Surviving a Visit to the Komodo Dragons at Komodo National Park

Your day starts with you hoping on a boat, coasting over glistening blue waters for an hour as you go from the island of Flores to Komodo Island in Komodo National Park, Indonesia. The sun rises and so does the humidity and the air gets hotter and hotter. As the boat approaches the dock you make sure you don’t have any food on you, lather on some sunscreen, grab your camera and take a few deep breaths.

On the dock with your camera in hand you are greeted by park rangers holding sticks with a “V” shape at the end, meant for pushing away Komodo Dragons. From the stories you’ve heard and facts you know this stick doesn’t appear to be the type of tool one might want to use to defend off a 2-3 meter long 150lb, bacteria mouth filled charging dragon. However you trust the guards smiling face.

A short walk down a path and you reach the Rangers station, eating area, kitchen, gift shop etc. and the dragons. Although never fed by the Rangers, the smell of food from the kitchen attracts them there and back in your head you think “Oh, I wonder if this cut on my leg has brought them here as well?” Knowing that the Komodo Dragon can smell blood from 18kms away, one of them looks at you and your heart beings to race.

Keeping yourself surrounded by your group and with guards on all sides of you at all times you snap some photos. Standing in the eating area, above ground fellow Komodo viewers hang over the edge “to get that shot” while you meekly stand back, hardly able to see anything, but that little bit is enough.

Two of the dragons show aggression towards each other and have a small fight, the bigger one bleeds a bit from his mouth with drool hanging down. He looks at you again. Thoughts race through your mind that if he wants a bite of anyone he is coming right for you and only you. Rangers and people you are with encourage you to get closer which makes you only want to get further away, like perhaps back on the safety of the boat.

At this point you have probably only been there for 20 minutes but that is 19 minutes too long. The story of the ranger who was once attacked by a dragon that you interviewed yesterday runs through your head. You start thinking about the “ifs”, If I get bitten, surely I’ll survive. If I get bitten, hopefully all of these Rangers can get it off of me. If it comes after me I can run in zig zag pattern and get away from it…. ya right…

The group doddles, not getting enough of the dragons, photo after photo but the quicker you can get back to the boat the better. You appear to of been the only one scared completely the f*** out by the Komodo Dragons, but you don’t care.

You came, you saw, you survived Komodo National Park.

Photographed with a Nikon D5100 using a 17-55mm lens.

14 Comments

  • Reply
    nania
    April 13, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    If you trekking at komodo island you must with the guide and always take holding sticks with a “V” . don’t afraid and the first is don’t because the komodo will pursue you and don’t forget that the komodo is the great runner. You doing trekking to see komodo, but are you not diving to see the manta ? that’s will be the largest fish that you ever seen before.

  • Reply
    Arcelli
    December 11, 2013 at 2:23 am

    Hi! Great post! May I know which tour company did you use for this?

    Thanks,
    Arcelli

  • Reply
    Leyla
    October 25, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Hah – great post and wonderful suspense – I chuckled all the way through. At the dragon, mind you, not your terror. That said I’m sure you’d heard about the Swiss tourist who wandered off on his own some years ago and all that was ever found was his hat… and that’s why you kept a healthy distance. :-)

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 11, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      Hey Leyla, glad I amused you :) haha I heard so many stories of tourists meeting their ends with the Komodo, so scary! haha Also like three weeks prior to our visit a local woman had been bit by one, she survived though which is good.

  • Reply
    Matthew Karsten
    October 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    What, no Komodo Dragon hugs? :)

    • Reply
      Cailin
      October 24, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      NO KOMODO DRAGON HUGS EVER IN MY LIFE!! haha

  • Reply
    Theodora
    October 18, 2012 at 6:33 am

    When we were in Flores, we did lots of diving in Komodo — the national park has some of the best diving in Indonesia, which is saying a lot. But my son flat-out refused to see the dragons. Precisely because of the bacteria in their jaws. So… you are not alone :-)

    • Reply
      Cailin
      October 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      I can’t believe he refused to see them! You would think that he would be so excited! However I am glad that I’m not alone :) haha
      Sadly I didn’t get to dive but hopefully there will be a next time. To dive… not to go near the dragons… haha

  • Reply
    Gray
    October 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    I’m with you, Cailin. Those things scare the bejesus out of me. I’m impressed you went!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      October 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      I didn’t have much choice… haha I mean I could of stayed in the boat but thats not much fun. It was really pretty there too!

  • Reply
    Holly
    October 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Oh my… They do look like dinosaurs. I was petrified of the monitor lizards in Malaysia, so not sure I would deal too well with their big brothers here. Congratulations on surviving!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      October 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      Thanks! I’m pretty proud of myself for surviving without a bite :) Such a crazy experience! haha

  • Reply
    Ayngelina
    October 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    They look too much like dinosaurs – scary!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      October 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      I think if they roared like dinosaurs I might of pooped my pants haha

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