Diving in Sangalaki, Kakaban & Maratua

Derawan archipelago in north east Kalimantan is one of the most remote areas of Indonesia. Here you can find an archipelago that offers truly spectacular world class diving among its 5 islands, Derawan, Maratua, Kakaban, Sangalaki and Pulau Sambit

Diving the Derawan archipelago

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.


Good potential for manta rays who use the island's surrounding colourful reefs as a cleaning and breeding ground. To the North of the island are Manta avenue, Manta parade and Manta run - where the manta rays may be found feeding on a rich supply of plankton just meters from the beach. The mantas can sometimes be seen cruising down these manta highways, whilst other rays forage around for food under the sand together with the goatfish. Their wing tips break the surface at regular intervals as they circle around you. They prefer to swim close to the surface, so snorkeling or free diving is also a good way to interact with them. Sangalaki is also a renowned turtle hatching site, every day hundreds of hatching sea turtles can be seen making their dash to the ocean from their nesting sites.

Kakaban & Kakaban Lake

Kakaban is famous for it’s stunning fresh water Jelly Fish lake fringed by virgin Mangrove forest Thousands of years ago the island was naturally uplifted which isolated the marine ecosystem from the surrounding seas making all biota in this marine lake very unique with endemic critters such as four species of non-stinging jellyfishes and non-stinging anemones. Marine biologists have also found a number of unknown species of anemones, tunicates, flatworms and crustaceans in the lake. This truly is a biological paradise where everything can easily be seen snorkelling.On the seaward side of the island sheer drop offs and walls attract Huge schools of Trevally and Barracuda along with the possibility of Hammerhead, Grey Reef and Black Tip sharks.


One of the most action filled destinations in the region, the walls that surround this island provide some great Big Fish dives, with massive schools of chevron barracuda, hunting trevally, thresher sharks and much much more! There are several impressive drop offs and a drift dive can be done through the channel into the lagoon. The channel entrance is at 27 meters and the strong currents attract these large pelagics. Best time to dive the channel is on an incoming or slack tide where marine life reaches a crescendo of activity, whilst coral growth is not as spectacular here due to the strong currents, pelagic action can be simply awesome!

What to see / Highlights

Plenty of pelagic action; manta rays, barracuda, jacks, tuna, a variety of reef sharks, even Leopard & Thresher sharks can be spotted here. Reef; amazing soft corals, turtles, harlequin shrimps, frogfish, ribbon eels, cuttlefish, nudis, & usual suspects. There is a place to see Whale Sharks here. However, it is not guaranteed. Dives searching for the whale sharks take place around fishing ‘Bagans” (floating fishing platforms) and are located away from any reefs in the open sea. It is a risk worth taking in our opinion, mostly they are there and, well, they are the biggest fish so very very popular!

  • Water Temp; 28-30 degrees Celsius, 
  • Air Temp; 28-30 degrees Celsius 
  • Visibility; 10-30 meters, Level; intermediate to advanced, 
  • Best Time to Dive; June - August


Amazing Island Highlights

Whilst the diving in this region is fantastic there are also a couple of land based, island visits that should not be missed! We will have a chance to visit the beautiful fresh water Jelly fish lake at Kakaban, a short trek over an easy walk way through lush tropical jungle leads to this stunning and tranquil lake, an experience you will never forget! We also visit the beach at Sangalaki to witness baby turtles hatching & running to the sea - an amazing experience!

Please Note; these land based excursions mean substituting a dive, there is not always time to plan for these activities along with 4 dives. If guests prefer to dive & miss these excursions we can manage as we have three support vessels available.

How to get there

All trips embark and disembark at Tg.Batu pier, Indonesia. Transfers To / From Berau (BEJ) Airport are around 2 hours to Tg Batu Pier via car. Pick up on trip departure day from airport or local hotel. Our staff will be there to greet you at the Airport.

  • International Flights; First you will need to fly to Balikpapan International Airport (BPN), Kalimantan, Indonesia. Daily flights are available from Singapore or Jakarta by Silk airGaruda or Lion Air 
  • Domestic Flights/Hotels; We highly recommended to overnight in a Hotel near Balikpapan Airport and take one of the scheduled morning flights to Berau (BEJ) on Trip Departure day. There are many good quality hotels available near the Airport in Balikpapan, located near shopping malls & restaurants so you can enjoy a comfortable overnight stay before flying to Berau the next morning.
  • Fly on to Berau (BEJ) Airport on trip departure day with Garuda (09:00) or Lion Air (08:45) Please be advised we shall be planning pickups on trip departure day based on guest's arrival times to the airport, in order to get the trip underway and have the chance to enjoy a check out dive on the first day we highly recommend all guests to arrive to Berau in the morning on one of the above flights.
  • How to get from Berau (BEJ); Garuda, and Lion Air have morning flights back to Balikpapan which will allow you to meet connecting flights in the afternoon back to Jakarta or Singapore. Please note our earliest drop off on trip return day will be scheduled to meet Garuda Indonesia’s & Lion Air’s morning departures (GA693 ETD 10:45 & IW1381 ETD 10:30) We will leave KM Raja Manta in plenty of time for your flight & check in. If you plan to depart Berau on an earlier morning flight you will need to leave the boat after the final dives on the penultimate afternoon. In this case we can arrange transport to a local hotel in Berau, we recommend the Bumi Segah for it’s proximity to the airport

How to book flights

  • Flight Booking; Book online directly with carriers Garuda Indonesia & Lion Wings
  • Other airline carriers; you may need an Indonesian credit card. For this reason we cannot book for you but we DO recommend Indonesian agent; Come2Indonesia Contact; Norberto/ Melysa info@come2indonesia.com
  • Flight Schedules; Please check the current schedule with your chosen operator before booking flights as schedules and prices are subject to change. WMD or recommended agents cannot be held responsible for any flight delays, cancellation, or changes in schedules