Known locally as ‘The Island of the Gods’, Bali’s heavenly coastline boasts some of the most divine diving spots in the world. From the incredible ocean sunfish of Nusa Penida to the huge sleeping groupers of the Liberty shipwreck, the warm waters, colourful coral and diverse marine life makes for world-class diving.
With diving packages readily available across the island and hundreds of sites to choose from, deciding where and when to dive can prove an intimidating holiday task. We’ve helped simplify your scuba itinerary by sharing our top six dive sites:
Arguably Bali’s most popular diving spot, the Liberty is the wreck of an armed cargo steamship torpedoed by the Japanese in 1942. Anchored off the coast of Lombok and easily accessed at Tulamben beach, the 120-metre long sunken war memorial has gone on to create one of Indonesia’s most beautiful artificial reefs, transforming its wood and steel into a coral wonderland.
Among the wreck, divers can expect to see big-barrel sponges, emperors, sweetlips, batfish and parrotfish, lionfish, hawkfish and gargonia fans. The site depth ranges from 5 to 20 metres and at high tide can reach 20-28 metres deep. It’s considered an easy dive and suitable for beginners.
Often overlooked by tourists who opt for the pleasures of Nusa Lembongan, the neighbouring island of Nusa Penida provides some of Bali’s best diving action, our pick being Manta Point.
Just a 40-minute ferry from the port at Sanur, Nusa Penida is brimming with underwater wildlife.
Located on the South Side of the island, the dive site is named for the huge manta rays that call the area home. The rough swell bouncing of the island’s characteristic limestone cliffs may be a hindrance, but it’s worth battling the sea for a chance to swim with these animals.
Bat Cave drop-off
Menjangen Island is a pretty special place. Located in the West Bali National Park, the protected island is accessible only by staffed boat and features several spectacular underwater drop-offs. While there are several excellent sites to choose from, we recommend Bat Caves. This great wall, with its shear drop, provides some excellent drift diving. Start at Post II and drift around the island in order to reach Bat Caves.
The site got its name due to the above water caves that run along the east side of the island, home to hundreds of – you guessed it – bats. Underwater, the deep crevices and fissures of the drop-off hide all kinds of sea creatures, and if you’re lucky, you’ll spy one of the wary big-eyed jacks.
Peaceful, underdeveloped and only 2km wide, this island is home to the incredible Gili Meno Wall. By day see turtles dance between gargonian fans, at night catch the Moray Eels come out to play. Find out more at InGili.com.
Blue Lagoon Night Dive
Padang Bai is one of the busiest bays in Bali. Mainly because this channel is the main crossing for the public ferry from Bali to Lombok. That said, there are several excellent diving spots to be explored amongst the hustle and bustle, namely the Blue Lagoon.
While the lagoon makes for a great dive by day, we reckon it’s worth checking out under the cover of darkness. It’s a fairly shallow reef, available to beginner divers who are looking for adventure, with coral patches begining at 3-metres shallow before opening out into the channel.
Found at the opposite end of the bay from the Liberty wreck, the drop-off is an old lava flow from the Mount Agung explosion in 1963. Dropping down to an impressive 85 metres, this site is home to an abundance of coral and marine species. Among the flounders, shrimp, Napolean wrasse and nudibranchs, there have been sightings of whale sharks swimming as shallow as 9 meters, and dogtooth tuna when you dive a little deeper.