indonesian liveaboard reviews banner

Diving in Indonesia is unique due to its sheer size – with over 17,000 islands, it’s the largest archipelago on earth.

Located in the Ring of Fire, many of Indonesia’s landscapes are dominated by dramatic volcanic vistas which contrast beautifully with the emerald green foliage and shimmering blue ocean.

But…

It’s also part of The Coral Triangle, the most diverse region in the world for coral reefs and the animals which call them home. You can dive with myriad sea creatures, from the smallest nudibranch to the biggest whale sharks.

Because of the countries landscape, top diving locations in the country such as Komodo and Raja Ampat are best accessed by liveaboards.

They offer a unique opportunity to explore this diverse country.

If we had to give a quick answer, the best liveaboards in Indonesia are:

Want to learn more about these options?

Keep reading as below we’ll break down the very best Indonesian liveaboards, so you can make the best choice for the trip of a lifetime.

Why Go On A Liveaboard?

indonesia diving locations

Scuba diving in Indonesia is some of the best in the world. With famous sites like Raja Ampat, Komodo, and Sulawesi, the possibilities are endless.

Liveaboards in Indonesia offer myriad benefits and it’s truly the best way to see some of the best diving destinations in the world.

You can:

  • Beat the crowds – Certain locations are very popular with day trips. With liveaboards, you can be there before anyone else!
  • Night dives – Many of the best diving locations are several hours ride from the shore which limits night diving opportunities – unless you’re on a liveaboard!
  • Go off the beaten track – On Indonesian liveaboards, you can explore the most remote and difficult-to-access dive sites.
  • Dive at the best time – Many Indonesian dive sites, particularly in Komodo National Parks, are best at specific times of the day. If your knowledgeable dive guides take advantage of the currents and tides, you can appreciate a calm, relaxing dive – or enjoy a thrilling underwater rollercoaster ride!

Indonesia boasts a wealth of excellent liveaboard locations and there are plenty of vessels, itineraries and, durations to choose from.

man backflipping off a boatA

A liveaboard in Raja Ampat is one of the most sought after dive trips in the world. Known as “The Last Paradise”, Raja Ampat has the most diverse underwater environment in the world. It boasts thriving coral reefs along with dramatic pinnacles, caves, and mangrove forests.

Komodo isn’t just famous for Komodo dragons! It’s also known for its exhilarating drift dives. These fast-flowing currents attract many manta rays and sharks to this nutrient-dense region. Liveaboards in Komodo can also include some dive sites for beginner divers.

Other excellent liveaboard destinations in Indonesia include the remote Banda Sea, Sulawesi, Forgotten Islands, Triton Bay and East Flores – though there are many others too. Only a few Indonesian diving destinations are best explored whilst staying on land, like the Gili Islands.

New to the concept of liveaboard diving? Check out our ultimate guide to liveaboard diving now!

Though many liveaboards will be happy to take any diver with an open water qualification, some require a minimum number of dives or an advanced open water qualification. Another qualification you might like to consider before departing is your nitrox certification.

Best Liveaboards in Indonesia

Here’s the pick of the bunch – check out the best liveaboards in Indonesia now!

The Tiare Cruise is a luxurious traditional Indonesian Phinisi vessel. She sails year-round on various itineraries including Alor, Komodo and Raja Ampat. 

She accommodates just 12 guests in 6 private, ensuite rooms, lending an exclusive feel. 

Each cabin features individually controlled AC, hairdryer, complimentary toiletries and fresh drinking water. 

The lounge has drinks and snack stations. The sundeck, complete with loungers is great for sunbathing in between dives, whilst the shaded bow lounge is the perfect spot for an evening drink overlooking the ocean. 

The restaurant-style dining room is where you'll enjoy your freshly prepared meals including local fare and international options. All dietary requirements can be catered to with prior notice. Alcoholic drinks can be served, for a small additional fee.

The spacious dive deck has individual scuba diver gear stations. For those with their own dive cameras, there is a dedicated camera room with tables, hoses and charging ports. Additionally, divers will be provided with an ENOS beacon, for ultimate safety. 

The Tiare Cruise liveaboard also offers free wifi, stand up paddleboards, kayaks, land excursions and massages!

tiare cruise

Diving Highlights

The Tiare Cruise operates seasonal itineraries through famous scuba diving destinations like Komodo National Park, East Flores, Alor, The Forgotten Islands, the Banda Sea, and Raja Ampat.

With a background of vibrant corals, you'll encounter countless macro critters, schooling fish and pelagics like sharks, turtles, mantas, dolphins, and whales.

Pros
  • Dedicated camera room
  • Luxurious cabins
  • Other activities available
Cons
  • Somewhat pricey
  • Extra for nitrox
  • Extra for alcoholic beverages
AC
Yes
# Divers
12
Wifi
Yes
Nitrox
Extra
Drinks
Extra
Price
High
Visit Website

Gaia Love is a stunning, 40m long liveaboard vessel that caters to 22 guests in 11 beautiful cabins. Each has a private ensuite, storage, and AC. They're all very spacious, averaging 20 square meters. The cabins on the top deck also have large ocean view windows and private balconies.

gaia love liveaboard camera roomThe inner saloon and dining area is modern, with a full entertainment system and dining area. 

The external decks provide both shaded and sunny areas to kick back and relax between dives or enjoy the al-fresco bar at the end of the day. 

The dive deck at the rear of the yacht has capacity for 28 divers so there's abundant space and individual gear stations to make kitting up easy. 

Two skiffs drop you off at dive sites. There are plenty of rinsing stations including a specific camera one and a dedicated camera room for maintenance and editing.

Diving Highlights

Gaia Love visits the best diving locations around Indonesia. These include the Banda Sea, Komodo National Park, Alor and Raja Ampat. Highlights include the chance to dive in thrilling drift dives in Komodo, kaleidoscopic coral reefs in Raja and whale sharks in the Banda Sea.

Pros
  • Dedicated camera room
  • Beautiful, modern design
  • Extremely luxurious
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Extra for nitrox
  • Extra for alcoholic beverages
AC
Yes
# Divers
22
Wifi
Extra
Nitrox
Extra
Drinks
Extra
Price
High
Visit Website

Emperor Raja Laut is a great option for guests on a budget. It offers competitive prices without compromising on quality.

This stunning yacht can accommodate up to 12 guests in 6 ensuite double and twin cabins with storage space, safes, and individually controlled AC.

emperor-raja-laut-liveaboard-deckThe air-conditioned lounge offers entertainment in the form of an HD flat-screen TV, games, movies, a library, and minibar. The upper deck features a sundeck with loungers.

Meals are traditionally eaten on the main deck with panoramic views - and a bonus is that wine's included!

A dive tender makes getting to dive sites and water entry quick and easy. And nitrox is included!

Diving Highlights

Emperor Raja Laut sails in Komodo National Park from June to September. From November to April, she visits Raja Ampat - the Last Paradise.

There are exclusive opportunities to dive in the Banda Sea as she makes her crossing between destinations, in May and October. These offer the opportunities to dive on rarely visited sites such as extinct volcanoes.

Pros
  • Beautiful, cozy rooms
  • Competitive price
  • Small groups
Cons
  • Extra for alcoholic beverages
  • No wifi
AC
Yes
# Divers
12
Wifi
No
Nitrox
Yes
Drinks
Extra
Price
Low
Visit Website

Designed by an avid diver and handcrafted by Sulawesi artisans, La Galigo was created with divers’ in mind. It's a traditional two-masted phinisi design.

La Galigo liveaboard caters 14 guests in 7 comfortable cabins. They feature air conditioning, deep-sprung American mattresses and ensuites. For the ultimate luxury, you can book The Suite, which features a 48” TV, PS4, 270-degree views and private balcony.

la-galigo-liveaboard-the-suiteThe main saloon is fully air-conditioned with a small library and TV. It's combined with the restaurant-style dining room, where you’ll enjoy your freshly prepared meals. The sundeck offers comfortable mattresses and sofas.

The diving deck is spacious with plenty of room for gearing up for each scuba diver. There are both camera stations and rooms for equipment. Diver tenders will take you to dive sites, making water entry simple.

Diving Highlights

From October to April, you can enjoy the lush waters of Raja Ampat and from May to September, you can sail in wild Komodo.

Pros
  • Beautiful, cozy rooms
  • Competitive price
  • Small groups
Cons
  • Extra for alcoholic beverages
  • No wifi
  • Extra for nitrox
AC
Yes
# Divers
14
Wifi
No
Nitrox
Yes
Drinks
Extra
Price
Low
Visit Website

The Raja Ampat Aggressor is a 30m Indonesian liveaboard, built specifically for divers.

She has 8 ensuite cabins accommodating up to 16 guests in doubles and twins.

The internal saloon is air-conditioned and homey, with comfortable sofas, a TV, and a small library. The sundeck provides spectacular views and sun loungers.

raja-ampat-aggressor-liveaboard-camera-stationGuests enjoy freshly prepared meals in the restaurant-style dining room. The cuisine is a combination of western and local fare, with alcoholic beverages included. Dietary requirements can be catered for with prior notice.

The diving deck is spacious and shaded. There's a large camera table for equipment maintenance, as well as a dedicated camera room. Dive tenders make water entry super easy.

Diving Highlights

Though named “Raja Ampat Aggressor”, this vessel visits Raja Ampat only from October to May each year. During the summer months, she visits the Derawan Islands near Sulawesi.

Hang out with pelagics alongside some of the best muck and coral reef diving in the world.

Pros
  • Dedicated camera room
  • Alcoholic drinks included
  • Small groups
Cons
  • Higher price
  • Extra for wifi
  • Extra for nitrox
AC
Yes
# Divers
16
Wifi
Extra
Nitrox
Extra
Drinks
Yes
Price
Avg
Visit Website

When to go on a liveaboard in Indonesia

Certain seasons make liveaboard trips popular during different months.

As it’s equatorial, temperatures in Indonesia stay fairly consistent, especially in coastal areas. However, there are tropical rainy seasons that bring heavy rains, humidity, and wind which whips up the sea.

aerial shot of raja ampatMost of the country, including the Gili Islands, Bali, Nusa Penida, Alor, and Komodo National Park, has a dry season that matches the Northern Hemisphere’s summer. So May to October is the best time to jump on a liveaboard.

Raja Ampat is in the north and experiences the opposite. The calmest time of year is from November to April.

Scuba Diving In Indonesia

Indonesia is considered to be one of the best places on earth for scuba diving. Located in the Coral Triangle, it contains over 20% of the world’s coral reefs, with over 600 coral species and 3,000 fish species!

Parts of Indonesia have a bad reputation for being difficult and dangerous to dive. This isn’t always the case.

Some locations, such as Komodo, have fast-flowing drifts and unpredictable currents, but as long as you dive within your limits and follow a knowledgeable guide, all should be well. Indonesia has many currents to take into account! Check with local operators for current estimations.

Water temperatures usually vary between 25°C and 30°C.

Many locations, particularly the Gilis and Raja Ampat are well known for their exceptional water clarity which can exceed 40m.

Plankton blooms are the culprit for reduced visibility and in certain spots, it can drop as low as 10m. They do attract big filter feeders like manta rays and whale sharks to feast, though!

Marine Life

Indonesia has some of the highest biodiversity on earth. Here’s a fly-by of what you can expect to see:

  • Macro – The nutritious, volcanic sands have created havens for tiny critters. Locations like Tulamben in Bali and Lembeh are famed for the array of species found on the silty seabed.
  • Turtles –six of the world’s seven turtle species live in Indo. They’re found all over, but The Gilis are particularly famous for them – often referred to as the “Turtle Capital of the World”!
  • Sharks – there’s everything from tiny cave-dwelling white tip reef sharks to the intimidating grey reefs which stalk the waters of Komodo. Lombok is one of the only places on earth to dive with schooling hammerheads. The whale shark, the largest fish on earth is sighted all over Indonesia. In Cenderawasih Bay, spectacular sightings are nearly guaranteed.Whaleshark scuba diving in Maldives

Conclusion

An Indonesian liveaboard offers the unique opportunity to escape the modern world to a place with dramatic landscapes, vivid sunsets, and an ocean that stretches as far as the eye can see.

Aboard these world-class luxurious vessels, you can immerse yourself scuba diving. Build confidence, make friends and tick off the best dive sites in the world.

Have you been on a liveaboard in Indonesia? We’d love to hear about your experience, let us know in the comments!

Rachel Thannhauser Administrator

Rachel is a divemaster and full-time writer from Southampton, England. She loves the ocean, CrossFit, cooking, and travelling as much as possible – pandemics allowing!

follow me