Indonesia is renowned for its abundance of lush green rice paddies, strong ‘Kopi’, fried noodles for breakfast and most importantly, some of the worlds best dive sites. Home to more than 3, 000 species of marine life, Indonesia is a group of around 17 000 islands situated in the coral triangle. The Coral Triangle encompasses parts of Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines and Indonesia is bam smack in the centre of it. A whopping 20% of the worlds coral reefs are smattered across the archipelago that is Indonesia, and is undisputedly one of the best dive destinations. The easiest and best way to dive Indonesia and see the most untouched reefs is on a live aboard, where you can dive, eat, sleep and repeat. Live aboards will tailor your itinerary to ensure you visit the best sites based on the weather and seasonal conditions at the time of your trip, and often you will get to tick multiple sites off your list of dream dive destinations. We’ve listed some of the top sites in Indonesia for you below.
Komodo National Park, Flores
Komodo Island is part of this national park, and is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. The incredible thing about the Komodo islands is the enormous variety of dive sites on offer. From intricate coral structures surrounded by fish in a paint-box of colours, to vast walls of coral that are frequented by deep sea pelagics and even sunfish, no dive in Komodo is ever boring or the same as the last. Anywhere that has its own dragon needs to be up there on every travellers must-visit list, and when you dive this destination on a live aboard many trips offer seeing this spectacular predator along with diving.
Raja Ampat, Papua
No article about diving in Indonesia would be complete without at least one mention of Raja Ampat. One of the most remote diving locations of them all, it’s as if Raja Ampat was purely created for the enjoyment of scuba divers. Raja Ampat is so incredibly rich in marine biodiversity, and 75% of all coral species are found here. Raja Ampat is composed of over 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals and boasts some of the best diving in not only Indonesia, but the entire world.
It doesn’t matter if you love looking for the little creatures, like the unbelievably cute pygmy seahorse or get your kicks out of large schools of pelagic fish and manta rays, because Raja Ampat has it all. A live aboard is the perfect way to dive Raja Ampat, as you will be able to access the most untouched and remote sites and take part in some phenomenal drift dives.
Bunaken Island Marine Park, Manado
I have a huge soft spot for wall diving. On one side of your body you have a tower of coral, reaching up from the ocean floor to the surface that’s covered in life and on the other side of you there is nothing but vast, deep crystal clear blueness. It’s like you’re flying through the water in a surreal underwater dream. The Bunaken Island Marine Park has some of the very best wall dives on offer, and some walls in this area are are over 1600 metres deep.
Want to see a sunfish? Then get yourself to Nusa Penida, where you’re more likely to see the strange and wonderful mola mola. There are ship wrecks, easy yet fabulous shore dives and a whole lot of underwater life just waiting to be seen. Jump on a live aboard that visits the best Bali has to offer, like Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida.
Gili Islands, Lombok
The Gilis are that tranquil Balinese experience you’ve been waiting for. No cars, no buses, no motorbikes (and even no police), it’s the perfect place to unwind, relax and dive! The Gili’s are a really great place to visit if you’re brand new to diving, however if you’re looking for a dive experience like no other a live aboard that visits Komodo or Raja Ampat would be more your cup of tea. With minimal current, good visibility and plenty of sea turtles it’s a fantastic spot to start your Indonesian dive trip if you’ve only logged a few dives.
In reality, there are more than 5 top Indonesian dive sites and eventually we will get round to posting about every last one of them. The culture of Indonesia, the amazing diving it offers and the warm tropical weather make it truly where you would rather be!