From the summit of Padar Island, you can see more beaches than you can count on your fingers. The Pulau Padar Island hike to the viewpoint is one of my all-time favorite adventures in Komodo and even in Indonesia. It’s a short hike and the island is challenging to reach but it’s all worth it once you reach the top.
I have seen some pretty crazy views from the top of hikes in the past but the summit on Pulau Padar Island hike is out of this world. Padar Island is the third largest land mass within the Komodo National Park and can be found between Komodo and Rinca Island (Both home to Komodo Dragons). Padar was home to Komodo Dragons in the past, however, lack of food and hunting drove them away.
The island is known for having beautiful, but short treks and is a hot spot for photographers. Because of the panoramic view at the top of the viewpoint, this spot can be great for both sunrise and sunset. Either way, you will have to do a little bit of trekking in the dark.
How to get to Padar Island
To get to Padar Island you can either take a day trip from Labuan Bajo or reach Padar as part of your Komodo Diving Liveaboard. I was on the second day of my Liveaboard experience. I think a liveaboard is the best way to visit Padar Island. A liveaboard is essentially a big boat that has cabins and all the equipment for scuba-diving, snorkeling and a kitchen etc. You live on the boat hence the term ‘liveaboard’. By sleeping on the boat it means you don’t have to transit to and from Labuan Bajo each day and you can be right at the base of Padar or other hikes and scuba sites ready for sunrise.
A liveaboard includes all of your meals, scuba dives and activities and can range anywhere from $200 a night all the way up to $1000 a night for the most luxurious cabins and boats. You hardly spend any time in your cabin so I suggest getting a budget boat/cabin and enjoy the experience and this amazing part of the world. I can honestly say that both of my liveaboard experiences have been the some of my favorite travel moments. You really do feel free and on such an adventure.
To book a liveaboard you can go to a website like Liveaboard.com and they list all of the different boats and trips available. They show you the cabins on each boat and also the list of activities and dives each trip includes. They are generally the most reliable site rather and are a global brand with a good reputation.
Check rates and availability: Komodo Liveaboards
My journey to Padar Island
We sailed from Labuan Bajo on our Komodo liveaboard, which is one of the only ways to arrive at Padar. A liveaboard is an awesome experience, where you sleep, dive and explore from a beautiful sailboat throughout Komodo. It took us a little over three hours. Along the way, we stopped at Mesa Village, which is home to a colony of sea nomads and then we also stopped off at a couple of snorkeling spots that had crystal clear water.
We anchored our boat and took the smaller boat to the shore where the hike begins. You first scramble your way up a dusty hill, which I believe has now been replaced by stairs. This trek is definitely more about the views than a tough hike. From start to finish it took us only 20 minutes.
Some people were struggling as the hike is quite steep but it genuinely took us less than 20 minutes to reach the summit so if you are in decent shape this is a pretty mild hike.
Padar Island Hike is photography heaven
There are many lookouts and photo opportunities along the way. About halfway up there is a rocky outcrop that gives you a vantage point of 4 beaches. This is probably the most popular spot to get amazing shots from. However, it is truly an inspiring location and you can discover amazing views in all directions.
We decided to avoid the huge crowd at the popular lookout and ventured even higher. Our new spot had an obstructed view of two of the beaches but gave us a view of several others. If someone asked me what to compare this hike to I think the only thing that comes to mind is dinosaur territory.
Gili Laba is another awesome viewpoint in Komodo National Park that you should check out for sunrise.
Although it is quite an effort to get to Padar Island, if you are cruising around the area it is definitely worth the effort. Watching the setting sun from the top of Padar Island will be a moment from my trip to Indonesia that I will never forget.