Bali is a diver’s paradise, both for beginner and for advanced divers. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best Bali dive sites, covering Tulamben, Amed, Padang Bai, and Nusa Penida. We’ll also discuss the best time to visit and provide essential travel tips to ensure an unforgettable diving experience.
So, gear up and dive into the best of Bali diving!
Table of Contents
Best Bali Dive Sites
It is incredible when thinking about how rich Bali is in terms of scuba diving. Basically on each of the island’s coasts you will find dive spots, some better than others but there is surely no shortage of diving opportunities.
The Bali dive sites are many, and if we would count there will be close to 100 not including the north side of the island. Each dive site has unique features, some better for beginners some not but all extraordinarily beautiful.
Tulamben is a small fishing village on the northeastern coast of Bali, a popular destination with some of the best Bali Dive Sites since the USAT Liberty shipwreck first washed off on the shores. Since the wreck, local divers have began exploring the underwater life there and year by year hundreds and thousands of divers visit from all around the world.
All of the dive sites in Tulamben are shore dives which make the dive sites easily accessible.
1. USAT Liberty Wreck
This is by far Tulamben’s most popular dive site. A shipwreck with history which is also rich in underwater marine life. Perfectly suitable for beginner and advanced divers, the wreck is now split in half, with the first half found in more shallow waters where even snorkelers or free divers can enjoy.
The shipwreck itself lies on a gently sloping sand with its bow pointing towards the northwest and its stern to the southeast. The ship’s length of approximately 120 meters (394 feet) and its varying depths make it accessible for divers of all skill levels.
Visibility ranges from 10 to 30 meters (33 to 100 feet), depending on the season and weather conditions. The water temperature is generally warm, averaging around 28°C (82°F), which makes for comfortable diving conditions.
2. Coral Garden
Coral Garden is known for its vibrant and diverse coral formations. It is both a natural and artificial dive site as the locals have added additional items underwater to make the dive site even better.
Coral Garden is a shallow dive, ranging from 3 to 18 meters (10 to 60 feet), make it a great dive for beginners or for conducting courses. It is typically done as a second dive after the shipwreck.
A beautiful wall dive site that starts at a shallow depth and plunges down to around 70 meters (230 feet), offering a chance to see various pelagic species. The coral of this wall is simply stunning packing various camouflage fish.
4. Seraya Secret
A muck diving site renowned for its macro life, ideal for underwater photographers seeking unique critters. Diving here at the right time is important as currents can sometimes be strong but divers can get the chance to photograph Sean The Sheep, Butterfly Nudie, Ghost Pipe Fish, and a lot more.
5. Melasti Reef
A shallow reef dive site known for its diverse coral formations and macro life, including various species of nudibranchs and crustaceans. It is the second most popular macro site after Seraya Secret.
Padang Bai is a charming small fishing village located on the south eastern corner of Bali, serving as one of the main harbors to the neighboring island of Lombok and the Gili Islands. It is part of the best Bali dive sites because Padang Bai offers a total of 9 dive sites including the already famous Blue Lagoon. All with amazing coral reefs, diverse tropical marine life and perfectly suitable for beginners.
Padang Bai is also easily accessible from the entire south and west coast, generally a short 1 to 1.5 hour car trip from Sanur or Kuta for example.
1. Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon is by far the most popular dive site in Padang Bai. A small sheltered bay with crystal-clear waters, featuring a vibrant coral reef and a variety of marine life, including reef fish, moray eels, and occasionally sharks and turtles. Both diving and snorkeling are amazing here either by boat or directly from the Blue Lagoon beach.
Typically visited as a second spot after Blue Lagoon, Jepun is a diverse dive site with an artificial reef, where you can find sunken boats and statues, and a wide range of marine life, from macro critters to schools of colorful fish.
3. The Jetty
An intriguing dive site around a ferry docking pier, known for its muck diving opportunities and encounters with unique critters such as frogfish, seahorses, and octopuses. It is one of the most unique best Bali dive sites where Frog fish as well as juvenile Frog fish are easily found.
4. Shark Point
Found right in the corner of the Padang Bai harbour, Shark Point is a dive site named for its regular sightings of white-tip and black-tip reef sharks, also featuring beautiful coral formations and an array of reef fish.
Diving in Shark Point however is not always possible or easy as currents are often quite strong so checking the conditions is mandatory here.
The other dive sites in Padang Bai are: Silayukti Wall, and the Channel, but not as often visited as the ones mentioned earlier.
Nusa Penida is by far the highlight of scuba diving and snorkeling in Bali because this is where divers can enjoy the majestic Manta Rays and the best coral reefs Bali has to offer. There are many dive sites in Nusa Penida and almost all of them are perfectly suitable for both beginner and advanced divers. But as a conclusion Nusa Penida offers the best of the Bali dive sites compared to the other locations.
In the months of June/July to October when the water temperatures drop significantly, advanced divers can dive deep for spotting the elusive Sun Fish also known as Mola Mola.
1. Manta Point
The most famous dive site in Nusa Penida and without a doubt the best of the Bali dive sites. The main attraction for anyone visiting Bali, of course because this is where everyone can see the Manta Rays.
Manta Point is a small rocky bay with no beach where there is a Manta cleaning station. These gentle giants are almost always there with rare chances not to spot at least 1 or 2… more often as much as a dozen.
2. Crystal Bay
The second most famous dive site in Nusa Penida, Crystal Bay is known for its crystal clear waters, beautiful coral reef and diverse tropical marine life. However, Crystal Bay is the main dive site to spot the Mola Mola during the right season.
3. SD Point
SD Point is placed on the north side of the Nusa Penida island and in our opinion, it is the best dive site of the area. SD Point is a magnificent drift dive with the most amazing coral reef ever seen. It’s like a never ending movie, drifting gently on top of what you imagine to see in a tropical island.
PED is located right next to SD Point, and sometimes if you drift long enough you are basically drifting into PED. It has the same features and topography as SD Point, filled with marine life and stunning coral reefs.
Visibility in SD Point and PED are generally at least 20 meters long and water temperatures higher than Crystal Bay and Manta Point.
From Nusa Penida, it is easy to access the neighboring island of Nusa Lembongan and the few dive sites there. We will mention two of the most important ones: Blue Corner and Mangrove. Although Blue Corner is a drift dive with strong currents not suitable for beginner divers.
Amed is located near Tulamben on the east coast of Bali, yet another small fishing village that was boosted as a top diving location on the island with some of the best Bali dive sites. Amed is a lucky place with dive sites accessible both by boat as well as from the shore, with dive sites both artificial and natural.
1. Amed Wall
A beautiful wall dive with a diverse range of marine life, including reef fish, moray eels, and macro critters. The site is also known for sightings of reef sharks, barracudas, and occasionally, the ornate ghost pipefish. Amed Wall is one of the primary dive sites in the area.
2. Jemeluk Bay
Used as the first dive of the day including night dives, Jemeluk Bay is a gentle sloping reef with vibrant corals and a wide variety of marine life, such as colorful reef fish, sea turtles, and critters. Jemeluk Bay is both a natural and artificial dive site home to an underwater post box and a submerged temple for a unique diving experience.
3. The Pyramids
Together with the earlier two dive sites, The Pyramids is part of the daily dive plan for Amed and up in the top of the best Bali dive sites. Pyramids is an artificial reef built by the local people of Amed made of pyramid-shaped structures, designed to attract and support marine life.
Divers can encounter a diverse range of species, from schools of fish to macro critters, as well as occasional reef sharks and rays.
4. Japanese Wreck
Tulamben is not the only place with a wreck. Japanese Wreck is a small World War II-era Japanese shipwreck, located close to the shore in shallow waters. The wreck is encrusted with corals as it’s been submerged for a long long time. Japanese Wreck is now home to an array of marine life, including scorpionfish, nudibranchs, and various reef fish but diving here needs careful timing as currents can sometimes be quite strong.
When is the best season to dive in Bali?
Bali dive sites are ideal all year round but divers typically prefer to avoid the rainy season during December to February. Besides the rain during those months, water conditions are generally not affected but it’s true that sometimes the visibility can suffer.
Between the months of March to June the water temperatures in all of the Bali dive sites are changing becoming lower and rainy season is over but after June the water temperatures can go as low as 16C (60F) which marks the beginning of the Mola season.
Where should I stay in Bali for easy access to the Bali dive sites?
Preferably and the best place to be if you are focused on diving is to stay in Sanur. A central located town in the center south coast of Bali which will facilitate easy access to all of the Bali dive sites. Staying in Kuta or Seminyak is also good but that adds an additional of 30 – 45 minutes to your daily travels while you save that time by staying in Sanur.
You can read more about diving in Bali and the Bali dive sites from PADI Travel.
Frequently Asked Question about Bali Dives Site
What are some of the most popular dive sites in Bali?
Some of the most popular dive sites in Bali include Tulamben, Nusa Penida, Padang Bai, Amed, and Menjangan Island.
What kind of marine life can be seen in Bali's dive sites?
Bali's dive sites offer a wide variety of marine life, including manta rays, sharks, turtles, colorful fish, octopuses, and even sunfish during certain seasons.
When is the best time of year to dive in Bali?
Bali is a year-round diving destination, but the best time to dive is during the dry season from April to November when visibility is at its best.
What level of diving experience is required to dive in Bali?
Bali's dive sites cater to all levels of diving experience, from beginner to advanced. However, some sites may be more suitable for certain levels of experience.
What is the water temperature like in Bali's dive sites?
What is the water temperature like in Bali's dive sites?Bali's water temperature varies throughout the year, but it generally ranges from 26 to 29 degrees Celsius (79 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit).
What kind of diving certifications are accepted in Bali?
Bali's dive sites accept all internationally recognized diving certifications, including PADI, SSI, NAUI, and CMAS.
Are there any dangerous marine animals to watch out for in Bali's dive sites?
While rare, there have been sightings of oceanic whitetip sharks and blue-ringed octopuses in Bali's waters. Divers should always be cautious and follow their guide's instructions.
What is the visibility like in Bali's dive sites?
The visibility in Bali's dive sites can vary depending on the location, time of year, and weather conditions. Generally, visibility ranges from 10 to 30 meters (33 to 98 feet).
Can snorkelers also enjoy Bali's dive sites?
Yes, many of Bali's dive sites also offer great snorkeling opportunities for those who prefer to stay on the surface.
Are there any conservation efforts in place to protect Bali's dive sites?
Yes, there are several conservation efforts in place to protect Bali's marine life and dive sites, including coral reef conservation projects, beach cleanups, and responsible diving practices promoted by dive centers and organizations.