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Indonesia Liveaboard Diving

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Liveaboard Diving in Indonesia

Liveaboard SCUBA diving in Indonesia boasts the greatest variety of marine life found throughout the world.

Indonesia is an undisputed liveaboard diving and SCUBA diving mecca. As the world's largest archipelago, Indonesia holds four times more ocean than land, stretching from Indian Ocean paradises to the Pacific's bursting biodiversity hotspots. This wealth of water makes liveaboard diving in Indonesia the best way to plunge into a kingdom of unparalleled sights and experiences. With 34,000 miles of coastline, 11,000 uninhabited islands, more than 500 species of coral, and over 2,000 species of fish, this really is what makes scuba diving in Indonesia such a diver's paradise.

Liveaboard dive trips in Indonesia can speed you off to Komodo National Park for sharks, mantas, dolphins, and tiny macro-critters or to Raja Ampat's pristine coral gardens and record numbers of crazy coral reef species. Explore the gin-clear waters of the Banda Sea and its undersea mountains, or feast your eyes on Alor's rugged volcanic terrain while enjoying unspoiled diving below the surface. Pioneers may choose Indonesia's untouched 'Forgotten Islands,' accessible only by liveaboard. And don't forget Lombok Strait for amazing drift diving along the walls of dramatic ridges and canyons.


Liveaboard Diving in Indonesia

Komodo National Park, a celebrated UNESCO World Heritage Site, sits at the center of the Indonesian archipelago. Its dazzling collection of offerings ranges from dugongs to seamounts to the legendary Komodo Dragon. Attractions of Komodo diving include wildlife large and small, nourished by deep upwellings and nutrient-rich waters. Komodo dive sites enjoy an abundance of mantas, sharks, whales, turtles, and hundreds of fish and coral species. Komodo offers everything from unique macro critters to larger marine life such as Hammerhead or Whitetip reef sharks and dolphins.

The length of most Komodo dive safaris is 8 to 12 days. Diving in Komodo can be done year-round, but the most popular months for liveaboard boat trips coincide with the Southeast Monsoon, from May to October. At this time, the water in the north of the park is warm (up to 30 C), and visibility is at its best. Budgets for Komodo liveaboard trips range from 200 to 500 euros per. day, though especially luxurious boats can run over 900 euros per. day.

Komodo liveaboards depart from Bima Bay (Sumbawa), Labuan Bajo (Flores), or Maumere (Flores), all about one hour's flight from Bali or Jakarta. However, trips that include Lombok dive sites begin in the port of Benoa on Bali. Dedicated Komodo liveaboard trips often visit dive sites around Sangeang Volcano and Sumbawa island. On dive safaris departing from Bali, many Indonesian liveaboard trips additionally include Moyo, Satonda, Gili Banta, and Gili Lawa Laut dive sites.

Escape to some of the world's most untouched scuba diving on a Raja Ampat liveaboard, where you will experience arguably the most pristine and diverse scuba diving in the world. The remote archipelago of Raja Ampat (also known as The Four Kings) in West Papua is considered the pinnacle of pristine biodiversity hotspots and the crown jewel of the Coral Triangle's many world-class dive areas. Jungle-clad islands brimming with tropical life complete the view above water.

Diving Indonesian liveaboards is truly an unforgettable experience that offers challenging dives for intermediate and experts and also easy diving for beginners. Many of the divers who visit Raja Ampat are well-seasoned, serious marine life enthusiasts treating themselves to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. At dive sites like Kri Island, Manta Ridge, and The Passage, you'll see a whopping 75 percent of the world's coral species, mantas and sharks, and hundreds of unique critters, creatures, and ecosystems that give Raja its claim to fame as the "global epicenter" of tropical marine biodiversity.

The length of most Raja Ampat itineraries is 7 to 12 nights. Diving in Raja Ampat can be done year-round, but most Raja Ampat liveaboards run their trips between October and April when the sea and skies are calmest. The water temperature ranges from 27-30 C. The budget for a Raja Ampat liveaboard ranges from roughly 200 to 500 euros per. day, though especially luxurious boats can run over 900 euros per. day. Raja Ampat liveaboards often depart from Sorong, reachable by domestic flights from Jakarta, Manado, Makassar, or Ambon. Liveaboards departing and landing in Sorong often spend their time between the well-endowed 1500 islands of Raja Ampat. Other boats offer adventurous tours that include the Banda Sea, whale sharks in Cenderawasih Bay, snorkeling in the Halmahera Sea, and more.

Surrounded by thousands of hectares of Marine National Parks, Sulawesi island is split into four peninsulas; the East Peninsula, the South-east Peninsula, Minahasa Peninsula to the north, and South Peninsula. The island and its surrounding dive sites are inaccessible by traditional means, meaning the best way to enjoy diving around Sulawesi is by liveaboard. The efforts made to preserve the stunning island have been rewarded with some of the most prolific dive sites in the world. One island alone, Bunaken, has over 70% of all fish species that exist in the Indo-Western Pacific Ocean. Gorontalo is a region that was originally formed by volcanic activity, and there is an incredible abundance of marine life. This Marine National Park has an area of thousands of hectares with pristine conditions in an area with one of the highest recorded species counts on the planet.

More Liveaboard Trips in Indonesia

  • Be a pioneer and travel back in time to the Forgotten Islands, the most pristine, unexplored dive area in Indonesia and only accessible by Liveaboard boat.
  • Enjoy the unspoiled Banda Sea alongside Dogtooth Tuna and the Ambon Scorpionfish.
  • Beat the crowds in Alor and experience top-quality, crystal-clear diving all to yourself.
  • Grab your camera for Lembeh Strait's unparalleled collection of wild and wacky critters.
  • Take the plunge into far-flung Wakatobi's exclusive, vibrantly healthy reefs and tropical paradise islands.

Tips for Travellers

The best time to dive in Indonesia is between May and September; however, Indonesia's dive safari season really is year-round. The monsoon season usually hits in December and lasts through June. If you are looking to see sunfish, you should go between July and October. Water temperatures in Indonesia range between 20 and 28 degrees Celsius (71 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit) depending on what time of year and location. Visibility ranges between 6 to 50 meters (20 to 160 feet) or better, with depths going up to 40 meters (140 feet). Currents are generally mild but can be strong in some areas.

Departure Ports and How To Get There

Bali is one of the main departure locations for liveaboard diving Komodo via Lombok. Bali's main liveaboard departure port is Benoa, in the south of the island. SCUBA diving off Bali can include a visit to Crystal Bay for a chance of Mola Mola (Sunfish) encounters or a dive at the famously colorful Liberty Shipwreck, full of marine life in a shallow location. Bali dive sites hold a variety of underwater landscapes and special species; depending on where you choose, you can enjoy high-quality muck diving, large pelagics, or quiet, coral-filled bays. Expert divers will be challenged and excited by wild currents around Nusa Lembongan, and entry-level divers can find ample offerings of beautiful locations suitable for beginners and coursework.

International flights to Bali depart regularly from around the world, often with a transfer to a nearby Southeast Asian country like Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. If you're in Southeast Asia already, direct flights are available. Standard itineraries for liveaboards departing Bali are usually Komodo-bound. However, they stop at premier Lombok dive sites along the way, such as Moyo, Satonda, Gili Banta, and Gili Lawa Laut. Extended itineraries may additionally venture farther east from Komodo to Flores and Alor for serene, world-class diving without the crowds.

The port of Sorong, a city in the province of West Papua, is a major departure location for liveaboards in Indonesia traveling to Raja Ampat and Ambon. From Sorong, dive sites in Raja Ampat and nearby are easily accessible. Land tours for waterfalls and bird-watching add to the offerings, as well as Cassowary Cape, with its white-sand beach and cassowary trees. Snorkelers and divers alike can enjoy the area.

Domestic flights to Sorong depart from Jakarta, Manado, Makassar, and Ambon. Standard liveaboard itineraries departing Sorong are focused on the Raja Ampat area. Extended liveaboard boats departing or disembarking in Sorong offer a great variety of dive tours, some to/from Ambon and the Banda Sea, some to Cenderawasih Bay Bay for whale sharks, and some traversing the Halmahera Sea.


Indonesia Diving Reviews

  • Rating 9.2 out of 10
  • 9.2 Superb
  • Rating 7.2 out of 10
  • 7.2 Good
  • Mark B
  • Flag of AustraliaAustralia

Great country, great diving , airlines dodgy, way to much rubbish everywhere

Diving Indonesia in May on the Blue Manta
  • Rating 10.0 out of 10
  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Jean-Yves L
  • Flag of United StatesUnited States

I’ve dived in Bali (Amed, Tulamben, Kubu, Pemuteran, Nusa Penida, Padangbai) a number of times. In my mind, corals and fish in both places are equivalent in terms of beauty and diversity except that there is much more current in Raja Ampat and greatly more Oceanic Mantas there.

Diving Indonesia in February on the Mari
  • Rating 4.4 out of 10
  • 4.4 Review score
  • Raymond M
  • Flag of United KingdomUnited Kingdom

Diving was incredible and I would thoroughly recommend Komodo National Park. Be aware that visibility can be only 10-15m in March.

Diving Indonesia in March on the Queenesia
  • Rating 8.0 out of 10
  • 8.0 Very good
  • Wendy L
  • Flag of SpainSpain

Visibility was not as good as expected but it was low season so I think it was great

Diving Indonesia in February on the Queenesia

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