Komodo National Park is known to be one of the best dive sites around the world. While most people come here to see the dragons, scuba divers know that there’s plenty more amazing creatures to be seen under the water.
I had only 12 dives under my belt before arriving at Komodo. It had been more than 9 months since my last dive in Thailand the year before, and I had only done 3 fun dives since getting my certifications in Koh Tao. Coming to Komodo was a huge highlight, but as a newbie diver also little scary. It’s a beautiful place no doubt, but like with diving everywhere else, you need to be careful.
About Komodo National Park
Komodo National Park is located in Indonesia off the island of Flores. It is possible to take a ferry here from the nearby islands but the most popular way to get in, and the easiest, is a flight to Labuan Bajo Airport. It is a small domestic airport with a couple of flights arriving daily from Bali and other Indonesian cities.
Komodo National Park is home to dozens of different dive sites so it’s best to plan a few days here. Popular options are to do liveaboards, but you can also dive from the shops located on Labuan Bajo itself. Recommended dive shops will be listed later in this article.
Komodo National Park isn’t necessarily recommended for beginners. The currents here are incredibly strong and incredibly dangerous. Quite a few divers have died in this area so be sure to pick a good dive school and follow your dive master’s instructions.
What You Can Expect to See
What makes Komodo National Park one of the best places in the world to dive is that the waters here are a mix of different bodies of water: the Indian Ocean and the Flores Sea. This means that there is a huge variety of sea life and corals that are able to live and thrive in this area.
The Big: whale sharks, manta rays, devil rays, hammerheads, dugongs, white and black tip sharks, turtles, and dolphins.
The Little:: Pygmy seahorse, hairy frogfish, nudibranchs, ghost pipe fish, blue ring octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish.
You can also expect to see plenty of schooling fish, sweetlips, batfish, trigger fish, angel fish, clown fish, scorpion fish, lion fish etc. There is also tonnes of beautifully coloured hard and soft corals.
Whether you love drift dives, macro dives, or just exploring coral reefs, Komodo National Park has dive sites for everyone.
My Favourite Dive Sites
Komodo has dozens of dive sites, and I didn’t come close to doing them all. But of those that I did manage to see, these were my favourites.
Tatawa Kecil: Beautiful, colourful corals and plenty of fish, both big and small. Mantas can sometimes be soon out in the blue and you may also see sharks, and if you are incredibly lucky, a dugong here.
Manta Point: Endearingly also referred to as 3G point (one of the only places you can get it in the area), Manta Point is famous for…mantas. You are pretty much guaranteed to see at least one around here, if you are lucky you may see dozens. Lots of cleaning stations and a strong current make it a favourite spot for these amazing creatures.
Siaba Besar: A super relaxing macro dive site with plenty of frogfish and hairy frogfish. Also keep an eye out for octopus and flamboyant cuttlefish.
The Cauldron: Probably the coolest drift dive in the area, the Cauldron is a whole lot of fun. The dive starts off pretty gentle but as you pass over the “cauldron” (look for the big fish and sharks below!) you’ll get sucked into a very strong current. Hook into the reef and hover over the rocks to watch the fish below, and keep an eye out for nearby mantas!
It is possible to dive year round in Komodo National Park, however some dive sites are seasonal or may be better at certain times of the year. The general consensus is that April- November/December are usually the best months. Also keep in mind that July and August are often the busiest due to summer holidays in North America and Europe.
There are plenty of dive shops and schools located around Labuan Bajo for diving in Komodo. As always read up on reviews in advance to make sure everything seems safe.
I used Scuba Junkies, which was incredible.
Nomadic Boys recommend Blue Marlin
Other popular and recommended shops include Uber Scuba, Bajo Diving, and Wicked Diving.