With Liveaboard, you can experience diving in Indonesia in an entirely unique way. In this article, we will walk you through the basics of participating in a Liveaboard dive trip and suggest some of the best Liveaboard experiences in Indonesia for every budget.
Indonesia is probably one of the most visited countries in the world. It has a unique draw for every type of traveler. There are ancient temples to explore, active volcanoes to hike, remote villages to discover, stunning beaches to surf, and of course, diving in Indonesia is a popular draw as well.
A diving trip in Indonesia can be one of the most rewarding experiences. Home to more than 4,000 different invertebrate species and fishes, as well as 15 percent of the coral reefs found all over the world, it’s no wonder Indonesia is on every scuba diver’s bucket list.
With Liveaboard, you can experience diving in Indonesia in an entirely unique way. Reach remote areas and dive in places where marine life is plentiful and diverse, away from the disruption of regular tourism.
Wondering what the heck a liveaboard is? Here is everything you need to know about liveaboard diving trips.
In this article, we will walk you through the basics of participating in a Liveaboard dive trip and suggest some of the best Liveaboard experiences in Indonesia for every budget.
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Best Time of Year for Scuba Diving in Indonesia
The best time of the year to visit Indonesia for an epic diving experience depends entirely on your diving destination.
Here are some of the top diving destinations in Indonesia and the best time of year for diving in each location:
Raja Ampat: September to May
Komodo: All year round
Triton Bay: May to September
Banda Sea: March, April, September to December
Best Regions for Diving in Indonesia
Being a nation made up of over 17,000 islands in between the Indian and Pacific oceans, Indonesia has more than one of the world’s top diving destinations. For the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on the two most popular regions for liveaboard diving trips in Indonesia.
Komodo National Marine Park
Found in the Nusa Tenggara region of Indonesia, the Komodo Island National Marine Park is one of the most popular scuba destinations in the country (some might even say the world!).
Rich plankton harvests in the shallow water channels attract manta rays, whale sharks and other feeding pelagics. The giant walls of coral boast colorful filter feeders including sea squirts, sea apples, crinoids, and tunicates. There is also macro life such as pygmy seahorses and frogfish in several protected bays.
Komodo Liveaboard trips usually include land visits to see the legendary Komodo dragons. The voyages average between 7 to 11 nights long. Although, there are also shorter stays offered by budget-friendly Liveaboards.
The climate in Komodo is sunny and dry from July to September. Evenings can be chilly. In May and October, expect the winds to be calmer but with a high chance of rain.
Scuba diving in Raja Ampat is on most serious divers’ bucket lists, and for good reason. The diving in this Indonesian island paradise is some of the most diverse in the world. Coupled with comfortable water temps and typically good visibility, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a dive trip!
Raja Ampat consists of four main islands: Batanta, Waigeo, Misool, and Salawati. Its surroundings are composed of more than 1,500 small islands and reefs.
Known to have the highest number of corals, fishes, and mollusks, Raja Ampat represents the richest marine diversity in the world. Some areas are specifically famous for the number of fish species you can spot on a single dive. One region has groups of manta rays, while the others have schools of parrotfish, barracudas, humpback groupers and many more.
With a liveaboard, you have the luxury of seeing more of this region than you would with a single day diving excursion. Liveaboard trips are usually 8 and 14 nights long. The south part of Raja Ampat is affected by the southeast monsoon season (June – October) which creates wind, waves and reduced visibility. On the other hand, the Dampier Strait and northern part of Raja Ampat can be dived all year long without visibility complications.
Tip: If you’re visiting the island of Bali and still want to do some diving, check out Amed for some of the best scuba diving on the island.
What to Pack for a Liveaboard
Figuring out what to pack for a scuba liveaboard can be tricky… you want to be prepared, but you definitely don’t want to overpack when you’re going to be living in tight quarters. There are some definite musts that you don’t want to forget, and even more things that you should just leave on land.
We’ve taken all the guess work out of packing for you and complied a complete liveaboard packing list so you don’t forget any essentials on shore. Oh, and it’s totally free!
Best Budget Liveaboards in Indonesia
The Empress II Liveaboard caters to divers while offering plenty of space for relaxation. Each cabin has AC and portholes. Bathrooms and showers are shared. She also offers extra diving comforts such as an electric lift for lowering divers into the water.
Aside from being a great budget-friendly option, her crew and diving instructors are very helpful and friendly —just what you want on any Liveaboard experience!
Destinations: Komodo National Park, Ambon, Raja Ampat and the Forgotten Islands
Length of Voyage: 8-11 days
Ship size: Up to 10 guests
Cost:$218 USD / day
Known for: An excellent budget choice
Explore the best of Indonesia’s dive sites on the Mari Liveaboard, a traditional Indonesian phinisi. Constructed entirely of ironwood and teak, the Mari has been recently updated and offers ample space for leisure. Bright and well-ventilated cabins each have their own bathroom and AC control.
They recently brought onboard a highly trained chef offering a wide variety of fresh and healthy cuisine to keep hungry divers satisfied.
Destinations: Raja Ampat, the Banda Sea and Komodo National Park
Length of Voyage: 7-14 days
Ship size: Up to 14 guests
Cost:$284 USD / day
Known For: Lots of space
The Yoshi Liveaboard is a smaller ship offering intimate diving excursions in Komodo National Park, Indonesia. The cabins are climate-controlled during the daytime and include ensuite bathrooms. The boat also features ample space for guest relaxation both indoors and outside on the sundeck and shaded dining areas.
We took our second Liveaboard trip on this exact boat and you can read more about our Komodo Liveaboard experience here.
Destinations: Komodo National Park
Length of Voyage: 5 days
Accommodates: Up to 8 guests
Cost: $192 USD / day
Known for: Friendly crew & helpful guides
Best Mid-range Liveaboards in Indonesia
For serene surroundings, and comfortable seating, you can’t go wrong with the Ambai Liveaboard. It provides plenty of dive amenities, and takes pride in their hassle-free diving. For underwater photographers, the dedicated camera room is a great place to share videos and photos.
Each cabin onboard the Ambai features individual climate control and ensuite bathrooms with showers.
Destinations: Komodo, Banda Sea, The Forgotten Islands and Raja Ampat
Length of Voyage: 12-13 days
Ship size: Up to 16 guests
Cost:$335 USD / day
Known for: Dedicated camera room
Sea Safari VI
Explore world-class diving sites with the beautiful Sea Safari VI, a luxury Phinisi vessel. With 4 decks, this ship offers ample space for relaxation and comfortability as well as cabins with ensuite bathrooms.
With excellent food and diving amenities, you’ll surely have the adventure of a lifetime on the Sea Safari VI.
Destinations: Raja Ampat, Komodo, Maumere, Lembeh, Wakatobi, Ambon, Ternate, and the Forgotten Islands
Length of Voyage: 6-12 days
Ship size: Up to 28 guests
Cost:$354 USD / day
Known for: Spacious diving stations
Best Luxury Liveaboards in Indonesia
Explore the Indonesia archipelago in luxury with the Seven Seas Liveaboard. From delicious, fresh cuisine prepared by the onboard chef, to state-of-the-art diving equipment, this Liveaboard has a whopping 10.0 rating with exceptional reviews from guests.
Destinations: Komodo, Raja Ampat, East of Flores, Banda Sea and Forgotten Islands
Length of Voyage: 13-15 days
Ship size: Up to 16 guests
Cost:$456 USD / day
Known for: State-of-the-art diving equipment
Let experienced dive guides show you the best dive sites and colorful marine life with Adelaar Liveaboard. The relaxed atmosphere, luxurious ship and quality of diving when combined make Adelaar Liveaboard the best liveaboard in Komodo.
Each onboard cabin offers AC, en-suite marble bathrooms and flat screen televisions. The trained chefs onboard will prepare delicious Indonesia and western cuisine to keep your bellies full in between dives.
Destinations: Komodo National Park
Length of Voyage: 11-12 days
Ship size: Up to 8 guests
Cost:$364 USD / day
Known for: Experienced diving guides
The ship features climate controlled cabins with ensuite bathrooms, a salon, two decks, with spectacular views and a restaurant serving up fresh Thai, Indonesian and Western cuisine. The large dive deck and diving platform allow for easy access into and out of the water for divers.
Destinations: Komodo, Raja Ampat, Alor and Ambon
Length of Voyage: 10, 12 & 16 days
Accommodates: Up to 15 guests
Cost: $316 USD / day
Known for: Friendly crew & dive guides
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Have you gone diving in Indonesia? What was your experience like? Would you ever consider doing a Liveaboard trip? Let us know in the comments below.