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Where to Find Whale Sharks in Indonesia

Where to Find Whale Sharks in Indonesia

Discovering the majestic whale sharks in Indonesia is a dream for many ocean enthusiasts. Indonesia, with its vast archipelago and rich marine biodiversity, offers several incredible spots to encounter these gentle giants. From the vibrant coral reefs of Raja Ampat to the turquoise waters of Cenderawasih Bay, Indonesia provides unique opportunities to witness these magnificent creatures up close in their natural habitat. Let's dive into the breathtaking locations where you can find whale sharks in Indonesia.

Where to Find Whale Sharks in Indonesia

1. Teluk Cendrawasih, Nabite, Papua

Located on the north side of West Papua, Cendrawasih Bay is the largest marine national park in Indonesia and also the research and conservation center for whale sharks.
For whale shark sighting, head to Kwantisore village, where whale sharks have been seen emerging to the surface and even interacting with the locals around the 8 bagan , the fishermen’s floating houses’ in the village.
When: all year long.

2. Gorontalo, Botubarani Village

This area is actually where the whale sharks are the most accessible. You don’t even have to dive to see them, and you only need to be on the boat, just few meters away from shore. having said that, tourism in this area has gone out of control, with increasing number of tourists every year (many of them not knowing how to properly interact with the whale sharks).
The area is great for diving too as it has quite the well-preserved coral reefs and underwater biodiversity.
When: December – April. The whale sharks comes out almost every morning.
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3. Bentar, Probolinggo, East Java

Bentar is the name of a beach in Probolinggo, a city about 2 hours from Surabaya. The water in this area is very murky hence not ideal to dive in, but you can still see them when they emerge to the surface.
When: January- March (some still see them around April)

4. Derawan Island, East Kalimantan

Derawan Island is an island city that is part of the Derawan Islands, an archipelago in East Kalimantan that also lists the equally popular Maratua, and Kakaban in its area.
The area has one of Indonesia’s most amazing underwater life: giant turtles, dolphins, manta rays, dugongs and barracudas, stingless jellyfish and although not as common as the other aforementioned spots, whale sharks.
Its rich coral species ranks Derawan only second to Papua’s Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua.
We strongly advice for you to have a local guide when you venture out to see these gentle giants. Not because they are dangerous, but because humans can be dangerous for them.
Reckless tourism can be a threat to the species as it can interrupt their feeding and sharks can be injured by boat propellers.
Key rules before ‘meeting’ your first whale shark:
– Do not feed them
– Do not touch
– No flash photohraphy
– There should be no more than 7 people (including the guide) diving around the whale shark at one time
– Only go with guides that approach the whale shark habitat in properller-less boats
For more information about Whale Sharks and its conservation in Indonesia, visit or their Facebook page.
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