Can anyone suggest the best way to get to Komodo Island (time is not major problem) to avoid paying the ridiculous prices quoted here in Bali?
I have seen good travel blogs suggesting road via the islands through from Bali to Komodo could be a real task i.e. - http://www.travelblog.org/Asia/Indonesia/Komodo/blog-17181.html
Also tried looking at flights on http://www.merpati.co.id/Default.aspx to Flores but it didn't come back with any details.
Can't believe that $350 (1 day) or $450 (2 day) is a good rate to see these beautiful creatures for any length of time.
Any help/advice greatly appreciated - it seems one area there is not much info on.
Suggest you post your question on the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Indonesia forum. There are so many travellers over there who have been to Komodo and surrounding islands and should be able to give you the best advice.
Try sailing there.
I went on a 4-5 day boat trip from Lombok to Flores with a day stop over on Komodo Island. I don't remember the exact price, but it was cheaper than the prices you are quoting above. If time isn't a constraint, then maybe the slower pace of sea life, snorkelling, and island stopovers may be a good way to do it.
catch a ferry from Padangbai in east Bali to Lembar in west Lombok (they run all the time and the ride takes 4 - 5 hours), catch a bus across the island to Labuhan Lombok and catch another ferry across to Poto Tano in west Sumbawa (ferry takes about 1.5 hours), take the bus across that island to the town of Sape from where boats leave for Labuan Bajo in west Flores (these take about 8 - 9 hours, and run Wednesday to Monday at 8am, unless the schedule has changed). Because its a long run across the length of Sumbawa, its best to break it up by stopping off in some towns along the route. Boats to Komodo and Rinca can be easily organised in Labuan Bajo.