Liveaboard on a budget in Komodo

11.05.2019 by Editor Team

This article contains sponsored content.

Many of us have had the chance to experience scuba diving in many locations around the world using the services of some scuba diving schools or dive centers. Many of these locations are only accessible by joining a liveaboard. A liveaboard is a boat where you will spend the duration of your trip while you scuba dive in different spots. Usually, these boats offer all-inclusive packages, where you pay for your accommodation, your meals, your drinks (usually water, coffee, and tea) plus the diving.  Other services like rental equipment, sodas and alcoholic beverages or nitrox, come with an extra charge as they are not part of the deal (also any park fees or tourist tax you may need to pay on top of that).

Why Diving on a Liveaboard?

Living on a boat and sailing the sea may sound idyllic to some but a nightmare to others. Small rooms, waves (not suitable for those suffering motion sickness), and long trips are some of the cons, but the pros include the possibility to reach further dive spots and maximize your time during your diving holidays. I personally love the option of spending a few days away from the crowds and enjoying some time on a boat sharing my experiences and anecdotes with other fellow divers.

Many people also decide to enroll on a liveaboard adventure in order to do their advanced course, nitrox or any other specialty (sometimes this is required if you need to have those certifications for some of the dives planned during the trip).

Liveaboard or Safari (low budget)

Generally speaking (and this is also an opinion, not a fact 😉 ) people tend to think of liveaboards as high end or better-serviced boats. Liveaboards offer you bigger cabins, private toilet, in many cases fine dining, and longer trips (7 days usually). Some are luxury cruises but not all, so expect to pay higher rates if you want to join these boats.

Safaris, on the other hand, offer you cheaper options to do your liveaboard but many services available on the big boats will not be available in these cheaper options. Many offer shorter trips (4 days/3 nights usually) although you may find some which still do longer trips.

Budget Liveaboard in Komodo

The liveaboards on a budget (known as safaris here) cater towards those looking for shorter trips. They are a generally cheap compared to some of the well known liveaboards in Komodo. The boats used here, made completely of wood, are called phinisi. The distribution on each one will be different but most will have a shared toilet/shower, a kitchen which will offer local, delicious dishes ( I personally love the local food like nasi campur, mie goreng, …), a dorm (bunk beds) or an open area where you can sleep on soft mattresses or bean bags, enjoying the beautiful Komodo National Park sky when moored in a calm bay. 

I did this on my first liveaboard experience in Komodo and absolutely love the option to sleep outside under the stars (once in a lifetime experience).

Most options will include a visit to Rinca to meet the famous Komodo Dragons and the most known dive sites in the Komodo National Park allowing you to discover the beauty of these waters between the Pacific and the Indian oceans. Night dives will also be an option so do not miss this opportunity either.


When hopping on a budget liveaboard remember that the space available is going to be reduced so plan to bring less luggage or a smaller bag. Maybe you can leave some of your belongings in the safari´s office while you do your trip.

  1. Rental equipment is sometimes offered or will be an extra charge. If you are thinking to bring your own equipment the same above applies, but remember, once set up it will stay in the diving deck (will not be in the sleeping area ).
  2. Bring some mosquito repellent and plenty of eco-friendly (coral friendly) sunscreen.
  3. If possible reduce the use of plastic by bringing your own water bottle (Thermus), soap bar and bamboo toothbrush.
  4. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated during the trip.
  5. Allow at least 18 h before flying when you come back from your trip.

Bring your camera, and take those memories back home with you.

and many other creatures are awaiting you in Komodo

Sergio Palazuelos

PADI MSDT #345513

Azul Unlimited Dive Center

Sergio is PADI MSDT and co-owner at Azul Unlimited. He has been working in the dive industry for 5 years in places like Mexico, Indonesia and the Maldives. Azul Unlimited is a PADI dive center in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia offering daily dive trips to the Komodo National Park. The PADI courses available include Discover Scuba DivingOpen WaterAdvancedRescue, EFRDivemaster and Sidemount.