Indonesia is a diver’s paradise, home to some of the most diverse and abundant marine life in the world. Some of the diving areas in Indonesia are remote and difficult to reach which makes diving on an Indonesia liveaboard the only option for visiting.
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Liveaboard diving trips offer the best way to experience Indonesia’s underwater world, as they allow divers to spend extensive time exploring different locations without having to return to shore every day. The most common liveaboard duration is the popular 8 days 7 nights itinerary but you can find up to 11 days 10 nights as well especially for those furthest and inaccessible diving areas as Serua in Banda Sea.
What are the top three Indonesia Liveaboard destinations?
The top liveaboard diving destinations in Indonesia, are Komodo, Raja Ampat, and the Banda Sea but without a doubt exploring off the beaten tracks destinations is amazing such as: Maumere, Alor, or Wakatobi.
Komodo National Park, located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores, is home to the famous Komodo dragons, but it is also a world-renowned diving destination. Crystal-clear waters, healthy coral reefs, and diverse marine life, Komodo offers some of the Indonesia liveaboard diving. The most popular dive sites are of course Batu Bolong for its stunning coral reef, or Castle Rock, and Crystal Rock for spotting sharks feeding.
Komodo is famous for the occasional strong currents but with the strong currents also come large schools of fish. Divers can expect to encounter a wide variety of marine life, including sharks, manta rays, and turtles, as well as colorful reef fish and vibrant coral.
Raja Ampat, known world wide as the area with the highest concentration of diverse tropical marine life on the planet. Raja Amat is located in the northwest corner of Indonesia’s Papua province. The area is renowned for its clear waters, healthy coral reefs, and abundant marine life, including over 1,500 fish species and 600 coral species.
Accessible only by diving with a Indonesia liveaboard, popular dive sites in Raja Ampat are Manta Sandy, Blue Magic, and Sardine Reef, but also the hidden gem Sauwandarek for its large turtles and clams. With an easy way to spot them, divers in Raja Ampat mostly wish to see the carpet shark also known as Wobbegon Shark.
Raja Ampat features two itineraries that divers can choose from: North and Central or Central and South. The South of Raja Ampat is famously known as Misool, a part of Raja Ampat significantly far away from the central area, not easily accessible which makes it basically untouched by large numbers of divers.
The Banda Sea, located in the Moluccas, is known for its remote and pristine dive sites. The region is most famously known for the migration of the Hammerhead sharks, diving with a wall of hundreds of Hammerheads. Popular dive sites include Banda Besar, Hatta Island, Suanggi and Ai Island.
The Hammerhead sharks are the main attraction but Banda Sea has stunning coral reefs which provide special dive sites for macrophotography divers. White Tip, Grey Tip Sharks can be seen here as well as the amazing Thresher Shark.
What do I need to know about scuba diving in Indonesia?
Know the best time to dive in Indonesia
When planning an Indonesia liveaboard diving trip, it is important to take into consideration the time of year, as the best diving conditions vary depending on the destination. In general, the best time to visit Komodo is between March and November, when it’s the Dry Season and the water conditions are best without big waves. For Raja Ampat the best time is also between October and April. However, Banda Sea has a short time to visit, only between September – November at the latest.
Know your diving certification requirements
Scuba diving is always based on the experience of the diver and the certification level. It’s important to consider the level of experience required when planning a liveaboard diving trip in Indonesia. All liveaboard companies require a minimum of advanced open water certification with at least 25 logged dives. It’s important to research the specific requirements for each trip and to make sure you are properly certified for the diving that you will be doing as some dive sites pack strong front and down currents not suitable for beginner divers.
Know what to bring on a Indonesia liveaboard
A liveaboard trip is special as you live on the vessel for a number of days, a week or even more. Personal belongings are a must have together with personal hygiene products: toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. Most liveaboard vessels they provide basics such as face and bath towels, but when it comes to shampoo and shower gel it is wise to bring your own.
Additionally, if you have any personal dive equipment it’s always good to bring it on the trip. Liveaboard vessels provide rental dive equipment at an extra cost of approximately USD 35 per day with or without dive computer.
And last, pack enough clothes for the trip or check with the liveaboard if they provide laundry services. Water supply is limited on liveaboards and some vessels are not equipped with water maker systems.
How to choose your Indonesia liveaboard
Indonesia has more than 100 liveaboard vessels of different sizes, all providing the same itineraries. Choosing the right liveaboard for you it’s paramount for comfort, safety and the fun it should bring.
- the vessel technical information: tonnage, nr of cabins, water supply;
- vessel safety features: life rafts, GPS, Diver GPS, etc;
- photos of the vessel and the cabins;
Above all, the reviews are king and should be the base for the final decision. Reviews never lie and you should check the online travel agents, together with Google or TripAdvisor.
Final thoughts on Indonesia Liveaboard
Indonesia offers some of the best diving in the world and liveaboard diving trips provide an unparalleled way to experience the country’s diverse marine life. Whether diving in Komodo, Raja Ampat, or the Banda Sea, divers can expect to encounter a wide variety of marine life and healthy coral reefs, making Indonesia a top destination for scuba diving enthusiasts.
Frequently Asked Questions about diving in Indonesia
When is the best time to dive in Indonesia?
The diving seasons in Indonesia are:
Komodo – April to August
Banda Sea – September to October
Raja Ampat – November to March
What is the recommended experience to dive in Indonesia?
Beginners as well as uncertified divers can enjoy diving in Indonesia. However, for liveaboards it is highly recommended to have Advanced Open Water certification with minimum 25 logged dives.