Bali Scuba Diving Spots
1. Tulamben Beach
A coastal village in East Bali, Tulamben Beach, is hugely popular amongst divers. It offers excellent visibility throughout the year with diving spots that cater to intermediate and advanced divers. With high chances of spotting dolphins, octopus, sunfish and even sea turtles, it's a wonderful spot for marine photographers too. The USAT Liberty shipwreck is the main attraction at Tulamben, a coveted spot for scuba diving in Bali. A cargo ship that had been hit by a Japanese submarine torpedo during World War II, it rests 30m (almost 100 feet) deep in the ocean after US and Dutch efforts to tow it to the seaport failed. During peak season, almost 100 divers visit this site in a single day. Tulamben can be reached via a three-hour transfer from Kuta or Sanur, so we'd recommend an overnight stay here.
2. Amed Beach
About 25 kilometres from Tulamben, Amed Beach, is well-known amongst keen divers. It was once famous for its traditional salt farming, wherein seawater was poured into hollowed coconut tree trunks to dry in the sun, after which farmers harvested white salt crystals. Today, this beach sees a huge footfall of divers eager to explore the seaside village of Jemeluk Bay. Among avid snorkelers and divers, the view of Jemeluk Bay with Mount Agung in the background is iconic.
Small fishing boats continue to operate in the shallow areas of this bay, resulting in low coral life and some pollution, but the best areas are further out into the ocean. At these spots, you can see schools of fish like white-spotted boxfish, emperor angelfish and lined surgeonfish. Amed Bed has plenty of hotels, like Santai Hotel Amed and Arya Amed Beach Resort, along with homestays for budget travellers.
3. Candidasa BeachThis beautiful beach in east Bali offers plenty of dive sites on the small islands just off its coast, namely Gili Tepekong, Gili Selang, Gili Mimpang and Gili Biaha. Despite Indonesia's warm temperatures, this beach is one of the few scuba diving locations in Bali where the waters can get cold.
The most popular diving site at Candidasa is Amuk Bay and the canyon. The fierce currents here have resulted in low coral growth, but marine life like white-top sharps and snappers continue to reside here. The topography includes black basaltic rocks that stand in contrast to the clear ocean water. Because of the strong currents, this site for scuba diving in Bali is ideal for advanced and experienced divers. You can reach Candidasa by Jukung boat, the traditional wooden Indonesian sailboat.
4. Menjangan Island
This island is a protected nature reserve part of West Bali National Park. It gains its name from the local name for the rare Javan rusa deer, 'Menjangan'. Spanning almost 4,000 hectares, it can be reached by boat, and you'll need a permit to dive on this island, which can be obtained for a small fee at the park office. Divers can spot beautiful shallow reefs along with the 'temple wall' of the colourful reef. In addition, there's an eel garden on the seabed and the popular 'Kapal Budak (anchor wreck), an abandoned boat almost 6-8m (20-25 feet) under the surface. At this site, with calm swimming conditions, you'll see frogfish, batfish and bannerfish in their natural elements.
5. Puri Jati
This spot for scuba diving in Bali can be found on the northern side of the island on the outskirts of Seririt village. It boasts warm waters between 27-30 degrees all year round and flat, calm waves that make it ideal for beginner divers. Puri Jati has a gentle sand slope about 50m from the beach, where you get to see shrimp, lionfish, and algae-covered debris.
It's a popular site for muck divers and photographers worldwide seeking the famous mimic octopus, which imitates other creatures as a defence mechanism. Unfortunately, Puri Jati does not have a lush coral reef, but just 100m away is the Zen Reef. This reef has beautiful black sand and pretty, colourful coral at the deepest point of almost 20m (65 feet). Unfortunately, this spot continues to be popular amongst fishermen, so we'd advise you to stay aware of fishing nets during dives here.
6. Pemuteran Bay
Pemuteran Bay is home to the world's largest artificial reef project. This two-hectare site is a marine protected area. This scuba diving location in Bali has calm waves all year round, along with trickier, deeper spots, so it caters to different-level divers. The main attraction at Pemuteran Bay is the artificial reef garden that has shrines and statues of goddesses to explore. At the seabed nearly 36m (almost 120 feet) below the water surface, you discover lobsters and sea fans. You have the opportunity to adopt a coral here, meaning that a small wire structure in the shape of your name is planted next to your coral and the reef project sends regular emails on your coral's growth and development. Not only does Pemuteran Bay offer beautiful diving spots, but it gives you a chance to engage with marine conservation!
7. Nusa Penida
Located in south Bali, Nusa Penida is best reserved for advanced divers. Due to its location where waters meet the Indian Ocean at the Lombok Strait, it faces strong currents all year. Manta Point near Nusa Penida is a lovely place to spot manta rays, while Crystal Bay, although not too deep, is an exciting experience due to the strong currents. Another unique diving spot is the underwater cavern at 30m deep, which loses light as you travel through, but at the other end, you'll encounter hundreds of bats on resurfacing inside the bat cave.
At Nusa Penida, you get to encounter different types of sharks like the catshark, black-tip sharp or, on some occasions, hammerhead sharks too! Unfortunately, there aren't many dive resorts at Nusa Penida itself, but plenty of boats travel here daily.
Best Time for Scuba Diving in Bali
The best time to visit Bali and enjoy the scuba diving experience is between June and November before the monsoon winds arrive. After this, Bali sees heavy rainfall from December to February (and sometimes March). As a result, streets become wet and muddy, markets often shut, and visibility is reduced drastically in the case of diving. Therefore, these months are considered off-season in Indonesia. However, some keen divers continue to visit during this time to avail the off-season prices at diving centres and hotels.
In terms of temperature, Bali boasts warm temperatures throughout the year. Even in the colder months of December and January, temperatures remain at around 25-29 degrees. So if you're keen on a warm, enjoyable dive in crystal-clear waters, then Bali is a great place to visit, especially in the summer months from July to November. Bali has high visibility in the water of 10m - 50m on average, especially during peak diving season.
Budget For Scuba Diving in Bali
As with any activity, scuba diving has multiple experience levels. Based on this, you can avail specific packages from different dive centres in Bali. For beginners looking to try diving for the first time, there are one-dive offers priced between USD 25 - USD 35 (INR 1,800 - INR 2,500).
If you'd like to take on a professional diving course with certification, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) has many courses with certifications based on different ages and specialities. PADI centres can be found in Bali, where you can take an open water course for USD 275 - USD 290 (INR 19,000 - INR 20,000) and advanced courses for USD 265 - USD 275 (INR 18,000 - INR 19,000). With enough experience, you can try PADI Divemaster courses for USD 800 (INR 55,000) onwards.
One-dive:IDR 375,000 - IDR 525,000
Advanced Courses - IDR 3,965,000 - IDR 4,114,000
Divemaster Courses - From IDR 11,969,880
Centres For Scuba Diving in Bali
As a major hub of diving in Asia, there are plenty of diving centres in Bali. In the last few decades, these centres have become the hosts of many experienced divers, almost all of whom are PADI certified. Some of the best diving centres that you should consider are Tulamben Dive Centre, Joe's Gone Diving, CV Bottle's Up, Blue Dive Bali, AquaMarine Diving, Dive Paradise Tulamben, Dive The World Indonesia, Manta Manta Diving, Paradise Diving Indonesia, Mimpi Dive Centre, Legend Diving, Orca Dive Club Bali and PADI No Fear Diving. Their fees include the required diving equipment like regulators, air gauges, masks, fins, and sometimes even cameras for your adventures. You can rent equipment daily or weekly as per your requirements.
Don't go for the cheapest option when choosing a diving centre. Instead, it would help if you asked plenty of questions at the dive centre about the courses, diving sites, safety norms and experience of the divers. You'd be much happier with a well-trained diving team at a slightly higher price than an average team for the sake of a better deal. Moreover, even though diving centres go to great lengths to ensure your safety in the water, you can never be too careful. Do consider diving insurance before you embark on a scuba diving trip!
Tips For Scuba Diving in Bali
- There are some common medical issues associated with scuba diving such as dehydration and sunburn. Make sure to take proper precautions against the same.
- Don't forget to listen carefully to instructions before taking on a dive. Most injuries (and in some cases, death) are the result of diver error which can be easily avoided with patience and paying attention.
- In terms of the common fear that you'll run out of air, it's best to remember that it can happen, but with time and experience, you'll learn to check your air gauge regularly. In terms of emergencies, other divers often carry extra mouth regulators to share air till you reach the surface.
- The best sites for scuba diving in Bali for beginners are Amed Beach and Menjangan because of the little to no currents in the water.
- For advanced divers, Candidasa and Nusa Penida offer an interesting challenge.
- Even if you've had a good dive on a particular day, don't move to advanced diving spots without enough experience or your instructor's nod of approval. Better safe than sorry!