Solo Travelers Liveaboard Diving in Raja Ampat
So you are a solo traveller looking to do a dive liveaboard in Raja Ampat, but you don’t know what it’s going to be like on your own, or what you should do? Well here is your guide of what to expect, some handy tips and also some real feedback from people that have been there and done it before you.
To start with, here’s a recent testimonial from January 2024;
“As a solo female diver, I had a wonderful and comfortable time aboard the La Galigo. The entire staff was extremely welcoming and hospitable. My room/ bathroom was cleaned every day; my bed was comfortable. The shared spaces were also well maintained and spacious. I also enjoyed all the home cooked meals and desserts. Quality food was a requirement for the live-aboard I chose. The dive crew and cruise director, Fareez, also took great care that my dive preferences and needs were met during our 24 dives. I’d definitely book La Galigo next time I’m in Raja Ampat.”
Maggie L, January 2024
Travelling to and from Raja Ampat by yourself
Let’s not beat around the bush. Raja Ampat, or rather the departing port of Sorong, is a tricky place to get to. There are no direct international flights into Sorong so you will need to transfer from another Indonesian international airport. This can be done from Jakarta, Bali, Makassar or Manado. Once you get to Sorong as well, the taxi system is not so straightforward either and there is no Uber in Indonesia. So for a solo traveller you are better off to book with one of the reputable liveaboard operators who handle your airport pick up, and will also have their office give you assistance booking your domestic flights and hotels, when you make a direct booking through their websites. This takes the stress out of the situation if this part of the travel experience is a bit intimidating for you when you don’t have a travel buddy to consult with. Oh, and our other tip is to bring an iPad with some Netflix downloaded onto it and a pair of headphones to keep yourself entertained on any airport layovers.
Interacting with the crew and language barriers
Another consideration is how you are going to interact with the crew and will you be able to communicate with them or get what you want due to language barriers. The good news is that Raja Ampat liveaboards know this is a consideration and make it a focal point of business development. The quality of the crew interactions can really make or break a liveaboard trip. Not only as a solo traveller do you want to have fun and friendly crew around you, it’s also important to be able to communicate your needs to them efficiently. If the food is too spicy or your aircon in your room needs some maintenance, then you want to feel both comfortable to speak up about this, and also know that what you are requesting has been understood. Again a reputable liveaboard will have crew that all can speak English, some more than others, but the key contact points like your dive guides, restaurant service staff, captain etc should speak well.
The real key contact point on the boat will be your Cruise Director. Typically this person will be a foreign national who is fluent or native speaking in English, as well as Bahasa Indonesian and sometimes other common languages such as French and Spanish. This will be your go-to man or woman, and they will be quite the socialite and entertainer as well. A part of their job is to read the room and make sure people who want to interact are brought together, and those who want to keep to themselves get that too. Generally speaking on liveaboard trips though, even the introverts end up coming out of their shell to be a lot more social.
Let’s take a look here at another real testimonial from a solo traveller who reviews the crew and the pre trip phase;
“I just returned from a trip of a lifetime aboard La Galigo and can’t sing enough praises about this operation. From the pre-sail communication from the head office to the follow up post-trip, the customer service has been second to none. All the crew and staff worked tirelessly cleaning our cabins daily, serving up the most delicious meals (I can write War & Peace on the food alone!), cleaning and preparing our dive equipment, helping us pre & post-dives and generally going above and beyond, all with the biggest smiles on their faces! As a solo traveller, I was made to feel so welcome by the crew, including Nick, the co-owner who was a wealth of knowledge and was always on hand for additional support if needed. I also loved all the land based activities and felt like it was a perfectly curated route to see the best of central and north Raja Ampat.I can’t recommend La Galigo and its team highly enough, and am already planning to return in the future for round 2!”
Laura, February 2023
Meeting people and getting along
You’re going to be spending roughly between a week and two weeks diving, laughing, eating and collectively experiencing amazing things with between 8 to 15 people on a liveaboard trip. With all this in common it’s almost impossible to not meet a whole bunch of new people that quite often become very good friends. It’s true that not everyone in life gets along, but with liveaboard dive trips being such a niche holiday, it’s very rare that there is not enough in common for the majority of people to get along famously. In fact seeing anyone on a liveaboard trip not getting along is very rare indeed, the experience attracts an open minded and down to earth kind of clientele. And if for some reason there is someone that you don’t get along with, then there are always plenty of places on the boat to hang out with others and there is no obligation to spend any time with anyone you don’t want to. As a solo traveller you will most likely share a room with another guest of the same gender. These people usually end up forming the closest bonds on the trip. And just remember that if you do want a cabin to yourself for any reason then there is always the option of taking a single occupancy if it is pre-booked at an extra single supplement surcharge. Remember that you are in charge of “me time vs social time”. If you want to take off by yourself to the outside deck to read a book, chill in your cabin watching a movie on your laptop, or just go for an afternoon nap between dives then that is totally fine and up to you. You are here to relax and do what you want to do. Which leads nicely into our next section…
Choice to do what you want
One of the best parts of solo travel is you choosing what you want to do whenever you want to do it. You don’t have to consider someone else with the choices you make. It is the real freedom to relax or experience the way you want to do it on your terms. You can choose the length of a liveaboard trip you want, you can choose the dates you go, no one else to consider. And this applies to the time on the boat too. If you want to skip a dive and relax on the boat instead, you are free to do that without feeling obligated to dive with someone else. It’s your trip and your experience the way you want to have it.
Considering everything we have discussed now, we really think that solo travel is one of the best ways to experience a Raja Ampat liveaboard. If this is the type of thing that appeals to you then jump online and start looking at some trips. There is really no reason not to, and it could end up becoming the trip of your lifetime where you meet people you keep in touch with for the rest of your life.
Enjoy a Diving Trip in Raja Ampat and Komodo with La Galigo Liveaboard
La Galigo is known as one of the best liveaboard diving boats in Raja Ampat Indonesia, and it offers trips to well-known diving destinations such as Komodo and Raja Ampat. The Coral Triangle is located in Indonesia, which has the highest marine biodiversity on the planet.
La Galigo Liveaboard Diving was founded in 2015 by two avid divers who wanted to explore some of Indonesia’s pristine reefs but found that all existing scuba diving options were frequently out of their budget, and wanted to provide an affordable option for everyone to be able to explore these beautiful places.
La Galigo Liveaboard Diving in Raja Ampat & Komodo is a friends and family affair, and our liveaboard diving trips are always focused on fun, safety, guest comfortability, and are exceptional value for money. Our trip prices range from $2,160 for a six-day Komodo liveaboard diving trip to $3,815 for an eight-day Raja Ampat liveaboard diving trip. The price includes four meals a day, diving or snorkelling three to four times a day, and land tours.