Bali offers visitors a lot of fantastic experiences, both natural landscape and culture. Tourists come here for honeymoons, yoga retreats, surfing, partying, and doing what we all know and love - scuba diving! So yes, Bali is an excellent destination for diving enthusiasts.
Unlike other remote dive destinations, you can easily combine diving in Bali with a family holiday, as everyone can enjoy shopping, dining out, and relaxing on the beach while exploring the underwater beauty.
One of the reasons Bali is great for diving is that many dive sites offer a wide range of experiences. The diversity of coral and fish, from tiny creatures to pelagics, coral reefs, wrecks, and muck diving, makes diving here a unique, diverse experience for all different levels of divers. Not only for fun diving, but you can get your dive certification from open water to instructor level, join an underwater photography competition, or even more technical diving.
The Bali waters commonly are crystal clear up to 50 meters visibilities. The reefs themselves are home to thousands of species, including turtles, barracudas, manta rays, sharks, dolphins, and sunfish. April to October are the best diving season, as there are fewer waves and currents.
This article will cover all great diving sites from the northwest Bali island to the southeast. We will explain the best diving sites and show you where to find them.
Why Dive in Bali?
Below are six reasons why diving in Bali is a great idea:
1. Menjangan Island - Bali's Dream Scuba Diving Spot
Located just off the northwest coast of Bali, Menjangan Island is famous amongst divers and wildlife enthusiasts since it is part of West Bali National Park. The island itself has 11 different dives sites with over 110 varieties of corals. Over the sunset, you might lucky to see Menjangan, which means deer in the local language, likes to roam freely across the island.
Diving in Menjangan can be rewarding even for beginner divers because the currents are very mild, and the visibility almost always happens to be very good. However, for an experienced diver, there is a wreck at 33 meters depth.
It has a fascinating wall diving up to 60 meters deep to see pygmy seahorse and gorgonian sea fans. The beautiful reefs and soft corals are abundant - everything is so brightly colored, and all of these things make for gorgeous photographs!
2. Secret Bay Gilimanuk - Bali Muck Diving Close to Menjangan
Gilimanuk is a port town where ferries cross back and forth from Bali to Java Island. If you plan to visit Menjangan, you can include Gilimanuk in your itinerary. Takamasa Tonozuka (a well-known Japanese underwater photographer) discovered Secret Bay. It's an excellent destination muck diving for those who want to dive into murky waters and encounter new and exciting creatures. The water temperature in this area is on the colder side, so wear a 5mm wetsuit.
In this area, you'll find Seahorses, frogfish, Scorpionfish, ghost pipefish, dragonets, Nudibranchs, Mantis shrimp, Bobbit worms, finger dragonets, pegasus sea moths, nudibranchs, and much more. A must-have dive site for any diver with a camera, an eye for detail, and a macro lens.
3. Pemuteran - The Largest Artificial Biorock Project in the World
Located in the North-West of Bali, Pemuteran is about 17 km away from Menjangan.
Scuba diving around Pemuteran focuses on the offshore reefs known as Taka, straight out from the village. We admit that Menjangan has better visibility, but Pemuteran offers various dive sites. There are around seven dive sites in Pemuteran, and they can each be classified into their different categories and variety, making it great for any kind of divers.
Pemuteran is also one of the most beautiful places with a solid marine conservation angle. The largest artificial Biorock reef project in the world is based there. Pemuteran Biorock coral nursery project on Bali's North West coast was started in 2000 by Chris Brown, intending to regenerate coral in an area that has been devastated by dynamite and cyanide fishing. The Biorock reefs are famous for their beauty, and it's worth exploring them early in the morning. Visit Biorock Indonesia to be part of their mission to restore two thirds of coral reefs and shorelines in Indonesia.
4. Puri Jati - The Easy Muck Dive to See Mimic Octopus
Located on Bali's north coast, Puri Jati is fascinating to see the Balinese here do what they have done for centuries - live in their small, tight-knit village and close community.
Puri Jati is an accessible dive site with an easy entry point: walk down the beach and swim straight out. The dive site is sloping, with sand that has a lot of variety in the underwater creatures it holds. This dive site is excellent for both beginners and experienced divers alike. The location has a depth range of 18-35 meters, with most of your time will be spending at 10-15 meters.
The Puri Jati diving site probably doesn't look the best from the outside, but it is an excellent option for divers looking to do muck diving. There is no reef here, just seagrass and other things. The weird animals you'll find here are the mimic octopus, dragonets, nudibranchs, and frogfish. Black volcanic sand covers the bottom, creating a perfect contrast and sometimes haloclines.
5. Kubu - The Secret of Bali Wreck Diving Near Tulamben
Most wreck divers in Bali point to the USAT Liberty shipwreck at Tulamben. However, there is another wreck rarely spoken. Intentionally sunk in 2012 to help tourism, a ship built in Holland in 1952 has a 150 ton, 55-meter long. Coral is starting to grow on the sunken ship.
Kubu Reef is another excellent dive site. The dive starts in a very shallow coral garden with lots of fish and then goes down along; there is plenty of marine life to be found. Whitetip and blacktip reef sharks patrol the area near the rocks most of the time. In addition, you can discover napoleons, eagle rays, bumphead parrotfish, and many stingrays.
6. Tulamben - The Most Popular Wreck Diving Spot
Located on the "dry land" of Karangasem, which used to be a quiet fisherman village, Tulamben is part of Bali's eastern region. Today, it is Bali's most popular diving destination because a 125 meters length ship was a US Army cargo ship that the Japanese torpedoed in 1942.
Since discovering the USAT Liberty shipwreck as a diving destination back in 1980, Tulamben has drawn ever-growing crowds eager to see the wreck. The three main dive sites at Tulamben provide different environments, from a shipwreck to a coral garden and a long drop wall - surely a diverse underwater ecosystem.
Tulamben can get very busy during the high season (July to October), especially morning and afternoon. Many divers who want to do day diving come from different areas in Bali to do it here. As Bayu Wardoyo mentioned in this article, it's a park and dive concept. An easy shore entry dive; you need to pass a rocky beach from volcano activities, put your gear, and descent an easy shore entry dive.
The wreck itself and the bay offer a lot more than just a day of diving; you will always see something new every dive and can provide several days of incredible diving! Try dawn and night dive too here; it is fascinating!
7. Seraya - The Famous Muck Diving Located Next to Tulamben
Seraya is not your average dive site; it's considered a fascinating dive for those who love macro creatures. This bay has some great diving spots that are very quiet, with almost no crowds, as opposed to crowded Tulamben.
As a novice diver, you may not see the beauty in the marine site that experienced divers see. However, the experienced divers have trained eyes and quickly spot macro aquatic life. But don't worry, your dive guide will help you uncover many underwater secrets here.
You can find the harlequin shrimp, bumblebee shrimp, tozeuma shrimp, zebra shrimp, boxer crabs, or even the rhinophias. In addition, mimic octopuses and other types of octopus occasionally show up here, cuttlefish and reef octopus are common, and you might find bobtail squids at night.
8. Amed - The Less-Known Bali Beautiful Diving Spot
As the popularity of Tulamben increases, many people never hear about Amed, while it's close to Seraya and Tulamben itself. Both are two villages located on the north coast of Bali. But, of course, those who are knowledgeable about Amed will often include Tulamben, Seraya, and Amed on their dive-friendly itineraries because these three sites have different but equally spectacular dives.
Amed is a quieter area with more of an emphasis on marine life. Around nine dive sites in Amed offer different varieties from muck to wreck and reef dive. The most popular ones are Jemeluk Bay and Pyramid, which can access from the shore. Jemeluk is a great diving site for underwater macro photography. You'll see rare ghost pipefish and mimic octopus there! Unlike many other areas, beginners will enjoy this site because of its calm environment.
You can explore other dive sites from a small boat that locals call 'jukung.' You will also enjoy diving on the Japanese wreck, an underwater wreck of a Japanese patrol ship sunk during World War II. Colorful soft corals cover the shipwreck, between 2 and 12 meters deep.
If the weather is clear, you can see Mount Agung in the distance. In Bali, Indonesia, Mount Agung is referred to as Gunung Agung is the highest point on Bali, and it dominates the surrounding area at an elevation of 9944 feet (3031 meters) and each eruption can be dangerous.
9. Gili Selang - The Thrilling Bali Dive for Experienced Divers
Gili Selang in Bali is a small island located at the easternmost point of all Bali dive sites. Between the mainland of Bali and Gili Selang are protected areas with large populations of leather corals and brain corals. The dive site's most protected area is on the north side of Gili Selang island.
The currents around the island attract bigger fish like barracudas, trevallies, sharks, and sometimes manta or hammerheads can be seen here. The current is strong, can change fast, and can cause a sweep out; therefore, they require experienced divers.
Diving Gili Selang can be scary for novice divers because it's risky and challenging, and most people rarely do this dive site. But experienced divers come here to experience this challenge and thrill feeling.
10. Candi Dasa - The Bali Adrenaline Magnet for Experienced Divers
Candidasa is a seaside town located in eastern Bali with easy access to three islands, Tepekong, Mimpang, and Biaha. Diving in this area is often considered the most challenging in Bali. Currents here are often unpredictable, making these dives more difficult. It is advisable to hire a trusted guide and be an experienced diver. Most downdrafts happen in Tepekong Bali, especially in the Canyon area to the southwest.
This site is famous for shark watching, and you can often see Bamboo Shark, Nurse Shark, white and blacktip sharks, and on the good season is a place for Mola Mola (sunfish). The canyon is the best part of the site, and it is intense current here.
Gili Mimpang is also called Batu Tiga, consisting of 3 large rock formations and six smaller ones. It offers about 30 meters of visibility year-round with walls and reefs to explore.
Biaha, the third and northernmost of the small islands in Amuk Bay, is exposed to the waves of the Lombok Strait; therefore, currents here are powerful at times. As a result, you will see big schools of jacks and barracudas, turtles, red tooth triggerfish, and sharks.
11. Padang Bai - The Diversity of Bali Diving in One Place
Padangbai is a coastal town in eastern Bali, a major fishing port, and an essential regional transshipment center for trade between Bali and Lombok. In addition, it is a popular tourist destination and one of the famous beaches on the island.
Diving in Padang Bai offers you the combination of reef, macro, and wreck diving. So regardless of your experience level or whether you're just starting, Padang Bai has something for you. Dive sites include Blue Lagoon, Bias Tugal, Tanjung Jepun, Channel, and Jetty. In addition, the water here is warm so that you can dive all year round.
Blue Lagoon is has a shielded bay that stretches out in front of a beautiful beach and, on a good day, offers impeccable visibility and excellent diving conditions. Moreover, you can explore both sides of the reef, as both provide a different view.
Macro lovers will be thrilled to dive in Jetty. You'll find many different varieties, including frogfish, scorpionfish, leaf scorpionfish, wasp fish, rhinopias, mantis shrimps, cuttlefish octopus. There are even rare species like blue ring octopus and mimic octopus.
Tanjung Jepun has a small wreck in shallow water about 17 meters deep. This dive site is famous for exploration at night and can be excellent for underwater photography.
12. Nusa Penida - The Island that Offers Manta and Mola Mola Sighting
Taking a short boat from Bali's mainland, you can find three small islands - Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Lembongan. The reefs on these three islands are home to over 250 different corals and around 600 fish species.
Nusa Penida is the biggest and longest among the three islands. Lying on the southeast of the island, it has a coastline of 17 km where you can find beautiful untouched beaches. You can dive with mola-mola and manta rays as you explore the coast. You probably haven't heard of Mola molas, also known as oceanic sunfish. These fish are the heaviest and can weigh up to 1,000 kilograms.
Around 22 dive sites around Nusa Penida Island will offer something for everyone. The sites range from beginner-friendly to challenging dives. Nusa Penida is also home to some stunning cliffs and beaches to explore like Diamond, Atuh, Kelingking, Tembeling, and many more. There are many things to experience; besides seeing spectacular cliffs and beautiful beaches, you can also visit bat caves and Hindu temples.
13. Nusa Lembongan - The Island Near Nusa Penida with Fantastic Experiences
The diving in Nusa Penida might be best-known for its magnificent manta rays and Mola-Mola, but the diving on Nusa Lembongan deserves all the attention. It's not just about corals and marine life – there's plenty of fantastic stuff to discover here.
Blue Corner is the most thrilling dive in Nusa Lembongan. However, one feature also makes it unsuitable for less experienced divers. Due to the nutrient-rich currents, mantas, sunfish, oceanic whitetips, wobbegong sharks, tuna, and 4 out of the seven sea turtle species are common.
There's also a dive site called Mangrove, so-named because it protects the mangrove ecosystem found along the coast. This site is full of rich coral life, including hard and soft corals, and home to many smaller fish species. Several bigger fish find their way to this shelter: puffer and porcupine fish, eagle rays, oceanic whitetips, banded sea snake, even a whale shark!
Nusa Lembongan is also home to beautiful beaches and cliffs, and even when you stay here, you can always visit Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan. So stay longer to enjoy more!
How to go to Bali
International tourists can fly directly to Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) or fly to Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK), then continue the flight to Bali. Make sure you check the latest updated international travel requirements here.
Bali is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, and many divers regard it as one of the top destinations for scuba diving. However, it is enjoyable for everyone, both divers and non divers, due to its natural beauty and unique culture.
Mainland Bali and its small islands have rich marine biodiversity and excellent visibility, with various diving sites, from wall diving, shipwreck, muck diving to pelagic sights. It is easily accessible and suitable for all levels of scuba divers.
The best areas with diverse experiences include Menjangan, Nusa Penida, Amed, Seraya, Tulamben, Kubu, Puri Jati, and Padangbai due to their depth ranges and reef structures. Bali is well known for Mola Mola (oceanic sunfish) sighting; you may want to wear our dive t-shirt here that ships worldwide.
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