Komodo National Park is a location that is on the bucket list of many people, it was certainly on ours for a very long time before we finally visited. Declared a national park in 1980, with the prime purpose to protect the Komodo dragons, it was granted UNESCO World Heritage status 11 years later in 1991, offering further protection to this unique and fragile eco system. Our experience was the most incredible travel adventure we’ve ever undertaken, we hope you enjoy reading about our 5 highlights from Komodo National Park. 1. The luxury liveaboard When we decided to book a ‘once in a lifetime’ trip to Komodo National Park we spent many hours researching who we should book with. There are so many choices and it felt like a minefield with us desperate to make the correct decision not only to ensure we had a memorable trip, but we wanted to sail with a company that put the environment first and foremost. We decided to make a reservation with Wunderpus and now having returned from the trip can safely say that we were very satisfied with our choice. The whole team went above and beyond to ensure our cruise was perfect beyond our wildest dreams, they all genuinely love what they do and want to share their passion with their guests. Wunderpus Liveaboard boasts just 4 well appointed cabins, each with a private bathroom and air conditioning; the public areas include plenty of space to relax and soak up the stunning surroundings. During our stay, Wunderpus moved to the coveted number 1 spot on Tripadvisor for tours in the region which is very well deserved indeed. 2. The mesmerising views From the moment we set sail from Labuan Bajo in Flores (this is where all Komodo cruises depart from) we were blessed with clear blue skies, crystal clear waters and views that were both humbling and mesmerising at the same time, we felt blessed to finally be exploring Komodo National Park. These breathtaking views continued for the duration of our cruise as we awoke to jaw dropping sunrises and were treated to incredible sunsets each evening. Even when we headed ashore, to small and pristine islands within the archipelago the views still managed to blow us away. 3. The awesome dragons It was during one of the times when we headed to dry land that we encountered the eponymous Komodo Dragons. They have no predators, and having come face to face with them we can easily understand why as they are huge and have a kind of prehistoric aura about them. As a member of the monitor lizard family and growing up to nearly 3m in length, they dominate the islands upon which they call home preying on mammals, birds and deer. This was one of those ‘bucket list’ moments that we’ve ticked off and survived the experience, after all, Komodo Dragons have been known to attack humans in the past! 4. The memorable snorkelling Wow. Wow. Wow. We have been lucky enough to snorkel and dive in some wonderful spots on this beautiful planet of ours but nothing compares to exploring what lives below the surface in Komodo National Park. The crystal clear waters and the vibrant coral reefs were enough to have us wanting to come back for more and that was before we lost count of the amount of turtles, manta rays and sharks that we encountered each and every time we put our head under the water. It was truly memorable in a way that is hard to explain and we were of course humbled by what we experienced, all we can say is that we cannot imagine any other under water adventures that we have in the future even coming close to our time in Komodo. 5. The eco awareness A large factor in deciding to book with Wunderpus was their commitment to the environment and their efforts to ensure that they ‘tred lightly’ and make as little impact as possible whilst operating in Komodo National Park. As soon as we joined the boat we were all given a reusable water bottle which we used for the duration of the cruise and were encouraged to take home and continue using; this is just a small thing but if we all start somewhere, then slowly we can make a difference and ensure that out planet survives. The planet is feeling the impact from over population, industry and mass consumerism with this hitting the oceans hardest; much of the waste that we create ends up in the sea and this is slowly but surely tipping the balance, what were once the healthy and vibrant ‘lungs’ for the planet are now the dumping ground for all manners of trash. It would be easy to think that an area as pristine and beautiful as Komodo National Park is escaping lightly but when you look closely (or know where to look) there are beaches within the park that are literally buried under plastic waste. We spent time with the crew from Wunderpus attempting to clean one of these beaches as this is something they do on each and every cruise. In all honesty, the impact that our efforts made were minimal as there was an incredible amount of waste, but this somewhat humbling part of our cruise certainly raised awareness. If a trip to Komodo National Park is on your ‘bucket list’ and one of those things you’ve been considering for some time, our advice would be to move it to the top of your list and make it happen. It was truly one of the most remarkable travel experiences we’ve ever had and we loved every moment of our adventure; we just hope that our 5 highlights from Komodo National Park encourage and entice you to head there soon! Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest. Vegan Food Quest have become luxury vegan travel specialists as they continue to find, eat and write about the best vegan food in the world. 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