5 Best Dive Sites in Bali
These five best dive sites in Bali should be on top of your list if you’re looking forward to exploring the underwater beauty of this tropical island. Bali itself has grown into a premier diving destination with its waters dotted by great spots that each have something special to offer. There’s one for every skill level, and most have year-round visibility that is fair to excellent. Usually the best time to go diving in Bali is around the drier months, between April and November. Distinctive highlights range from shipwrecks with a bit of history to tell, and expansive artificial ‘biorock’ reef gardens that offer a one-of-a-kind underwater photo opportunity with sunken gardens, statues and temples overgrown with gorgonias and teeming with tropical fish. The best dive sites in Bali also let you witness rare species from large manta rays and elusive oceanic sunfish or ‘mola-mola’ to reef sharks, sea turtles and tiny pygmy seahorses.
1 Tulamben East Bali
What this remote coastal village in East Bali lacks in its bleak overland terrain, it makes up for with its splendid underwater beauty, particularly with the USAT Liberty shipwreck as its main attraction. Besides exploring the wreck that is home to colourful corals and variety of tropical fish, you can enjoy the waters around Tulamben that is a combination of muddy volcanic sea beds and natural reef walls. You can also come across occasional sightings of migrating mantas, sunfish, sea turtles and dolphins here. Visibility is fairly clear year round; great for intermediate to advanced levels, as well as casual snorkelling.
Location: Tulamben, Kubu, Karangasem, East Bali
2 Amed East Bali
This favourite dive site in East Bali welcomes divers of all skill levels, and is only a two-hour transfer from Kuta and south Bali via the main eastern Bali route, making it a convenient day trip destination. Stayovers are advisable and quite effortless, as Amed Beach, including Jemeluk Bay, now has a great collection of resorts and cheap guesthouses dotting its coastline. You can expect great visibility year round, with dense gorgonian gardens and coral reef walls at depths of up to eight metres, and 35m drop-offs all reachable on short rides out on traditional wooden jukung outriggers. Sea turtles, barracuda, stingrays and parrotfish are among the common sightings.
Location: Jemeluk, Karangasem, East Bali
3 Pemuteran North Bali
This calm and scenic bay on Bali’s north-western coast drew attention of the world’s diving community as the largest ‘biorock’ reef site on the planet, thanks to a passionate project shared by local communities and businesses, which is overseen by the Karang Lestari Foundation. You can dive under the calm waves of Pemuteran with good visibility here throughout the year. Vivid coral reef nurseries that have grown over magnificent purposefully sunken structures, together with expansive underwater gardens are the bay’s centrepiece. Corals continue to thrive on existing structures and the whole site continues to expand as structures are added over time.
Location: Dusun Pemuteran, Gerokgak, Buleleng, North Bali
4 Menjangan Island North Bali
The calm and pristine waters around Menjangan Island offer spectacular underwater beauty with its shallow reefs that snorkelers and divers will instantly love. You can access this protected nature reserve island by boat, and go under the crystal clear surface. Deeper areas comprise several specific dive sites, such as the ‘temple wall’ with its colourful reef teeming with tropical cardinalfish, ‘anchor wreck’ with barracudas and shy reef sharks around a wooden wreck, and the ‘eel garden’ with its sandy bed that is home to colonies of garden eels (heterocongrinae) dancing to the steady currents.
Location: Pemuteran, Gerokgak, Buleleng, North Bali
5 Nusa Penida South Bali
The largest in the trio of islands that lie southeast of the Bali mainland, Nusa Penida has waters that meet the open Indian Ocean, which happen to be the midyear (August to October) migrating route of pelagic species. Penida is dotted with many dive sites, such as Crystal Bay where experienced divers navigate strong currents in search of the famous oceanic sunfish, otherwise known as ‘mola-mola’. Another is Manta Point, where you can spot graceful manta rays. While there aren’t many dive resorts on Penida itself, there are many on Lembongan Island nearby, and you can arrange for dive trips with operators departing from the coasts of Sanur and Padang Bai at the mainland.
Location: Nusa Penida Island, Klungkung