Dreaming of a liveaboard trip? Glide gracefully on the trade winds through the magical sun-drenched islands of the Indonesian archipelago. The romance of a sailing adventure beckons! Read on to learn about the four best destinations for a liveaboard adventure in Indonesia: Komodo Island, Raja Ampat, Alor, and the Molucca Islands.
Best Destinations for Liveaboard Boats in Indonesia
Indonesia has the second longest coastline in the world, with over 17,000 islands spanning over 1,700 miles, so there are a lot of choices. Because of its location at the confluence of the Wallacea, Sundaland, and New Guinea bio-regions, Indonesia offers incredible biodiversity. Over 70% of coral species and more than 3,000 species of fish inhabit the Coral Triangle marine park. In addition, you can see endemic species of birds and wildlife that cannot be found anywhere else. Read on to discover four of the best destinations for liveaboard adventures above and below the sea.
The Komodo Islands
The Komodo Islands offer liveaboard travelers remote pink sand beaches and a chance to see the largest living species of lizard, the Komodo Dragon. Komodo Dragons can also be found on nearby Rinca Island. Rinca, Komodo and Padar are all part of Komodo National Park. The government established the park in 1980 in order to protect the dragons. Because the park is the only place you can see Komodo Dragons, the area near the fishing village of Kampung Komodo hosts a lot of visitors.
One of the advantages of travelling on a liveaboard boat is that you can ask your captain to get you to shore at an empty beach, so you can avoid the tourists and have an adventure of your own far from the crowds. Trekking on the island you will see the famous dragons as well as wild pigs, miniature deer, and water buffaloes. Many species of birds also nest on the island. In addition to the unique attraction of the dragons, the park offers protection to a myriad of pristine diving and snorkeling sites. If Komodo sounds like a place you might want to visit, follow the link to more information about our liveaboard yacht trips to Komodo Island.
Raja Ampat lies just to the west of Papua New Guinea at the far east edge of Indonesia. The name means four kings and refers to a myth about seven eggs, four of which hatched to produce kings. Subsequently, the four mythical kings inhabited the four main islands of Raja Ampat: Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waego. The region is remote and unspoiled and the islands are spectacular, with strange shaped under cut rocky cliffs and towers appearing to float above the water.
Raja Ampat consistently ranks in top ten lists for best dive and snorkel sites. Conservation International reports that marine diversity around Raja Ampat is the highest on earth. Liveaboard dive travelers can see an incredible variety of marine life here. Over 500 coral species are busy building reef in the waters around the islands, providing habitat for over 1,500 species of fish. Dense schools of fish throng around the reefs and enormous whale sharks and coelacanth cruise through the region. Read more about our liveaboard sail, snorkel, and dive trips to Raja Ampat here.
The remote and rugged volcanic island of the Alor lies to the north of Timor Leste and to the east of East Nusa Tenggara. Few tourists visit this unspoiled area. The island is almost all steep mountainous terrain with few major roads. Many people live in small, relatively isolated communities. Consequently, liveaboard travelers visting Alor can experience local culture that has continues almost unchanged for 100s of years.
While most the locals are officially Protestant, they still observe ancient animists rites and revere gods representing animals and forces of nature. Many of the locals practice subsistence agriculture. Some people grow vanilla and almonds or harvest sandalwood for export. Travelers may enjoy visiting traditional pearl farms and purchasing a few pearls to take home as souvenirs at a fraction of the prices found elsewhere.
Alor has perhaps the best dive sites in Indonesia for more experienced divers. The volcanic origin of the region has created underwater contours as dramatic as the mountains island. As a result, divers will encounter strong currents for drift diving and intense thermoclines. The pristine water offers great visibility and an abundance of marine life. Liveaboard divers can see huge Sun Fish, hammerheads and dolphins against a backdrop of a rainbow of coral reef. Alor is also home to the largest and most dense banks of anemones in the world. Read about our liveaboard dive yacht trips to Alor here.
The Molucca Islands
The Molucca (or Maluku) Islands have long been know as “The Spice Islands,” ever since Portuguese traders landed in the 1500s and discovered nutmeg, cloves, mace. Modern liveaboard travelers will likely be more interested in the amazing bio-diversity than the spice. There are over 1,000 islands in the Molucca Archipelago, most of them forested and mountainous. The small isolated islands have given rise to many “endemic” species. (Endemic species are those that cannot be found anywhere else.) Rare nocturnal marsupials including cuscus and bandicoots live on the islands. There are around 100 endemic species of birds. Some birds of paradise only live on particular islands in the Moluccas and nowhere else in the world. The Aru islands have animals that also live on Paupua, such as kangaroos and cassowaries.
The seas around the Moluccas have deep trenches, so divers can experience the best wall dives in Indonesia here. Schools of barracuda and scores of smaller creatures unique to the area fascinate divers who make the trip to this remote area. Several species are carry the name of Ambon Island, the Ambon Pufferfish, the Ambon Scorpion fish, and the Ambon Cardinal fish. Bizarre brightly colored species of frog fish hide in the reefs of the Moluccas. Liveaboard divers also see many species of octopus in the region.
Want to Know More About Liveboard Trip Options in Indonesia?
Here at Mantra we love to help travelers get to the most spectacular and exciting destinations in Indonesia for adventures on land and in the sea. Please contact us and tell us your interests. We will be happy to make some recommendations!