Bali, often-nicknamed ‘Island of the Gods’ is as rich underwater as it is above the water. Whereas temples, lush mountains and rice paddies decorate the island above the surface, colorful coral gardens, wrecks, drop offs and an abundance of marine life are found underneath. Diving in Bali is remarkably varied, and counts as a dive holiday by itself. It is an easy-to-reach destination, with year round diving possibilities, although conditions are best between May and November.
Diving in Bali can be divided in to three general areas. Dive sites in the South of Bali are easy to explore from the busy tourist hub Kuta, where divers can choose from many dive centers. The Southern dive sites offer a chance to see some larger marine life, like the Mola Mola, and have healthy coral reefs. Due to the strong currents that may occur here, these dive sites are for the more experienced divers.
The East coast of Bali, around Tulamben and Amed, has some amazing shore diving. The famous shipwreck USS Liberty is situated right in front of the beach in Tulamben. Several comfortable dive resorts are located at the doorstep of great diving here and offer unlimited shore diving packages for your stay. Aside from the wreck, this area has some good muck diving, reef dives, and a wall nearby.
Diving in the northeast of Bali really takes divers away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist hubs. Menjangan Island offers terrific wall diving and opportunities for deep dives. The shallower reefs around Menjangan have had a lot to deal with, in terms of bombing, bleaching and storms, which shows. However, over the last years, coral health has been improving again and its reefs still make for nice dives. The conditions in the northeast are generally mild, with good visibility, making it a great area for beginner divers and experienced divers alike.
Dive sites Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongang offer some amazing diving. Their visibility is often good, and there is an abundant and healthy marine life population. It is also one of the few places in the world to see the Mola Mola or Sunfish. Between May and October, these deep-sea fish come closer to the surface here to be cleaned of parasites. Crystal Bay is the most popular site to see them. At Manta point, as the name implies, divers have a chance to see the giant Manta ray, stopping over at this cleaning station. Currents and conditions can be very tricky around this area, therefore diving here is only recommended for experienced divers. Thermoclines can decrease water temperature tremendously, and in water temperatures around 18 to 22 degrees Celsius (Crystal Bay for example), a 3mm wetsuit is nowhere near sufficient, even a 5mm only does the trick when wearing it with a hood.
By far the most popular Bali dive site is the USS Liberty wreck. This huge, 411ft long US army transport ship beached on the shore of Bali after being torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. It’s an easy-to-reach dive site with great conditions for beginners that attracts a wealth of marine life. Overgrown with Sea fans, soft corals and sponges, the Liberty wreck is now home to big-eyed Jacks, parrotfish and batfish. About 500 meters east of the wreck lies the Tulamben drop-off. Starting at only 5 meters deep, this wall drops to 60 meters and is covered in corals.
Amed has some great muck diving sites. The black sand along the coast of Tulamben and Amed contrasts beautifully with the colorful coral heads that often hide an array of interesting creatures. Keep your eyes open for the ghost pipefish, pigmy seahorse and rare mimic octopus.
Diving in northwest Bali can be very rewarding. The towns here are a lot less crowded, and there are some excellent dive sites nearby. The town of Pemuteran has a few good reefs around, including a nice house reef, where Mandarin fish do their mating dance just before sunset. Menjangan Island offers terrific wall diving. Conditions around the island are suitable for beginner divers. Menjangan is part of the Bali Barat National Park, which covers much of Bali’s western part. A highly recommended dive shop to dive this part of Bali is SeaRovers, which organizes dives to both these areas, as well as night diving and packages.
Bali is the most accessible Indonesia diving destination. Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar Airport, is Indonesia’s third-busiest airport and many large carriers fly to this destination. The island is small enough to explore from one base, and it’s easy to get around the island by a rental car. However, when time allows, it is recommended to stay in different areas of the island and explore dive sites in each area. Reservations are often necessary when visiting in the summer, between June and August, as it gets very busy.
The Southern dive sites are easiest to reach from Kuta or Sanur, both only 10-15 minute drives from the airport in Denpasar. There are many dive operators to choose from to dive Bali, most of which are located in Sanur. Blue Season Bali is an award-winning, 5 star, PADI dive center, offering dive courses and diving trips, including ‘dive safari’ packages that combine multiple days of diving and accommodation around the island.
East coast Bali Dive sites can be visited with most dive centers on Bali. Divers who prefer some freedom and lots of diving often opt to stay in one of the dive resorts at the shore in Tulamben or Amed. Matahari Tulamben Resort, Dive & Spa and the Tauch Terminal Tulamben, both well-established dive resorts, are located directly at the beach and in front of USS Liberty Wreck. These resorts, and others like them, offer unlimited shore diving packages. While diving in Tulamben, don’t be surprised to see a bare-foot Balinese lady walk away with your scuba tanks on her head. This local initiative by dive schools helps these women earn some money by assisting tourists.
Menjangan Island and other northern Bali Dive sites are far from the busy tourist centers. Lovina is a cute, small town with plenty of facilities, including several good dive operations. Dive center SeaRovers comes highly recommended and offers dive courses and trips to Pemuteran and Menjangan.
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Thank you Octopus Dive Nusa Penida for the very wonderful diving experience. All the staff, guides, & my instructor left me with the best training despite all the difficulties I’ve had. Thank you so much once again! Love you guys so much!
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Dive sites Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongang offer some amazing diving. Their visibility is often good, and there is an abundant and healthy marine life population. It is also one of the few places in t...
Bali is the most accessible Indonesia diving destination. Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar Airport, is Indonesia’s third-busiest airport and many large carriers fly to this des...
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Everyone has their first time did something special and keep that moment for life. So does a scuba diver. During my diving trip, I have encountered several first time moments that made me smile every time remember those days. From the first time diving with tens sharks, to a long dive with mantas. And in Lembeh strait is the place where for the first time I encountered the aliens look-alike marine species, from hairy frogfish to just “normal” looking cardinalfish. The diving in Lembeh strait was addictive, and I wish someday I will return again, to dive with these “aliens”.