Introduction to 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.

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.


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.

Best Time to Dive Derawan

Best Dive Season May to October
Temperature 25-35C
Water Temperature 28-30C

The dry season is from May to October. The rainy season begins around November to April. However, around Kalimantan, sometimes the rain runs longer or finish earlier.

Resorts in Derawan