From world famous wreck diving to rare Mola Mola encounters, the Indonesian island of Bali is a tropical paradise both below and above the water.
Perhaps the best known island in Indonesia for surfing, culture and beaches, Bali also offers up great diving. It’s easy to get to, has a wonderful scuba infrastructure and enjoys a wealth of offshore biodiversity, making it one of the overall best destinations for diving. Novice divers will find plenty of protected reefs on which to perfect their skills. While advanced divers can ride the currents further offshore in search of pelagic species. You never know what you’ll find in this underwater paradise.
When to Dive Bali
Diving in Bali is great year-round. Rainy season lasts from December to March. From April to November, you’ll have the best chance for pelagics.
December to March is technically considered rainy season. However, rain is only slightly more probable during these months than at other times of the year. The water temperatures during rainy season become a bit warmer, meaning there are fewer pelagic species near the island. Visibility can also be negatively impacted by prevailing currents to the north and west of Bali.
With that said, conditions are still great for scuba diving during rainy season. Furthermore, there are fewer divers around the island from December to March meaning you’ll find the best deals at this time.
The rest of the year, from April to November, is considered dry season. Keep in mind that it still does rain occasionally during these months.
Dry season months see an increase in pelagic species and visibility. In particular, June to September is good for spotting Mola Mola and a variety of sharks. Mantas tend to visit a bit earlier. April to June are the best months for those graceful creatures.
Finally, April to July and October to November are perfect for Tulamben and wreck diving. Visibility during these months often tops 130 feet (40 meters)!
Where to Dive in Bali
With dive sites scattered around the island, there’s something for everyone. Stay in the south for easy diving or head to Nusa Penida for more advanced dives.
Home to an artificial reef shaped like a temple and unspoilt Menjangan Island, Northwest Bali offers brilliant coral reefs and fascinating critters.
As the final resting place of the USAT Liberty, one of the most accessible wreck dives in the world, northeast Bali provides a range of dive sites for every level of diver.
East Bali - Amuk Bay
Candidasa and Padang Bai give divers some of the best macro diving. Rhinopia, frogfish, stonefish, cuttlefish, pipefish and nudibranchs can be found.
Known more for its parties than its scuba diving, south Bali still has excellent dive sites. In fact, Nusa Dua’s barrier reef is ideal for open water training.
Nusa Penida and Lembongan
For most advanced divers, Nusa Penida and Lembongan represent Bali’s best diving area. It’s here you’ll find the elusive Mola Mola and manta rays.
Dive Sites in Bali
There is something for everyone while diving in Bali. Beginner divers will want to focus on sites like the Blue Lagoon in east Bali or the artificial reef temple at Pemuteran in northwest Bali.
Novice divers and those with several hundred dives under their belt will love the USAT Liberty. This is one of the most colorful wrecks in the world owing to its shallow depths and is the perfect place for underwater photography. Don’t forget your camera!
Finally, advanced divers should be sure to visit Nusa Penida and Lembongan. Sites like Crystal Bay and Manta Point are cleaning stations for the Mola Mola and manta rays, respectively.
Snorkeling in Bali
Snorkeling is almost as good as diving in Bali. You’ll be able to enjoy the USAT Liberty in Tulamben as well as the Pemuteran Biorock Reef. Sanur is great for easy reef snorkeling and the Blue Lagoon in Padangbai is sure to impress. All snorkelers should make themselves aware of any threatening currents before entering the water.
What to See in Bali
As with all Indonesian diving, the question in Bali is not: What will I see? Instead, it should be: What won’t I see?
Muck diving in Candidasa, Amed and Menjangan Island can result in frogfish, scorpionfish, ghost pipefish, nudibranchs, pygmy seahorses, mimic octopus and cuttlefish.
Tropical fish sparkle in these clear waters against a kaleidoscope of soft corals. If you’re looking for a challenge, try to find the gorgeous mandarinfish in northwest Bali.
Increasingly known for its big fish encounters, Nusa Penida and Lembongan offer up a healthy dose of manta rays. There’s also a good chance of spotting the mola mola during the correct season.