If you’re a scuba diver or an avid traveler wondering when and where to go to explore the Indonesian archipelago. Here are some of the popular destinations in the country and its best season so you’ll know when is the best time to visit during the year to experience the most of it.
Liveaboards are the best way to explore Komodo islands. There are hundreds of liveaboards with various facilities to choose from. Itinerary varies for scuba diving, leisure (non-diving), and freediving with a duration starting from 3 days to 7 days, all departing from Labuan Bajo.
During the rainy season in January – April the waves and high rainfall can be uncomfortable. It’s best to visit around March to November/ December. As the seasons change, you’ll be able to see the changing colors of the savanna grass over the hills of the island. Watch as they turn from green after the rainy season, to yellow and brown during the dry season.
Komodo Islands are famous for their beautiful landscape, underwater biodiversity with its exciting currents, and of course the Komodo dragons. Popular destinations such as Padar Island, Rinca Island, Manjarite / Pink Rock, Pink Beach, Manta Point, and many more.
Some of the popular dive spots are Manta Point, Castle Rock, Crystal Rock, Shotgun, and Batu Bolong. Divers with all experience levels can enjoy the dive sites. Please note that some of the dive sites are known for their currents and are more suitable for more experienced divers. Have a look here to check the available trips suitable for you.
You could visit Raja Ampat almost all year round with the best season from October to April scuba diving trip. Raja Ampat is definitely a popular destination among divers with its dense schooling fish, walls, slopes, various reef sharks, manta rays, and critters. The islands have more to offer above water as well. Pristine beaches and its extraordinary landscape are waiting to be explored. Trips started from Sorong to either North Raja Ampat or South Raja Ampat.
North Raja Ampat
Liveaboard trips usually take around 7 days while land based trips (non-diving) are shorter with just 4 days. You’ll visit destinations such as Piaynemo, Star Lagoon, Arborek, Kali Biru, and many more including the icon of Raja Ampat, Wayag, a limestone karst formation.
Manta Sandy, Manta Ridge, Arborek Jetty, Melissa’s Garden, Barracuda Reef, Mansuar are some of the popular sites. One of the main attractions when visiting Wayag is swimming with black tip sharks on Wayag Shark Point. Catching all types of sharks are prohibited in all areas in Raja Ampat and the local manager has made swimming with sharks as an activity to create more awareness about its existence to protect it instead of hunting it.
South Raja Ampat
In the south you’ll be able to visit Misool, where once was a shark finning camp now has become a marine reserve area. One of the places in the world where biodiversity is rising. Misool is known for its world class coral reefs and abundant marine life with diverse species. Manta ray, napoleon wrasse, green turtles, batfish, barracuda, turtles, and reef sharks are often seen while diving.
Visit popular sites such as Magic Mountain, Farondi, Boo’s Window, Wayilbatan, Shadow Reef, Jellyfish Point, and heart-shaped lagoon on Karawapop Island. Note that around June to early September the weather can be rough and is not recommended to visit during those months.
Misool is located on the most southern part and logistics may be challenging. Liveaboards are popular for their easy accessibility. Trips are starting from 7 days and more departing from Sorong.
Maratua Island is located in the Derawan Archipelago, off the north coast of East Kalimantan, along with Derawan, Sangalaki, and Kakaban. Maratua is believed to contain the third largest marine biodiversity in the world after Raja Ampat and the Solomon Islands.
The island offers various dive spots with beautiful coral reefs, diverse fish species, and is even famous for its green sea turtles. Expect to encounter pelagic like manta rays, eagle rays, tuna, schoolings of barracuda, and reef sharks. Some dive sites are known for their currents and are better suited for the more experienced divers.
For non diving activities, swimming with the stingless jellyfish in Kakaban is one of the most popular activities along with dolphin sightings, snorkeling, biking, and exploring the hidden caves.
March to December is the best time to visit. Flights are available with transits in Samarinda. The resort offers all the facilities you need for your memorable trip. Click here to see the trip schedule.
Alor is located in East Nusa Tenggara. Flights usually transit to Kupang before continuing to Alor. Many would say Alor is a hidden gem for its pristine coral reefs, marine lives, and its crystal clear water. During its best season between March to December, visibility could reach over 30m.
Liveaboards are available around August to September for 6 to 7 days. For more flexible time you could also visit local dive centers that provide accommodation, transportation, food, and most of the things you need during your stay. Read more about scuba diving in Alor here.
Alor is also great for non diving activities. Swimming / snorkeling in the turquoise water, visiting the local village, or meeting the infamous dugong, Mawar. Definitely not to be missed.
Bali & Nusa Penida
Bali is one of the most famous tourism destinations in Indonesia. You’ll never run out of things to explore above and underwater. You could visit Bali any time of the year, just know that the rainy season falls between November to March.
Bali has a wide variety of sites suitable for snorkeling, freediving, and scuba diving for beginners to experienced divers. Some of the popular destinations in Bali are Menjangan, Amed, Padang Bai, Tulamben, and Nusa Penida. The famous USAT Liberty Wreck in Tulamben is one of the most popular diving spots in Bali, with easy accessibility and abundant marine life.
Only about 45 minutes from Bali by speedboat, you can visit Nusa Penida which is a favorite destination to see sunfish and manta rays. Be aware that the currents may be challenging and it can get really cold usually during mola mola season around August to November.
Click here to see the dive center options.
If you live in or near Jakarta, Pulau Seribu is an easy weekend getaway destination from the busy city life. Trip options available from day trip to overnight 3 days 2 nights on a liveaboard. Explore the islands for snorkeling, scuba diving, or any other fun water activities while lounging on a phinisi boat.
Wreck dives on sites like Papa Theo wreck and Tabularasa are recommended for advanced divers for its depth and visibility that could sometimes be very low.
Trips to Pulau Air, Pulau Pari, atau Pulau Bidadari, or Pulau Pramuka are available every week. The end of the wet season on Mei, during the dry season up to September would be the best time to sail to Kepulauan Seribu.
Click here to see trip options with private charter.
Ambon & Banda Sea
Ambon Bay is known for being one of the best muck diving destinations with its wide range of critters life with its native mandarinfish, scorpionfish, rhinopias, blue ring octopus, and more. The eastern side of the bay is where you will see more of the coral reef walls and the Duke of Sparta Wreck, a 1940 cargo ship from England that was bombed by the CIA and sank in the 1958.
Some liveaboard trips offer crossing trips between Ambon and Banda Neira island during hammerhead season during September to November. Trip duration is around 6 to 8 days.
Banda Neira is best visited during February to April and September to November with highlights such as big pelagic, schooling fish, healthy coral reefs, and definitely the hammerhead shark encounters. The island is rich in history with plenty of historical architecture sites, a perfect destination to explore. Click here to see liveaboard trip schedules in Ambon and here in Banda Sea.
Which destination do you want to visit next? If you have any questions about the trip and availability, don’t hesitate to contact us here.
Stay safe & stay healthy!