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Looking for help choosing places to dive in Indonesia

Indonesia - www.scubaboard.com
Hi Everyone,

I'm currently living in East Kalimantan working for an environmental NGO, and am planning on traveling around Indonesia for two months or so after im finished here, probably in early December. I definitely want to do some diving during that trip, and have done research into the large number of dive spots around the country, but am having trouble choosing where to go. I'm planning on going from Borneo to Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi, and maybe Papua.

I'm a DM with 100+ dives in various conditions...warm, cold, currents, etc.

So far places I'm considering (a long list, I know) are Komodo, Palau Bunaken/The Bangka islands, Raja Ampat, the Togean Islands, Alor, Derawan, Palau Ambon, the Lembeh Strait, Tukangbesi Islands and Taka Bone Rate. The only place I'm just about set on going is Komodo, and would like to pick probably 2 more great sites to visit.

I'm on a somewhat limited budget (read: recent college grad, working for an NGO) but have enough saved to splurge on things like safety standards. Places like Raja Ampat, though, may be a little out of my price range (unless it's really worth skipping other places for). I'd like to see some of the "big stuff," particularly mantas, but also love a good reef and some interesting macro critters. Places with a cool atmosphere/culture and things to do above water are a plus but not a necessity.

I'm hoping to get some opinions from people who've visited some of these places on where may be best to go, as I really want to make the most out of this trip. Tips on places to stay or dive with are also appreciated. I also realize that I'm traveling during the wet season for much of Indonesia, so any considerations on how that may affect conditions are welcome.

Thanks a ton folks, and happy diving!


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