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The whale shark is the largest extant fish species and possibly the biggest non-mammalian vertebrate on the planet. No wonder, a lot of divers are dying to see these friendly, non-harm creatures. The whale shark can only be found in several places on the earth, including Indonesia. Therefore, here are three spots that you can visit for your once in a lifetime experience to see a whale shark in Indonesia.

Derawan Island

Located in Berau, East Kalimantan, this island offers you an incredibly spectacular diving experience beyond the golden beach. Surrounded by greenish dense forest and white sands, the beauty of Derawan has captivated tons of international tourists all over the world, especially world-class professional divers. Finding whale sharks in Derawan Island may be quite tricky since you never really know whether they appear or not, according to local people.

Whale shark usually appears in Derawan Island for 10 days, and then they disappear for the next 20 days. Their appearance usually starts around the new moon, so you better pay attention to the moon cycle in Derawan before looking for whale sharks there. It’s also better for you to rent a local guide that can lead you and inform you everything that you should do and don’ts during meeting whale sharks in Derawan sea.

Derawan is probably one of the best destinations if you want to see a whale shark in Indonesia, but you can also enjoy the sight of amazing creatures in Derawan Island especially under the Borneo Sea such as coral reef, jellyfish, dugongs, manta rays, and turtles. Moreover, each year, around 15 thousand female turtles laid their eggs around Borneo archipelago including Derawan each year and hatched their eggs there.

Cendrawasih Bay in Nabire

When you’re looking for the best spot to see a whale shark in Indonesia, Cendrawasih Bay should be on the top list since the appearance of the whale shark here is quite often. Located near the Nabire town in Papua, Cendrawasih Bay offers you a once in a lifetime experience to swim beside whale sharks for hours. No wonder, this bay which is also known as ‘Bird of Paradise Bay’ has been crowned as Indonesia’s largest marine national park.

Similar to Derawan Island, the new moon is probably the best timing for you to meet and swim with the whale shark. Avoid full moon because during that time, whale sharks are most likely disappearing out of sight and you probably won’t meet them even for just a glimpse. Swimming side by side with a whale shark is probably the best thing that this place can offer. Aside from that, locals are very aware of the endangered status of the whale shark in Indonesia and they also try to conserve the whale shark which is a good thing.

Another interesting sight that you can experience during your visit to Cendrawasih Bay is that you can find whale sharks gather for an easy meal offered by local fishermen. Besides, you can also combine your trip to visit Raja Ampat too, another sight of heaven in Papua that offers breathtaking coral hill above the turquoise-colored sea.


Around two or three years recently, there is another new spot that can be used to sightseeing whale shark in Indonesia, which is in Labuhan Jambu village in Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara. Located in the biggest fisherman village, no wonder whale sharks often appear since locals love to feed them.

Most fishermen only need to knock on their boat a few times, and whale sharks will appear and they would feed them small shrimp. Aside from that, you can also experience catching fish method by traditional boat. Searching whale shark in Sumbawa probably gives you the most unique experience since you will be brought to move from one point to another in order to follow the whale sharks.

Those are the possible destination for you to explore whale shark in Indonesia. You can also use tour packages offered by Adventure Indonesia so that you can have the experience of seeing the whale shark in Indonesia comfortably.

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