Best Places for Scuba Diving in Bali: Gili Islands and More!

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From the stunning blue waters, the scenic mountains, and the surreal marine life, Bali is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Asia. What’s more, the rich and magnificent coral life across the waters is another plus for scuba divers that are looking for adventure, diversity and convenience. 

Additionally, Bali boasts clear waters that are home some of the most beautiful aquatic creatures. What’s even better is how suitable these waters are for both professional divers and beginners alike.

If you’re a scuba diver, you have probably heard about the calm waters, volcanic mountains, and beaches. However, if you want to experience the pleasures of only the best diving spots, let us take you to some of the best scuba diving destinations in Bali, Gili Islands and more. 

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Where is Bali?

Best Places for Scuba Diving in Bali
Image credit: Dimitri Dim

The beautiful Island of Bali, also known as the Island of the Gods, is a popular destination for honeymooners, beach lovers, divers and tourists in general. So many people would like to visit this serene Island, but some don’t even know where it is!

Bali is one of the most popular destinations in Indonesia; it’s 600 miles east of the Nation’s capital, Jakarta. It is also part of the Sunda Islands (a group of Indonesian Islands that form a volcanic arc.) Here’s a fun fact, it’s about 1000 miles North of Australia. 

The peaceful Island of Bali is located in the southern hemisphere, which places it right below the equator. It’s straddled between Indonesian Islands Lombok and Java, with neighbouring Islands considered to be part of Bali (but are not) the Gili Islands, Nusa Dua and Lombok. 

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Top Five Places for Scuba Diving in Bali

Best Places for Scuba Diving in Bali
Image credit: Simon Stolzenbach

The Island of Bali doesn’t just promise a lovely view, but offers thrilling drop-offs, volcanic sea beds and wrecks from the second worlds war. It’s unarguably one of the most beautiful open water diving sites in the world. No doubt, Bali is gorgeous and has large amazing waters, yes, but what are the best diving sites to explore on this homely Island? Let us find out. 

1. Gili Islands

gili island

Gili Islands is located off Lombok Island; a quiet Island with bubbling nightlife that encourages tourists to simply relax, let loose and of course, scuba dive. The beaches welcome you with white sands and crystal-clear waters that make snorkelling and diving a thrill.

To get the best of Gili Islands, you must visit Meno, which is a favourite for tourists. There’s a seamount that slopes up from the sandy bottom, and at the top, beautiful coral gardens to enjoy. Here’s a fun fact, it’s named one of the worlds’ 13 best secret islands.

On the West of the Gili Islands, you’ll find one of the best dive sites. There are so many large marine species like reef sharks, green turtles and if you’re lucky, rays. Also, there’s so much marine biodiversity in the water and around the Island. Since there are about 25 dive sites on the Island, there are sites suitable for beginners and professionals alike. However, each diver requires the necessary certification before being allowed to dive at the site.

Plus, each of the beaches charges a fixed reef tax for snorkelers at Rp35 per person and Rp65,000 for divers. 

2. Menjangan

Menjangan island
Photo by Jannes Glas on Unsplash

In North-East Bali, the Menjangan Island is backed by volcanos, an unspoiled jungle, and surrounded by clear turquoise waters. Whether you’re at the beach watching the rhythmic waves or swimming deep in the water with the colourful marine life, there’s always a sight to see. Once submerged into to these magnificently clear-blue waters, there’s a steep reef with beautiful corals and schools of fish everywhere because of the rich bio-diversity these waters offer. 

Menjangan is one of the protected islands of Bali that has remained untouched. That’s probably because its location is extremely remote. Plus, even in the shallow waters, there’s an entire colourful ecosystem for beginners or snorkelers who still want to get the best of the Island. There’s superior year-round visibility, even down to 50m deep, which is one of the reasons divers keep coming back. 

Apart from being rich in marine life and coral reefs, it’s the untouched virgin Islands that piques the interest of tourists and divers alike. Plus, the waters are relatively calm throughout the year, which makes it suitable for professional divers who prefer the open sea and beginners who favour the shallower waters. 

So, how do you get to this remote island without paying too much or losing your way? It’s best to go through either Pemuteran or Lovina; since there are shared shuttle services that go down to Menjangan for an affordable fee of about $9.

Scuba divers will also require a tour operator and a permit that allows you to visit the area. The average diving cost should be about IDR 2,400,000, but with the right package deal, you could pay as little as $100 for transport to the site, lunch, two dives and hotel pick up. 

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3. Amed and Tulamben

amed bali

Everyone loves white sandy beaches. Well, what about black sandy beaches for a change? Amed is not your regular dive site. With the beautiful Mt. Agung in plain sight and a peaceful beach surrounded by hills, it’s definitely a dive site you don’t want to miss. Many divers who visit Bali ensure they touch down in Amed, as there’s so much to see. It’s situated on the East side of Bali, and even though the island is referred to as a fisherman village, it’s actually quite tranquil and exciting. 

For beginners and professionals alike, there’s a traditional boat that takes divers from the beach to the dive site. Experienced divers can go wall diving with a beautiful view of tropical fishes, reef tip sharks, and colourful coral gardens. What’s even more mesmerising are the sea turtles that can sometimes be spotted. 

These waters were once known for salt fishing, snorkelling and fishing; however, since such amazing waters can’t go unnoticed, it’s now a well-visited scuba diving site. That’s what led to the development of the artificial reef which is also rich in colourful marine life. It’s obviously not as beautiful as the natural walls and coral reefs, but it’s still well worth a visit.

Divers can visit anytime in the year, but it’s best to go between May and September. You may be required to take an introductory course as a beginner, and all divers must know how to swim. A day’s dive should cost each person roughly IDR 350,000.

4. Pemuteran Bay

Best Places for Scuba Diving in Bali
Image credit:
Aleksandar Pasaric

Bali is unarguably home to some of the most fantastic dive sites in world; both the natural, untouched waters and the artificially developed ones.

Pemuteran Bay boasts one of the world’s largest artificial reef project. But why was the project needed in the first place? Let’s blame it on cyanide fishing. The regular activity led to a decline in the coral reefs at the bay, which then spurred a reaction from the dive operators and resort owners in the area. 

So why is this dive site better than many others? Well for one, the waves in the bay are quite tranquil throughout the year because of the shallow coral reefs. Even better, these waters are home to shrines and statues of goddesses, which just makes the view and experience so thrilling and surreal. There’s a four meter high traditional Balinese temple gateway that welcomes the divers, and as you swim by, the statues of Krishna, Buddha and Ganesh greet you. 

Plus, the Pemuteran bay has dive sites suitable for beginners, intermediate and experienced divers. The waters do get interesting from a 30m drop off, but there’s a 15m drop off for beginners as well. With offshore slopes and deep reefs that lead to the home of various underwater species, it’s definitely worth the hype. Their rich marine life includes sea fans, lobsters, morays and more. 

You can visit this dive site any time of the year thanks to the year-round calm waters, but for the best experience, it’s best to go from April to October. The cost of scuba diving in the area is about IDR 1,600,000 for three dives.

5. Nusa Bay

Nusa penida

In the South East of Bali, Nusa Penida is one of the largest of the three islands in the area. Diving in Nusa Bay would be a bonus to scuba divers who love the diversity of marine life, and crave to see rare species like the manta rays. Yes, you read that right. The cold and nutrient-rich waters that surround the island make it a perfect habitat and feeding ground for manta rays. 

In our opinion, the Nusa Bay is among the top three best diving sites in Bali because you can swim with manta rays all-year-long (amazing right?). Divers also sight the Mola Mola, the beautiful ocean’s sunfish. Plus, since the waters are crystal clear, divers get an excellent view of all the marine life and habitats surrounding the area. 

Nusa Bay may have stronger currents than others on our list, but these currents are exactly what bring in the big fish! Sharks, whale sharks, mantas and more. So, other than the colourful coral reefs to admire, keep one eye on that deep blue sea; you might just sight something big and amazing. 

Before diving into these calm and clear waters, there’s a training swimming pool available for divers, experienced or not. The pool is three meters deep and has a clear view of Mount Agung. 

As a beginner or professional diver, you will need PADI certifications before being allowed to swim in the underwaters of Nusa Penida. Since Nusa Penida runs into the open Indian Ocean, most of the dive spots are for professional divers only. However, there are still some snorkelling spots and shallow sites for beginners. It costs about IDR 2,500,000 for three dives.

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Scuba Diving Bali, Gili Islands: The Conclusion

There are so many diving sites in the Gili Islands, and they are usually within close proximity to one another. There are spots for beginners like the Meno Bounty, Meno Slope, Manta Point, and the Halik, which is home to an abundance of sea turtles.

For advanced divers, the Deep Turbos, Japanese Wreck, Jack Point and Taket Malang may prove to be more interesting. There are more than 20 sites to visit in the Gili Islands, which is probably the reason why it’s popular with curious tourists and divers alike. 

From the incredible underwater photography to the unforgettable experiences, Scuba diving in the Gili Islands is definitely a must for divers who want diversity, fun, and exciting marine life.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please leave a comment below and share this article with fellow dive enthusiasts. 

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