Diving in Bali
Bali is a relatively small Island at just 2,230 square miles and yet is packed with exotic mystery, attractions and experiences designed to entertain, inspire and educate
This Indonesian “Island of the Gods” is composed of three islands, Bali, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Pendida, and is home to Mount Agung and active volcano, but what’s really hot are the 1200+ spas dotting the landscape,
Diving in Bali:
Diving The Coral Triangle, one of the most spectacular underwater havens in Asia is often referred to as the “Amazon of the Seas,” and has over 2000 fish species and 600 types of exotic corals to be found just below the water’s surface.
This is diving unlike anything you’ve experienced in the past if you’ve confined your time to the Caribbean and other Northern hemisphere Dive locations. This gorgeous corner of Indonesia isn’t always easy to get to, but we’ve yet to meet a diver who didn’t say they would travel twice as long to reach this paradise.
Getting to Indonesia
Travel writers like to mention of the fact that since Julia Roberts starred in the film “Eat, Pray, Love,” this destination has become one of the trendiest places to visit in Indonesia. But long before the book became a movie, divers flocked here. Were they to author a book that captured the spirit of this area, it would likely be called, “Dive. Marvel. Repeat.”!
Between divers, movie goers and patrons frequenting the 1200 spas that populate this land, commercial airliners realized years ago that adding this destination to their routes just made sense. Most travelers fly into Ngurah Rai International Airport, the second busiest hub in Indonesia.
Among carriers offering regularly scheduled, non-stop flights between this airport and both the U.S. and Canada are Hong Kong Airlines, Eva Air, Philippine Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Jet Blue and Qatar Airlines. Leave from the west coast (e.g., Seattle or Vancouver) and get the best deals.
So many places, so little time!
Because this nation is small, you can visit more dive spots than you would had you chosen a more expansive nation for your holiday. That stated, we have sorted the following destinations because they are beloved by divers lucky enough to return to this paradise over and over again.
The names will intrigue you. But it’s the underwater sites that will thrill you and explain why divers can’t get enough of Bali, no matter how far they must travel to dive the waters surrounding this magical place.
Crystal Bay, Nusa Penida
Some divers frequent Crystal Bay just to cavort with Mola mola. Slimy and parasite-encrusted, these fish are shape shifters, writes Justine Hausheer, for Nature.org, because they “dupe unwitting scientists.” The largest bony fish in the ocean, the current species weight record is held by a 5,071-pound female. You won’t confuse Mola mola with other species, adds Hausheer. They “look like someone put an alien head inside of a Christmas ornament.” In other words, bring a camera, so friends back home don’t think you made this up.
Belongas Bay, Lombok
If your idea of a diving vacation is as far away from humanity as possible, Belongas Bay in Lombok has your name written all over it. Located on the southern coast and in such a remote area, “The sea here is open with no land for thousands of miles, making for challenging diving conditions,” say editors at ScubaDiverLife.com. Your chances of seeing schooling scalloped hammerheads, reef shark, Mobula rays and sea snakes aren’t just possible but likely! Plan a visit between June and October only if you are an experienced diver because waves in this area are formidable.
Blue Lagoon, Nusa Lembongan
The Blue Lagoon at Nusa Lembongan is best described as the quintessential location for beginning divers. You’ll encounter marine species you may never have heard of, like nudibranchs, stargazers and frogfish. The Blue Lagoon beach is somewhat sheltered, yet visibility is crystal clear. Keep an eye out for squid, rays, stonefish and moray eels. They’ll respect you if you respect them as you explore this lovely lagoon and all of the creatures that call it home.
Gili Tepekong, Mimpang
If the Blue Lagoon is ideal for beginning divers, then this site could be considered more suitable for experienced and advanced scuba divers. Currents can be strong; thus, challenges are more profound–but for divers who love risks, this is Valhalla. Rock formations are spectacular, and the marine life is so splendid and colorful, you’ll understand why dive enthusiasts can’t get enough of this scenic spot. Spot Mola mola hanging out here between July and September, so consider this spot an allegory for Mother Nature’s ability to deliver ugliness amid beauty!
Manta Point, Nusa Penida
Just down the beach from Crystal Bay—okay, not just down the beach, but close—Find Manta Point, Bali’s epicenter for manta rays. Manta rays gather here because the environment is just right; a juxtaposition of Pacific and Indian Ocean waters that provide a perfect environment for phytoplankton to thrive. Think of Manta Point as an oceanic buffet where an overabundance of food not only attracts manta rays but keeps them coming back just for your diving pleasure.
The Drop Off, Tulamben
So much for romantic names like the Blue Lagoon and Crystal Bay: The Drop off literally drops you off! Once again Mother Nature delivers on her promise of excitement by taking a former lava river created following Mount Agung’s 1963 eruption and turning it into a daring drop that can plummet you to 80 meters. Home to a litany of fearless aquatic species, join the smorgasbord of creatures effortlessly roaming at all depths. Besides, you do want to tell envious friends that you survived The Drop Off—right?
USAT Liberty Wreck, Tulamben
There’s nothing in tour guides that says you must visit a shipwreck, but you really must see the USAT Liberty at Tulamben. This attraction always lands on “best places to dive” lists for myriad reasons. Close to shore, you find a huge ship languishing in just 20 meters of water, making it an accessible experience for new and veteran divers alike. Frequent visitors to this landmark include parrot fish, and since black sand surrounds the wreck on the ocean floor, you’re provided striking contrast for your underwater photography. Liberty night dives are especially magical.