How to plan for Komodo or Raja

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bvbellomo

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I know Indonesia has been closed since the start of the pandemic, but I want to start planning a trip, even if I don't go any time soon. This has been my dream destination for years now.

Liveaboard seems the only way to do either destination, and boats are booked ahead of time, but flights are unreliable. I could do < $200 for Spirit from Cleveland Ohio to LAX round trip, then around $1000 for round trip to Indonesia. But flights get cancelled or delayed, Spirit is especially bad, but no airline is immune. If I go somewhere land based or unlikely to sell out, I can literally book accommodations when I land (I've done this with Hotels on my last 2 trips). The larger airlines have enough flights to Denpasar and Jakarta that I can get there with a day or two flex time, but from there I am on domestic flights and really take chances. With Indonesia, if there is a delay, I miss the boat (literally). Most of the Raja liveaboards don't even start and end at the same airport, making round trips and booking even more challenging. Do people book their liveaboard months ahead and just pray their flight happens? What if my flight actually makes it and the liveaboard cancels? Is getting stuck in Sorong or somewhere more remote without an option to dive a realistic fear? Is there any other way of doing this? At least with Komodo, Labuan Bajo seems to be the common start and end. I can only take off 2 weeks of work (but I can work remotely in LA). Both destinations are year round, but Raja seems more popular during the United State's winter, and Komodo during the summer, so that steers me to Raja. But flight coordination seems easier for Komodo.

Since nothing has happened for 2 years now, I anticipate it will be very busy and crowded once it reopens. Am I better waiting until 2 years after the pandemic?
 

Centrals

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No need to go for LoB in Komodo.
There are other operators as well.
Plenty of respective posts on the topic.
 

FishCity

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We used to book and pray, maybe a night or two buffer before the flight home. Nowadays with cancellations I intend bigger buffers both ends once in Indonesia.
I am old and have lost 2 years of cancelled postponed trips. If I were only middle aged I would wait but tick tock. We need to get to Bali for Wakatobi and Labuan Bajo for Komodo.
 

Darnold9999

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Always a buffer for liveaboards. Luggage delays, weather delays and domestic flight delays were always a risk for a trip to Indonesia even before covid. I always booked a day before and a day after a liveaboard at a minimum. For RA my typical plan is to dive somewhere local for a few days prior to boarding. Gets you over jet lag and ready to dive from the first day rather than using the first couple of days on the liveaboard to acclimatize.
 
OP
bvbellomo

bvbellomo

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No need to go for LoB in Komodo.
There are other operators as well.
Plenty of respective posts on the topic.
This forum has tons of posts about Indonesian toilets, and a few about diving - but little information on how to book flights or what happens when they cancel or get delayed.
 

Centrals

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This forum has tons of posts about Indonesian toilets, and a few about diving - but little information on how to book flights or what happens when they cancel or get delayed.
So you want to know (1) how to book flight to Indonesia (2) what happened when flights were cancelled or delayed?
1. You need to disclose where you are travelling from for a start. USA is a huge country.
2. If your flight is cancelled or delayed then you are most likely will miss the boat. Would your travel insurance cover everything?

Couple of wks ago the required quarantine on arrival in Indonesia was only 3 days but now it is 10 days. How would you plan that in advance?
 
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bvbellomo

bvbellomo

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So you want to know (1) how to book flight to Indonesia (2) what happened when flights were cancelled or delayed?
1. You need to disclose where you are travelling from for a start. USA is a huge country.
2. If your flight is cancelled or delayed then you are most likely will miss the boat. Would your travel insurance cover everything?

Couple of wks ago the required quarantine on arrival in Indonesia was only 3 days but now it is 10 days. How would you plan that in advance?
My first post said I am starting in Cleveland and likely flying from LAX, but I am less worried about the first part. I've planned vacations and ended up stuck at home - it sucks, but I recovered my money and used my time well. I am more worried about things like the quarantine situation or being stuck somewhere I can't enjoy. Even if insurance covers everything, that's 2 weeks of my life miserable instead of a dream vacation. And if I am stuck on the way home, it could be a lot more than 2 weeks.
 
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bvbellomo

bvbellomo

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A quick look at liveaboards, and the most common place for Raja trips seem to be the Port of Sorong. But many have Ambon, Manado or Waisai as start or end points too, and probably other places.

Am I better off planning a flight to Jakarata, choosing whichever liveaboard I want and not worrying as much about the final domestic legs? Or should I be researching Ambon, Manado and Waisai for possible connecting flights other than Jakarata and land based alternatives in case I miss the boat? For example, if can dive from a land based resort in Waisai and greatly prefer that to Ambon, should I limit myself to liveaboards that start from Waisai? Should I limit myself to liveaboards that start and end at the Port of Sorong since that is most of them? Or just get myself to Sorong and hope to get on a liveaboard once I am there? Should I forget the liveaboard for my first Indonesia trip and just concentrate on getting to Waisai?
 

Dan

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I’ve been to Raja Ampat (RA) 8x, Komodo 3x, but all of them pre-Covid. My last trip to RA was on January 2020, Trip Report - Raja Ampat Jan 2020 Trip Report So my comment may be off base for post-Covid trip.

Komodo has been discussed above. So I’ll skip commenting it.

You are in the ballpark for looking at RA trip from Sorong to Sorong route. For your first trip there, leave Ambon to Sorong crossing (part of Ring of Fire routes) trip for later time as you would spend less time in RA & lose some days on sailing. Also, I would focus on Central and / or Southern route. Skip the Northern route for now.

Jakarta seems to be a better route to Sorong for my pre-Covid domestic flights with the currently financially in trouble Garuda. I booked it a couple months before the trip. Post-Covid era, who knows, probably 2 weeks, or even few days before the trip.

For International flights, during a pre-Covid era, I booked 6-12 months before the trip. Post Covid, I was planning to book it 2 months before the trip, when the liveaboard would let me know that the trip is a GO or not.

I had a trip to RA on Blue Manta for Feb 10, 2022 that White Manta Diving - Home just told us that was a no go on Dec 10, 2 months before the trip. So we are rescheduling it to 2024, as none in 2023 schedule would be available to a group of 7. Space for individual booking is still available in 2023. So you may be lucky to book it.

My group do have one spot open for 2024 trip with 15% group discount if you’re interested.
 

Centrals

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If they are still in operation.

Unless you want to dive Northern Sulawesi(through Manado), Jakarta is the only option at the moment.
Length of quarantine cannot be determined for the future.
Pay no deposit for anything especially the LoB.
Waisai is too far away for diving. Take a look where it is.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/teric/

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