Our experience diving in the Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Sebastien Chaneac

The Komodo National Park just off the Flores island in Indonesia was some of the best scuba diving we've ever experienced. After learning to dive Koh Tao in Thailand, fun diving in Thoddoo island in the Maldives, Okinawa in Japan and in Palawan in the Philippines, we had very high expectations.

WARNING: you will be spoilt rotten diving here and everything afterwards will pale into comparison.

Spotting reef sharks while diving at the Komodo National Park Flores Indonesia
Stefan spotted a reef shark, no 2…no wait 3 while diving in Komodo national park!
Travel advice for LGTBQ community

Advice for LGBTQ travellers to Indonesia

The Komodo National Park is part of Indonesia, a country not well known for being the most gay friendly. Whilst homosexuality is not illegal here, like gay Russia, homosexuality remains a huge taboo in society, which can get you into a lot of trouble. In addition, LGBTQ rights are constantly being curtailed on a daily basis in Indonesia by the Islamic influenced government, so gay travellers take extra care when travelling around the country!

Having said that, we found the Komodo National Park to be far more chilled than mainland Indonesia. It is touristic, with a large international crowd, which has brought with it more open-minded attitudes. Do take care though, and avoid public displays of affection to be on the safe side. For more, check out our gay guide to Labuan Bajo.

What's so good about diving in the Komodo National Park?

The waters surrounding the Komodo National Park form part of the Coral Triangle, which contains one of the richest marine biodiversity on earth: a paradise for divers. It was even selected as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature in 2011.

Beautiful diving in the Komodo National Park
A beautiful angelfish at the Castle Rock reef in North Komodo National Park

The Coral Triangle is the global centre of marine biodiversity, holding 75% of the world’s coral species, 6 of the world’s 7 marine turtle species and 3000 marine fish species.

The Komodo National Park is located at the Southern end of the Coral Triangle, forming part of the Lesser Sunda chain of Indonesian islands:

Map of the Coral Triangle around Komodo National Park, Indonesia
The Coral Triangle: a paradise for scuba divers

Labuan Bajo on Flores island is the main transport hub for the Komodo National Park. It has an airport with daily flights to other places in Indonesia like Bali. Labuan Bajo itself is a great base to stay, with some excellent diving schools. We based ourselves here and loved it. As a gay couple, we found it to be quite tolerant and open-minded, largely because it is touristic and international.

Map of Komodo National Park, Labuanbajo on Flores island
Map of Komodo National Park near Labuan Bajo on Flores island

The Komodo National Park is also the meeting point of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The Pacific Ocean towards the Northeast has a sea level of 150 millimetres above average, whilst the neighbouring Indian Ocean in the South is 150 millimetres below. This 30cm difference causes a tidal flow from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, bringing with it nutrients and plankton to keep these waters rich and well-fed.

The result is a plethora of wildlife but with strong currents, making the diving more suitable (and fun) for advanced/experienced divers.

Diving in the Komodo National Park: The Cauldron reef strong current
Strong current dragging us along the sea bed at the Cauldron dive site in the North Komodo National Park

The dive sites in the Komodo National Park

The dive sites are typically affected by the seasons. The Northern dives sites around Castle Rock are rougher and not easy to dive between December to March, but the South diving sites are smoother during this time.

The Pacific waters keep the Northern dive sites warmer, with an average of 26 degrees celsius (79 Fahrenheit). The South is affected by the colder Indian ocean, with an average temperate of 24 degrees Celsius (75 Fahrenheit).

We visited in September and with 30 dives under our belt, we were experienced enough to tackle the more remote dive sites around Castle Rock.

Diving in the Komodo National Park dive sites
Dive sites in the Komodo National Park

What you can expect to see diving in the Komodo National Park

After a few dives, you'll become so blasé about seeing another reef shark and another turtle. Not to mention schools of tropical fish everywhere, moray eels, giant trevallies and so much more.

Here's a few of our favourite friends and highlights whilst diving in the Komodo National Park:

Stef Seb diving at the Komodo National Park
The Nomadic Boys getting ready to meet their friends in the Komodo National Park

#1 Shakira the blacktip reef shark

We saw sharks in nearly every single dive in the Komodo National Park, mainly blacktip reef sharks and at one point a large grey reef.

At the Crystal Rock reef, Stefan found Shakira the white tip reef shark and they bonded. Shakira usually grows up to Stefan's height of 170cm (5ft 7), sometimes more.

Spotting a reef shark diving at the Komodo National Park Labuanbajo Flores
Stefan with Shakira the white tip reef shark at the Komodo National Park

#2 Tatiana the Turtle

Tatiana the Turtle insisted on following us around the Komodo National Park during every dive. We just couldn't get rid of her! Well, who are we to complain?

Turtle during our diving at the Komodo National Park Flores island
Tatiana the Turtle insisted on following us in all our dives in the Komodo National Park

#3 Moray eels fighting

The moray eels we saw were not really ones you'd want to befriend too quickly. They were a mean pair and quite angry at something. In all our dives to date, we'd only seen moray eels popping their mouth out from the rocks. But during our dive at the Crystal Rock reef, we saw these 2 moray eels out in the open fighting.

We thought they were mating or courting with each other at first, but their behaviour was too aggressive (in a manner not too dissimilar to when Sebastien tries to steal Stefan's food…)

#4 Just existing within this tropical underwater paradise

At the end of the day, this is what it's all about, just “existing” alongside this incredible underwater heaven and watching it swim by around you…

Tropical heaven at the Cauldron Reef in Komodo National Park
The tropical underwater heaven at the Cauldron reef at the Komodo National Park

But let's be honest, spotting the occasional big fish does make it that little bit more exciting.

Giant Napolean wrasse spotted when diving at the Komodo National Park
Stefan spotting a Napoleon wrasse almost the size of him while diving at the Komodo National Park
Stefan spotting another shark diving at the Komodo National Park
Stefan spotting (another!) shark during our diving at the Komodo National Park with Blue Marlin

How to choose a good diving company in the Komodo National Park

We recommend searching on Tripadvisor reviews for the best companies and go around and speak to several of them. Doing this, we found Blue Marlin, who welcomed us s a gay couple.

When searching, check their equipment is all new, the Divemaster speaks good English and that they don't crowd their boats with people.

Also, a company with a speedboat is a plus because it means you will be able to reach the more remote dive sites quicker then them and have the site all to yourself.

Stef and Anna on speed boat going to Komodo dive site, Flores
Stefan and our instructor Anna enjoying the space on our Blue Marlin speed boat at the Komodo National Park

Diving in the Komodo National Park costing around $85-100 for 2 fun dives with an outrigger for, or more if going by speedboat. 

Stef and Seb getting ready to dive Komodo National Park
Preparing for our first dive in the Komodo National Park

Gay friendly hotels to stay in Labuan Bajo

The diving schools will usually offer discounted accommodation if you choose one of their packages. Be sure you check them out – is the food ok, the rooms clean. We went for Blue Marlin, which although basic, had a stunning view from the balcony and were welcoming to us as a gay couple.

Another one we were recommended by other LGBTQ travellers but didn't try is Blue Parrot and the lush Plataran Komodo Resort.

Sunset view from our room in Labuanbajo
Sunset view from our private balcony at our room at Blue Marlin Komodo in Labuan Bajo

As we warned at the start, diving in the Komodo National Park will set your scuba bar very high and will be very very hard to beat!

Read more about our scuba diving experience in the Komodo National Park on Mr Hudson Explores.

Happy travels are safe travels

We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, an activity or your insurance, we’ll earn a small commission. There is never an extra cost to you for using these links and it helps us keep the site going.

Diving in the Komodo National Park Flores Island, Indonesia
Diving in the Komodo National Park was our favourite scuba diving experience
Sebastien Chaneac

Sebastien is the co-founder, editor and author of nomadicboys.com. He is a tech geek, a total travel nerd and a food enthusiast. He spends the majority of his time planning Nomadic Boys' travels meticulously right down to the minute details. Sebastien has travelled to over 80 countries with his partner in crime and the love of his life, Stefan. He regularly shares his expertise of what it’s like travelling as a gay couple both on Nomadic Boys and on prominent publications ranging from Pink News, Matador, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian and many more. Originally from France, Sebastien moved to London in the early 2000s where he pursued a career as a computer programmer for Thompson Reuters and Bloomberg. He subsequently left it all to explore his passion for travelling around the world with Stefan to hand, and thus Nomadic Boys was born. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

24 thoughts on “Our experience diving in the Komodo National Park, Indonesia”

  1. We loved diving the Komodo too! We only got to dive for a one day, but what a treat! We did not dive Castle Rock though, seems like a great dive site. Next will be a liveaboard for sure.

  2. So many sharks! and nice video of the eels! I’ve heard great things about diving off Komodo and was thinking about getting my DM there on one of the live aboards.

  3. Just know this site. I just want to say i don’t care whereever u go, u two so super duper cute n full of love i can see from ur pictures. U two must be lucky meet each other. Wish i can hug you two.

    Big hug & kisses
    From
    South korea

  4. That looks like some great diving guys! I remember snorkeling around the gili islands and seeing some great stuff. We wanted to head over to komodo island to see the dragons but it was too expensive, perhaps the new airport has reduced prices.

  5. Actually you are very right about the speedboat. I went on a regular boat and it was a very tiring experience. The area is large and it took us 3h to reach the five spots after collecting every one at their resorts, then you dive twice and back. We woke up early and spent over 7h on a crowded boat, it was exhausting. By the end of Day1 we didn’t want to go back to dive. I think if I return to Komodo these guys at Blue Marlin will be my choice. Thanks for the tip!

  6. One of the best dive spots I have ever been too….. Diving Castle Rock was as amazing as scuba diving can get…. The only annoying thing the constant shouting of the muezzin … but yeah, what can you do. Cool that you explored it ….. Cheers, Philipp

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