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Dive and Sail Indonesia



When is the diving season?
This country is enormous. It stretches the equivalent distance as from Ireland to Iraq so simple, general answers cannot be given. Have a browse around our Indonesian diving site descriptions for the location you are interested in and you will find all you need to know there.
What is a liveaboard diving cruise?
They are boat tours that provide scuba facilities and onboard living accommodations for divers. The boat becomes your home, where you "liveaboard"; and you eat, sleep and dive on it! Liveaboards stay at sea for the duration of the cruise and therefore can explore more remote sites. This type of diving opens up a whole world of top class opportunities that would simply not be available on regular scuba day trip boats in Indonesia, specifically the best sites of Raja Ampat, Komodo, Banda and North Sulawesi.
Where are the best places for beginners?
This is important to know because the dive conditions can range from flat calm seas with great visibility to rip-roaring currents. Although Bali is a well established tourist destination, not all the Bali sites are for the less experienced, although there are some great ones. Check out our Bali dive site descriptions to see what might, or might not suit you.
Indonesian liveaboards are not really suitable for beginner divers as some of the Komodo sites can require a cool and experienced head (although the good liveaboard safari operators will keep everyone informed as to the skill levels required on any day). Manado is okay for beginners as the visibility is normally good and conditions suitable for the less assured scuba diver.
Is Indonesia really dangerous?
Few places in the world can be said to be truly safe these days and we are not going to claim that Indonesia is the safest country on earth. Having said that we are not going to try to sell you an Indonesian scuba diving vacation in any known trouble spots such as Aceh either. Remember we check our locations out personally and we also don't want any drama! In our experience and the experience of the overwhelming majority who visit Sulawesi, Bali or take a vacation elsewhere in Indonesia, they have found nothing but warmth and kindness from the people and wonder and awe from the natural beauty of the country.
Can you arrange accommodation for me in Indonesia?
Our affiliated partner Book & Ease dream have a wide variety of accommodations in Bali. However our team can help you to find in the whole Indonesia the accommodation that fit you the best.
Where is the best scuba diving in Indonesia?
We recommend liveaboards as the best way to experience the diving destinations of Indonesia. There are various routes including the Komodo National Park where the clear, cool water promises some excellent scuba with an abundance of colour and life. These trips also take you ashore to see the Komodo dragons.

Going further east means really getting the feeling of frontier diving in Raja Ampat where aficionados believe the best diving in Indonesia is really to be found. Part of the attraction here is the lack of other divers. There is also a great spread of sites, from dives with the small and bizarre in the caves system of Misool Island to the big pelagics in the Banda Sea. In recent years areas, less famous but very exciting places such as Cenderawasih Bay (whale shark encounters) and Triton Bay are more regularly featured in West Papua liveaboard itineraries. In terms of biodiversity (numbers of different types of fish and coral etc) Bunaken Marine Park, near Manado in Sulawesi, is of world renown. Nearby is the Lembeh Strait which is widely believed to be the best place in the world for macro life - here you can see all manner of bizarre critters. So it is hard to say where is best as everywhere offers something different and everybody has their own idea as to what's great. What is certain is that the marine biodiversity and topside scenery make Indonesia one of the very finest diving destinations in the world. What about diving in Bali, is it any good?

Most definitely. If Bali was located in any country other than Indonesia, then it would be championed as one of the best places in the world! Arguably the best scuba diving in Bali is in Lembongan Island where there are fields of pristine coral and at the right time of year, Mola Mola, manta rays and sharks. Currents at some of the sites can be very strong, so the operator we recommend here is a very professional and safety conscious outfit. Diving with them takes away many of the concerns and helps you to experience some wonderful sites.
Tulamben, in the north east of the mainland, is the most famous Bali dive destination, with the Liberty Wreck lying in shallow, still water.Off the east coast near Candi Dasa there are a selection of sites varying in difficulty from easy open water dives to tricky current. This is a good place for healthy coral and big fish.

So, there are some areas that are very easy and good for inexperienced divers but also plenty of places with swells and currents where it pays to dive with a responsible operator.
Do people speak English there?
English is very widely spoken particularly in the tourist destinations and you can enjoy a great holiday here without knowing a word of the local language. Although English and Bahasa Indonesian are both spoken, Bali has its own language and quirks, e.g. all males seem to be called the Balinese equivalent of 1, 2, 3 or 4 depending whether they are the first born etc. Bahasa Indonesian, spoken throughout the country, is written in the Romanic alphabet and is often very easy to translate to English if you simply pronounce what you see.For example: 'Teksi Kaunter' is where you can arrange your cab.
Where should I do my Open Water Course in Bali?
Diving in Bali is not all for beginners as you might think. There are some sites that are very easy but also plenty of places with swells and currents where it pays to be diving with a professional centre. Since there is so much competition for business in Bali some operators tend to take inexperienced divers to places where they might find it difficult, so it is important to know the facts before you go.
Tulamben and Pemuteran have good easy conditions for learning to dive or doing your advanced course. These are probably the best places on the main island of Bali. Inexperienced scuba divers often are surprised and upset by conditions off the east coast where the swell and current can be upsetting.
Where are the best macro sites?
Muck diving is increasing in popularity and it seems that everywhere in Indonesia lays claim to having great macro dive sites. If you are thinking of a period of sustained critter hunting, then there can be nowhere better on Earth than the Lembeh Strait in Sulawesi. This is a sheltered stretch of water almost like a lake where the range of bizarre and rare creatures is quite breathtaking. Here is a short list of some of the marine life you will almost certainly encounter: gurnards / flounders / mandarinfish / spectacular nudibranchs / decorator crabs / flamboyant cuttlefish / starry night octopus / coconut octopus / stargazers / frogfish / giant frogfish / hairy frogfish / pygmy seahorses / seahorses / snake eels / spiny devilfish / pegasus.

The diving here is special and if anyone wanted to plan a trip here then they would be in for a real treat. An alternative to resort diving would be to visit Lembeh, this would give you at least a flavour of Lembeh. For those who love muck dives or think they might then nothing short of several days in Lembeh will be enough.

If you are in Bali and you are fond of critters then there are 2 places you should check out. One is Secret Bay in Gilimanuk and the other is Seraya's Secrets in Tulamben. Other areas where muck diving is worth a mention or where critters abound include Ambon and Cenderawasih Bay.
Where is the big stuff?
There are various places where you might see big pelagics, sharks and mantas in Indonesia. Many liveaboard trips to Komodo, Alor and West Papua have several encounters with large marine life. If you prefer land-based resort diving options then the time of year may be important. For example Mola Mola are often seen in Nusa Lembongan around August to October time. Cenderawasih Bay promises incredible whale shark encounters (where you can dive with several sharks at the same time) all year round, although most liveaboards visit between April and October.
Do you offer anything in Lombok like the Gili Islands?
The Gilis have suffered badly in recent years and the coral has been extensively damaged. Diving there is not what it was. Many agents have been ceasing to offer the Gilis due to disappointed customers. We at Dive The World don't want our customers to be disappointed so we don't go there. While it is said that the Gilis are a great place to learn, divers with a decent level of experience are not likely to be impressed.
Is malaria a problem?
Bali is generally free of malaria. Outbreaks occur occasionally in rainy season in the far north west. Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi and Raja Ampat, West Papua are malarial areas, and if you spend time in the rural areas here, you will need to consider anti-malarial medication. Please consult your doctor before travelling, however, it is highly unlikely you will contract malaria if you are visiting these areas only by liveaboard boat or staying in a dive resort in one of our recommended areas.
What about tipping?
Tipping in Indonesia is entirely a matter of choice. If your cruise met or exceeded your expectations, you may wish to leave a tip of up to 10% of your trip price. Smaller tips are welcome too!
How many dives will I make per day?
Generally you can make 4 dives a day. A typical Indonesian liveaboard charter day starts at 07:00 hrs with the first dive, and the last being either a sunset or night dive. You have about 3 hours between dives, at your leisure.
Are there any strong currents?
Most of the dive sites visited in Flores and Komodo can have strong currents. This area of the world is renowned for the strongest oceanic currents in the world. Current strengths depend on the site, time of month and time of day. Your divemaster will advise you in your dive briefings. Generally, there is never an occasion when you need to swim against a strong current. The Banda Islands, Alor, Sulawesi and Raja Ampat do not have particularly strong currents.
Can I dive on my own from my Indonesia liveaboard?
All our trips are on recreational diving boats, and as such follow recreational scuba guidelines. This means you'll be expected to dive with a buddy to a maximum depth of 40m and observe safe time limits. If you prefer diving without a guide, then this is not a problem provided you have all the equipment necessary to conduct dives unassisted i.e. dive computer or timing device, safety balloon, compass and knife.
Can I recharge my strobes and batteries on board?
Usually this is not a problem on board Indonesia liveaboard charters. Please review the "Specs" section for details of the power sources provided on each boat.
What type of tanks and valves are on the boats?
All boats carry 12 litre aluminium tanks with yoke or A-clamp international valves as standard. If you have a DIN regulator, you should bring an adaptor, or you can rent one. 10 or 15 litre tanks are available for rent in advance, and enriched air nitrox is available on some boats. See the "Facilities" of each boat for more details.
Can I rent an underwater camera?
Some liveaboards have cameras available for rent. See the "Facilities" section of each tour boat for more details. Please request these in advance to ensure availability.
What kind of food is served?
Most of the boats offer a mix of Asian and European food. Generally, the standard of cuisine is good throughout the industry here.
What should I bring on board?
All your personal diving equipment (except tanks, weights and weight belts), a bathing suit, towel, toiletries, T-shirts, shorts, and sun cream. You may also want to bring something a little warmer for the evenings.
Will I get sea sick?
Seasickness can be a problem, particularly when travelling over the larger deep water channels between the islands, such as between Bali and Lombok. However, most of your tour time is spent close to the islands, sheltered away from any open sea swells. If you are particularly susceptible to motion sickness, then you should consider joining a Bali liveaboard cruise in June or October, when the seas are calm, or a dive safari further east in Papua Province and Raja Ampat.
Can a non-diver go on a liveaboard?
Non-divers and snorkelers are welcome on all liveaboard trips throughout Indonesia. Most of the dive sites visited offer good snorkeling too. Do bear in mind though that the cruises are designed for scuba diving, not snorkelling. Prices for non-divers are usually discounted 10%, sometimes more, but please ask for exact details. Although this sounds like quite a small discount, liveaboard operators will tell you that if you are not diving, then you will be on the boat eating all the food! Anyway, you are taking a space that would otherwise be available to a diver.
Do I have to share a cabin?
As space is the ultimate premium on liveaboards in Bali and Indonesia, single cabins are extremely rare and expensive. Unless we manage to book you a single cabin, you will be expected to share. It may be, if the boat is not full and there are an odd number of passengers, that you can have your own cabin, but this situation cannot be guaranteed. Please review the main "Cabins" information of each boat for more details on the types of cabin available.
The only way to guarantee a cabin for yourself is to pay for 2 beds. You can expect to pay a single supplement, ranging from 42% to 100% (with 60% being about average) of the published price.
Can I explore the beaches at the islands?
You have 3 hours surface interval between dives, so as long as your liveaboard charter is not travelling between sites, you are free to do want you want. Please do advise the tour leader beforehand and each time you disembark from the boat.
Will I see sharks?
We certainly hope so! White-tip reef sharks are the most common and seen on all liveaboards trips, and hammerheads often too. Sunfish, whale shark and manta ray sightings are possible too, but not frequent - keep your fingers crossed!
When will I embark and disembark the vessel ?
This varies according to the dive itinerary you have chosen. Liveaboards often operate in remote locations of Indonesia. In turn guests will need to take a domestic flight back to one of Indonesia’s international airport hubs. We therefore recommend that you allow yourself at least one day before and after the trip in case there are any unforeseen delays in domestic connections. Bali is a beautiful island and well serviced by international airline connections. Many choose to holiday on the island before or after a dive trip. We can recommend accommodation and suggestions if you would prefer to contact us. However, Bali is not the only hub to connect through, Manado and Makassar (in Sulawesi) are serviced from Kuala Lumpur & Singapore and can often save travel time if you choose an itinerary in eastern Indonesia and of course there is always Jakarta. Please do not hesitate to contact our team for more detailed questions regarding your flight and accommodation requirements.
Do I need a visa to travel to Indonesia ?
Yes. However, most passport holders will benefit from the visa-on-arrival system. This visa is valid for 30 days and for most nationalities is now free; those who need to pay the fee of US$35 will need to do so in cash. If you are coming to Indonesia for more than thirty days a 60 day visa can be bought prior to arrival from the Indonesian embassy in your country of origin only. Up to date information can be obtained from the following website: http://www.embassyofindonesia.org/wordpress/ Please note that your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from your arrival date and that there must be at least one full blank page in the passport.
Is there anything to pay when I leave the country ?
What currency should I bring, Can I use credit and debit cards and are there automatic cash tellers available ?
Under Indonesian law from June 2015 all on board payments MUST be made in Indonesian Rupiah. Credit Card- These payments may be made in cash or by credit card. If you use a credit card we will charge 3.5%. Visa and Mastercard are the best options in Indonesia but we can also accept American Express. All international tourist destinations will have credit card machines available in hotels and most restaurants. It is highly recommended to advise your provider that you are travelling abroad. Currency Exchange- We recommend exchanging currency in major banks rather than smaller money changers. The rates are more current and the tellers less prone to miscounting. ATMs- There are many ATM’s and banks in Indonesia. These will dispense currency at a current rate of exchange. Please note that your bank may charge you for the transaction. If you choose to pay cash it is best to ensure you have enough with you before arriving at your point of embarkation as it is not always possible to obtain sufficient cash in the more remote areas of Indonesia. Tips for your crew are not included and preferred in cash of any currency to minimise tax implications for the crew.
What are the baggage allowances for domestic flights ?
The allowances vary enormously from destination to destination and airline to airline. Our concierge team is constantly monitoring the changes that occur regularly. A safe rule of thumb is 20 kg, or 44 lbs and one bag. However, we cannot avoid taking some small domestic planes to reach the remoter destinations and baggage allowance can sometimes be only 10kg or 22lbs per passenger. Over baggage payments can be as much as US$5 per kilo. Please kindly note that most airline companies will not accept credit cards to pay any excess in weight and you need to consider your return journey as well which may be on a another carrier with differing allowances and prices. We urge you to take advantage of our dive equipment on the vessels to reduce your baggage weight. Full details of what equipment is available can be obtained from our concierge team. All equipment is top of the line and maintained to the highest standards.
How do I Arrange our domestic flights and where do I collect my tickets ?
Booking flights on Indonesia’s domestic carriers is sometimes difficult as most will not accept credit cards. To avoid difficulty or disappointment, concierge team will arrange all your domestic flights via your agent or directly with you. We will simply add a 10% administration and sales tax charge on top of the flight price. Please contact our team to arrange the best itinerary for you. Depending on where you are entering Indonesia, one of our concierge team will meet you on the day of your domestic flight and facilitate your check in. In most cases the ticket will be emailed to you in advance.
How do I get from my hotel or airport to the boat and vice-versa ?
Transfers within 20km, to and from the harbour, on the day of embarkation and disembarkation are arranged by our team. We can also arrange all your transfers within Indonesia. You must provide us with your arrival and departure flight details and the rest will be arranged by our team.
Is there any domestic airport tax to pay ?
There is no longer any domestic taxes to pay. They must be included in the price of your ticket.
What is the minimum certification I require to dive and are there any other requirements ?
All diving passengers must provide a current dive certification card of a minimum Open Water level. On occasion by prior arrangement we can certify divers on the vessel but they must have completed all theory and confined water training in a separate location and bring with them all the corroborating documentation. You can contact your dive shop at home for more information. We can organise a limited number of “Experience Dives” with a qualified instructor aboard the vessel, please ask for more information. If you wish to dive with NITROX on the vessel a short training course can be organised by prior arrangement at extra cost. Alternatively bring your NITROX certification card with you and you are ready to go. DIVE INSURANCE IS COMPULSORY. We recommend DAN International. We dive in extremely remote locations. Safety is a priority and we ask you to help yourself by ensuring you have the correct travel and dive insurance for everyone’s peace of mind.
What’s the visibility like, water temperatures and currents ?
Visibility can vary from 5 metres to 40 metres. This is never a real concern because the enormous diversity of life in Indonesian waters. Our expert dive guides will always check currents, temperature and visibility prior to a dive. We dive the best dives at the best times to find the best wildlife. Go with the flow, you won’t regret it. Temperatures can vary from 30C/86F to (rarely) 17C/65F but a normal range for most areas is 26/76F to 28C/82F. A 3mm wetsuit usually suffices with a hooded vest as a backup. Currents are what make the Indonesia diving so special and can vary, the dive team will always check the current prior to a dive. If a dive is called for in a current it is because there is something extraordinary to see. If we feel that a diver’s experience is not adequate we will recommend that they sit a dive out or often the Cruise Director will personally escort the diver to ensure safety. Safety is our priority. We want you to come back and enjoy the experience again.
What power does the vessels provide and do I need to bring an adaptor ?
Liveaboards have both 110v and 220v power. There are many adaptors on the boat for both battery charging and laptop computers. The standard power socket in Indonesia takes a European two-prong plug.
I am a fussy eater, can you satisfy my needs ?
If you have food allergies or have a special diet please let us know in advance and we will do all we can to satisfy your tastes. Your comfort, pleasure and health are our priority. We will do everything in our power to ensure that your needs are met.
Do I need Dive insurance ?
Yes, Dive Insurance is MANDATORY on most of the vessels sailing in Indonesia. We recommend DAN International. You will dive in extremely remote locations. Safety is a priority and we ask you to help yourself by ensuring you have the correct travel and dive insurance for everyone’s peace of mind.
Do I need trip cancellation Insurance ?
We highly recommends trip insurance and specifically trip cancellation insurance. Indonesia lies in the middle of the Ring of Fire, a famed line of active volcanos that circle the Pacific Ocean. In recent months there has been activity in volcanoes that lie relatively close to the hub of Denpasar and this has caused considerable disruption to thousands of tourists entering and leaving Indonesia, or travelling between islands. Please allow yourself extra time when booking flight schedules and check the small print of your trip insurance to avoid disappointment.

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