride and a bottle of water. Not ideal for budget travelers.. or any type of traveler in that case.
Frustrated, we started walking down the sidewalk in search of more information and less haggling. We were greeted by a friendly local by the name of Hubert (pronounced Uber).
This gentleman came up to us and explained the typical schedules of boats leaving Flores Island and what we should be getting for the price we pay.
He let us know that his uncle owned several boats and asked if we wanted to charter a private boat. The price he gave us was FAR less than the group tour boat companies. We jumped on this deal.
Hubert was extremely kind, spoke great English, provided food and water for our trip, and chauffeured us to and from our hotel whenever we needed a ride.
His genuine personality made us feel comfortable at all times; he acted like we had been friends for years rather than a slimy salesman (like the other tour companies in Labuan Bajo).
The best part was that we had the entire boat to ourselves (other than our driver, Hubert’s uncle), while other boats pulled up carrying loads of passengers. We got to choose where we wanted to go, when we wanted to go there.
If you plan on visiting Komodo National Park, I highly recommend taking a boat tour through Hubert and his family. We would recommend him one thousand times over.
His prices will be far more affordable than anything you’ll find on the island, so reach out to him before you get there to set up your tour.
You can even contact him while you’re there; he can typically accommodate short notice bookings.
When To Visit Padar Island
The absolute best time to visit Padar Island is for sunrise. Trekking to the top for sunrise will eliminate the crowds of people fighting their way to the peak.
Going early will also help with the heat. Temperatures in Komodo National Park swell after 9am and the humidity makes it difficult to breathe.
Allow yourself an enjoyable trek to the top by arriving early.
Another reason why you should plan your trip for the morning is that the ocean becomes VERY choppy in the afternoon.
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.
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, you must visit the national park booth. This is where a ranger is 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.
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 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 La Cecile Hotel and Cafe for several nights and thoroughly enjoyed the staff, views, food, and rooms. The rooftop restaurant overlooking the bay was to die for!
This is a great budget option because for two people, we paid $41 total per night and it was central to everything we needed.
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.
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 Padar Island viewpoint.
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!
What To Pack For Padar Island
As with any hike, it’s important to come prepared. Here are some things I recommend to pack for your trek:
3. Snacks – Grab these the night before departing for the island. Convenient stores will be closed when you leave in the morning.
4. Light jacket – It gets quite chilly on the boat in the early morning hours.
5. Camera – we use the lightweight Canon Powershot G7X for amazing photos and videos.
6. 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. We were able to see many Komodo dragons during our visit to Rinca Island.
The Wrap-Up: Exploring Padar Island
Padar Island is one of the most magical islands in Indonesia. 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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