Bali's top dive spots
Bali has world class diving at reasonable prices, it's easy to get to and there are lots of other activities you can also do whilst you are here (trekking, surfing, museums, partying, massage / pampering, fine dining, you name it!). Here a short list of our top spots in no particular order.
#1 Amed's top dive spots
Deep and beautiful Bunutan
Bunutan offers a great easy deep dive site and is up there with some of the best diving in Bali. It has mild to moderate current with an outstanding reef at 40 metres where you might meet the smallest of the reef critters like the pygmy seahorse or just bump into a black tip reef shark. Scores of blue spotted sting rays carpet the sandy bits and octopus, barracuda and ribbon eals are likely encounters. As you come up to shallower parts, big bommies of massive coral look like huge melting mushrooms, it’s the most psychedelic of safety stops. Don’t miss it.
Lipah, something for everyone.
Whether you want to try scuba diving in Bali for beginners or just want some of the best macro dive spots in Bali, Lipah has it all. A shallow protected reef will enchant beginners. This bay is so protected that it counts as confined water and bubble makers can enjoy some real sea diving experience in this aquarium like setting where the reef starts at 1 metre of depth. Photographers and macro aficionados will be happy to hunt for tiny frog fish, sea horses, ghost pipe fish and mimic octopuses. The reef drops to 40 metres + in places, where black tips sharks like to hang out.
Pyramids, the sunken Mayan city
If you don’t think this is one of the best diving spots in Bali, you will at least think it’s amongst the most enchanting and eerie. Mayan style pyramids were built in the 90's using hollow and side less cement cubes. Since then a plethora of marine life has settled in, covering them in colour, including blue sponges and tones of feather stars. Giant morays seem to like to hang out in the elephant ear sponges interspersed around the pyramids, sometimes partially hidden by the large shoals of snappers. You’re pretty much guaranteed a turtle on the shallow reef nearby. Overall feeling? Exploring a sunken Mayan city and meeting all your favourite reef critters.
#2 Best dive sites in Tulamben
The unmissable USAT Liberty wreck
Though some may argue that the Liberty does not offer the best diving around Bali, it’s a bit like the Eiffel tower of dive sites, probably the most famous and the most dived in Bali. Realistically, there are few places in the world where you can swim/ dive 30 metres off shore and find a 120 metre long Second world war ship lying on her side between 4 metres and 27 metres. Snorkelers can even enjoy her. She slid underwater in 1963 after lying on the beach since the war and has become a vast artificial reef covered in hard and soft coral and home to large groups of bump head parrot fish at night. The cargo hold is just open enough for penetration and closed enough to give you the eerie feel of being inside a shipwreck. Clearly an unmissable one whatever your level of diving experience.
Though not the most breath taking of reefs this site offers some of the best macro diving in Bali. All sorts of shrimp, crabs and other cool crustaceans (think tiger, harlequin, candy…) are often found here and on the fish front weird critters like Rhinopia can be found. Nudibranch lovers this is one for you. Go there with your macro lense and some good spotting eyes and you’ll still be fascinated 90 minutes later.
If you are diving Bali and you are in the area, you should try Batu Kelebit. Quite a dramatic underwater scenery with the deep ridges plunging to depth. Clear waters, shoals of fish and a great cover of hard and soft coral. Pelagics sometimes spotted in the blue. The scenery is worth the trip alone.
#3 Padang Bai best dive sites
One of the nice, fun, easy, best diving spots in Bali. This is another scuba diving place in Bali for beginners. Beginners and aficionados will equally find pleasure here. The dives site is mostly a sandy bottom scattered with pretty coral formations. It’s mostly protected and there’s lots to see shallow. Cold upwelling means it can get a bit chilly but the chance encounter with a turtle will make you forget all about that. Rhinopias, giant frog fish, leaf scorpion fish and sea moths will make more experienced divers and photographers happy too.
Amuk Bay ( Gili Mimpang, Tepekong, Biaha)
All three of these dive sites offer some of the best scuba diving in Bali. Currents can be strong, cold upwellings are frequent and conditions can be a little challenging, the reward is breath taking ridges, shark caves, sheer walls and sharks galore, turtles, mola molas on occasion as well as all the other usual reef suspects. This one of the places apart from Nusa Penida where you might also get some molas. Definitely worth the outing.
#4 Pemuteran/ Menjangan island's top dive sites
Menjanagan island’s Anker wreck
The island in the northwest protected area of Bali offers some of the best wall diving in Bali and big pelagics like to cruise by. Anker wreck has lovely marine line and is named after the coral encrusted anchor at 15m which came from a 150-year-old wooden wreck that lies on the seabed around 40m. Though little remains of the wreck, the dive site is packed with sand dwelling animals and gorgonians and nudibranchs. The wall on Eel garden on the other side offer sheer wall as well as a garden eel playground; pelagics are sometimes spotted here.
Pemuteran bay / temple wall and garden
Ever fancied being an underwater Indiana Jones? This is your chance; a submerged Balinese temple is there to explore as well as a collection of statues surrounding it. One of the most unusual and exciting dive sites around Bali. You’ll find a wall behind the temple then a plateau at 15m with God statues, you can weave your way amongst Shiva and co, all covered in gorgonians and coraline algae. If you’ve got the soul of an archaeologist as well as a diver, it’s an unmissable.
#5 Nusa Penida best dive sites
Many people will say that Manta Point, Nusa Penida, does not offer the best of Nusa Penida Diving; but it’s got Manta Rays all year long! The dive site is on the more exposed, sheer cliff, southern coast of the Island. It offers big boulders and sandy bottoms. With surge frequently lowering the visibility and chillier temperatures, it’s often more reminiscent of European than tropical diving. BUT, the Mantas! Pretty much every day, manta rays collect here to get a good clean at the numerous cleaning stations dotted around the site. Snorkelers and divers alike can enjoy a wonderful interaction with these magnificent gentle giants. Don’t miss out on Manta Ray diving!
This site offers some of the best diving in Nusa Penida, Bali. This is where the magic happens. Turtles are counted by the handfuls, the coral formation is reminiscent of an ocean elf city with layers upon layers of different species creating a magnificent living, breathing habitat/ town for the endless shoals of reef fish. Just when you thought it couldn’t get better you turn you head and spot a pelagic, be it a barracuda, mola mola or a hammerhead shark. In the nice warm tropical clear waters of the East coast of the island, one of the best of the Northern and Eastern spots but certainly not the only good one. If you’re diving Nusa Penida, this is a must.
This dive site is not always diveable since strong currents can run through it, but when you get it right, what a treat! It’s amongst the best diving in Nusa Penida, Bali. A slope then a wall where molas sometimes hang out then pink and purple valleys, bomies and coral formations, some of the healthiest reef around Indonesia. Actual fields of branching Acropora, shoals of fusiliers and surgeons, turtles, ribbon eels and many more encounters await. Dive it if you can!
Check out the rest of the dive sites in Nusa Penida!