Komodo Liveaboards

Diving Liveaboard at Komodo National Park

komodo dragons Komodo Liveaboards are a great way to dive and explorer the Komodo islands.
Mention Komodo to most people on the planet, and the first thing that comes to mind are images of a lethargic lumbering giant lizard, more at home in a horror film or in the pages of a comic book. What does not immediately jump to mind are images of pristine stunning coral reefs, of sharks hovering in the current stalking their prey, or even manta rays gracefully gliding through the water. Komodo is not only home to their namesake dragons – its features some truly world class diving. Also listed in Unesco Wordl Heritage

How to get there?

komodo islands Komodo Islands lies at the eastern tip of the Indonesian archipelago. Immediately to its east, you’ll find the much bigger island of Flores. On the west coast of Flores lies the small town of Labuan Bajo, the main gateway to the wonderful Komodo National Park. While there is a harbor in Labuan Bajo with some ferries stopping over from other Indonesian islands, the main route into it is via Labuan Bajo International Airport. There are plenty of flights on a daily basis arriving from multiple destinations.

When to go?

There are two best times of the year to visit Komodo National Park. The best periods to visit are from April to June and from September to November, although the high season actually runs from April to November, it’s the opposite of the Similan islands season. During those two time periods the place is not overcrowded and the diving is at its best with plenty of interesting stuff in the water, including mantas.

Diving Komodo

The area of Komodo suitable for diving is very large. From Labuan Bajo, the park can be divided into a southern and northern diving area. The key difference is access! The norther dive sites are near enough to be able to be accessed by day boat from Labuan Bajo. The southern dive sites are a little too farther out, and can only be reached by taking a Komodo liveaboard trip.

Northern diving

manta rays komodo The northern dive sites of Komodo are spectacular and every bit as good as their southern counterparts. Some the best are Manta point, Batu Bolong, the Cauldron, and Castle rock.
Manta point is exactly what it sounds like, a spot visited by plenty of mantas. This long shallow plateau is about a mile long, and in the right season has plenty of manta rays travelling up and down while feeding in the current. It is relatively shallow with a maximum depth of around 12 meters.
The Cauldron is another great bowl shaped dive site with plenty of marine life and coral reefs to enjoy. Castle rock is an outlying reef with a small plateau on one side at around 22 meters. Thanks to its strong current hitting the reef head on and splitting to either side, this plateau is a great location to just stay put and watch the thousands of fusiliers and Jacks hovering in the current, while lots of White tip reef sharks dart in and out of the clouds of fish.

Southern diving

diving in komodoliveaboards komodo The southern dive sites are less visited than the northern ones and are truly spectacular. Some of the most amazing are Manta alley, End of the world, and Langkoi rock. Manta alley is similar to manta point, a long shallow path that has tons of visiting Mantas.
The dive site known as End of the world is the most southern dive site in Komodo, it is a 40-meter deep wall of rocks with absolutely pristine untouched reefs and tons of overhangs and caves. The marine life is rich and diverse with plenty of White tip sharks, morays and rays. Langkoi rock is simply put crazy! It is the best dive site to encounter sharks in Komodo.
This small pinnacle is home to a healthy population of all kinds of sharks. You have a great chance of encountering Hammerheads, Bronze whaler, White tips, Silvertips, Blacktips, and even the odd Leopard shark. The currents here are extremely strong and can reach up to 8 knots, this is not a dive site for the faint-hearted.

Don’t forget the dragons!

Before you head off home, don’t forget the dragons, you have after all probably traveled a fair distance to come here so it is worth the detour. While there are several trips available to Komodo and such, the more committed divers can still fit them in without losing out on too much diving. Most northern dive operators offer the option for divers to swap on of the afternoon dives with a visit to Rinca Island to see the dragons. This is a great option to combine a day’s diving and seeing the dragons rolled into one.

I can’t quite seem to find flights to Labuan Bajo?

That is not a surprise, although the airport is called the Labuan Bajo International airport, there are no international flights that fly to it – yet. All flights into Labuan Bajo arrive from domestic routes inside Indonesia. The vast majority arrive from Denpasar airport on the island of Bali. If you search for flights from Bali there are plenty to be had, and there are many low cost options available such as AirAsia, Wings, and Lion air, on top of the Indonesian national carrier Garuda. Be careful when booking since most of the low cost carriers do not include a checked luggage allowance, and often booking with a slightly more expensive carrier that offers a checked luggage allowance is cheaper in the long run.

Rinca? I thought Komodo dragons only lived on Komodo?

That is a common misconception, but the dragons are actually found on five Indonesian islands: Komodo, Flores, Padar, Rinca, and Gili Motang. The largest population is on the island of Komodo, which is where the dragons get their name from. In addition, the dragons on Komodo tend to grow larger than the ones on the other islands due to the abundance of prey and habitat. Rinca Island shelters the second largest population, and the dragons do reach an impressive size.

What about travelling in July and August?

While this time period is high season, it is also the peak of the touristic season. The weather is hot and humid, the hotels and resorts are absolutely packed, and there are tourists everywhere. In terms of sightseeing during this time of year, there is a reduced chances of encountering dragons since it is mating season and the dragons wander off and are otherwise occupied. In addition, the sea can be a bit rough with more wind. Furthermore, as a diver this is not manta season, so while you may see the odd manta if you are lucky, the chances of encounters are somewhat limited.

Why are the currents so strong?

The currents are due to the particular location of Komodo and Rinca islands, which act as a funnel between the Indian and Pacific oceans. This bottleneck or funneling effect creates stronger currents, as the waters rush through a confined space. On the positive side, despite the currents being strong, with some care you can really enjoy the diving. After all, it’s the presence of these currents that bring the nutrients and promote the growth of the amazing local wildlife. They also create the wonderful clarity of the water as the current keeps sweeping away particles, keeping the visibility good.

Amazing diving liveaboard trip, the dives were great, manta, sharks, macro life, amazing Komodo

out of 5
based on 388 ratings.
368 user reviews.
Great dive experience, highly recommended!

Reviewed by Celine L. on

Thank you Khao Lak Explorer !

Komodo liveaboards reviews
Rating: 5

Mike C.