Scuba diving in Komodo National Park is an unparalleled experience for diving enthusiasts. With its diverse marine life and crystal-clear waters, the park is a popular destination for divers from around the world. From drift dives to wall dives to night dives, Komodo offers an array of diving opportunities to suit all levels of experience. One of the most renowned diving locations in the park is the Batu Bolong dive site, famous for its strong currents and vibrant marine life. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a beginner, scuba diving in Komodo is an adventure you won’t forget.
SCUBA DIVING IN KOMODO
In this Komodo diving guide, I will share with you the best dive sites in Komodo and the other epic adventures on land I got up to in the Komodo region. I’ve been on two separate Komodo Liveaboard trips and they were honestly both the best time of my life. This is the routine. Wake up, eat, dive, eat, dive, explore, dive, eat, sleep.
In this blog post, I’ll cover everything you need to know about your Komodo Liveaboard experience.
- How to get to Komodo/Labuan Bajo
- Komodo liveaboard budget (luxury available)
- How many days do you need
- Best time to visit
- A detailed list of all of the activities you can expect to do while on a Komodo liveaboard
- The best Komodo Dive sites
- The best Komodo viewpoints
- Onboard experience review – detailing food, amenities, rooms, beds, and comfort.
Komodo Diving Liveaboard
A Komodo Diving Liveaboard liveaboard includes all of your meals, scuba dives and activities and can range anywhere from $200 a night all the way up to $1000 a night for the most luxurious cabins and boats.
To book a liveaboard you can go to a website like Liveaboard.com and they list all of the different boats and trips available. They show you the cabins on each boat and also the list of activities and dives each trip includes. They are generally the most reliable site rather and are a global brand with a good reputation.
Check rates and availability: Komodo Liveaboards
Best Komodo Diving Sites
If you decide to explore Komodo National Park from the luxury of a liveaboard, there are a number of world-class dive sites that will be right on your doorstep. On my dive trip, a number of the people in my group had done over 1000 dives in their life. When they got out of the water at Batu Bolong they declared it, the dive of their life. These were my favorite sites during our Komodo Liveaboard Diving Experience.
From above the surface, a small rock arch marks the spot for an amazing array of life beneath. A light current slowly carries you alongside a rock tower, plastered in coral and sea life. On this one dive alone there were over five turtles spotted, sharks, and hundreds of fish. The topography is dramatic with prolific, jarring rock formations shooting from the sea floor like stalagmites.
One of the more relaxed dives in Komodo. A slow current allows you to float through a vast alley waiting for a Manta Ray to appear. On this dive, we ran into several Mantas and a few turtles, and towards the end of the dive, the coral became the focal point!
Castle Rock is perhaps the most well-known dive site in Komodo and it didn’t disappoint on my visit. We saw 10 sharks, one of which was quite large. Giant Trevally fish schooled together while we also spotted crocodile fish and creole wrasse.
There was a moment when our whole group was engulfed by a fast-moving school of 1000 bannerfish. There was so much action at Castle Rock it was hard to know where to look.
This is the Manta ‘guarantee’ site. Well, nothing is guaranteed but the crew told us there aren’t many times they can remember having visited Taka Makassar without having spotted at least one Manta. Having told us this we became quite anxious as we couldn’t spot one from the surface.
We decided to drop in and begin the dive and ended up coming across multiple Giant Manta Rays and several smaller majestic Eagle Rays. This was definitely one of my favorite dives of the trip.
Things to do (That aren’t scuba-diving in Komodo)
In this section, I’ll share all of the ‘dry’ adventures that are available in the Komodo region. Most of these will naturally be built into your Komodo itinerary. As much as you probably want to scuba-dive 24/7 in Komodo, there are plenty of beautiful land activities worth exploring aswell!
Hike up Padar Island Hike
Padar Island is the most iconic view of the region and possibly Indonesia. From the summit, you can spot more than ten different beaches. You will need to take a smaller boat from your liveaboard and then make the trek up the steep hill for about 20 minutes.
Stop often and take in the view, which only gets better as you climb higher. I went to Padar Island for sunset but it looks amazing for sunrise also.
Full Blog Post: Padar Island Hike
Gili Laba Viewpoint
I didn’t hear about the Gili Laba viewpoint until my second trip on a Komodo Liveaboard. I wasn’t expecting it to be amazing after only ever hearing about Padar but this spot blew me away. It’s similar to Padar as you need a small boat to run you ashore before a 20-minute trek up the steep hill. Once at the top, you have amazing views down into the bay, which has a stunning reef.
The sun rises directly in front of you over the ocean. I could have spent a long time atop this mountain and it was one of the highlights of my trip to Komodo the second time around.
Full Blog Post: Gili Laba Hike
Hang out at Pink Beach
Red coral is broken up into fine pieces, mimicking grains of sand and giving this shoreline a pink tinge. From the sky or a drone, the beach is easily identifiable as pink but from the sand itself, it doesn’t appear bright pink as you might imagine. Don’t be fooled by the editing some people add to their photos. The water clarity here is insane, like much of Komodo National Park.
After marveling at the pink sand, take a quick stroll up the hill on either side of the beach to look back down along the shore and even at the cove around the corner. Pink Beach is a spot you can spend a whole day exploring.
One of the focal points of Komodo National Park is Komodo Island, the home of the famous Komodo Dragon. The beasts can grow up to 3m long and have killed humans. This is a predator and not something to mess around with but great to witness in the flesh.
Our ranger led us through the bushes spotting a Komodo and teaching us about their habits and characteristics before we found a few more walking along the beach. They also do swim, not regularly but they are out there. Beware snorkeling!!
Rinca Island is home to deer, monkeys, and Komodo Dragons. Our small ferry took us from our liveaboard to Rinca Island. Here you can see Komodo Dragons up close and personal as they hang around the headquarters of the Rinca Island headquarters. Rangers are always on hand to keep the Komodo Dragons at a safe distance.
We were lucky enough to see a Komodo Dragon guarding its next when all of a sudden another Komodo came in a little too close. An aggressive chase ensued and we stood back, our range a little frightened for us. At the top of the walking trail, the ranger took us on a sweet viewpoint looking back out over the islands of the region.
Kalong Island – Bat Watching
An hour before sunset our captain anchored the boat facing a small island. We were all preoccupied having the time of our life jumping from the roof and flipping into the warm water as the sunlight slowly faded. However, just after the sunset, we found ourselves amidst a Nat Geo moment.
A mass migration of thousands of bats screeched as they flew out from the mangrove island, heading towards Flores for a night of hunting. We sat on the deck of our liveaboard in awe but at the same time, we were crossing our fingers not to get bombed by bat shit.
Mesa Island Village
One of my favorite stops on my first Komodo Liveaboard experience was a visit to Mesa Island Village. This is an island with no fresh water and home to the talented and curious Bajo people. Fresh water is ferried daily by wooden boats to the island as it only rains here several months a year. It’s a great place to walk around and explore the culture and daily life of the people of Mesa as it is like no other village I’ve ever seen.
Several of the villagers showed me their goggles, which were essentially pieces of glass inside a circular ring of wood tied together with string. However, that’s all the Bajo people need. They are able to free-dive to unbelievable depths hunting for fish for minutes on end with no fins and only their homemade goggles.
Komodo Liveaboard Budget
You can expect to pay anywhere from $200 a night all the way up to $600 a night depending on your route and the level of luxury of your Komodo Liveaboard. This price is all-inclusive and covers your food, transit, up to five dives a day (Nitrox available), hiking, and other activities. If you don’t have your own gear there is often a small daily rental fee. It is definitely a great value way to travel in what is quite an isolated part of Indonesia.
There are cheaper places to travel by boat such as the Gili’s are the Nusa Islands but there is a reason Komodo is so sought after. Diving in Komodo insane and it is a region of raw natural beauty above and below the surface. The harder things are to get to generally the more beautiful they are!
Liveaboard.com is the largest online booking company and always has deals for different times of the year, especially during the low season. Click Here to compare all liveaboards and to check availability and pricing for the Komodo region.
Komodo Liveaboard Best time to visit for Komodo diving season
Diving in Komodo is accessible all year round and exploring without too much of a change in the weather. When I went in late August the weather was supreme with hot sunny days and warm water. Lots of people in my group didn’t even wear a wetsuit!
- The dry season runs from April to December with average temperatures of 26 degrees Celsius.
- The rainy season runs from January to March with average temperatures of 28 degrees Celsius.
Komodo Water Temperature: the best time to visit the Komodo National Park is between April and December in the dry season. Then you can enjoy the warm sun in between dives, which are in the beautifully warm water. Gotta love the tropics.
The Komodo Dragon: they are out and about all year round. However, the mating season is from July to August and then the nesting season is from September to November making them a little harder to spot. Both times I have visited in August there have been plenty of dragons and we even saw a bit of a fight after one territorial dragon chased another away from a nest.
How to get to Komodo
There are a few different ways to get to Komodo from Bali to Komodo:
- FLY: Fly directly from Bali (Denpasar Airport) to Labuan Bajo which is on Flores Island. Many people use Labuan Bajo as their base when they explore Komodo National park. From Labuan Bajo, you can do day trips, scuba diving, and other hiking/Komodo Dragon day trips. However, if you do base in Labuan Bajo, every day you need to do a day trip and you spend a lot of time ferrying to and from destinations whereas the Komodo Liveaboard diving experience means you sleep where you are about to scuba dive in the morning!
- KOMODO LIVEABOARD: My favorite way to get to Komodo and the option I highly suggest is to fly to Labuan Bajo and then book a liveaboard so you can enjoy Komodo National Park at a leisurely pace and sleep in some amazing locations on the boat. This way you can wake up for a sunrise hike, do a night dive, or watch the sunset go down from the deck of your boat.
- BALI TO KOMODO LIVEABOARD: There is also the option to get a liveaboard all the way from Bali. You will do some diving in the Lombok region before making your way to Komodo. I’ve never made this liveaboard journey from Bali to Komodo but can only imagine how amazing that would be.
Click Here to compare all liveaboards and to check availability and pricing for the Komodo region.
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT DIVING IN KOMODO
- What is the best time of year to go diving in Komodo National Park? The best time to go diving in Komodo National Park is between April and November when the weather is dry and the visibility is at its best.
- What kind of marine life can I expect to see while diving in Komodo National Park? Komodo National Park is home to over 1,000 species of fish, 260 species of coral, and a range of other marine life, including manta rays, sharks, and turtles.
- Do I need to be an experienced diver to dive in Komodo National Park? Komodo offers a range of diving opportunities, from drift dives to wall dives to night dives, to suit all levels of experience. However, some dive sites have strong currents, so it’s recommended to have some prior diving experience.
- What are the best dive sites in Komodo National Park? Some of the best dive sites in Komodo National Park include Batu Bolong, Castle Rock, Manta Point, and Crystal Rock.
- Is it possible to dive with Komodo dragons while in the national park? While it’s possible to encounter Komodo dragons on some of the islands within the national park, diving with them is not allowed. The park rangers keep a close eye on the dragons to ensure the safety of visitors.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to diving in Komodo National Park, Indonesia.
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