Have you been looking to take a diving holiday in Indonesia and are feeling overwhelmed with the choices and different locations? Should you do land based or live aboard? What are the best times of year for the different areas? What can easily be combined for an extended trip? What if you have a non-diving travel companion?
Indonesia, being the center of marine biodiversity is on every traveling divers bucket list. You will quickly discover more than one trip is necessary to see all that Indonesia has to offer.
We always recommend a first time traveler to Indonesia start with Komodo or North Sulawesi. Why these two areas? Travel throughout Indonesia has its challenges with domestic flights, busy congested airports and weird flight schedules that have you hanging around airports in the middle of the night. Both of these areas are easy to get to and a wonderful introduction to the country. A trip to Komodo would start in Bali. The island of Bali, also known as “Island of the Gods” is Indonesia’s main tourist area with many options for a short stay. Komodo has all the biodiversity that Indonesia has to offer, critters, mantas, pristine reefs and Komodo Dragons. Komodo is best seen by live aboard dive boat. Our top 4 favorite dive boats are Arenui, Dewi Nusantara, Dive Damai I and Dive Damai II. These four vessels are traditional wooden Pinisi boats that take comfort and luxury to a whole new level in live aboard dive boats. Most importantly, they have been plying the waters of Indonesia for many years have the best local dive guides.
North Sulawesi, in the heart of the Coral Triangle has some of the best diving in Indonesia and is a short flight from Singapore. There are three areas to dive and the resorts all work together to make travel between them seamless. Bunaken Marine Park, the first protected marine area in Indonesia known for its incredible walls, hard corals, passing pelagic and bright blue water. Bangka Island is the quintessential palm-fringed, white sand island surrounded by crystal clear water with a kaleidoscope of soft coral and an abundance of fish. The rock pinnacle dive sites are a sensory overload. Lembeh Strait is known at the “Critter Capitol of the World”. You will discover an entire new world in the volcanic black sand of Lembeh, home to hairy frogfish, wonderpus, pygmy seahorses and the craziest critters in the ocean.
There are many options to meet any accommodation needs. A terrific way to see all three areas is “Passport to Paradise” staying ate Murex Manado, Murex Bangka for your reef diving and Lembeh Resort for your critter hunting. Dive into Lembeh is a favorite boutique resort located on the mainland with stunning views of Lembeh Island. These four resorts have years of experience and the best critter spotters in the industry.
The best time to visit these areas of Indonesia are April through November, avoiding the rainy season during our winter months. If you want to avoid winter stay tuned for Banda Sea, Forgotten Islands and Raja Ampat.