Derawan Archipelago

Derawan archipelago is one of the most beautiful and most remote areas of Indonesia: North East Kalimantan, Away from the usual tourist routes, you will rarely meet other divers in the region. The archipelago offers world class diving and among its islands three of them are truly spectacular: Maratua, Kakaban and Sangalaki. You could find beautiful beach with clear water at Derawan, Nabucco, Maratua and Sangalaki.

Airport: Berau (BEJ)

Trip Duration: 7/8 Days Trip

Resort/ Liveaboard

Intermediate to Advanced Diver

Destination Info 

Discover an untouched diving destination which offers everything you need for the ultimate dive safari. Located off the East Coast of Kalimantan (The Indonesian portion of Borneo) the Islands of Sangalaki, Maratua and Kakaban offer some of the most remote, uncrowded and untouched diving spots visited by the Manta fleet. Not only will you be diving away from the crowds but the diving is spectacular with plenty of ‘Big Fish’ sightings possible throughout the area.

What to see

Among the highlights are big schools of barracudas and jackfish in Maratua, turtles in Derawan Islands, stingless jellyfish in Kakaban lake, Manta in Sangalaki, beautiful wall at Kakaban. Derawan Archipelago is everyone dream of the perfect tropical paradise: warm, isolated islands with soft white sand beaches fringed with waving palm trees, pristine seas that change color from green to deep blue, and an spectacular underwater life.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1. Arrival at Kalimarau Airport or local hotel and transfer to liveaaboard.

Day 2. (3-4 dives) Diving around Sangalaki looking for manta rays, turtles & more.

Day 3-4. (4 dives x2 days) Diving around Maratua island; huge schools of chevron barracudas, and big-eye jacks at the mouth of the channel. 

Day 5. (3-4 dives) Diving around Kakaban with stunning wall dives & visiting the amazing freshwater Jellyfish lake.

Day 6. (1-2 dives) Looking for whale sharks at local fishing “bagans” then sail back to Tg Batu Port Sailing time 5 hours.  

Day 7. (0 dives) 5am-12pm.  Check out after light breakfast, farewells, and transfer to local hotel or airport.

Dive Site Information
  •  Best time to visitMay till September.
  • Water Temp: 28-30°C,
  • Air Temp: 28-30°C
  • Visibility: 10-40 meters
  • Current: mild to medium
Getting There
  • Daily flights from Singapore (SIN) or Jakarta (CGK) to Berau (BEJ) via Balikpapan (BPN) by Garuda Indonesia or Lion Air. Can fly with Silk Air but not daily.
  • We highly recommended to overnight in Balikpapan Airport Hotel and take one of the scheduled morning flights on Trip Departure day.
Health & Insurance
  • Dive Insurance compulsory for this trip. We also strongly advise you get adequate travel insurance. Please check your travel insurance policy for your diving needs. If not covered then we recommend DiveAssure for single trip policy cover.
  • Dive Computer compulsoryon this trip.
  • Follow Safe Diving Practices at ALL times plus No Deco Diving and No Solo Diving.

Our Recommendation


Known as Manta hotspot. There’s a high chance you can see them clearly whilst they are feeding on the surface. It is an awesome sight to see the gentle giants gliding though the water majesticaly. Very likely that you can see Manta all year round. The island itself has a turtle nursery run by local gover. For a small charge you can visit and see baby turtles on their first way into the sea, starting a hopefully long journey.


The world renowned dive site “The channel” or “Big Fish Country”, with a little bit of luck and the right timing you will be able to see barracuda tornados, grey reef sharks and eagle rays. Another dive site for turtle fans “Payung-Payung”, if you are able to count all the turtles you see we call it a bad day. Thresher sharks are occasionally seen here.


Derawan is a place for a bit of drift dives and a bit of muck. Ghostpipefishes, frogfish, blue ring octopus, harlequin shrimp and tiger shrimp to name a few. Especially a place for photographers, who always wanted to get a picture of jawfish with eggs.


Known for the non stinging jelly fish lake. It is a not to be missed itinerary for both snorkelers and divers. It is located in the middle of the island and within a brisk walk of 15 minutes you will find yourself in a different world altogether. The non-stinging jellyfish live over there making it an interesting itinerary. The stingless properties came about when the jellyfishes are trapped inside the lake for probably centuries and because there are almost no major predators in the lake, they start to lose their natural defence. Its brackish water and bottom covered marine green algae host a number of other species.