Your Ultimate Guide to Scuba Diving in Indonesia

With more than 18,000 islands, 600 coral species and 3,000 fish species, it’s no wonder Indonesia is one of the top diving destinations in the world.

Diving in Indonesia is as varied as tropical waters get. Its equatorial location combined with astounding biodiversity make every dive in Indonesia a great one. From Sumatra to West Papua, you’ll find pristine coral reefs, underwater volcanoes, fascinating caves, highspeed drifts, pinnacles and historical wrecks.

Indonesia is also the perfect location for divers of all abilities. Bali and Lombok offer easy dives in protected reefs, whereas Komodo and the Banda Islands are more suitable for divers with experience.

When to Dive Indonesia

Almost every island of Indonesia can be enjoyed by divers during any month of the year, and liveaboards operate in various regions year-round.

April to November

Although accessible throughout the year, certain regions do enjoy better conditions from April to November than other areas.

Komodo is considered to have the best conditions during these months. From December to March, plankton blooms decrease visibility in the area. However, dive shops in Komodo report the most manta sightings between December and February.

April to November is also dry season in Bali. Mola mola is most commonly seen at this time along with several other pelagic species.

Finally, March to October offer the best conditions for North Sulawesi, including muck diving in Lembeh.

October to April

While some liveaboards remain in Raja Ampat and West Papua year-round, October to April is considered prime time for a dive trip to this region. During these months, visitors can expect less rain than other times of the year and relatively smooth seas. Outside of these months, the water can become too choppy for comfortable sailing. October to April is also the best for spotting manta rays in the region.

Other than the conditions mentioned above, the air temperature, water temperature and visibility in Indonesia is relatively unaffected by the seasons and provides a pleasant diving experience at any time.

Where to Dive in Indonesia

While diving in Indonesia, you can find a bit of everything from fascinating critters in Lembeh to wrecks in Bali and schools of sharks in Lombok.

Alor & Pantar

Off the shores of West Timor, Alor and Pantar offer a range of fantastic muck diving and biodiverse coral reefs along with wonderful shark encounters.

Bali

Perhaps the best known island in Indonesia, Bali also offers up great diving including one of the best wrecks in the world and mola mola encounters.

Banda Islands

Located at the convergence of several currents, the remote Banda Islands attract volumes of colorful fish, pods of whales and passionate scuba divers.

Java

Less popular with divers, Java’s underwater topography is defined by surreal volcanic landscapes populated by large schools of fish and hard corals.

Borneo

Famous as a gathering spot for manta rays and sea turtles, the east side of Indonesian Borneo is an off-the-beaten-path destination for divers.

Komodo & Flores

A small group of islands off of Flores, Komodo stuns divers with its rich marine life boasting everything from manta rays to octopus and pygmy seahorses.

Lombok

Known as one of the best places to gain a new certification, Lombok is the home of the Gili Islands and plenty of easy yet colorful dive sites.

Sumatra

Better known for its land-based wildlife, Sumatra also boasts amazing marine biodiversity with an interesting mix of Indian and Pacific Ocean species.

Sulawesi

Including areas like Wakatobi and the Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi is home to a wide range of scuba sites from colorful reefs to fascinating muck diving.

West Papua

Boasting more than 1200 marine species, West Papua is home to the liveaboard-haven known as Raja Ampat and whale-shark rich Cenderawasih Bay.

Dive Sites in Indonesia

At any location in Indonesia you’ll be treated to amazing diving. You’ll find the fantastic and easy-to-dive wreck of the USAT Liberty in Bali. And Crystal Bay in Nusa Penida is famous for its mola mola encounters. If manta rays are your favorite, head for German Flag in Komodo, or if you prefer pygmy seahorses and nudibranchs, Cannibal Rock in Komodo or Boo Rock in Raja Ampat should be on your list.

The Magnet in Lombok is a haven for hammerheads while Jahir in Lembeh is perfect for critters. And for those looking for something a little different, Hot Springs in Sumatra offers up a live volcano while Wakatobi can give you your first fluo-diving experience. There’s something for everyone in Indonesia!

Snorkeling in Indonesia

Snorkeling is possible on nearly every island in Indonesia due to its usually shallow reefs. However, snorkelers may wish to remain in easier to reach locales such as Bali, Lombok and Komodo. Furthermore, all snorkelers should make themselves aware of any threatening currents before entering the water.

What to See in Indonesia

Indonesia is a hotbed of biodiversity. The country boasts an amazing 3,000 species of fish and 600 species of coral. As such, you’ll be continually impressed by the amount of marine life found on every dive.

Pelagics such as whale sharks, hammerheads, manta rays, sea turtles and even whales are commonplace among Indonesia’s dive logs.

Critters can also be found in abundance. Mimic octopus, pygmy seahorses, ornate ghost pipefish, psychedelic frogfish and long horn cowfish all call these waters home.

Of course, there’s also large schools of snappers and barracuda, moray eels and tropical reef fish in abundance. You’ll never view other dive destinations in the same light after diving in Indonesia.