Indonesia Liveaboard Diving
The Liveaboard diving in Indonesia is incredible. Indonesia is the largest archipelagic country in the world, extending 5,120 kilometers (3,181 mi) from east to west and 1,760 kilometers (1,094 mi) from north to south and has over 17,000 islands. Of these less than half are inhabited. Indonesia straddles the equator and forms the southern edge of the famous Coral Triangle. The coral triangle has the greatest biodiversity in the world.
Diving in Indonesia can be either from land based resorts or by liveaboards depending on the location.
Check which Budget Liveaboard options are available across Indonesia!
Compare the Luxury Liveaboards boats available in Indonesia!
The Indonesian liveaboard industry is one of the most diverse in the world with liveaboards providing access to destination out of range of resorts. There are four world class destinations within the country that attracts the majority of the international divers. These include Bali mostly resort based, Raja Ampat Liveaboard diving primarily, Komodo Liveaboard and resort and Sulawesi liveaboards to remote sites and resort based for those close.
I usually use this website to book in advance my liveaboards in Indonesia as they usually have the lowest rates I find. I like it because they have an easy booking system.
Komodo Island Liveaboards provide year round access to world class dive sites within and around the Komodo National Park.
Raja Ampat is the best remote diving destination in the world that is also suitable for novice divers. Located off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea. Raja Ampat is also called four kings after the four major islands of the archipelago: Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo. The smaller island of Kofiau and over 1,500 small islet, cays and shoals complete the archipelago. There are a few resorts in the area but it is best known for the over 40 Raja Ampat liveaboards that travel the area.
Manado and the Bunaken National Marine Park is located in North Sulawesi. Here most of the divers use the resorts to dive the marine park. The Banua Wuhu submarine volcano is a one of a kind dive site. This is active volcano off the Mahengetang island, dives are in only 5 meters of water. Divers experience hot water and can observe air bubbles rising out of the sand. Give the thousands of potential dive sites in the area and the small number of liveaboards visiting the area, the volcano is the only site where you might see another dive boat.
Bali offers some of the best diving in the world with outstanding land based diving. Divers traveling around the island will find different diving conditions and features along the 3 scuba diving zones around Bali. While the island is not small, it is possible for divers to depart Denpasar near the southeast coast of Bali in the early morning, dive in the northwestern portion of Bali and return in time for a night dive on the southeastern coast. Denpasar is a very popular tourism destination and the airport is well connected both domestically and internationally. A number of liveaboards depart from Bali going to the other Lesser Sunda Islands which includes the Komodo Islands.
Budget Indonesia Liveaboards
Indonesia is a destination that can fit most budgets. It has a selection of outstanding values across many categories. Here is a few highlights in the budget category. While these may be budget in price these budget liveaboards really deliver in the diving, service, accommodations and food.
- SY Indo Siren This 40 meter long Phinisi vessel, sails in Raja Ampat. The SY Indo Siren accommodates up to 16 guests providing spacious trip.
- SMY Shakti is a 32 meter traditional style liveaboard that sails year round in Raja Ampat. She carries only 12 guest and has a high number of repeat divers.
- MV Raja Ampat Liveaboard is a 33.5 meter long traditional Indonesian wooden vessel. It can accommodate up to 14 guests.
- The MV Ambai is a 32 meter long liveaboard that schedules year round diving cruises. A portion of the year is around the Komodo National Park the remainder around Raja Ampat. She takes 18 guest and has a crew of 18. She does mostly 7 day and 10 day sailings.
- The La Galigo is a 32 meter scuba dive liveaboard Indonesia style. It is a traditional two-masted Phinisi sailing boat created by local craftsman but with modern touches and built for scuba diving. She dives Raja Ampat and trips to Komodo National Park.
Luxury Indonesia Liveaboards
Let’s start by saying, that the level of comfort and service in all the liveaboards in Indonesia are very high. The service staff on best cruise ships in the world are often Indonesian, and these local liveaboards have the same level of dedication by their crews. Here is a small sample of the luxury that awaits you:
- MV Mermaid II by price should be in the budget category, however, she is such an luxurious liveaboard she deserves to be listed here. A fine liveaboard from one of Asia’s best liveaboard dive operators she spends a part of the year in Komodo National Park and the remainder doing Raja Ampat the remainder of the year.
- The Raja Ampat Aggressor, a member of the Aggressor Fleet, makes her home in Indonesia spending most of her time in Raja Ampat. The Aggressor fleet is one of the most respected liveaboard fleet in the world.
- SV Waow Indonesia is built in local traditional style constructed entirely of exotic ironwood. This three masted, luxury sailing vessel is 58m long and very comfortable. One of the most impressive yachts in the region. She is wooden-hulled, built specifically to cater to divers. She began commercially operating in 2012. the SV Waow is considered by many in a class of her own and is often considered the best value in Asia. She has 20 different itineraries and is found in many different areas. Komodo and Raja Ampat are the areas most visited.
- The MV Damai II is a part of the Damai fleet along with the MV Damai I. These identical 40m, luxury Indonesia liveaboard has been designed to offer superior diving to 10 divers. They dive Komodo and Raja Ampat as well as some of the less frequently dived remote areas.
Indonesia Liveaboards Itineraries
If you are looking for flexibility in your liveaboard vacation, then Indonesia’s liveaboards may be the perfect fit for you. Generally 7 or 8 night trips are the most common but many other lengths are common.
Komodo Liveaboards provide a number of short options with some offering 3 night trips during a part of the season.
Raja Ampat Liveaboard have longer trips with 14 night or even longer trips available. The most popular length in Raja Ampat is around one week to 10 days.
Sulawesi Liveaboards are mostly 7 nights and can either sail the northern islands or the southern islands depending on seasons.
Indonesia Liveaboard Schedule
Both Raja Ampat and the Komodo Islands are destinations that are visited by liveaboards year round. Each location have liveaboards that sail all year. Some however, split the year between the two locations.
- March to October, the dry season, is the best time of the year to dive the Komodo National Park. Those liveaboards that split the year can be found in Komodo islands at this time of the year.
- The Komodo Island liveaboards that spend the entire year here will head to the southern islands during the wet season.
- Sulawesi Liveaboards are also best dived in the dry season, during the wet season the seas can be very rough in that area.
Best time to dive in Indonesia
The schedules are a good indicator of when it is best to dive Indonesia. Komodo Islands have the most divers during the dry season and is the destination most dived at that time of the year. Raja Ampat is great all year but its remoteness makes it less visited when the Komodo diving is at its best.
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