Diving at Komodo Island


For scuba divers, one of the ultimate experiences is doing some diving at Komodo Island which is highly rated as one of the must-dive sites in the world. Many have heard about this mystical place which is home to the largest living lizard in the world - The Komodo Dragon, which is found on a number of islands in the Komodo National Park, namely on Komodo Island and Rinca Island. Before you go on, I would like to credit my appreciation to GotMuck.com for the amazing header image of one of the dive sites at Pulau Komodo.  

When you get to Labuan Bajo, the main entry point to the Komodo Islands, you will either book a live on board (LOB) dive package or a day trip package from the many tour operators here. Usually, divers headed here will pre-book their packages where everything is arranged and all you need to do is just fly in, dive, see the dragons, suntan at the pink beach and you are done. It is quite simple when you do a pre-booking for your Komodo diving package. 

For those who want to shop around for the best deals, your options are many as there are about ten dive operators in Labuan Bajo where all of them are part owned by foreigners, namely Australians or Europeans who also have interest in Bali and the Gili Islands. The main street in town is the only place where you can walk shop to shop inquiring about prices, packages and even the different types of Live On Boards offered. Most shops have signs indicating tomorrow's dive departure and you can jump on them if you are a single or couple diver.
                                                   Check out this amazing Komodo Island Diving Video done by Kiersten who dived with me on the trip.
For dive groups, those of four and above, you have the opportunity to pre-book or self book the dive package on the spot when you are in town. All the dive shops in Labuan Bajo speak good English and the dive masters or instructors are mainly local or foreigners with experience. Simply walk in and they would be very happy to serve you.

One of the recommended dive operators that took me diving in Komodo was Ora Dive (http://oradive.com/) who had a fantastic local Indonesian team. The well knowledgeable dive master had over 20 years experience of diving at Komodo Island while the management team was very professional and friendly.
Komodo Island Diving. Photo by Lida Pet Soede
Dive Sites at Komodo Island

There are more than 30 dive sites at Komodo Island which are all equally unique and interesting and also depending on your dive certification level. Most of them are located around the main national park islands and it takes about an hour to get there via speedboat from Labuan Bajo. 

Not all the dive sites are accessible anytime due to the strong currents and when I say strong, they are very strong as I have seen from the surface. Diving safety is very important here and I strongly suggest that you have some minimal diving experience before coming here to dive. 
Komodo island dive map
Komodo island Dive Sites Map. Click on the image to see full size
Some of the dive sites at Komodo Island

With over 40 dives sites, I would estimate that you may need at least 10 trips to see probably half of them, but then again, some of the dive sites are current pending, this means that it does not mean that you want to visit one of those sites and you will get a chance. The currents at some of the sites are pretty strong and caution is advised for all divers. For me, I did only three dives and they are in bold;
  1. Sabolon
  2. Even snorkelers have a chance to see Mantas
    at Komodo Island. Photo by Azuriette.blogspot.com
  3. Sebayor Kecil
  4. Mini Wall
  5. Tatawa Besar East and West
  6. Tatawa Kecil
  7. Batu Bolong
  8. End of the World
  9. Batu Sabun
  10. Siaba Kecil
  11. Pengah
  12. One Tree
  13. Gili Lawa
  14. Manta Point or Karang Makassar
  15. Batu Tiga  
  16. LightHouse
  17. Castle Rock
  18. Crystal Bommie
  19. Cannibal Rock 
  20. Darat Passage South
  21. Darat Passage  North “The Cauldron”
  22. Pink Beach 
  23. Red Beach or Pantai Merah
  24. Loh Namu
  25. Indihiang
  26. Pilaarsteen
  27. Three Sisters
  28. Yellow Wall of Texas 
  29. Payung
  30. Nusa Kode
  31. Cannibal Rock
  32. Invertebrate Wall
  33. Crynoid Corner
  34. Boulders
  35. Loh Sera
  36. Tala
  37. German Flag
  38. Manta Alley
  39. Langkoi Rock
  40. White Angels
  41. NE Gili Banta (outside of the Komodo national park)
  42. GPS Point (outside of the Komodo national park)
  43. NW Gili Banta (outside of the Komodo national park)
Batu Bolong, one of the interesting dive sites at Komodo National Park. Photo by www.komododivecenter.com
Komodo Island Diving Information

Below are some basic information about the dive sites, waters, visibility, temperature and so on. 
  • Depth: 5m - >40m
  • Visibility: 5m - 30m
  • Currents: Can be very strong
  • Surface conditions: Can be rough
  • Water temperature: 20°C - 28°C
  • Experience level: Intermediate - Advanced
  • Number of dive sites: 40+
Manta Rays seen on a dive at Komodo Island. Image from www.mermaidliveabroads.com
Best Time to Dive in Komodo Island

The beauty about diving at Komodo Island is that all through the year, you can dive there, especially when the live on boards operate all year. There are many different companies and some of them operate during the peak diving season at Komodo Island which is between April and August. There are also visiting Live on Board dive boats that come in from April till around November. 

However I would recommend based on your first diving experience in Komodo to be planned for what you want to see and below are some of the months which you can choose. 
  • April to November - Dry season
  • November to March - Rainy season
  • Best Month to Dive - April
  • Best Visibility in Komodo - November to January with 30m
  • Rough Waters - January to March 
  • Rough Seas - July and August
  • Best Time to See Manta Rays - December to February 
  • Best Time to See Mola Mola (Sunfish) - August
For those interested to see the different things while diving at Komodo Island, you should take note of the best times above as you would not want to go all the way there in September to see Manta's only to find they are not around. Just like me, I dived at Manta Point in September just to try my luck, but after an hours diving, there was nothing but on the other hand, I saw quite a lot of other interesting things. I will be posting my next article on my Komodo Island Diving Trip Report.

My dive team members and dive master Jac Seah from Singapore (middle) and Henry from Australia (right)
Types of Komodo Island Dive Packages

There are mainly two types of Komodo Island diving packages which are day dive trips and of course, the most popular which is the liveaboard or live on board dive boats. Prices also vary for each of the types and they are;

One of the general Komodo Island Liveaboard Boats 
Komodo Island Day Trip Diving - Prices are anywhere from USD $125 per person for three dives on a day trip while many offer two dives and see the Komodo Dragons at the same price.

Komodo Island Live On Board - These are the highly sought after for groups as the packages vary from budget to luxury. A standard four day liveabroad trip can cost you anywhere from US$700 per person and a 7D/6N liveabroad trip is around US$1295 which includes everything except flights.

Komodo Island Budget Liveabroad - A lot of divers are looking for budget liveabroad boats at Komodo Island and there are quite a few companies that offer these budget friendly dive packages. You should know that these liveabroad boats are not your luxury type but serve the purpose if you do not mind simplicity. Prices start from US$100.00 per person per night for 3-4 nights and you can find them online or even at Labuan Bajo town.

Diving Course/Licence - For those interested in taking up a scuba diving open water course, there are many dive instructors in Labuan Bajo which offer open water diving courses from IDR 5,000,000  (US$380) per student and this course takes 2-3 days.

*Komodo National Park Fees - Usually the park fees is included in your Komodo Island dive package, but you need to double check with your dive operator on this as I have heard that the really budget dives do not include the fees, hence they are cheap.

How to go to Komodo Island

First thing is how to get to Komodo Island and there are two ways to get here which is via boat or flight. and trust me, the best way to get here is via flight. If you take a boat, it will take around tow to three days from Bali or Lombok, but for me, I flew in via Bali which takes about an hour and checking Skyscanner, there are a few options for flights to Komodo, depending on where you are flying in from.

More importantly, Komodo Island dive packages are usually for the equipment, diving, food and accommodations which usually does not include the flights, therefore if you want to save some money, I would recommend you use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights to Labuan Bajo. At the end of the day, you just want to get here safely and in a timely manner for your diving at Komodo Island, which I highly recommend. 

4 comments