Padar Island

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A Padar Island Tour That Will Take You to Neverland

Padar Island is a remote and wild island located in the middle of the straight between Rinca Island and Komodo Island. Defended by strong currents and swell coming from the nearby Indian ocean, going to Padar Island is an adventure in itself. Hello Flores team like to call it “Neverland” and will understand why once you will be there! Steep and dry hills, cliffs falling straight into the ocean, sea eagles flying around, gigantic bays with crystal waters and many unknown pink-sand beaches are what give this place a truly unique atmosphere. A one-hour trek to the top of Padar Kecil will bring you to a breathtaking panorama overlooking Komodo National Park. Sunrise and sunset times are the best times of the day to do the trekking with endless changing color in the sky.

 
 

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“Do you still believe in Neverland?”

Padar Island Tour to The Renown Neverland

The Padar island tour is the key to open a gate of what’s left from Paradise.

It’s a special island that makes you believe in Neverland once again.

An imaginary faraway place, Neverland only remains in the corner of our childhood dream. It’s a place where you leave worldly affairs at the doorstep and just think of happy thoughts. An island blessed with plenty of suns and endless summer adventure. A treasured paradise that seems too good to be true.

Rose from the azure Flores Sea, Padar stands bright and proud of the untamed beauty which allures wild-west type of adventure. Lush interiors, undulating hills that seem like mimicking the waves, and a little touch of the surreal interior are the elements of Padar natural landscape.

You gonna have a hard time trusting your eyes to believe how gorgeous Indonesia can be. Technicolor green grass covers most of the tumultuous landscape, only to turn into gorgeous, crisp auburn when the dry season comes to the land. Without no habitats—both human and the dragons—Padar stands proudly with its raw and nakedness. No fences and concretes to disturb your sense of being in nowhere-ness. All you can hear is rustless of the winds, brushing with the idyllic bushes, and gentle sounds of the lapping waves from afar.

Standing from the highest hilltop of the island, you will be granted an unobstructed view of the whole island and the dreamscape multicolored beaches. Three deep curved bays, artfully indented to both sides of the island, are squeezing the hillock in the middle. Each of the pristine beaches is lined with a different color of sand. Far on the left, one among the few in the world is Padar’s most treasured Pink beach, where the blushed sands blend seamlessly with the clear turquoise water.

Just next to the cherished Pink Beach is the black sanded beach, composed from various minerals from the volcanic sands that were swept to the Padar’s shore million years ago. Separated by a thin land ridge, the sugary white sandy beach stretches back to back with the charcoal black one, completing the combination into something even more surreal.

Far beyond the three, multicolored crescent beaches, you will spot mountainous islets spread in the horizon. Right between the sky and the sea. Before you know it, you have walked in the middle of Neverland.

 

Everything You Can Do in Neverland

They say, in Neverland, adventure is never far between. And that is exactly what happened in the Padar Island tour. With long, rugged dry lands extends to the length of the island, three virgin beach to roam about, and one of world’s best dive spots, Padar is literally a playground of adventure.

 

Hiking

Trekking to the summit of Padar island is a must. To say, you’ve never set the foot in Padar if you haven’t take the obligatory selfie with a panoramic backdrop of the whole island behind. Scaling the iconic hills to see the magical view of the iconic three beaches down below is (hands down) the highlight of Padar Island trip. Given the relatively short hike (only 20 minutes to 1 hour), it’s quite an easy trek if you compared it with serious mountain trekking. It will not, however, give you an effortless experience. The upward trajectory landscape results in steep track with more than 45 degrees slopes to hike. Without any ladders and fence to help, a track to the hilltop requires a lot of energy, focus, and a good pair of hiking shoes.

But the hike is a wonderful blessing in disguise. To reach the summit, you have to face the steep hills, rocky terrain, and lots of sands trying to cover your feet. You will have a severe battle with the unforgiving sun and humid weather. But with each higher step you take, the surrounding view slowly unfold what they hid behind, and the rewarding views are constantly cheering you up to take another step until you reach the top. And that’s how you find the most vibrant view you will ever see

 

The  Ultimate Beach Galore

With three multicolored beaches to explore, you can literally spend a day on the island and is still feeling reluctant to leave. Certainly, the famous-and-rare Pink Beach will be one of the highlights of the day, but it doesn’t mean that the other beaches are less worth to visit. Take an unusual sun-bathing selfie with the baby pink sand underneath, admire the twisted bays at the black-sanded beach, and get pampered into seaside relaxation at the serene white beach.

Paying a visit to all of the three beaches requires some repeated climbing up and down. You need to pass some ridge lines that are separating the beaches. All of the sweat and tired foot, however, will be swept with the charm of the island.

Relatively away from mainstream tourism, Padar is blessed with a clean strip of sands without obstruction of beach patio, food stalls, and most importantly, colonization of apartments and resort hotels as you will easily see in Bali. The jagged, twisted cliffs drop directly to the coastline with only some clumps of green bushes plopping on the slopes, transporting every wanderer into a 5-starred rustic resort by nature. The beaches are bathing in the endless summer sun, and the pristine sands—albeit of the color—descend seamlessly go into the turquoise water of the Flores.

In the middle of these all, it’s easy to dwell into a secluded gateway. To enjoy all the powdery beaches for yourself. And after those frugal trekking, what’s more, rewarding than a much deserved cool dip in the pristine ocean? With the prettiest beach on earth, swimming in the calm sea feels almost like a luxury granted by nature. Wading around in the clear and calm waters will keep you chilled and happy, especially when the little fishes begin playing between your feet. As the Komodo has long left the island, take a relaxing swim in the crystal waters--you are not going to be sniffed by the fork-tongued dragon alive.

 

Diving & Snorkelling

Think about diving and snorkeling in Padar island as taking a dip in an ocean-sized aquarium. If you are still seeking for further adventure, Padar will not disappoint you as just a few meters beneath the shallow shores, the underwater world is bristling with life.

As part of Komodo National Park, Padar is one of the regions where the Pacific and Indian ocean meet. The blend of two currents brings in fresh waters, rich nutrients, and planktons to feed the coral and the fishes, which results in one of the richest concentration of marine environments and one of the most exotic diving spot in the world. The strong currents also attract larger animals such as turtles, dolphins, dugongs, pelagics, and even the whales. The preservation status of Komodo National Park further brings wonderful impact to the aquatic life underneath, which blooms with a great diversity of marine wildlife and provides safe refuge for rare, endangered species.

Being part of the coral triangle as well, almost any water in Komodo National is blessed with healthy, vibrant coral life with abundant of reef fish and sea critters that will keep you happy for hours. Beautiful underwater topography lies right beneath what seemingly dry and outrageous Padar, but the feeling of otherworldliness remain the same. It’s time to slip into your diving suit and done the fins and take the unique experience of Padar’s three wonderful dive sites.

Plunge to the east part of the island, and you will encounter the Pillarsteen, where series of rock pillars, canyons, and caves make up interesting topography. The sloping reefs are gentle and covered with soft corals, with boxfish and midnight snappers darting around. Pillarsteen offers an incredible opportunity to swim through an with different depths. Sometimes sharks and turtles will swim by and say hello, so be prepared!

In the north of Pillarsteen lies the Three Sisters, which got its name from three very large submerged rocks, standing about ten meters apart from each other and emerge about three to five meters to the surface. This site is a diving haven for macro divers as the rocks are totally covered with hard and soft corals, anemone, and sea apples, with vibrant nudibranchs, creep between them. Among these all, the fascinating, mimicry expert frogfish are doing their best to resemble the corals, looking for the right chance to catch its prey.

If you think you have seen it all, wait until you reach Secret Garden, Padar’s treasured underwater gem. Just as the name suggests, the site is blooming with a rich variety of aquatic flora and fauna. Soft coral garden and sea apples flourish the gentle sloping reefs, home to the bright nudibranchs, frogfishes, cuttlefishes, and countless other macro critters. When you are lucky, you can even spot some rare animal such as pygmy seahorses, blue ring octopus, or rhinopia among the vibrant seabed. Just a few meters above the lively reefs, some mobile rays are often spotted passing by, and this will make your diving experience even more gratifying.

 

Komodo Sightseeing

The venomous Komodo Dragons are no longer creeping on the shore of bushes of Padar Island anymore, but it doesn't mean that you lose your chance to see this phenomenal beast at all. This is the essence of any Komodo trip, and that’s something you wouldn’t want to miss. With only one hour of sailing, you will be transported into real-life Jurassic Park, to the only place in the world where you can have a live encounter with the dragons in the wild.

Being one of the islands that make up the Komodo National Park, Padar sits right in the middle between Rinca and Komodo Islands, the most Komodo-populated area among the trio. As part of your Padar Island tour, hop to the Liveaboard and set sail to your favorite island for dragon adventure. Is it Komodo or Rinca? To both islands, your journey will involve a series of passing islets, green-blue sea, and more bays and beaches than fingers in your hands. Afar, the Komodos have been waiting at their lairs, and seasoned rangers keeping their guard up with their forked stick.

Tale tells that sometime in the past, the dragons used to roam around in all the three islands, but the lack of foods in Padar drove them to mainly inhabit Rinca and Komodo, where food is plentiful and made available by their human guardian. At both islands, these massive lizards are free to stomp nearly everywhere--the tropical park, the shore, and even casually lounging under offices of the rangers. That means you have a high chance to meet this predator without any difficulties.

This fearsome dragon has no mercy, and tiptoeing your way to steal a selfie chance with this venomous lizard at many times requires great bravery. Their long curved nails, wide mouth with dripping saliva and wild reptile look clearly stamped “stay away” over their flattened head--and with their sprinting prowess up to 20 km/h, annoying this beast will be the last thing you want to do. But rest assured, fellow wanderers. As long as you are not coming too close and stick with your ranger, you will leave with impressive, once-in-a-lifetime memory and still in one piece.

Taking a snapshot with the dragons are easy, but should proceed with cautions. The rangers are more than willing to help you pose and get your picture taken, sometimes even alluring the Komodos out of their shady spot for a better shot. Most of the times, the dragons are lying lazily, stomach-flat to the ground under a shady tree--their favorite spot, yet gauging on the scene of this massive reptile up close is something extremely thrilling. It’s like watching the wild documentary in extremely close proximity, yet you can spend minutes tracing its scaly skin and bulky limbs, wondering about its striking features.

 

…And The Best Thing: Sunrise Watching

Most of sunrise watching is done in the peak of a mountain. This time, Padar Island tour is giving you a totally brand new meaning of sunrise. You will hike to the highest hilltop before dawn, where everything is still and quiet, enveloped by the pitch darkness of the night. When the sky starts to change color in the eastern horizon, you will watch as the sun slowly rise and unveil the previously nonexistent ocean. The sun rays begin to spread along the landscape, drawing darkness from every hillock and valley. As the sun ascended, the sleepy sea is just starting to glow, reflecting the beautiful pinkish tangerine just above. The warmth of golden sunlight floods the island, making the rugged hills glow and leaving you feeling out of this world.

This view can only be beaten by the sunset, which is just equally magical. Spend a moment before the sun drowns in the horizon, while the vast blue sky change color into lavender, gradually mixed with the warm orange hues. It’s something that will remind you to vanilla ice cream in the middle of summer days. The cotton clouds are blushing with the touch of the sun, and stars start to appear in the dusky sky. You will be taken aback by how the sunset sky beautifully stretched in contrast with the lush green grass and the multicolored beaches, while the ocean continuously mirroring the color of the sky. With the last of the rays, you will watch how the wavy hills slowly blushed with a reddish hue. And soon, the flaming ball completely disappear into the water, turning every bays and island into rugged silhouettes.

Aside from the spectacular view, topping the ridge of mountains during the dawn and the dusk is highly recommended as the sun has not reached its peak. At noon, it will be blazing hot and the lack of tall trees makes it hard for you to find a comfortable sandy spot to sit in.

 

How to Get There: Series of Airplane Flight and Sailing Trip

With no airport on the island, you cannot fly directly to Padar. Instead, you need to fly to Labuan Bajo, an international airport in Flores (a.k.a the mainland), before taking a Komodo Liveaboard to reach the Padar Island.

You can fly to Labuan Bajo both from Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, or Denpasar.  A direct flight from Jakarta take about 2.5 hours, yet it’s quite rare to be found. Most of the budget airlines require one to two transits, resulting on 4 - 11 hours of flight.

 

The best way is, probably, taking a direct flight from Denpasar. Most people just heard about the fascinating beauty of Flores and its potential when they have set foot in Bali, and probably that’s how you heard it too. And that is perfect as flying from Denpasar from Labuan Bajo only takes about 75 minutes. Plenty of Indonesian airlines offers multiple direct flights daily with various prices, so finding a flight should not be a serious issue.

It’s almost imperative to book a window seat on a flight to Labuan Bajo. You would not want to miss the impressive aerial view of the whole Flores archipelago. Minutes before your plane land to Flores, you will catch breathtaking scene of jewel-blue water, gradually change into azure and transparent turquoise water as it gets close to the shore before it ends on sugary white sands the green island. It’s best to book arrive at noon so you can hang out a little in the port town, meet your Padar Island trip teams, and do a little adventure in the Flores itself. The Cunca waterfalls and other Flores natural wonders are waiting!

Once you have landed on Labuan Bajo, the rest of it is an adventure. That includes the three hours boat ride from Labuan Bajo’s white and crisp wooden dock, where your luxurious Komodo Liveaboard standing gallantly at the end of the dock, to the islands that have been enlisted in your Labuan Bajo tour. For three hours, you will be indulged by miles and miles of open sea. Sunlight floods the deck and everything around you smells like the ocean. Throughout the journey, you will pass series of islets with rugged brown peaks looming so high, looking so raw you can almost feel vibes of the Lost World immediately.

Once you set your foot on the boat that will take you to Padar island tour, you will realize how the sailing trip is one of the adventures of its own. With the right Komodo Liveaboard, it’s a wonderful blend of gorgeous appetizer and 9-star natural luxury resort that will leave you totally speechless.

 

What You Need to Prepare

Hiking Shoes

Say goodbye to your beloved trekking mountain sandals. Though it has been serving you good to many of your adventures, it won’t protect you through the sands and gravel of the steep terrain. Your hiking shoes will protect you better.

 

Sunscreen and Hat

During your Flores Komodo tour, sunscreen is a must. Especially if you are trekking to the Padar hilltop in the middle of the day. It’s your protector against the sunburn, irritation, and the danger of skin cancer. Sunscreen with minimum SPF 50 is your best bet. If possible, get the sunscreen cream that doubles as mosquito repeller to prevent the nasty bite and malaria. Pair your sunscreen with a hat for extra protection from the sun.

 

Sunburn Gel

The beauty of Padar is so captivating you gonna need to spend every waking minute there. Yet, keep in mind that Padar very few of trees and most of the area are open grass which provides almost zero shades. With every minute you spent on the gorgeous hills, your skin is more prone to sunburn and irritation. Having sunburn gel in handy, such as aloe vera gel, will help to soothe your skin when it gets burnt from the strong sun.

 

Camera

No one can deny that the island is a hot spot for any photography enthusiast. Granted, the majestic view of Gili Padar is the major reason why adventurers are willing to sail across the sea and get all sweating for climbing the hills. And to make the moment last, you need a good camera that will stand the weather and give you a lifetime supply of stunning views. Drone is great to capture the whole landscape from an aerial view, to fly and give a thorough, birds-eye view from all hills and valley that probably cannot be done with regular DSLR camera.

 

Clothes

Considering the relatively short trek and hot weather, it’s necessary to armor yourself with heavy-duty trekking gear. Just take a pair of T-shirts and shorts and you will be good. It’s okay even to climb with bikini tops, as long as you have generously slather a good amount of sunscreen to your body.

 

Medicine

Reaching Padar takes a lot of effort, and the rocky ground may leave you with a scratch or two. Bring a pack of first-aid everywhere you go. Plus, most of your time will be spent inside the boat, so bringing medicine to counter seasickness is a good idea. Nobody wants to be disturbed with nausea and cold when they are supposed to enjoy the breathtaking view of the ocean during the excursion.

 

Water Bottle

As Padar mainly consist of hilly terrain and topped with the hot and humid weather, you gonna really need lots of water to keep you hydrated. Take minimum 1.5-liter water with your backpack for your water supply. Keep in mind that the island has zero food stalls, so it’s wise to bring along some snack with you too.

 

Masks and Buffs

The terrain is dry and windy, and a journey to the summit will feature lots blowing sands. It’s best to take a good mask to protect your face and breathe, especially when you are visiting Padar in the middle of the dry season.

 

Best Time to Make Padar Island Tour

The Komodo National Park falls into the nation’s driest region, but it enjoys some good and heavy rain during December to March. This is not the best time to make Flores Komodo tour, though, as the islands are windy and wet, and the high waves might prohibit the Liveaboard to dock. Right after the monsoon, however, Padar enjoys its greenest state. Between April to June, the hills rise and drops with lush green grasses, and look very good in contrast with the sea, sky, and the beaches. From July to November, the dry season comes and turn our Neverland into crisp and beautiful woodland savanna, something very exceptional from any other part of Indonesia.

After all of the journey, what left from Padar island tour is good times and tan lines. When it’s time to go back to the Liveaboard, you’ll secretly wish that Padar will remain like this. Untouched and pure. And in the end, you will leave with sandy toes and sun-kissed nose, and a heart full of the beauty of Indonesia.