KAYAKING / DRAGONS / ORANGUTANS AND VOLCANOS
The following is general information on the destination of your expedition. It will included such things as trip extensions, accommodation, history, ecology and more.
The page is split into several sections:-
1. Kayaking Information (including dragons)
4. General Information
The information is printable and emailable.
For specific trip Predeparture Information click on the link found on the page of the expedition you have chosen.
KAYAK SPECIFIC INFORMATION - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Sea-kayaking - What's it like?
Sea-kayaking is a most wonderful way to explore the world. It's inexpensive and environmentally-friendly, does not require months of training and superior strength, and is good for the body and soul. Sea-kayaking can take you beyond the reach of civilization into the natural world, into the space between earth, sea and sky.
2. Is it easy to learn? Do I have to be fit?
No prior experience is necessary. As long as you are in good health and have a good general fitness along with a sense of adventure, you will quickly master the skills needed to paddle and steer your kayak. Our experienced guides will give an introductory lesson at the beginning of the journey, and will be there to help and keep everyone happy and safe throughout. Obviously the fitter you are, the more enjoyable your experience will be and the easier you will find the kayaking sections.
3. Would the expedition be too hard/too easy for me?
We believe both the 5 day and the 10 day program have some challenging sections but they are not beyond the person with general fitness. Our 6 day program has a little less kayaking involved, however if you are physically fit and have a sense of adventure then all our expeditions would be suited to you.
4. Is it safe?
The Komodo Islands are a sheltered island group and as such large swells are uncommon. There are sections of the sea that have amazing whirlpools, but these are easily navigated through.
The sea-kayaks we use are sleek and very stable, and all are equipped with the usual safety features.
The No Roads guides have kayaked, worked and adventured in wild places for many years, and are skilled in risk-management and emergency medical care.
Finally, each expedition has a support boat which is always close by to help out anyone in trouble and we have radio contact with the Park Rangers office.
5. Do I need to be able to swim?
No. In the unlikely event that your sea-kayak should capsize, you will easily exit the boat and your high-buoyancy life-jacket will keep you afloat. Even snorkeling is possible for non-swimmers, with the help of your guide and your life-jacket.
6. What's our group size?
We keep our groups small, a maximum of 9 on each, to minimize our impact on the places we pass through, and to maximize our enjoyment of each day.
7. Are the kayaks singles or doubles?
We use double kayaks, what means you will be paddling with another person. You may like to book with a friend and paddle together, or you may be happy to get to know your fellow travelers' by kayaking with them.
For more experienced kayaks we can convert the kayak into a single if you wish.
8. What about the sleeping arrangements?
This depends on the expedition you choose. The majority of nights on the kayaking part of the expedition are usually spent in tents on a deserted beach, however we do have one night in cabins on board our support boat. The rest of the accommodation is in Hotels, in Bali & Labuan Bajo (depending on your expedition). All accommodation is twin share, however a single supplement is available at additional costs.
In Bali we stay at the Holiday Inn Resort in Tuban. This hotel is situated right on the beach and only a 5 minute drive from the airport, which makes your transfer to and from the airport nice and easy. It is away from the main hustle and bustle of Kuta, however it is close enough to be part of it, if you wish.
In Labuan Bajo we stay at the Puri Sari Hotel. This hotel is also situated right on the beach a few minutes out of the centre of the town and it also boasts one of the few pools in the region.
9. Is diving possible?
The snorkeling and scuba-diving around the park are world-class, and are highly recommended activities. If do not wish to use the snorkel gear we have, equipment can be bought in Labuan Bajo or you can bring your own from home. If you wish to SCUBA we suggest you extend your stay and organize a dive from the hotel in Labuan Bajo. All equipment is available for hire. Alternatively, you can add a SCUBA Day to your kayaking trip for an extra $170. This will provide you with 2 dives at some of the Komodo's best dive sites. The SCUBA Dive operator will meet us out in the park and drop you back to us after the dives.
10. Apart from the sea-kayaking, snorkeling and scuba-diving, what else is there to do?
Where do we start, there's lying in hammocks, reading books, going fishing, swimming, beach-combing, meeting the locals, walking through forests, bird-watching, taking photos, exploring, playing beach volleyball, and coconut petanque, dining with friends, sharing stories, watching the sun set, playing guitars, gazing at stars, sleeping soundly.... or maybe just doing nothing and watching the day go by. You'll love it!
11. Why don't we visit Komodo Island itself?
While the island of Komodo has Dragons on it, Rinca is a much better place to witness the Dragons. Furthermore, the seas around Komodo and Rinca are riddled with strong currents, whirlpools and mysterious swells and the stretches between Komodo and the Rangers Office are at time treacherous and too far to paddle to be enjoyable. Rinca is also a smaller island with a similar number of Dragons and therefore your chances of spotting them in the wild are alot higher.
No Roads uses some of the best double sea kayaks in the world, the Australian manufactured Komodo. The Komodo's versatility to convert from a single to a double kayak makes it a perfect craft for expeditions. They have supreme stability. In fact we have never seen anyone fall out of these kayaks.
Made from durable plastic and with heaps of storage, the Komodo is the perfect expedition kayak for the Komodo Islands. This is not a sit on top kayak, the Komodo is a full sit in kayak with rudder pedals.
KOMODO NATIONAL PARK
Komodo National Park is located in the center of the Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. Established in 1980, initially the main purpose of the Park was to conserve the unique Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) and its habitat. However, over the years, the goals for the Park have expanded to protecting its entire biodiversity, both terrestrial and marine. In 1986, the Park was declared a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, both indications of the Park's biological importance.
Komodo National Park includes three major islands: Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as numerous smaller islands creating a total surface area (marine and land) of 1817 km2 (proposed extensions would bring the total surface area up to 2,321km2). As well as being home to the Komodo dragon, the Park provides refuge for many other notable terrestrial species such as the orange-footed scrub fowl, an endemic rat, and the Timor deer. Moreover, the Park includes one of the richest marine environments including coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass beds, seamounts, and semi-enclosed bays. These habitats harbor more than 1,000 species of fish, some 260 species of reef-building coral, and 70 species of sponges. Dugong, sharks, manta rays, at least 14 species of whales, dolphins, and sea turtles also make Komodo National Park their home.
Threats to terrestrial biodiversity include the increasing pressure on forest cover and water resources as the local human population has increased 800% over the past 60 years. In addition, the Timor deer population, the preferred prey source for the endangered Komodo dragon, is still being poached. Destructive fishing practices such as dynamite-, cyanide, and compressor fishing severely threaten the Park's marine resources by destroying both the habitat (coral reefs) and the resource itself (fish and invertebrate stocks). The present situation in the Park is characterized by reduced but continuing destructive fishing practices primarily by immigrant fishers, and high pressure on demersal stocks like lobsters, shellfish, groupers and napoleon wrasse. Pollution inputs, ranging from raw sewage to chemicals, are increasing and may pose a major threat in the future.
Today, the PKA Balai Taman Nasional Komodo and The Nature Conservancy are working together to protect the Park's vast resources. Their goals are to protect the Park's biodiversity (both marine and terrestrial) and the breeding stocks of commercial fishes for replenishment of surrounding fishing grounds. The main challenge is to reduce both threats to the resources and conflicts between incompatible activities. Both parties have a long term commitment to protecting the marine biodiversity of Komodo National Park.
Komodo dragons are the largest lizard still living on Earth, but they are not the largest reptile. Alligators and crocodiles get bigger than Komodo dragons.
Komodo Dragons are a monitor lizard. Their scientific name is Varanus komodoensis. They grow to 3m in length and can weigh as much as 150kg. While they are usually slow moving, they can put on spurts of speed equal to a dog.
Komodo Dragons drool copiously. Their saliva is not venomous, but the mouth of a Komodo Dragon is so full of bacteria that a bite from one almost always leads to infection. If untreated, the infection is usually fatal. This is one way in which the Dragons get food. They hide in the scraggly jungle and wait for a victim to pass by. The victim is most often a deer, caribou or goat. The Dragon attacks the prey, and may succeed in killing it on the spot. Otherwise, the bites sustained by the victim will generally kill it eventually, and the Dragons will then eat the carrion.
However, recent studies have shown that the saliva of the Dragon is not the main reason why prey dies from a Dragon bite. It has been discovered that the Dragon produces venom that is passed into the prey through the bite. The venom is extremely toxic and usually causes death to larger beasts such as deer and buffalo within a day.
The giant lizards have powerful claws which they use to devastating effect in fights with other lizards. Males have scratching fights with each other during mating season.
Komodo Dragons are excellent swimmers, and can swim from one island to another. The island of Komodo has many beautiful beaches where a visitor can play and swim, but the presence of Komodo Dragon foot- and tail-prints in the sand warns the visitor to be cautious and watchful.
Some of Komodo's beaches have beautiful pink sand, tinted by fragments of red coral mixed in with other shell and coral fragments. Other beaches have gray sand derived from cliffs of rhyolite. Heavy black sand composed of nearly pure magnetite accumulates next to the cliffs.
The snorkeling and diving around Komodo are some of the best in the world, especially for seeing soft corals. A professional diver told us, "You know, when you're a diver, you spend your life dreaming of and searching for the best dive site in the world. Well, Komodo is it."
The current population of Komodo Dragons seems relatively stable at about 5,000 animals, yet scientists are concerned that only 350 of them are breeding females. This may be a normal sex ratio; little is known about the species. The Dragon's limited distribution makes them highly susceptible to natural or human-caused events, such as storms, fire, or disease.
The primary threats to the Dragon's survival include illegal hunting and loss of habitat to human settlement. As was the case with most large, spectacular animals the world over, Komodo Dragons were sought as trophies by big-game hunters. They also are killed for skins and feet to make novelties. Early in this century, many Komodo Dragons were trapped for sale to zoos and private collectors.
Trade in Komodo Dragons is prohibited under CITES. Protection from poaching is made easier by the Dragon's limited distribution; there is little human habitation on the islands where it occurs, and Komodo Island, the dragon's stronghold, has been made a national park.
WHAT IS CITES?
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement signed in 1973.
The Convention regulates international trade of threatened and endangered animals (live or dead), animal parts, and plants. However, it is not an international agreement on the conservation of endangered species and does not prohibit killing endangered animals or require that nations protect habitat. The laws of an individual country determine whether it is legal to kill an animal or sell.
Under CITES, each protected species is assigned to one of three categories. Those listed in Appendix I are most vulnerable, and they may not be traded for commercial purposes. Species listed in Appendix II are less vulnerable but are still in need of protection from overexploitation. They may be traded for commercial purposes, but their trade is strictly regulated. Export permits are required, and trade is not allowed to endanger the species' survival.
Parties to CITES must agree to place a species on Appendix I or II. Decisions often are controversial, such as the decision to upgrade the elephant from Appendix II to Appendix I, prohibiting all trade of ivory. A single country may place a species on Appendix III, the least vulnerable category, when the country needs international assistance to restrict the market for that species.
Enforcement of trade restrictions has proven to be very difficult. The ease of obtaining falsified export permits, the clever ways wildlife can be smuggled, and the large volume of trade make illegal trade very difficult to regulate.
Orangutans are highly intelligent with ability to reason and think. This large, gentle red ape is one of our closest relatives, sharing 97% of our DNA. Indigenous peoples of Indonesia and Malaysia call this ape "Orang Hutan" literally translating into English as "People of the Forest".
The Orangutan is a remarkable creature as it is the world's largest arboreal primate. Now faced with the possibility of extinction in the wild in the foreseeable future the following pages provide some interesting facts about the habits of Orangutans and their chances of survival.
Their eyes hold a story that are indecipherable and yet intuitively we relate to them. Just one look into those eyes and you are hooked. In times past, they would not kill them because they felt the Orangutan was simply a person hiding in the trees, trying to avoid having to go to work or become a slave.
Orangutans are unique in the ape world. There are four kinds of great apes: gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and Orangutans. Only the Orangutan comes from Asia; the others all come from Africa. There are two separate species of Orangutan - the Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) and the Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)
The Orangutan is the only strictly arboreal ape and is actually the largest tree living mammal in the world. Although the rest of the apes do climb and build sleeping nests in the trees, they are primarily terrestrial (spending their lives on the ground). Even the hair color of the Orangutan, a bright reddish brown, is unique in the ape world.
The Orangutan has the most remarkable ability to travel through the forest treetops. Each night they will build nests out of leaves and branches in the very tops of the trees.
The upper tree canopy is where the Orangutan will live and sleep - sometimes a much as 100 feet above the ground. The Orangutan has little need to come down from this height as they are uniquely adapted for their arboreal lifestyle.
Almost all of the food they eat grows in the treetops and the frequent rains fill the leaves, supplying them with drinking water. When water is difficult to find, the chew leaves to make a sponge to soak up the droplets in tree cavities. However when it rains very hard, the Orangutan makes an umbrella for himself out of big leaves.
Many people are familiar with the studies that have shown chimpanzees using tools such as termite-fishing sticks. Recent studies show that some populations of Orangutans also fashion tools to aid in the difficult task of foraging for food.
Some might say Orangutans have four hands instead of two hands and two feet. These appendages make them graceful and agile while climbing through the trees but makes walking on the ground somewhat slow and awkward. This is why a Orangutan is at a great disadvantage on the ground, and an Orangutan rarely comes down from the treetops. Their food is there, their home is there and they are safer there.
An Orangutan's lifespan is about 35-40 years in the wild, and sometimes into the 50's in captivity. They reach puberty at about 8 years of age.
The Orangutan has the longest childhood dependence on a mother of any animal in the world, because there is so much for a young Orangutan to learn in order to survive. The babies nurse until they are about six years of age. The young males may stay close by their mothers for a few more years but the females stay until they are into their teens, allowing them to observe mothering skills as they watch their younger sibling being raised.
Orangutan females only give birth about once every 8 years - the longest time between births of any mammal on earth. (This results in only 4 to 5 babies in her lifetime.) This is why Orangutan populations are very slow to recover from any disturbances.
Food is often scarce in the rain forest and provides the main reason why the Orangutan is a semi-solitary creature. However, in times of great abundance of food, Orangutans may use the opportunity to socialize and gather in small groups.
Their diet is made up of bark, leaves, flowers, a variety of insects, and most importantly, over 300 kinds of fruit. The mothers must teach the babies what food to eat, where to find that food, in which trees and during which seasons. It is thought that Orangutans must have a very complex map of the forest in their mind, and detailed knowledge of the fruiting cycles of many species of trees. (This prevents wasting valuable energy searching for fruit trees randomly, and travelling to a certain fruiting tree whose fruits will not ripen for some time). The babies must eventually know hundreds of species of plants and trees, which ones are edible, and how to process them as some are very difficult to eat because they are protected by sharp spines and shells.
Compared with other apes, Orangutans are fairly unsociable creatures. The only real bond which is formed is between mother and offspring. The young stay with their mother until adolescence at about the age of seven, but after that they generally only see each other from time to time. The males move away in search of their own territories. Males travel long distances, paying little attention to other Orangutans that they meet.
When the males become sexually mature they develop many distinctive physical features that are very characteristic of Orangutans. Fleshy cheek pads form on both sides of their face and a high, fatty crown on their head. Their hair grows long and
a beard develops on their faces. They have an impressive call that they produce with the aid of their laryngeal sac (found under their chin). This is called the "Long Call" and is used to locate and advertise their presence to females or warn other males away.
Males often weigh over 200 pounds, where females are 1/3 to 1/2 his size.
The Orangutan is regarded as an "umbrella" species. Its arboreal tree-swinging journeys help to spread tree seeds - in fact some trees can only germinate when they have passed through its gut. The Orangutan is pivotal in creating the necessary environment for the thousands of fauna and flora which make up the biodiversity of the southeast asian rainforest.
Orangutans are one of the least understood of all apes, and are continually under threat from the actions of man. This is primarily from the illegal capture and trade of Orangutan young, but also due to the ever-depleting habitat caused by through the extensive logging of their forest homes.
The Orangutan is protected under CITES and is considered an endangered species.
WOMEN'S HEALTH and ISSUES
The Komodo Dragon has a very keen sense of smell. And being Carnivores, they can smell blood from miles away. As a requirement to visit the Komodo Dragons, Park Rangers will ask if any female adventurers are menstruating. If so you will not be allowed to go for the trek through Rinca Island as it will not only put you in danger but may put the others in your group in danger. Of course you can lie to the Ranger but you can't lie to a Komodo Dragon.
We suggest that you either:
1. Choose and expedition date that is compatible to your menstrual cycle
2. If you are on a contraceptive pill, skip your period while on the expedition
3. Don't do this part of the trip. You will still be able to go to the Rangers office with the group and see the Dragons there, but you will not be able to do the trek. Keep in mind, the trek takes 3 hours so bring a book to keep you occupied.
On top of the normal health consideration, women are advised to bring a tube of Canesten and tampons. The Canesten is used for the treatment of thrush (which can be very painful if left untreated) and can be applied to both internal and external thrush. The tampons are used to apply the Canesten internally.
For those that have some extra time on their hands in Bali we suggest the following Expedition Extensions that will give you a more complete picture of your destination.
Many people stay on in Bali for a few extra days. We have several excellent tours of the island from 1 day to 4 days. These trips will give you an insight into the real Bali and give you an appreciation of why this island is one of the great cultural and natural history destinations of the world.
Please note we also offer a 1 day trip to Yogyakarta on Java to visit the great Buddhist temple, Borobudur. This includes a Domestic Flight.
Bali tour extensions price list
A. Full Day Tours (10 to 11 Hours)
1. Singaraja & Lake Beratan / North Bali
This tour travels into the north of Bali to Bedugul and the cool peaks.
En route, we will visit: Mengwi Royal Temple ( Taman Ayun Temple ), Gigit Water Falls,
Singaraja the former Capital of Bali, Lovina Beach for lunch break, Banjar sulphur spring,
Pupuan rice field terrace and Kedaton monkey forest.
1 Pax $125
2. Karangasem / East Bali
Karangasem tour is a tour package which visits places of interest in the east part of Bali like,
Tenganan Village, Goa Lawah ( Bat Cave ),Tirta Ganggaand Taman Sukasada.
The tour is exploring the tourist destinations in east part of Bali with and offers an insight of the unique local society life and also passes through the beautiful beach of Candidasa. It is a private tour offering you a memorable experience of the local region along with our professional guide who is always providing best service. The tour will be more enjoyable with our safe driver and full air conditioned car. The delicious set lunch will be served at a local restaurant to complete your trip with a memorable one.
This tour visits Besakih temple the most sacred temple in Bali.
En route, we will visit : Kerthagosa the ancient courthouse in Klungkung, Lunch time at Bukit Jambul in a rice field terrace restaurant. After lunch we will continue to Tenganan the ancient village to see ancient pre-hindu customs and then we go on to Kusamba to visit the Bat Cave and stop to watch the traditional method of salt making.
1 Pax $125
3. Kintamani - Besakih Tour
This combination of the most popular tours on the island includes a visit to Besakih Mother temple and to Kintamani Volcano with offers the most spectacular view.
En route, we will visit: Celuk Village for it's Gold & Silver, Mas Village a centre for wood carving, Ubud Village for art and painting, Goa Gajah (Elephant cave temple), Kintamani Volcano, Besakih Temple and Lunch break at Kintamani or Bukit Jambul rice field terraces.
1 Pax $120
4. Bedugul. Jatiluwih, Tanah Lot
This tour travels into the north to Bedugul, Jatiluwih and Tanah lot Sea Temple.
En route, we will visit : Mengwi (Taman Ayun Royal Temple), Bedugul Fruit Market, Beratan Lake (with the possibility to experience some water sport), Lunch Break at Bedugul / Jati Luwih, Agrowisata Bedugul / Natural Park, Jatiluwih Rice terrace, Batu Karu Temple and Tanah Lot temple.
1 Pax $100
B. Full Day Tours (08 - 10 Hours)
1. Kintamani Volcano - Ubud Art Village
This is one of the most popular tours on the island because it takes in a broad cross - section of Balinese culture, a visit to the crater of Mount Batur and then to the village of Ubud, a center for art and painting.
En-route, we will visit : Batu Bulan to see the famous Barong & Keris Dance, Celuk Village for it's Gold & Silver, Mas Village a centre for Wood carving, Ubud for art & painting, Goa Gajah (elephant Cave temple), lunch break is at Kintamani and Sebatu the holy spring water Temple.
1 Pax $115
2. Volcano + Traditional Balinese Village
This Tour includes a visit to Batu Bulan to see the traditional Barong & Keris dance, to Celuk, where we can watch gold & silver smiths at work and after that we pass the Waterfall at Tegenuan before we head to Mas Village to see the wood carving. We stop at a Volcano for lunch before we visit a Traditional House (Penglipuran) and the Kehen Temple.
1 Pax $115
3. Besakih Mother Temple
This tour to the Besakih temple follows the same route as the Karangasem / east Bali Tour, but admits the visit of the ancient village of Tenganan.
En route we will visit : Kerthagosa the ancient courthouse in Klungkung, a beautiful painted relic of justice dating back to the 17th century, Kusamba to visit the Bat cave and stop to watch the traditional methods of salt making. Lunch break overlooking terrace ricefields at Bukit Jambul, Besakih Mother temple.
1 Pax $115
C. Half Day Tours (4 to 5 Hours)
1. Tanah Lot - Monkey Forest
This tour travels to : Mengwi Royal Temple (Taman Ayun Temple), Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest and Tanah Lot for a tropical, beautiful sunset.
1 Pax $55
2. Ubud Town and Art Centre
This tour travels to Ubud a famous village for its painting and art galleries.
En route we will visit : Batu Bulan to see the traditional Barong & Keris dance, Celuk (gold & Silver smith), Mas Village (wood carving) and Ubud for Art & Painting.
1 Pax $70
3. Denpasar City Tour
The Denpasar Tour Package is a tour package to visit the town of Denpasar, the bustling capital of Bali, with it's unique variety of local society life combined with traditional Balinese culture activities.
This tour is very interesting as one can see closely the real Balinese urban social life and traditional cultures.
Places of interest that you will visit are the traditional market, the bird market, Bali Museum and Bajra Shandi monument. This enjoyable tour will be accompanied by our professional tour guide with your own, private and full air conditioned car. After the trip you will visit the Bajra Shandi monument. This monument represents the beautiful art of Balinese monument building that is used to honor the struggle and efforts of the Balinese people to maintain their culture.
En route will visit: Traditional Market Department store, Bird Market, Satria, Museum, Bajra Sandi Monument. Department store, Bird Market, Museum, Bajra
1 Pax $65
4. Kecak & Fire Dance / Barong Dance / Legong Dance
Kecak & fire dance in Uluwatu / Batu Bulan, Legong Dance in Ubud, Barong Dance Bau Bulan.
All dances are in a temple setting and the locations are most dramatic in Bali.
1 Pax $75