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Everything to Know About Scuba Diving Komodo, Indonesia

Komodo, Indonesia, is one of the world’s top dive destinations. It is famous for its large population of manta rays and abundant marine life. The Komodo National Park boasts an incredible diversity of coral reefs and aquatic ecosystems. To fully experience the best dive sites, many divers opt for a liveaboard cruise, which allows access to remote locations inaccessible from Labuan Bajo.

Liveaboard trips provide the opportunity to explore Komodo’s most celebrated dive spots, such as manta ray cleaning stations and vibrant coral gardens teeming with marine life. These multi-day dive cruises offer a unique way to immerse oneself in the park’s underwater wonders while enjoying the convenience and comfort of a liveaboard vessel.

In addition to world-class diving, Komodo National Park offers land-based adventures, such as hiking and wildlife spotting. Home to the Komodo Dragon, the largest living lizard species, most liveaboard trips include a land walk to experience them. 

With its diverse marine and terrestrial ecosystems, Komodo promises an unforgettable experience for scuba divers and nature enthusiasts.

Top Dive Sites in Komodo

Let’s explore some of Komodo’s top scuba diving spots. Every spot has its special characteristics and offers a unique scuba experience.

Batu Bolong

Some consider Batu Bolong one of the world’s best dive sites. This underwater paradise is teeming with luscious corals that extend as far as the eye can see, creating a kaleidoscope of colours unlike anything you’ve witnessed before. Prepare to be surrounded by sea turtles, sharks, tuna, and many other marine species in numbers you never imagined.

Batu Bolong, meaning hole in the rock, can have very strong currents, but can also be dived down current, and in a fairly calm area. It can be an ideal playground for underwater photographers with excellent light conditions. Reef sharks, rays, and turtles are commonly spotted here, but keep your eyes peeled for any unexpected marine life encounters.

Diving here is recommended for advanced divers, and choosing an experienced dive operation is imperative for safety.

With its flourishing coral gardens and incredible biodiversity, Batu Bolong offers a breathtaking diving experience that showcases the natural wonders of Komodo National Park at its finest. This site alone adds Komodo to any diver’s bucket list.

Manta Alley

If you still need to have your fill of manta ray encounters, or worse, haven’t spotted any on your Komodo trip so far, then Manta Alley is a must-visit dive site. 

This shallow dive offers an excellent chance to see these majestic creatures up close, along with turtles and possibly even sharks. There’s no feeling like a graceful manta ray approaching and greeting you underwater.

Manta Alley lives up to its name, providing divers with a high probability of manta sightings in a relatively accessible setting. The thrill of locking eyes with one of these gentle giants as it glides effortlessly by often in a manta train of 3 or more, is an experience that will leave you in awe. 

This dive site is situated more to the south of the marine park, so a liveaboard trip is necessary to acess it. Here is definitely one of the sites to make sure you dive when in Komodo. 

Taka Makassar

Taka Makassar is one of the places to be if you’re looking for the famous manta rays of Komodo. This dive site offers an excellent chance to witness these majestic creatures gracefully swooping by, often trailed by sea turtles, while vibrant coral reefs sway peacefully beneath.

The underwater scenery at Taka Makassar is truly spectacular, but the marine life steals the show. In addition to mantas and turtles, you may encounter sharks, eagle rays, moray eels, and resident clownfish inhabiting the reefs. It’s a diver’s delight with a rich diversity of species.

With its long reef, abundant marine life and gorgeous coral landscapes, Taka Makassar deserves a top spot on any diver’s bucket list when visiting Komodo National Park. Prepare for an unforgettable experience on this stunning drift dive.

Castle Rock

Castle Rock is one of Komodo’s most famous and deservedly celebrated dive spots, and a personal favourite. It’s an underwater explosion of vibrant coral and marine life. Pinnacles rise from a shelf 20-24 meters deep, reaching almost to the surface at just 4 meters below, offering divers an unforgettable view.

This incredible site is patrolled by whitetip and blacktip reef sharks, while eagle rays and mantas may also appear during the right season. The profusion of fish and coral creates a dazzling kaleidoscope of colour and movement.

However, divers should be cautioned that strong currents can occur at Castle Rock. To safely scuba dive and thoroughly enjoy this world-class dive site in Komodo National Park, an Advanced Open Water certification or equivalent experience is recommended. A professional dive operator will know when and how to dive this site on the correct tides.

Tatawa Kecil

Meaning small laugh in Indonesian, this site is situated in the north of the park and close to sister dive site Tatawa Besar. With a maximum depth of around 30 metres, the site has a small cave, home to a colony of fascinating pygmy seahorses. 

Divers can expect to encounter whitetip sharks, grey reef sharks, giant trevallies, and tuna at this site. On the northern side, two large rocks at 22 meters shelter a cleaning station frequented mainly by sweetlips fish. 

Tatawa Kecil is situated in the current and provides one of the most diverse seascapes in the park, but it can be a challenging dive. Dive liveaboard operators will know the best time and entry point for diving here.

Three Sisters

Three Sisters is named after the massive rocks dominating this dive site. These towering structures sit atop a sandy bottom 30 meters deep, with their tops reaching just 3 meters below the surface. As soon as you descend, you’ll be struck by the thriving marine life that calls this area home.

Keep your eyes peeled for the many species of nudibranchs that inhabit the rocks. For adventurous divers, a fourth “sister” is located further west, starting at around 20 meters and dropping to 40 meters deep. This area boasts impressive sea fans and even more exciting marine life.

As with many sites in Komodo, the currents at Three Sisters can be unpredictable, so divers should be prepared. But those who brave the conditions will be rewarded with an underwater playground teeming with vibrant sea creatures and unique geological formations.

This dive site is located south of the park, only accessible by dive liveboard.

Gili Lawa Area

This area is home to Castle Rock, one of our all-time favourite dive sites, as well as several other absolutely stunning ones. The sea around Gili Lawa Laut and Darat, in the warmer area north of the marine park, supports rich corals and marine life.

Crystal Rock, Shotgun, and Lighthouse Point are bucket-list dive sites in this area. Be aware that this area has some very strong currents, so experience coupled with a professional dive operator is necessary for your safety.

The Requirements for Scuba Diving In Komodo

Scuba diving in Komodo allows one to explore one of the world’s most vibrant underwater ecosystems. However, it also poses specific prerequisites for divers to ensure safety and environmental conservation.

Some of the things you should consider:

  • Open Water Diver Certification with experience is mandatory for all divers to ensure they have essential scuba diving knowledge and skills. Many operators require you to have 50 dives under your belt.
  • Physical Fitness and Swimming Proficiency are required to handle the potentially solid and unpredictable currents within Komodo National Park.
  • Commitment to Marine Conservation: Divers must practice responsible diving to maintain the health and sustainability of the underwater ecosystem.
  • Advanced Diving Skills: Although not a requirement, possessing advanced skills can enhance the safety and enjoyment of exploring more challenging sites.
  • Environmental Awareness Briefing: To minimize their impact on the habitat, all divers should attend a briefing focused on the unique environmental aspects of Komodo National Park. Whether this is beforehand, on the vessel or dive boat, you are responsible for taking care of the environment.
  • Check for Permits: You must have the necessary permits to dive in the park. This is to regulate human activity and protect the marine environment. Your dive operator can arrange this for you for the current set fee.

Where to Find Liveaboards in Komodo

The ideal way to fully immerse yourself in the underwater wonders of Komodo is to embark on a liveaboard cruise. While 3-day trips are available, a 7—or 10-day liveaboard is optimal for exploring all the best dive sites this incredible destination offers.

Komodo liveaboards provide an affordable alternative to the more expensive liveaboard options in Raja Ampat. By living and diving from a yacht you can bundle all travel and diving costs into one, often making this a fantastic and affordable choice. These convenient cruises allow divers to maximize their time in Komodo’s rich waters.

Get in touch with us. We can help you find the best liveaboard to suit your dive trip.

Other Places To Consider in Komodo National Park

Hike Padar Island

While Komodo National Park is renowned for its incredible diving, one of the most breathtaking sights on land is the viewpoint atop Padar Island. The challenging one-hour hike to the summit rewards you with arguably the most beautiful vista in all of Indonesia.

The trail is steep and unstable, but the stunning panoramic views make the effort worthwhile. You can take in the dramatic landscapes of Padar’s curved bays and the surrounding islands from the top.

To reach Padar Island, you must take a 3-hour boat ride from Labuan Bajo on the main island. Many tour operators offer day trips combining a visit to Komodo National Park with the hike to Padar’s viewpoint, allowing you to experience the best of both worlds.

Bat Watching

Kalong Island offers the rare opportunity to witness a truly incredible natural phenomenon. Every summer evening around 6 pm, thousands of bats emerge from the mangroves and take to the night sky in an awe-inspiring display reminiscent of a National Geographic documentary. This mass migration lasts for approximately 15 mesmerizing minutes.

The best part? You can conveniently catch this spectacle on your way back from visiting Rinca Island to see the famous Komodo dragons. Relax with a cold beer in hand as you take in the breathtaking sight of the bats’ exodus from the mangroves of Kalong Island, making for an unforgettable end to your day in Komodo National Park.

To Wrap it Up

Diving in Komodo National Park is some of the world’s best and most exhilarating. Although remote, the park is becoming easier to access, with the airport at Labuan Bajo becoming a new route for several domestic airlines.

The best way to dive here is undoubtedly by liveaboard, but some solid land-based options are also available, although you will not reach the more remote areas on day trips.

There are some wonderful, inclusive dive operators here that provide for divers on plant-based and vegan diets. Get in touch with us and let us use our years of experience in the area to help you find the perfect one.











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