How to Take a Komodo Boat Trip from Lombok to Flores: AKA the “Backpackers Boat”

Taking an ultra-budget Komodo Boat Tip from Lombok to Flores should be a part of every backpacker’s Bali itinerary. The boat from Lombok to Flores is bare-bones, with absolutely no frills – I can’t state this enough! There’s no AC, you sleep on a mat on the floor with 20-something other people, and the toilet has to be flushed with a bucket of water, (there are also only two toilets, for 30-some people!). That being said, it’s a lot of fun and the #1 tour I recommend to everyone traveling in Indonesia.

✔️ Essential Info

  • 💵 Price: 3,200,000 IDR – 3,600,000 IDR including Komodo National Park fee
  • 📍Location: Boats sail to/from Lombok and Labuan Bajo, Flores
  • Duration: 4 days / 3 nights
  • 👉 Note! Tours don’t run from January-March (Rainy Season)
  • 📆 Departures from Lombok: Every Monday and Thursday
  • 📆 Departures from Flores: Every Monday and Friday
  • ✈️ ⛴️ Getting to Lombok from Bali: 1-hour flight or speed boat/local ferry
  • ✈️ Getting to Flores from Bali: 1-hour flight
  • 🏆 Best tour company: I recommend Wanua Adventure
  • 📧 How to book: Reservation@wanuaadventure.com

Komodo Island is located in Komodo National Park, which is a cluster of islands off the coast of Flores. Flores is an island in the Indonesian Archipelago that belongs to the East Nusa Tenggara Province. You can see on the map that Komodo & Flores are far east of the island of Bali, where most travelers fly to. The islands of Lombok and Sumbawa lie between Bali and Komodo National Park, making overland transport between the two islands difficult.

The Backpackers Boat departs from Lombok or Labuan Bajo, Flores. You can choose between sailing from Flores to/from Lombok, depending on what fits your itinerary better. 👉 Read my more detailed guide on how to get to/from Bali to the Komodos

  • Departing from Lombok, You can get to Lombok from Bali by ferry, fast boat, or flight. If you’re flying into Lombok Airport, it’s located outside of Kuta Lombok, which is a nice surfer town. I recommend visiting the Komodos after the Gili Islands, so the itinerary would look like Bali > Fast boat to the Gili Islands > Ferry to Lombok > Embark for Komodo.

👉 Note: Your overland shuttle transfer through Lombok from Kuta or the Gilis should be organized by your Komodo Boat Tour provider.

  • Departing from Labuan Bajo, Flores: You can only get from Bali to Flores by flight, but the flights are inexpensive (typically less than $50) and less than 1 hour.

👉 Note! Because the cruise is not round trip, you will have to fly between Flores and Bali once regardless of which port you depart from.

Komodo Cruises typically don’t run during the peak of the wet season, Jan – March. Indonesia doesn’t have winter, spring, summer, and fall – instead, they only have two seasons: the dry and the wet. You’ll want to visit Komodo National Park during the dry season which stretches from April – to October. I sailed in Komodo at the beginning of the wet season in November and didn’t have any problems with the weather personally, but the people who sailed the weekend before me in mid-November had it rain the whole weekend! 

YES – You 100% need a tour to enter Komodo National Park. It’s actually illegal to visit the Komodo Islands without a guide, plus they can only be accessed via boat. So, it’s not a DIY kind of tourist location and you need a tour. 

Komodo National Park is not an easy place to visit from Bali, since you need multiple days to explore the Komodo Islands + you have to take a short flight to Flores. But, in my personal opinion, it’s one of the most worthwhile things you can do in Indonesia.

12 Reasons You Should Take A Komodo Boat Tour from Lombok To Flores 

I have been full time traveling for over a year at the time of writing this and there have been so many “Instagram vs. Reality” disappointments that I felt myself getting kinda jaded. I’m happy to report that not only did the Komodo National Park sailing trip live up to my expectations, but it also surpassed them.

The trip to Komodo from Lombok is now my favorite tour I’ve ever taken in a year and a half of full-time travel! Every. Single. Day of the 4-day tour was a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience – I’ve never done anything like it before, and it’s left me with a need to start exploring Indonesia’s other amazing islands outside of Bali stat.

1. You Get To Swim With Whale Sharks (!!!) 

Swimming with the wild whale sharks was the highlight of the whole trip for me, and the reason I originally picked the tour that goes from Lombok to Flores over the tour that only sails within Komodo National Park (and then I did that one right after!). At 6 in the morning, the whole boat wakes up to the most GORGEOUS sunrise and a giant whale shark swimming around the boats. Our tour guide was honest with us, these are wild animals – sometimes they’re there, sometimes they’re not. Occasionally there will be up to 5 whale sharks at once, other times none! 

I think we were pretty lucky because there was one whale shark present for our encounter, and one was honestly enough for me! Even though whale sharks are considered “gentle giants”, I think having a 5 swimming all over would have been kinda intimidating because they are huge. The whale shark was very curious and was swimming up to get fed and then going all around the boats and people snorkeling. 

🚩 Ethical Issues – About animal welfare, know that the whale sharks are fed for this experience. I’m always conflicted about “animal encounter” things. It’s slightly comforting that Whale Sharks aren’t predatory animals, they filter plankton and other super small fish, so by feeding them people aren’t necessarily making them unequipped to survive in the wild – but it’s still something to keep in mind when deciding to participate in the activity or not! 

2. Visit the Pink Beach 

Komodo’s Pink Beach gets its candy-hued sand from the ground-up coral. The pink color is made bolder when it’s wet, so you’ll find the most beautiful pink sand at the ocean’s edge. In addition to being pink, I found Pink Beach was all-around one of the nicest beaches I’ve visited in Indonesia. There’s great snorkeling off the coast of the beach, and the white/pink sand coupled with impossibly blue water made for the perfect setting. 

Everyone gets disappointed when we first see the beach because it looks like normal white sand from the boat, but as you get closer you can see the whole strip of beach by the water is bright pink!  If you want to find a good snorkel spot at Pink Beach, once you dock you’ll want to go towards the right of the beach. If you want to see where the sand is the pinkest, go more towards the left side.

3. Get Really Close With 30-ish People 

If you take the backpacker’s Komodo Cruise from Lombok to Flores you will be sleeping on a mat on the floor with roughly 30 other people. There are around 6 private cabins available on each boat for a small additional fee (I think it was around $30 per person to get a private cabin), but they’re right above the engine and most people report a better sleeping experience in the common room. 

There’s no AC, and while the cabins and common room are unbearably hot in the daytime, you will be doing activities outside of the boat anyway! The good thing about the kinda cramped conditions on the boat is that it allows you to make friends fast with your boat mates. That’s why I recommend taking the Backpackers’ Boat from Lombok to Flores to solo travelers! 

sleeping room on a boat from lombok to flores with mats on the floor. The "Backpackers" Komodo Boat Tour from Lombok to Flores is cheap for a reason!
The “Backpackers” Komodo Boat Tour from Lombok to Flores is cheap for a reason!

4. It’s An Extremely Cheap Trip (Even By Bali Standards!) 

💰For my 4-day / 3-night Komodo Islands Cruise from Lombok to Flores, I only paid around $50 per day. This included all meals, accommodation, tour guides, activities, and the entrance fee to Komodo National Park. Of course, it was so cheap because I was sleeping on a mat with 30 other people, the toilet flushed with a bucket, and we were eating mostly rice, tofu, and cabbage, but still!!!! Taking the backpackers’ cruise from Lombok to Flores is a very affordable option.

Komodo Boat tour at sunset at kanawa island.

5. You Can Sleep Under The Stars On The Open Ocean 

So, the sleeping arrangements on the backpackers’ boat aren’t ideal – I’ll admit that. The mats have 0 space between them, so unless you sleep like a mummy with your hands crossed over your chest or by your side it can get a little cramped. After the first night, people started bringing their mats outside to sleep on the deck, which freed up some (much-needed) space in the main room for everyone else and was also a super cool way to spend the night.  

backpackers jumping off the boat on the komodo islands boat tour from lombok to flores.
Jumping off the boat!

6. They Let You Jump Off The Boat! 

My favorite part about the backpackers’ cruise from Lombok to Flores is that they didn’t really care what you did. Is that bad to say??? Haha. Basically, it went like this: 

“Can I jump off the boat?”


“Can I jump off the roof of the boat?”

“Go for it”. 

On some nicer (i.e. more expensive) boat tours, they might be fretting about the passengers’ safety, worried about bad reviews, etc, but on the backpackers’ boat, they just didn’t care

As long as you weren’t going to do something really stupid or dangerous, the tour operators were chill about things like jumping off the boat, which wound up being one of the most fun memories from the trip! 

7. See Komodo Dragons Up-Close 

This is part of every Komodo tour, and I’m going to be 100% honest – It’s the most disappointing part of the trip. I’ve been to Komodo Island to see the dragons twice now and I can say with complete and total honesty that it’s the worst activity you do on a Komodo Island Cruise. People come from all over the world to see the dragons, but they’re mostly just sleeping on the beach while throngs of tourists line up to pose behind them for a photo op. 

Komodo photo-shoot

The locals on Komodo Island have really leaned into tourism, so after your photo opportunity you get harassed endlessly to buy some dragon-shaped trinkets, overpriced Bintangs, or t-shirts that say “I survived Komodo Island.” 

It’s a cool experience to tick off a list, but if you’re going to do a Komodo National Park boat trip, do it for the amazing nature; swimming with whale sharks, giant manta rays, and sea turtles – the Komodo Dragons are kinda just there

8. Enjoy Ice-Cold Bintangs In Beautiful Places!

Okay, so the super-cheap, super-dinky boat that goes from Lombok to Flores is known as the “Backpackers’ Komodo Cruise” as well as the “Party Komodo Cruise”. Enjoying an ice-cold Bintang while playing cards on the roof of the boat with Komodo National Park on either side is a fantastic memory I have of the trip. 

9. Hike To The Viewpoint At Padar Island 

Very few places in the world actually look as amazing as the photos on Instagram, but Padar Island is one of them! We got to climb to Padar Island’s viewpoint, which is about a 20-minute trek straight up, at sunset on our second day. The view from the top of Padar Island is AMAZING, I really can’t overstate it. 

10. Take a Short Hike to Kanawa Island’s Peak 

Kanawa Island is one of the most underrated in the whole of Komodo National Park (in my opinion). It’s super tiny viewpoint trek that only takes around 5-10 minutes and looks great in photos.

sunset over Kanawa island in Komodo National Park.

11. & Watch an Unreal Sunset

We climbed to the viewpoint at Kanawa Island at dusk and then watched the sunset from the boat. Kanawa Island at sunset looks unreal, like a screensaver that’s an AI-generated photo of paradise. 

12. Take in the Sights of Komodo One Last Time at Kelor Island

Kelor Island is the closest to Flores, where the boat tours start or end. Although Kelor doesn’t look like the most exciting island in Komodo, its viewpoint has a truly jaw-dropping view of the neighboring islands that looks exactly like the photos above. By the end of the trip, we were all tired from 4-days of activities, but I highly recommend mustering up the energy for this last hike – It’s so worth it!

4-Day / 3-Night Boat Trip Itinerary

Day 1

  • Set off from Lombok ferry port
  • Hike to Kanawa Island’s viewpoint
  • watch the sunset on Kanawa Island from your boat

Day 2

  • Wake up at 6 AM to snorkel with the wild whale sharks!
  • Free time to swim and jump off the boat

Day 3

  • Komodo Island to see the Komodo dragons in the morning
  • Swimming at Pink Beach in the afternoon 
  • Hike to Padar Island’s viewpoint for sunset 

Day 4 

  • Snorkeling in the morning 
  • Climb to the Kelor Island viewpoint
  • Dock at Labuan Bajo

How To Book The Backpackers’ Boat & How Much It Cost

The Backpackers’ Boat sailing trips that go from Lombok to Flores do not have an online booking option. They operate through word of mouth and usually only accept cash. I recommend the company Wanua Adventure, which you can email to reserve a spot. You have the option to book a general admission spot, which is basically just a mat on the deck, or a private cabin. The private cabins only cost $30-60 more than sleeping on the deck with everyone else, but they’re right above the engine and can get really hot and noisy.

📧 >>Reservation@wanuaadventure.com

💰 Cost: The Komodo Tour from Lombok to Flores costs 3,200,000 Indonesian Rupiah in total, and includes entry tickets to Komodo National Park.

food on the backpackers komodo boat tour from Lombok to Flores.
The food on the tour I took with TravelWise was kind of a joke!

What To Bring

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