If you’ve been following our journey through Indonesia on social media or you’ve read our post earlier this week about our time on a liveaboard, you already know how much we loved diving in Komodo National Park.

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The truth is, we loved it so much that we struggled to say goodbye to it. Upon returning back on land from our 3 day liveaboard, we found ourselves in a diving withdrawal and decided to go back out and dive in Komodo one last time on a day trip with our new friends at Uber Scuba Komodo.

Uber Scuba Komodo is the newest dive operator in Komodo National Park, having just opened its doors in March 2015, but is one that’s already earned itself a spot right up there with “the big guys”.

Uber Scuba Komodo. Diving in Komodo National Park
On board with Uber Scuba Komodo
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Their day boat, Iona, was built with divers’ needs in mind and has so much more than you would expect on a typical day dive boat. In fact by Komodo standards, Iona is probably more like a liveaboard boat than a typical day boat. It certainly had a lot to do with making our day diving in Komodo with Uber Scuba Komodo all the more enjoyable.

Lunch time on Uber Scuba Komodo day boat. Diving in Komodo
Lunch time on Uber Scuba Komodo day boat. Diving in Komodo

While we really loved our experience diving in Komodo on a day boat and on a liveaboard, we found a few pros and cons for choosing one option over the other.  If you are planning a trip to Komodo National Park, we hope our advice can help you choose the right option for you.

Diving in Komodo on a Day Boat: Pros

1. It’s cheaper

All day boats to Komodo National Park departing from Labuan Bajo charge anywhere between $120-$140 for 3 dives or 2 dives and a Komodo Dragon trek on Rinca Island. Uber Scuba Komodo for example, offers a 3 day package consisting of a total of 8 dives and 1 Rinca Island trek for $120/day. This price includes all boat fees, daily breakfast, lunch and snacks on board. The same number of dives on a liveaboard would cost you $175-$250/day, although that would also include 2 nights of accommodation on the boat and daily dinner.

Komodo dragons on Rinca Island. Komodo National Park
Getting up close and personal with Komodo dragons on Rinca Island

2. More flexible

Day boats offer a lot more flexibility when it comes to diving in Komodo National Park. Uber Scuba (and other day boat operators in Labuan Bajo) switch up their day boat route daily, visiting a different set of sites every day. You choose what dive sites you want to experience by picking and choosing what days you want to dive on. Want to swim with the Manta Rays, like the crew in this awesome Manta Madness video? Head to Manta Point! Want to experience an awesome drift dive? Siaba Kecil is where it’s at! 

We knew that after our awesome experience at swimming in an aquarium like Batu Balong on a liveaboard we really wanted to go back and dive there once again, so we choose to return to Komodo on a day boat on the specific day when Batu Bolong was on the schedule at Uber Scuba.

But that’s not it! With day boat diving, your diving schedule is up to you! You can choose to do only 1 day of diving, or do 2 days with a day of rest in between, or go for 4 days straight!

Relaxing on Tatawa. Dive Komodo Liveaboard
Taking a break from diving…

Unfortunately, a liveaboard simply doesn’t come with an option to “take a day off”.

3. More suitable for inexperienced divers

Based on our experience, divers on liveaboards seem to be a lot more experienced. Max and I both hold Advanced Open Water certifications and had completed roughly 25 dives each prior to our liveaboard in Komodo, but we were the least experienced of our group.

Our last dive on the liveaboard in Komodo National Park
Improving our divers confidence by diving in Komodo!

At times, it was tough to keep up with experienced divers’ air consumption during our dives on the liveaboard, which made us feel less confident about diving with the group. In addition, some of the dives we went on while on a liveaboard were not easy for beginner divers, particularly those with strong currents or negative descends.

Day Trips to the Komodo National Park are not only a better option for beginner divers, but are also a popular option for Open Water and Advanced Open Water Certifications. If you are considering getting your Open Water Certification somewhere in S.E.A., we can’t think of a more beautiful place to dive for the first time than Komodo National Park!

4. Flexible enough to satisfy experienced divers as well

On a day boat with Uber Scuba Komodo, we were probably the most experienced of the bunch. But that didn’t hinder our ability to dive in more advanced sites, as Uber Scuba Komodo allowed us to be flexible with our plans. Komodo National Park often has 2-3 dives sites within a short speedboat ride away, so we were able to go off and check out a more challenging dive site (drift dive at Siaba Besar) while the rest of the group dove at an easy current-free Siaba Kecil.

Uber Scuba Speed Boat. Diving in Komodo
Not all day boats come with a speed boat, so make sure you inquire before you book!

5. More comfortable

Diving on a day boat is overall a more comfortable experience. At the end of the day, you come back to your hotel room, take a hot shower and sleep in a comfortable bed. You don’t have to climb into a tiny cabin on a liveaboard and make do with showering in cold water over the toilet.


Diving in Komodo on a Day Boat: Cons

1. Day boats are not as social

While you might have 10-15 divers on a day boat, there isn’t a ton of time to socialise and make friends. You are constantly going in and out of the water and before you know it, the day is over and you get dropped off at the pier, say your goodbyes and go separate ways. But, of course, that depends on each individual group and your own personality. You do have an hour between every dive and a few hours at the beginning and at the end of your day to chat with others on the boat. In our experience, though, that wasn’t enough time to go beyond the basic “where are you from, where are you going next”.

Divers chatting away on board Uber Scuba Komodo Day Boat
Divers chatting away on board Uber Scuba Komodo Day Boat

In comparison, we met some great people on our liveaboard and got to know all of them pretty well over the course of our 3 days on the boat. Evenings were fantastic for exchanging travel stories and getting to know each other, and that’s something that a day boat will never be able to provide.

2. Food on the day boats can be very average

This wasn’t the case with our Uber Scuba Komodo day boat, as luckily they had a chef on board who cooked us a delicious lunch and served fruit and baked goodies in between dives. But we did hear horror stories about stale sandwiches and chips for lunch on a few other day boats. Food is fuel that your body needs so badly during a day of diving, so make sure you are happy with the food on board your day boat before you sign up.

3. Some day boats are small and leave much to be desired

We were lucky that Uber Scuba Komodo‘s brand new Iona boat was just as spacious and offered same great facilities (i.e.western toilet) as the liveaboards, but most of the other day boats in Komodo don’t offer that luxury. So good luck trying to use a squat toilet while the boat is rocking in the waves.

Comfy chil out area on the Uber Scuba Day Boat
Comfy chil out area on the Uber Scuba Day Boat

4. Day boats don’t visit all dive sites

This is a statement that we came across a lot while doing our own research on diving in Komodo National Park. The argument was that day boats simply don’t have enough time to reach some of the dive sites in Komodo and be back in town in time for sunset, which isn’t exactly true. The truth is that dive site choices in Komodo depend primarily on the current, time of day, and weather conditions. There were a few sites on the map that day boats don’t reach because they are at their absolute best at 6am in the morning when the day boats aren’t even out on the water yet. 

But the reality is that there are only a handful of sites that aren’t typically offered on day boats, so you won’t be missing out on the best of what Komodo National Park has to offer.

Diving in Komodo National Park
Batu Balong – a must visit in Komodo!

The bottom line is that a day boat isn’t necessarily a sub-par option compared to the liveaboard. They each have their pros and cons that are worth evaluating prior to making the decision on what type of dive experience you are after.

When it comes to our experience, we loved Uber Scuba Komodo‘s day boat for its premium features and competitive price, but at the same time, we really enjoying the social environment on the liveaboard with Dive Komodo.

Luckily, if you are traveling to Komodo National Park anytime after November 2015, you won’t have to choose one over the other, as Uber Scuba Komodo are introducing their own brand new Komodo Liveaboard experience on AMALIA boat, that looks absolutely amazing!

Initial 3D renders of Amalia. Photos via Uber Scuba Komodo

Now you can get the same great amenities, great service, and unbeatable safety offered on Uber Scuba Komodo’s day boats in a liveaboard experience. Their liveaboard prices will range from $186 USD for a family/friend cabin to $230 for a private ensuite cabin and allow you to spend 3-6 days exploring dive sites all around the national park.

Want more information about diving with Uber Scuba Komodo? Pop into their shop or get in touch with them via email beforehand.

Uber Scuba Komodo Dive Center
Jl Soekarno Hatta, Komodo National Park,
Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, 86554
+6281339619724 Email: [email protected]

Huge thanks to Uber Scuba Komodo for hosting us on their day boat! Opinions expressed in this article are always our own, no matter who is footing the bill!

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While we really loved our experience diving in Komodo on a day boat and on a liveaboard, we found a few pros and cons for choosing one option over the other

Have you ever been diving in Komodo National Park? Are there any other pros/cons that you would add to this list?

About The Author

8 thoughts on “Diving in Komodo National Park, Indonesia: Pros & Cons of a Day Trip vs. Liveaboard Experience”

  1. Hey guys! I’m currently planning a solo trip to Indonesia for November 2017 and your website has been incredibly helpful! I’m actually planning to mostly follow your 2 week itinerary, so thank you! I desperately want to partake in the Komodo National Park activities, but I am not a scuba diver. I saw that Uber Scuba offers snorkeling, which I have done before and loved. Would you suggest this? Also, where did you stay when not on a liveaboard? I was looking at the resort that Uber Scuba suggests, but it’s way out of my price range.

    Thanks again!

  2. Hi Melanie, Glad to hear you are finding our post on Indonesia helpful! You will love your time in Indonesia! To answer your question, snorkeling in Komodo National Park is possible, but only at certain dive sites. The guys at Uber Scuba change up the dive sites every day, so give yourself a few days buffer to make sure that you can join the trip that goes to the best spot for snorkeling, which we think is Batu Balong. It’s a beautiful dive site but it’s super shallow, so you can easily snorkel there and get to see almost as much as the divers. Definitely worth it!
    While in Labuan Bajo, we stayed at the L Bajo Hotel (http://bit.ly/DTTlbajo). It was clean and offered great value for the price!

  3. Amazing, thank you Oksana! I will definitely do that, and thank you for the hotel suggestion. Did you book hotels and transportation ahead of time? This will be my first big solo backpacking trip, so I’m just trying to get an idea as to whether I should book things in advance, or book them when I arrive. Thanks again!

    1. We booked our flights to Labuan Bajo ahead of time, because they are pricey, so it’s better to lock in a price early. We also typically book the first night’s accommodation just so we don’t arrive and have to spend hours looking for a room. If we like the place, we stay for longer, if we don’t, it gives us time to look around for a more suitable option.

  4. Hello my friends, first I’d like to thank you for the great review of both your day trip and liveaboard trip in Komodo. Like you I have had a hard time really finding reviews on liveaboard boats in Komodo. As a more mature diver (think old) I would be a solo diver and was wondering if solo divers were accommodated on your liveaboard trip? I also see from your review that the two nights you spend onboard just wasn’t enough time to get in all the diving you would have liked—maybe four nights would be better? I have looked at a few other liveaboards (Wicked Diving, Manta Rhei etc.) but I’m not into the backpacking scene either so I will look more into the liveaboard you used. Your information on both the liveaboard and day trip was some of the most helpful I have found–thanks again—Bob

    1. Hi Bob, both Uber Scuba and Dive Komodo were super welcoming of divers of all ages and had a wide range of couples, solo travelers, and friends on board. Neither one of those companies offer a backpacking experience and thus they do not attract that kind of crowd.

      In general, you will probably find that a longer liveaboard 5+ days will attract an older demographic simply because of the price point, so by doing a liveaboard you will eliminate the party crowd altogether and will find yourself in company of fascinating (often older) individuals that have traveled all over the world in search for the most amazing dive spots. Prepare for great conversation and an awesome experience! Have a great time!

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