Padar Island, simply put, is out of this world! It’s arguably the most famous island in Indonesia, boasting a landscape that looks like a scene out of Jurassic Park.
Pulau Padar (Pulau meaning island) is the third largest of the Komodo Islands which resides between Komodo Island and Rinca Island. All three form part of the Komodo National Park which is famous for its Komodo dragons that give the park its name.
Padar is a stunningly beautiful island and one of the only places in the world where you can find pink, black, and white sand beaches all on one island.
I have put together this complete visitor’s guide of Pulau Padar including where it is, how to get here, and what to expect when you arrive!
WHERE IS PADAR ISLAND?
Pulau Padar lies within Komodo National Park and is located about 30km (20 miles) from Labuan Bajo, a small fishing town on the westernmost part of Flores.
It belongs to the Lesser Sunda chain of the Indonesian islands in the Province of East Nusa Tenggara.
Komodo National Park is a true masterpiece of nature, centered between Lombok and Flores. The islands are made up of rusty-red volcanic hills, savannahs on land, and beautiful coral reefs in the water.
It’s home to approximately 4,000 Komodo dragons that are mostly found on Komodo Island. Just a small portion of them live on Padar, and the ones that do, are located in the northern part which is rarely ever visited by tourists.
HOW TO GET HERE
It seems like getting to such a secluded island must be a mission but it’s actually not too bad and there are multiple different options to get here.
First you need to get to Labuan Bajo, Flores. There are multiple flights from all the bigger airports around Indonesia including Bali, Lombok, Jakarta, Surabaya, Makassar, and Kupang airports.
SEARCH ALL → FLIGHTS TO LABUAN BAJO
Once you’ve touched down safely in Labuan Bajo, you’re going to need a boat to get out to the islands, and the trip from Labuan Harbor to Padar takes approximately 2-3 hours.
DAY TRIP FROM LABUAN BAJO
If your time is limited, you can simply book a day trip to Padar Island from Labuan Bajo.
Depending on your preferences and budget, you can opt for a group tour or a private boat tour.
There is one tour that I can highly recommend that covers all the highlights on a full-day trip from Labuan Bajo.
The Komodo Full-Day Boat Tour is the most top-rated tour with great reviews and hundreds of bookings.
This tour covers the top locations in Komodo National Park such as the hike to the famous Padar viewpoint, Pink Beach Komodo, seeing the famous Komodo dragons, and swimming at Kelor Island.
It also includes a hassle-free pick-up and drop-off from your hotel in Labuan Bajo, return boat transfers, and an English-speaking guide.
Book Now → Komodo Full-Day Boat Tour
MULTI-DAY SAILING TRIP
A special way to get to the islands, and one that I highly recommend, is a multi-day sailing adventure on a live-aboard boat where you’ll get to sail around the enchanting waters of Flores.
It’s the more expensive option but it’s by far the best way to explore all the islands in the region. Not to mention experiencing the stunning underwater world all around Komodo National Park. The water is warm, crystal clear and the abundance of different animals you’ll find in between the vibrant coral is breathtaking.
I personally booked my tour with Travass Life which offers amazing tours of Komodo National Park.
Their most popular 3-day tour includes visits to Kelor Island, Rinca Island, Kalong Island, Padar, Pink Beach, Taka Makassar, Manta Point, Sebayur Island, Sebayur Island, Kanawa Island, and Labuan Bajo. This will give you the chance to see this stunning archipelago of islands for a very decent price.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
It’s hard to say when the best time to visit Flores is, though the national park is open year-round.
Season-wise, it completely depends on what you are looking for. The high season for Komodo National Park is July to August when the weather is cooler and more comfortable, but the park is also more crowded.
The grass color changes with the seasons. It’s green at the tail end of the rainy season, January to April, and by the month of May, the grass color starts to turn yellow.
In the summer and fall, July to November, the islands are bone dry, and the grass is all brown.
RELATED ARTICLE → KOMODO ISLAND VISITOR’S GUIDE
Time-wise, I recommend hiking up to the famous Padar Island viewpoint for sunrise. There is something very special about watching the sun come up in such a dreamy location. It’s also recommendable temperature-wise to visit early as Flores can get very hot and humid past 9 am.
Most boat tours will arrive early in the morning anyway, so chances are you will be hiking to the viewpoint for sunrise.
If you book a longer multi-day sailing trip, you’ll get to spend a whole day exploring the island from sunrise to sunset. The sunset on Padar is just as spectacular as the sunrise!
KOMODO NATIONAL PARK ENTRANCE FEE
There are several fees you will be charged when entering Komodo National Park.
It’s a bit confusing but essentially you pay the national park entrance fee, a hiking fee, tourism tax, and a boat parking fee which will be collected at a booth when entering Pulau Padar.
The entrance fee is approximately 250,000 IDR per person (100,000 IDR for Indonesians) and must be paid in cash so make sure to withdraw enough money from the ATM in Labuan Bajo before you depart on your trip.
If you happen to have a drone camera and wish to fly it here on Padar and anywhere else in the National Park, you’ll have to purchase a permit from the booth which costs 1,000,000 IDR. The drone permit is valid for 5 days.
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PADAR ISLAND HIKE
The Padar Island hike will take you anywhere between 15 to 45 minutes depending on the time of the day as well as your personal level of fitness.
It’s a well-maintained but still very steep trail up to the top, offering little to no shade, but rewarding you with the most breathtaking views of the island.
MUST READ → PINK BEACH KOMODO ISLAND
The trail consists of wooden and stone steps that lead you directly to the viewpoint so you can’t get lost. The trail then turns into a gravel pathway if you decide to go all the way to the summit.
Please mind your step, especially in the dark, as the trail can be slippery in some areas.
Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water, and wear adequate sun protection on the Padar hike.
PADAR ISLAND VIEWPOINT
From the top of the Padar viewpoint, you can see multiple beaches around the island. The scenery is truly incredible and a sight you don’t get to see every day.
The island naturally forms a giant x-shape with three beautiful bays. It’s one of the only places in the world where you can see pink, black and white sand beaches in such close proximity to each other.
Make sure you bring your camera, as a backdrop like this guarantees epic pictures. Be aware that flying drones from the main viewpoint is only permitted for an additional fee of 1,000,000 IDR as mentioned earlier.
RELATED ARTICLE: BEST CAMERA GEAR FOR TRAVEL
PINK BEACH PADAR
Most tours have the same schedule and after the Padar hike at sunrise, your boat will take you around to the famous Pink Beach on Padar Island for a swim and snorkel.
The unique color of the sand on Pink Beach is created from red corals in the ocean. It’s a great spot for swimming in turquoise waters, snorkeling, and beach bumming.
I think it is safe to say that Pulau Padar and the entire area around Komodo National Park are amongst the most beautiful places in the world. The unique beaches and stunning landscapes make it a very special place to visit.
The view from the summit is one of the best I have ever experienced and seeing the Komodo dragons in real life was incredible as well. It’s hard to describe the magical feeling this place gives you, and you just have to go see it for yourself.
WHERE TO STAY IN LABUAN BAJO
Labuan Bajo is the main town in the region and the best place to stay before and after sailing the Komodo Islands.
There are dozens of accommodations to choose from so I have narrowed it down to a few of my personal favorite places to stay to suit the needs of luxury travelers, budget backpackers, and everyone in between.
See the list of accommodations in Labuan Bajo below that I personally recommend:
LUXURY: SUDAMALA RESORT
MID RANGE: SUNSET HILL HOTEL
BUDGET: SEAESTA KOMODO HOSTEL
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN LABUAN BAJO, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
WHAT TO PACK FOR FLORES
When visiting Flores, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you;
- Sunscreen – the Indonesian sun is very strong, so make sure to pack some high-quality sunscreen.
- Quick-dry travel towel – the most compact and lightweight towel for traveling.
- Reusable water bottle – stay hydrated by bringing along a reusable water bottle.
- Backpack – The Nomatic 30L Travel Pack is the ultimate backpack for everyday adventures.
If you’re interested in taking awesome photos and videos on your travels, this is the camera gear that I use and recommend;
- GoPro HERO10 – the most popular camera on the planet for action-packed adventures.
- Canon EOS R – perfect for traveling, this is the most affordable, compact camera on the market.
- DJI Mini 3 Pro – take your photos and videos to new heights with this user-friendly drone camera.
TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first trip overseas, here are some useful travel resources to help you kick-start your next adventure!
- BOOKING.COM – search and book accommodation worldwide
- SKYSCANNER – compare and book cheap flights to anywhere
- VIATOR – find tickets, tours, and experiences around the world
- BOOKAWAY – book buses, trains, and transfers online in advance
- RENTAL CARS – search all rental cars in your next destination
- GROUP TRIPS – join one of my epic small group trips
- TRAVEL INSURANCE – purchase World Nomads travel insurance
- TRAVEL MONEY CARD – get a Wise card today for free
Looking for more? Check out my Travel Resources page for further help with your trip planning!
I hope you enjoyed reading this guide and if you have any questions about the Komodo Islands, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.
THANKS FOR READING
Hey friend, thanks for reading this guide!
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