Gili Laba Darat, also known as Gili Lawa is one of the several breathtaking viewpoints in Komodo National Park, Flores.
How to get to the Gili Laba viewpoint
Komodo National Park is quite a tough location to get to and to get around once you are in the region. I was on a 3-day liveaboard, which was honestly one of the highlights of my year. I’ve done a liveaboard in Komodo twice now and it is so much fun. They range from budget to luxury and it’s a great way to immerse yourself in Komodo National Park and to make the most of the ocean and scenery rather than staying in a hotel or staying on Flores and doing a day trip. Many liveaboards will include a trek up Padar Island or Gili Laba so check the itinerary of the liveaboard you choose or arrange with the tour organizer.
There are lots of liveaboards that include the Gili Laba sunrise hike on their itinerary.
You can Click Here to compare liveaboards and to check the availability and pricing of the tours in the Raja Ampat region.
Alternatively, a day trip with snorkeling or scuba is possible from Flores mainland, where the airport is located. I haven’t done this but it seems a bit rushed to me and the liveaboard is definitely the way to go if you have a couple of days in the area.
Gili Laba hike for sunrise
Waking up on a liveaboard in the middle of the stunning Komodo National Park made the 3:30 am start a little easier to deal with. The sun was not even close to making its first appearance as we clambered down the stairs and jumped into the smaller speedboat. Our liveaboard was docked near Gili Laba so we only had a short boat trip before cruising into the shore and leaping off the boat onto the sand.
Our mission for the morning was to make the short but steep trek up to the Gili Laba viewpoint. We came slightly underprepared with no torches and questionable footwear but despite the steep ascent, it is quite a simple hike. I do advise wearing a pair of shoes although many people in our group opted for flip-flops and some even went barefoot. A phone light or torch will make the trip up a little easier and safer.
From bottom to top it took us about fifteen minutes with a couple of breaks. It is a similar trek to the Padar Island hike, which is the more well-known viewpoint in Komodo National Park. I was expecting a good view but I wasn’t sure it could outdo the view from Padar.
I think Padar is still the best viewpoint in the area but Gili Laba definitely surprised me. It was an awesome viewpoint looking out over a cerulean blue bay. From the viewpoint, we could see the reef underneath the boats docked in the bay.
The sunrise was as good as we could have asked for. The pre sun-set colors were vibrant reds and oranges before the sun crept over the horizon painting the sky with pastel purples and pinks. Once the sun fully came up the backside of the hike was perfectly lit to take landscape photos of the surrounding mountains and crystal-clear water.
On the way down we took a different path. This time we headed further into the middle of the island before looping back around towards the beach. This path was much easier and had less of an incline. If you aren’t one for stairs or steep climbs you can use this back path to go both up and down and it will be much safer. Having said that it wasn’t dangerous at all in my opinion.
We were up and down at our leisurely pace with lots of photos and drone flights in a couple of hours. We headed back to the boat for breakfast and started the rest of our day at 9 am after enjoying one of the best sunsets of my 2017 so far!
Tips to know before you hike Gili Laba (Gili Lawa)
- Check what time the sun will rise and arrive at the shore an hour before this time. That way you will have enough time to trek up and relax as the sun slowly rises. There’s nothing worse than having to rush up a mountain as the color is already on fire!
- Wear enclosed shoes as the ground is rocky and quite slippery.
- Bring a torch or a phone light to illuminate your path so you can find good footing for each step.
- Bring water and maybe some early morning snacks.
- If you don’t like heavy inclines there is a back route, which had a far more gradual incline.
This hike was part of the awesome Trip of Wonders with the Indonesia Tourism Board.