Traveling with A Kid at Komodo National Park

Submitted by viravira on 2 December 2013   •  Opinion

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When planning for traveling with a kid (or children) to “the wild”, city parents usually have doubts, which is a good thing to some extent. It would be too bad though, if parents decide to never ever take the kids out to unfamiliar places and do things out of their comfort zone, as their knowledge and experience would be limited to just the familiar things. We see a lot of scared parents, especially in Indonesia, when it comes to vacations outside the ordinary. So we were happy to know that our friend Asri, and her husband Sami, took their little girl to Komodo National Park in a school holiday. Curious, we set an interview with Asri via e-mail asking about her experience traveling with children to Komodo National Park, and we just have to share it with you guys 🙂

traveling with a kid
Asri and Nataya trekking on Rinca Island

You guys took your 6 year-old Nataya to Komodo National Park for a vacation. That’s a rare thing to do for Indonesian parents. And we’re nosy enough to ask you: why?


Because we wanted to spend our vacation at another beautiful place in Indonesia besides Bali. We know that Indonesia has lots of beautiful destinations that need to be explored. Thinking of the breathtaking scenery, virgin beaches, exotic meals, unique art and craft products, and other interesting things, which are spread from Aceh to Papua really makes us curious. We thought Indonesia has lots to offer in spending holidays, so why not exploring our own country?

Why Komodo National Park? Why not, for instance, Medan or Makassar?


Well, Medan and Makassar sound nice, we should put them on our list, but our priorities are places with nice virgin beaches.

traveling with a kidArriving and snorkeling at Kelor Island

How did you do the vacation?


We stayed at La Prima, a 4-star-hotel with a beachfront view and a nice pool facing the Pede Beach in Labuan Bajo for 3 nights. Overall the hotel was nice and clean although the breakfast buffet was not so good but it was all covered with the amazing sunset view every afternoon.

We think our holiday in Labuan Bajo was a bit over-budget, especially for the transportation and the meal expenses. We didn’t rent any car nor using public transportations. The common public transportation in Labuan Bajo is ojek (motorcyle-taxi), which wouldn’t be comfortable for our daughter. So when we had to go to the city for lunch, tea-break or dinner, we had to use the shuttle-car provided by the hotel, which cost us around IDR 50,000 per trip). Eating in a restaurant in Labuan Bajo was a bit pricey, we could spend around IDR 200,000-300,000 total for three persons. But that’s okay as we brought our daughter along. Comfort and hygiene were our priorities.

Sami and I really wanted to explore the city on foot, visiting the local market, the port and other places, hunting for photos with interesting angles. But the weather was extremely hot, not very convenient for our daughter to walk around. Extreme hot weather easily makes little girls feeling tired and fussy!

traveling with children to Komodo National ParkTop: Sunset view from La Prima hotel. Bottom: Sami and Nataya on the streets of Labuan Bajo.


We visited Rinca Island, where the Komodo National Park was located, on the third day. Though going by a speedboat would be more comfortable and save much time, it would also be quite costly, so we chose to go by a traditional boat. Lucky for us, the weather was very nice and clear, thus the sea was very calm, making the trip very enjoyable for us. We really adored the beautiful scenery along the way! Blue sky, blue sea, turquoise (my favorite color!) water on several spots, and pretty islands with gorgeous savanna. Very nice and refreshing!

Living-on-board sounds very interesting to us, but probably not for now. We should really wait until Nataya is old enough to experience this kind of trip.

traveling with a kidVisiting komodo dragons on Rinca Island. Parents better still have strong backs!


How did Nataya enjoy the trip?


To our surpise, Nataya enjoyed the holiday very much. She told us that it was the best vacation ever! Hahaha.. She really enjoys the beach 🙂

Was it a hassle for you and Sami? Tell us the ups and downs.


So far, so good. We couldn’t remember any downs at all! It was ups the whole trip 🙂

traveling with children to Komodo National Park
All smiles on the boat to Rinca Island.


Any tips for parents who travel with their little kids?


Most parents usually choose a holiday destination that provides particular entertainment for children, such as zoo, outdoor playground, etc. That is fair enough. So do we. But we always try to insert alternative activities or places when we are on holiday. We’ve visited the zoo and outdoor playgrounds in Bandung, where we live. Though they are not as good as the ones in Bali or Singapore, we didn’t see why we should visit similar places when we are on vacation. We hope to open up Nataya’s way of thinking by taking her to new places and exposing her to new experiences.

When we decided to go to Labuan Bajo and the Komodo Islands, we were sure enough that Nataya would love it. Because, basically, she loves the sun, the sea, the beach and nice meals. And we knew she could get all those things in Labuan Bajo and the Komodo Islands 🙂

traveling with children to Komodo National ParkTop: Ice cream, something familiar to Nataya. Bottom: Labuan Bajo port, something new for her to see.

What are the “must bring” items when traveling with a kid?


Nowadays, a tablet is the easiest way to kill the kids’ boredom on a long trip. Sami carried a tab just in case Nataya got bored. But we tried hard that the tab should be the last option for her.

We always try to convince Nataya to be happy with what she had prepared for herself from home. And she was excited when choosing which books, coloring pencils, stuffed-animals to bring along and to be played later during the trip.

traveling with a kidSometimes children are capable to entertain themselves on the road 🙂

Which destination are you going to take Nataya on the next vacation? And why?


Yogyakarta is on our next list. We are planning to take her there by train. She really wants to go on a trip by train. She has never been to Yogyakarta, hopefully she would enjoy the traditional Javanese ambience there. Besides, we’ve heard about the pretty beach located near Yogyakarta, which is a must-visit.


Now, what do you guys think is the ideal vacation for kids? Is traveling with children to Komodo National Park something up your alley? What kind of destinations would you choose when traveling with a kid?

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