Diving Komodo National Park Diver

Diving in Komodo National Park: Best 5 Dive Sites

In Diving & Snorkeling, Indonesia by Erik20 Comments

Diving Komodo National Park is world class – from Castle Rock to the Cauldron, find out the best 5 dive sites, as well as information about tour prices & diving conditions.

When diving in Komodo, the currents are some of the strongest in the world, and are not to be taken lightly. 

We here at DIY Travel HQ would recommend that beginners accrue more dives before getting to Labuan Bajo, Indonesia.

 

The underwater world is potentially more deadly than on land, even with the Komodo dragons. Several deaths have been reported with the latest being in 2014, and many others have been listed as missing over the years…

* UPDATE: Tourist attacked by Komodo Dragon on May 2017

At the bare minimum, consider doing a refresher course before tackling some of the fun but more challenging dives – especially if you plan to travel to Raja Ampat too, another of Indonesia’s highly rated diving destinations.

* Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before any trip to Indonesia. We’ve been using World Nomads for over 10 years. It’s the best-value provider we’ve found but there are other important things to consider. Check out our post and find out which of our claims were successful or denied.

Diving in Komodo

Dive tanks onboard Divers Paradise Komodo

Labuan Bajo Dive Shops

Strong currents and world class diving often go together. For this reason, spend extra time choosing your dive shop in Labuan Bajo. The most organized and professional dive company we found was Divers Paradise Komodo. Their prices were very competitive as well.

The general practice for dive shops in town is to have a receptionist handle questions and bookings during the day, while dive masters and instructors are out guiding/teaching.

The receptionist at Divers Paradise Komodo was not a diver, but was able to answer all our questions regarding prices, popular dive sites, maximum depth, currents, and had a schedule for the next week.

This was leaps better than their competitors. Our next choice would have been Dive Komodo across the street. The dive master there seemed very confident and geared towards safety.

We also recommend Lonely Planet’s Indonesia Travel Guide to help you plan your trip.

Divers Paradise Komodo Info Sheet

Divers Paradise Komodo dive schedule

Divers Paradise Komodo

Divers Paradise Komodo had two dive masters when we went. The permanent dive master/occasional captain has poor English, but is more than capable under the water. I would choose him over the floater who can communicate more easily. He seemed too relaxed in terms of safety, with more focus on a “look at this…and this…” mentality.

When diving in Komdo, all dive sites are relatively far away so you are forced into three dives per day unless you opt to see the Komodo dragons, but the price remains the same:

  • 1,200,000 IDR / $90.00 per 3 dive day
  • 50,000 IDR / $3.75 discount for each additional 3 dive day 

The boat holds a large number of people, but had around 10 paying divers both days. Divers Paradise Komodo limits each dive master to five customers. The first floor of the boat houses all the tanks securely, dive gear, and bathrooms. Upstairs is a padded lounge to relax on the 90 minute commute, and surface intervals.

Lunch is served in the lounge after the second dive. We had rice, tempe, veggies, and chicken. There is also a plethora of bananas and watermelon to snack on besides drinking water:

Lunch on Dive Komodo Paradise

A delicious lunch aboard Dive Komodo Paradise

Diving in Komodo: Entrance Fees

In addition to your per day diving expenses, the Indonesian government also requires a daily contribution. These are as follows:

Monday to Saturday Park Entrance Fee: 150,000 IDR / $11.25

Sunday Park Entrance Fee: 225,000 IDR / $16.85

Diving Fee: 25,000 IDR / $1.85

Dive boat views around Labuan Bajo

Stunning sea views around Komodo Island from aboard our dive boat

Komodo Dive Sites

Two days of diving in Komodo National Park is the minimum one should dive. See below for an explanation of the dive sites we visited:

These dive sites represent the best that Komodo National Park has to offer. With many shallow coral gardens, snorkeling is also an enjoyable experience.

  • #1. Batu Balong:

Batu Balong is one of the most popular dive sites in Komodo National Park. It is essentially a giant rock bommie that is teeming with life.

Horizontal and down currents can be strong so try to stay with your dive master and wear a dive computer if possible. The typical dive pattern is to start deep and zig zag your way to shallower depths.

Occasionally, you can or will be instructed to grab a rock to catch your breath or observe everything around you. Currents are strongest on the ends of the island so you will stay on either the north or south wall.

Maximum depth is 35-40 meters, but you only need to go 5 meters to start enjoying the table coral, Gregorian fans, small fish hiding from the current, and larger fish feeding at greater depths.

It is truly an amazing place to dive.

Komodo National Park Diving

See Gregorian Fans when diving in Komodo

  • #2. Castle Rock:

Castle Rock is another popular spot to dive in Komodo. The dive site is comprised of several sea-mounts that offer protection from the strong currents.

The big draw here is watching large fish and reef sharks that are not common on other dive sites.

You can also spot moray eels, mantis shrimp, nudibranchs, and feather stars among the large coral formations.

Diving Komodo National Park Giant Wrasse

Giant Wrasse

Diving Komodo National Park Blue Spotted Stingray

Blue Spotted Stingray

Diving on Komodo Island

Lion Fish

Diving Komodo National Park Puffer Fish

Puffer Fish

Komodo Island Diving

See Puffer Fish while diving Komodo

Maximum depth is 30 meters, and safety stops are usually performed behind the largest sea-mount.

Diving Komodo National Park Feather Star

Feather Star

  • #3. The Cauldron:

If you want a rollercoaster of a dive site, then The Cauldron is perfect for you. Before you jump in, you can see the turbulent water between Gili Lawa Laut and Gili Lawa Darat as water is funneled between the islands during tide changes.

The dive starts rather unassuming and pleasant before gradually picking up speed as you approach the closest distance between the islands. Along the way you will drift along a wall filled with a variety of corals and fish.

At some point you get shot through the funnel into a cauldron. The scariest part is when the strong up-current tries to force you to surface. Kick with all your might and grab onto anything solid.

Use this period of the dive to catch your breath and observe large fish struggling above you. Depending on how much air your group has left, you have the chance to relax and swim around a coral garden.

Diving in Komodo

Scorpian Fish

  • #4. Tatawa Besar:

Tatawa Besar is an easy drift dive that features a wide range of soft corals, fish, and macro.

The dive starts as a drift, but becomes calmer after rounding the island’s corner.

Here, it is possible to see clown fish and pygmy sea horses. It is common to see turtles during the drift section of the dive.

Diving Komodo National Park Finding Nemo Clown Fish

This clown fish has found Nemo

 

Diving Komodo National Park Coral Patch

Coral Patch

Diving Komodo National Park Sting Ray

Sting Ray

Diving Komodo National Park Coral Garden

Soft Coral

  • #5. Manta Point:

There are not many places in the world where dive shops can virtually guarantee spotting a manta ray.

This is one of them as the manta rays use this stretch of ocean for feeding during tide changes.

For this reason, your best chances of spotting a manta ray is during a mild current. In order to maximize bottom time you swim in a zig zag pattern since maximum depth is between 10-15 meters, and you are more likely to finish the “course” than run out of air.

Upon spotting a manta ray, your dive group will exhale and grab onto the ocean floor. The entire area is comprised of dead coral so there is no worry about damaging the location. This also makes for a very boring dive should you not spot a manta ray.

Our visit to Manta Point was very successful. We saw roughly a dozen swimming nearby from the boat during our surface interval.

Upon entering the water, both dive groups saw at least three manta rays. They will typically be relaxing near the bottom, or effortlessly flying through the water with their mouths open eating plankton as you can see here & in our other YouTube videos of diving Komodo National Park:

[put_wpgm id=27]

 

*** The Final Word: If you can handle the currents, you’ll love diving Komodo National Park *** 

What’s your favourite dive site on Komodo?

2 Shovels

Not recommended DIY travel; take a tour instead

Visited in October 2015

 

Comments

  1. Sounds like the right place to be for divers! My husband is all about it, I haven’t jumped on that bandwagon. I will keep all of these in mind for when we visit. We are on #14 national park of this year so I’m sure we will get to Komodo at some point. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Even if you don’t dive there is a lot to keep you busy in Komodo National Park. You can obviously see the Komodo Dragons, but also snorkel at Pink Beach and climb a hill on one of the islands for an excellent viewpoint. We didn’t learn about that until after we left, but the pictures look amazing.

  2. I do enjoy looking at dive pictures, you’ve captured the coral on the bottom beautifully! I am pretty new to diving so I wouldn’t be good for me at the moment, but My husband has done over 40 dives and would love something like this. Thanks for the warning because getting caught in strong currents without the experience could be really dangerous! Also great tips on which dive shops to use, safety should always come first. Nice article!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Tina. If you still want to get in on the action, a lot of dive shops will tailor the dive locations based on your ability. Even if you go to the same sites, less experienced divers can go off to the side for a similar but less dangerous excursion. Sheena was fresh off learning in nearby Gili Islands, and went around the same dive sites as I did.

  3. Such a great adventure. All above are amazing but I found the castle rock and manta point much more appealing to me..would go on diving but on an easier one

    1. It doesn’t get much easier than Manta Point. The current is relatively calm for a drift dive, and there is very little depth changes. A lot of the time you are merely zig zagging to increase your odds of seeing a manta ray. Some people have noted there is good macro if you look, but I was too focused on the big sea life.

  4. I have never tried diving before so I’ve no idea about dealing with strong current. Reading about it made me scared. Probably I’d only attempt diving there when I am already an experienced diver.

    I love the videos by the way, it’s nice to have a glimpse of what can be seen underwater.

    1. I would definitely recommend that. If you are in the area to see Komodo Dragons, there are a lot of companies that offer snorkeling trips as well. There is even a 3 day boat trip from Lombok that includes snorkeling if you are short on time. It takes roughly two days by sea and land.

  5. Sounds like an epic adventure for me. Manta point was the most exciting part. Would love to go deep sea diving and experience the underwater world. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Manta Point was amazing. We knew we were in for a great dive before we jumped in the water. A school of manta rays were swimming around our boat for 10 minutes during our surface interval. They are such graceful creatures, and harmless too!

  6. I’ve also been to Komodo National Park but haven’t gone diving. Only snorkelling since I’m not a good swimmer. I definitely agree that the underwater world there is just so amazing! And the beaches are awesome too! I’ll certainly come back there when I already have my diving license ?

    1. The funny thing is neither of us are good swimmers. 🙂 We rely on the BCD (life vest) to keep us at the right level. You don’t have to worry about breathing with a regulator in your mouth either. Just kick and enjoy.

  7. Seems like a divers paradise! Unfortunately I have a major water phobia since I am a child and really can’t get myself to do these activities 🙁

    1. Sorry to hear, Aditi. Hopefully you were able to live vicariously through our pictures and videos. I guess aquariums are your best bet to experience the underwater world.

  8. Whoa! It is like it is a different world there!
    Amazing creatures,,, seeing yet hard to believe they are real! Sounds a bit scary too about all the strong water currents and all, but very thrilling and exciting too.

    1. You usually have an idea what you can see before you dive, but it still doesn’t diminish the feeling of excitement when you see them up close. I still have a lot of large sea life to see, but seeing some of the macro as well is cool. They say that when you stop caring about sharks, and look for sea horses first that you are an experienced diver. I think it just depends on tastes.

  9. All of the sites are spellbinding. Great places to dive and view the fascinating underwater world. Loved your post, the pictures are stunning and so are the videos.

  10. Great underwater view – one of the best places to do diving in the world. I just went to Indonesia recently and I could agree more on how beautiful this place is! <3

    1. Komodo National Park does have some of the best diving in the world. Among the large creatures such as manta rays, the macro, stunning coral, and crazy drift dives there is something for everyone. Prices are very affordable too, despite there being a three dive minimum.

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