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Padar Island: Epic Hike & Viewpoint in Flores, Indonesia

Padar Island: Epic Hike & Viewpoint in Flores, Indonesia

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

Discover Padar Island in Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Find the best ways to get to the island, what to expect, and tips for the Padar Island viewpoint hike.

There’s no doubt that you’ve already seen a photo of the iconic, Jurassic landscape atop Padar Island in Komodo National Park. If you type in “Komodo Island” in Google, it’s probably the image that will appear first!

In this guide, I’ll give you a complete rundown of how to visit Padar Island, locally known as Pulau Padar, based on my own experience. I’ll also provide tips on the best ways to get there and what to expect on the epic hike to the summit.

Padar Island Overview

Below are some quick and helpful things to know about visiting Padar Island and hiking to the viewpoint.

  • You can reach Padar via organized boat tours from Labuan Bajo, Flores or via the famous 4-day boat trip from Lombok (more info below). Direct flights to Labuan Bajo are available from Bali and other regions across Indonesia & beyond.
  • There are options for boat day trips or multi-day liveaboards but there are no public boats to Padar Island.
  • Currently, there's a 150,000 IDR entrance fee for Padar, plus Komodo National Park fees—150,000 IDR on weekdays and 225,000 IDR on weekends.
  • The hike to the viewpoint is a moderate, path with newly installed steps leading to the summit. At the top, you'll get epic views of tri-colored beaches and the jagged peaks of Padar. The hike takes about 20 minutes from the beach to the peak.
  • There are no Komodo dragons on Padar. You can visit Komodo Island or Rinca to spot them, with some day trips combining trips to Padar Island.
  • Best Time to Visit: April to November during the Dry Season for optimal weather conditions. Shoulder seasons offer fewer crowds. During the wet season, you can expect daily downpours, and fewer boats, but much greener conditions.
Beaches of padar island

Where is Padar Island?

Padar Island is located within Komodo National Park and is part of the Lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia. The closest major town is Labuan Bajo. Since this island is quite remote, you usually require an organized boat trip to get here.

By far, the easiest way to get to Padar Island is from Labuan Bajo in Flores. This is the starting point for visiting Komodo National Park in Indonesia.

This is especially true if you want to experience the Padar Island hike viewpoint for sunrise, which offers the best conditions.

We visited Padar Island for the first time on the amazing 4-day boat trip from Lombok– one of my favorite experiences in Indonesia. However, we also visited a second time on a regular day trip from Flores and I have provided recommendations to help you find a good trip below.

Travel tip: To get to Labuan Bajo, you can find cheap flights from Bali or other destinations in Indonesia, as well as some international routes.

Padar island boat harbor

Padar Boat Trip From Labuan Bajo

For those already in Labuan Bajo, Flores, you have the option of booking a one-day boat trip or a 2-day liveaboard boat trip departing from the main harbor. Unfortunately, no public boats are going to Padar Island, so booking an island-hopping tour like this is going to be your best bet.

The great thing about booking a one-day trip is that you'll get to the other top highlights in Komodo National Park including Pink Beach and a trip to Komodo Island to see the dragons.

Boats at padar island

How to Book a Day Trip to Padar Island

There are several of these island hopping tours available in Labuan Bajo. To save money, it's recommended to try to organize these trips with other travelers.

Depending on which tour you book, you'll get a fast (1.5 hours) or slow (3 hours) boat. Faster boats are generally better since you'll get to spend more time on the islands.

Trip prices vary greatly depending on the season and demand. If you want to get the most value for time and money in Komodo, I recommend checking out this amazing 3-day liveaboard, which will give you the most comprehensive tour of Komodo National Park.

Most day trips stop at other Komodo National Park highlights like Pink Beach, Manta Point, Komodo Island, and Rinca Island, so if you're planning to visit these anyway, you'll save money by going on the same day.

Girl on komodo national park boat trip in indonesia

Fees for Visiting Padar Island

In 2024 you should know there is now a new entrance fee to visit Padar Island of 150,000 IDR per person on top of the standard Komodo National Park fee of 150,000 on weekdays and 225,000 on weekends. These fees are payable by your tour guide or boat diver at a small booth once you step onto the main beach.

If you want to visit South Padar Island, there is also now a new fee of 400,000 IDR to do this. However, you don't need to pay this fee to hike to the Padar viewpoint.

This means that the various fees in the Komodo National Park can really add up, especially if you plan on spending a couple of days exploring the area.

The good news is that the base Komodo National Park fee covers all islands in the park. This is why I recommend visiting many places in Komodo National Park in one day to avoid paying the fee again.

These fees are significantly higher than the first time I visited Padar Island in 2019. And, it looks like they are increasing yearly, so it's best to double check.

Update: There was talks for a long time about a price increase for the Komodo National Park fee of 3.75 million IDR. However, this was scrapped in late December 2022, with the 150,000 IDR National Park fee still valid as of 2024.

Padar island at sunrise

What to Expect at Padar Island

The majority of boat trips heading to Palau Padar visit early in the morning for the amazing Padar Island viewpoint hike.

This is the biggest attraction of the island since it is no longer home to Komodo Dragons like its neighbors Komodo Island and Rinca.

However, that doesn't mean that there's not more to enjoy! The beaches on Padar are absolutely amazing, ranging from pure white to pink sand beaches. That said, the main beach when you arrive on the island is often quite crowded with boats, so it's best to explore the opposite coast for snorkeling and swimming.

Beaches on padar island, komodo national park
Padar island from above

The Padar Island Hike

  • Padar Island height: 185 meters above sea level
  • Steps: Roughly 1,000 steps to the top viewpoint
  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

The first time I hiked up to Padar viewpoint, it followed a sandy, weathered trail. However, in recent years the Komodo National Park authorities have built a wooden pathway with around 1,000 steps making the start of the hike much easier.

This first section climbs steeply but is manageable for anybody with a general level of fitness. Next, you'll enjoy a fairly steep ascent to several grassy viewpoint hills where you can catch varying perspectives of the incredible island.

If you've got a camera, or even if you possess a slight interest in landscape photography, then the Padar Island hike will certainly be your type of adventure. I'm not one to usually talk up a viewpoint that's already been photographed millions of times, but this place was so breathtaking that it's hard not to rant.

Maybe it's better to let the pictures do the talking.

Padar island viewpoint

View from Padar Island Viewpoint

The view from the top of Padar Island is one of my favorites in all of Indonesia. From the top, I saw a trio of distinct bay areas, each with its own uniquely colored beach — one white, one pink, and another black.

The surrounding waters are exceptionally blue and contrast beautifully with the orange glow of the rugged mountains during the dry season.

Hiking to the padar viewpoint

Padar Island Hike Height

The highest point at the Padar Island viewpoint is approximately 185 meters above sea level. The path is fairly steep but doesn't require any technical climbing skills. Just put your head down and try and get up there before the crowds!

I recommend a sunrise hike for the best views.

How Difficult is the Viewpoint Hike?

Don't worry, the hike really isn't difficult, and anybody with general fitness shouldn't have a problem. To reach the summit from the beach, it shouldn't take much longer than 20 minutes from the beach.

Photography and Drones at Padar Island

There are plenty of opportunities to capture breathtaking photos both during the Padar Island hike and at the summit. If you have a wide lens and you'd like to avoid selfy-stick-wielding tourists in your shots, then I'd suggest grabbing a few shots at the halfway mark or on the first grassy hill below the summit.

Beaches on padar island
Sunrise photography of padar island

Can I Fly My Drone from the top of the Viewpoint?

Legally, the Komodo National Park restricts the flying of drones without a permit in the entire park, including Padar Island.

That being said, you'd be hard-pressed to visit Padar Island for sunrise without hearing at least a few drones launching.

If you're looking for another great place to get drone photos, check out the Pink Beach.

Best Time to Visit Padar Island

The best time to visit Padar Island and the Komodo National Park is in the Dry Season, between April and November. These months see less rain, with hot but tolerable temperatures.

The busiest time of year is July and August and therefore a great option is to visit Padar Island in the shoulders seasons of April to June and October to November.

During the Wet Season and the first months of the Dry Season, the view from the Padar Island hike is a refreshing shade of green. The later on in the year it gets, the Padar landscape dries to an almost orange color, which in my opinion is still a spectacular contrast with the blue ocean below.

Padar island, indonesia

Are There Komodo Dragons on Padar Island?

While Padar Island used to be home to Komodo Dragons, it's no longer the case. The combination of a lack of food and hunting drove the dragons away from Padar several decades ago.

So, you won't need to keep an eye out for any Komodo Dragons on the Padar Island hike. Instead, you'll find Komodo Dragons on the neighboring islands including Komodo Island, Rinca, Gili Montang and Gili Dasami.

Wild komodo dragon at komodo national park
Sunrise in komodo national park, indonesia

Scuba Diving Liveaboard to Padar Island

It's no secret that the Komodo National Park is a diving hotspot. If you're a diver considering a liveaboard, I found that most will include a stop to do the Padar Island hike on their itinerary.

There are a plethora of Dive shops offering liveaboards from anywhere in the duration of 2 to 14-day trips.

Unfortunately, I can't comment or recommend a liveaboard, since I didn't go on one. However, I can recommend iDive Komodo based on their day dives. We dove with them and they have an excellent fleet of boats, professional staff, great food, and best of all, they're local. This means your money is going back into Flores and not overseas to German or Swedish bank accounts.

Wanua adventures komodo boat from lombok
Sunrise, padar island, indonesia
Palau padar, indonesia

Where to Stay in Labuan Bajo

There are plenty of great accommodation options in Labuan Bajo. A good tip is to pick a place close to the port, especially if you're planning on taking some boat trips out to Komodo National Park. Below are the three top picks for various budgets.

Ayana komodo waecicu beach bedroom with ocean views

1. AYANA Komodo Waecicu Beach Luxury

If you want luxury go no further than Ayana. This 5-star resort has everything from a fitness center, a private dock, and a kids club. It boasts 6 on-site restaurants which serve a range of cuisines.

Le pirate island adult only tent accommodation

2. Le Pirate Island Unique-Stay

Experience Island life on the incredible Le Pirate Island just a short distance from Labuan Bajo. With glamping tents and incredible ocean views, this is one that shouldn’t be missed. 

Seaesta komodo hostel & hotel

3. Seaesta Komodo Hostel & Hotel Budget

The best choice for backpackers wanting to watch the sunset whilst sipping a cocktail in the infinity pool. It has everything you would need for a great price.

More Indonesia Travel Inspiration

I hope that this comprehensive guide to visiting Padar Island has answered all of your questions and made your trip planning a little easier. While you're here, make sure to check out some of my other related posts below for more inspiration!

If you're visiting Labuan Bajo, I recommend this secret sunset viewpoint hike, as well as a stop at the Batu Cermin Cave.

Padar island hike - best sunrise viewpoint in indonesia?
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.