The remote and rugged islands of Komodo National Park are filled with adventure, wild Komodo Dragons and some of the best scuba diving in the world. In this guide you'll find out which marine critters you can see, how to get there and the best liveaboard to stay on.
As Komodo sits within the Coral Triangle, the waters around the islands are bursting with some of the richest and most diverse marine life on earth, which is why the area is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site and new7wonders of nature. Just imagine a Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory of marine life! After reading this guide you’ll definitely want to put Komodo on the top of your bucket list.
What can you see diving in Komodo?
Komodo earns its reputation for being one of Indonesia’s most famous diving destinations as it has it all. From vibrant pristine corals, giant pelagic fish and some of the weirdest and most wonderful macro critters you’ve ever seen. The list is endless!
Expect manta rays, dugongs, sunfish (mola mola), poisonous blue-ringed octopus, the famous pygmy seahorse, frogfish and some of the most bizarre nudibranch that will have you wondering if you’ve dived into a completely different world.
Can beginners dive in Komodo?
Whilst diving in Komodo can be challenging, with strong currents in some places and colder water temperatures between 21 – 28°C, there is something for every level of diver, from calm shallow wall dives to exhilarating drift dives. You are required to always dive with an SMB in Komodo, so ensure you have your own or check if you can hire one before heading out.
When I visited Komodo, although I was an advanced diver, the minute I heard “there’s strong current” on my first day, my heart almost leapt out of my chest! However, drift diving was more fun than I could ever have imagined! The key is to just fly through the current, don’t fight it and always dive with a reef hook, just in case you need to stop and take a break at any point.
However, don’t panic as not all dive sites are drift dives, we only did a couple and the benefit of staying on a liveaboard is if you don’t feel like going on a dive for whatever reason you can just skip it and still enjoy spectacular views of Komodo from the boat deck.
What Type of Diving is There?
The dive sites vary from sandy bottom muck diving to pinnacles covered by hundreds of different corals, gentle easy walls to adrenaline-pumping drift dives. Whether you’re hunting for the tiniest pygmy seahorse, gigantic fan corals or flying manta rays, the diving is so diverse that it’s ideal for passionate macro or wide-angle underwater photographers.
Let’s not forget night diving! If you’ve never tried it then Komodo is one hell of a place for a first time! You’ll get to witness spectacular behaviours as squid flash holographic, octopus hunt and corals shine fluorescent.
Where is Komodo & How To Get There?
The Komodo islands are located in the centre of the Indonesian archipelago around 200 miles from Bali and Lombok. As a scuba diver, the best way to get to Komodo is by liveaboard. Most boats will either pick you up from Maumere or Labuan Bajo airports both easily reachable by a short domestic flight from Bali.
Best Time to Dive Komodo
Although Komodo can be dived all year round as there is always something to see, the most popular time for liveaboards tends to be between April to August, however, each liveaboard has a different schedule as they move to different areas in Indonesia throughout the year. We visited in July and had an incredible time, mantas, sharks, macro critters and dragons galore, although the water temp was below 23°C!
Where To Stay? Liveaboard Is Best!
If you truly want to experience the best diving in Komodo, then you need to stay on a liveaboard, not only can they take you to all of the remote places that others can’t, you’ll be diving up to 4 times a day across 7 -10 days with time in between to enjoy land excursions and of course a visit to the famous Komodo Dragons!
There are a variety of different liveaboards for different budgets but the one we swear by, time and time again is the Dewi Nusantara. I've stayed on a few different boats but for me this is the best liveaboard in Indonesia. Read about my stay here.
Best Dive Sites
Some of the best dive sites in Komodo are along the secluded horseshoe bay where you can also spot
Komodo Dragons stalking up and down the beach between dives. If you’re lucky you might even spot one taking a dip!
There are so many great dive spots and each liveaboard will have its own favourites but Castel Rock, Manta Alley, Shotgun and Cannibal Rock are definitely must dives.
Other Things To Do in Komodo
Komodo is one of those places where the wildlife and adventures are just as amazing on land as it is below the waves.
No trip to Komodo National park is complete without seeing the Komodo Dragons, so be sure to check out my full guide on the best place to see them, along with all the other amazing things to do on the islands.
The top 3 things you must do are:
Visit Pink Beach
Hike to Padar Viewpoint
Visit the Komodo Dragons