Bali diving has always been known for scuba diving. But over recent years, Bali has evolved into a prominent destination for scuba divers, with its tropical climate, glistening waters and array of underwater species. Considered ‘The Island of the Gods,’ Bali is nothing short of paradise, offering everything from sacred temples and cultural hotspots to beautiful beaches and huge surfing waves. Beneath the turquoise waters, you’ll find some of the very best dive spots in the world, brimming with tropical fish, diverse ecosystems and unique macro creatures. With more than 26 dive sites suitable for beginners through to advanced, Bali appeals to all skill levels, allowing people to really enhance their diving experiences.
With three prominent coastal areas offering multiple dive sites, the warm water temperatures in Bali allow visitors to scuba dive all year round. The currents vary from weak to very strong, depending on the time of year and the tide. Visibility is excellent in the transparent waters, often reaching 20m and more. Sites that have volcanic sand make visibility a little more difficult, however during calm waters, underwater photographers thrive in these areas.
Boasting a truly unique biodiversity, Bali is home to some of the rarest marine life and diverse ecology. Divers visiting between July and November increase their chances of spotting the giant mola mola, the world’s heaviest bony fish. All year round, you can swim with the majestic manta rays and in some dive sites, you can get up close and personal with sharks, including the elusive hammerhead if you’re lucky. As well as these larger creatures, there are over 900 species of tropical fish for you to seek out, including oriental sweetlips, ornate ghost pipefish, angelfish and cuttlefish. Other critters to spot include pygmy seahorses, octopus, turtles, eels and nudibranch. Aside from sea creatures, the waters of Bali also contain distinctive shipwrecks such as the one at Tulamben, vibrant reefs and coral-covered walls and gardens.
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Although a prime spot for scuba diving, Bali offers plenty of other activities to get involved in. Here are just a few for you to try:
Bali has a vibrant nightlife, particularly in places such as Kuta, Seminyak and Legian. From chilled out beach clubs to eclectic rooftop bars, Bali has it all. Some of the best rated bars/clubs you should consider checking out include:
Sky Garden (Kuta) – Situated in the Entertainment Complex and voted Best Nightclub in Bali (The Beat Awards 2017), Sky Garden plays host to a range of venues offering drinks, dining, DJ’s and an all-you-can-eat buffet at the rooftop lounge.
Type of Venue: Bar/Club
Open from: 18:00 – late
Ku De Ta (Seminyak) – For those looking for a more relaxed start to the evening, Ku De Ta offers a bar, restaurant and beach lounge, complete with panoramic sunset views. With live DJ’s and breath-taking scenery, this chilled-out hotspot should be top of your night-life list.
Type of venue: Beach Club
Open from: 08:00 – midnight
Engine Room (Legian) – This three-storey nightclub is very popular among tourists; with resident DJ’s, a vibrant interior and a 6 hour happy hour, it’s clear to see the attraction.
Type of venue: Bar/Club
Open from: 16:00 – 04:00
Happy Hour: 19:00 – 01:00
Old Man’s (Canguu) – For those seeking a traditional beer garden, head to Old Man’s bar in Canguu. Situated on the beachfront of Batu Bolong Beach, enjoy a calm, chilled atmosphere and cheap pints. On a night, the bar transforms into the ultimate party scene, hosting drinking games and beer pong with live bands and DJ’s.
Type of Venue: Beer Garden/Bar
Open from: 07:00 – midnight
Happy Hour – 17:00 – 18:00
Always be careful when consuming alcohol in Bali – drink spiking is prevalent so always keep your eyes on your drink. Avoid intoxicated motorbike rides and be aware that if you purchase any of the easily accessible drugs, jail time can be up to 30 years. Smoking is banned in most public areas and again, you may face imprisonment or a hefty fine.
With a humid climate and similar temperatures all year round, pack lightweight clothes like cotton and linen as opposed to jeans. Include a light hoody/jacket for cool evenings and for places with strong air-con. To avoid mosquito bites, opt for long dressers/light trousers to wear on a night.
Swim wear is essential for beach days, but be sure to cover your shoulders/knees if you are planning on visiting any sacred locations as the locals are quite conservative. Flip-flops are the best choice of footwear but also pack some light, breathable shoes if you are planning on going on longer walks.
If you are visiting during the wet season, bring a lightweight waterproof jacket for the expected heavy downpours.
Most items of clothing can be purchased in Bali at a cheap cost – it is good to pack light and consider buying items locally if you need to.
Although there are no vaccination requirements to enter Bali, it is worth protecting yourself against diseases that are prevalent in Indonesia, particularly if you are travelling to remote areas. The following vaccinations are strongly recommended:
Malaria, Dengue Fever and the Zika Virus are mosquito-borne diseases in hot humid countries including Bali. Although there are no vaccinations to prevent these diseases, travellers are advised to take their own precautions to avoid mosquito bites. The main forms of protection are to use insect repellent that contains DEET and wear long sleeves and trousers.
Always consult your doctor about vaccinations before travelling.
If you are planning on visiting Bali for less than 30 days, you will receive a free visa (entry stamp), providing you are a citizen of one of the listed countries. This is primarily for tourists and those under this visa are not permitted to work or conduct any business. Passports must also be valid for 6 months. Those living in the countries not listed must apply for a tourist visa prior to arriving in Bali by visiting their local embassies.
For those that wish to stay longer than 30 days, other visa’s are available and further information is available here.
Bali has plenty of accommodation options to suit every budget. Here is a breakdown of some great hotels in Bali, covering all levels of pricing:
The main airport in Bali is Ngurah Rai (also referred to as Denpasar) and can be reached by many international airlines. It is located in Southern Bali, 13km South of the capital city Denpasar. Depending on where you are travelling from, many flights are indirect and require a changeover. If you are looking to travel from a South East Asia airport, the following countries offer direct flights to Bali: Malaysia (Kuala Lumpa International), Thailand (Bangkok/Don Mueang), Singapore (Changi), Indonesia (Soekarno-Hatta/Halim Perdana Kusuma) and Philippines (Manila Ninoy Aquino). Flights to Bali are generally cheapest from Australia or nearby countries in Asia, particularly Bangkok and Singapore. Flying from the US and Europe can be expensive, so consider flying into a major stopover airport like Changi and then flying to Bali with a budget airline, such as Air Asia. Expect to pay more during the peak season and opt for travelling in the quieter months in dry season.
With a tropical climate and regular high temperatures, scuba diving can be enjoyed all year round in Bali. The best time to dive is between May and November and the worst time is during the monsoon season, particularly from December through to February. More specifically, October and April are the best months to dive where there is minimal wind, the seas are generally calmer and visibility is better.
Bali has a tropical, humid climate and average temperatures of 30 C all year round. The water temperature varies between 24 C and 28 C depending on location and can drop to 20 C in areas of open sea. Despite regular air temperatures, Bali has two seasons due to periods of wind and rainfall: - Dry season (May – September) - Wet season (November – March) Due to the tropical monsoon climate, rainfall is common though rarely excessive. The dry season is the most popular time to visit, with high temperatures, less humidity and clear skies.
If you are planning on scuba diving in Bali, it is recommended that you invest in travel insurance that covers diving before you arrive. Alternatively, you can just take out diving insurance. There are various different providers and it is important that you find the one suitable for your needs. A couple of options available include: - World Nomads – if you are intending on diving in more than one country, this site covers you worldwide. The price takes into account your age, country of residence, travel destination(s) and duration of travel. They offer a standard price or an explorer price, covering medical expenses, trip delay, adventure sports and activities and more. For a week in Bali in October 2017 (peak diving time), standard prices average around 77 USD. - Dive Assure – this company offers diving insurance with travel insurance as an add-on. You can choose between short-term and long-term coverage. Short-term diving coverage starts from around 49-55 USD and covers medical expenses, loss of personal diving equipment, flight/accommodation costs following a diving accident and more. Annual diving coverage is around 99 USD for Gold and 129 USD for Platinum. Prices vary depending on country of residence, date of birth, date of travel and if you want to add travel insurance. - Columbus Direct – For those not intending on diving deeper than 40m, this company is a good option. Choose from single or multi trip, and destination either Europe, Worldwide or Worldwide excluding USA/Canada. Policies are ranked Bronze, Silver and Gold and cover flight delay, medical expenses and more. Bronze starts from around 22 USD for a week, Silver 45 USD and Gold 59 USD, depending on travel dates and age.
There are a number of companies in Bali that have a range of diving packages. Depending on where you are staying in Bali, AlienAdv can help you chose the most suitable diving operator and diving packages. For tourists staying in South Bali you can visit dive sites such as Tulamben, Padang Bai and Nusa Penida. You will return to your hotel each day after diving. Multi-day diving packages can be organized, but the most popular package is over the course of 3 days and includes 7 dives. For 334 USD, you will receive transportation to and from the sites, a PADI diving guide, access to diving equipment and refreshments. Dive packages ranging from 6 dives to 14 cost between 230 USD and 500 USD. All include the hire of tanks and weights and additional equipment can be hired at an extra cost. They also offer dive packages with accommodation, ranging from 1-7 nights, starting from 120 USD per day. Day trips like the 1 day excursion that takes you to Nusa Penida, pprovides a quick diving escape for those short on time. The first dive is at Manta Point, followed by Crystal Bay. Along the way, you will have a chance to spot manta’s, turtles, mola mola and tropical fish. In the cost you will receive transportation to Nusa Penida, use of dive equipment, lunch and dive Instructors.
Bali offers a number of diving programs in various locations. Upon completion, you will receive a PADI scuba diving license. Recognized worldwide, this will allow you to access other dive sites around the globe. If you are interested, take a look at some of the following courses: PADI scuba diver course - This is a great introduction to scuba diving for those who are limited with time but want to become a certified diver. Upon completion, you will be qualified to dive under the supervision of a PADI Divemaster and can prepare for your open water certification. Over 2 days, you will learn the scuba diving basics and complete 2 open water dives. The cost is around 300 USD (Jan-May) or 320 USD (June-Dec). PADI open water diver course - This highly popular course will get you well on the way to fueling your adventurous scuba lifestyle. Over 3 days, you will learn all about the scuba equipment and complete at least 5 pool dives and 4 dives at local dive areas. The total cost is around 400 USD (Jan-May) or 440 USD (June-Dec). PADI advanced open water diver course - again a highly popular course that will help you build upon the open water diving certification and specialize in a diving niche. Over 2 days, you will learn and enjoy greater depths and diving technicalities. PADI Divemaster Course - For more experienced divers that have completed their Open Water, Advanced Open Water and Rescue Courses, this 14 day program will certify you with specific diving qualifications. You will complete 3 modules and have 60 dives logged in order to become a Divemaster. The cost is north of 820 USD. AlienAdv will provide you the most competitive rates from top rated local dive shops so that you can make an informed decision and book at the best prices. Contact us to know more.
There are 3 scuba diving regions in Bali with a number of spectacular dive sites for all skill levels. Here is a rundown of some of the very best spots in the three areas: 1. South Coast a. Nusa Penida - The largest of 3 islands clustered together, Nusa Penida offers beautiful diving sites with clear waters perfect for observing the variety of marine life. Manta Point is famous for spotting manta rays all year round and the current is generally weak so it is an easier dive site. Crystal Bay is another recommended diving area offering excellent visibility and the opportunity to see rare mola-mola (visiting in September will give you the best chance). With a stronger current, this site is recommended for experienced divers. Diving skill: Manta Point – all levels. Crystal Bay – experienced Water temperature: 15 C – 28 C Best time to dive: Manta Point - all year round. Crystal Bay August – October Marine life: Soft coral gardens, sharks, manta’s, mola mola, eagle ray, octopus, lobster and a bat cave 2. East Coast a. Tulamben - A prime and popular spot for diving in Tulamben is the USAT Liberty Shipwreck which was struck by a Japanese torpedo in 1942. Suitable for beginners, the waters are calm and the current is weak. For early-birds, head down at sunrise and you should see bumphead parrot fish and jackfish in and around the shipwreck. Diving skill: All levels Water temperature: 26 C – 30 C Best time to dive: October - April Marine life: Natural reef, sponges, hard and soft corals, tropical fish (including trevally, surgeonfish and wrasse), tunicates and sea fans b. Amed - The dive sites in Amed have a light current, great visibility and are open to all levels. The locations (including Bunutan Point, Jemeluk and Japanese Wreck) comprise of clear waters, volcanic sand, dense sea fans and vivid reef walls. There are great spots for muck and macro divers, with plenty of small marine critters. Diving skill: All levels Water temperature: 26 C – 30 C Best time to dive: October - April Marine life: Soft and hard coral, sea turtles, ghost pipefish, stingrays, parrotfish, pygmy seahorse, convict tang, ribbon eels and triggerfish c. Padang Bai - There are a number of good dive sites in Padang Bai each with varying degrees of difficulty. Blue Lagoon is a great spot for beginners, with a white sandy sea bed, gentle slopes and a mild current. From humphead wrasse to colourful angelfish, the variety of sea life is another factor that attracts divers. Bias Tugal is a shallow site with beautiful corals and the chance to spot a large variety of sea life including cuttlefish and green turtles. For more experienced divers, head to The Ferry Channel site where you can spot white tip sharks and other large sea life. The current can be strong here so consult local dive guides before attempting. Diving skill: Blue Lagoon and Bias Tugal – all levels. Ferry Channel – experienced Water temperature: 20 C – 30 C Best time to dive: June - December Marine life: Sharks, lionfish, octopus, moray eels, frogfish, jackfish, rare crustaceans, ghost pipefish and Spanish dancer d. Candidasa - The islands of Gili Tepekong, Gili Biaha, Gili Mimpang and Gili Selang are considered some of the best dive sites in Bali. With exceptional visibility conditions, be sure to look out for numerous species of sharks and the giant mola mola. With unpredictable currents that vary from mild to very strong, these sites are recommended for more advanced divers. Diving skill: Experienced Water temperature: 20 C – 30 C Best time to dive: August – October Marine life: Batfish, snapper, sharks (including hammerhead), devil rays, bumphead parrotfish, cuttlefish, triggerfish, stingrays and turtles 3. East Coast a. Menjangan Island (Accessible by boat) - Located within West Bali National Park, Manjangan Island is more remote than other sites and can go unnoticed by divers. With a flourishing ecosystem, shallow reefs and excellent visibility, this is the perfect spot for beginner divers. POS II is a top dive site, encrusted in huge gorgonians. Eel Garden is another popular area with a vibrant coral garden and colonies of sand eels. You can also view the Anker Wreck, a small wooden shipwreck over 100 years old. Diving skill: All levels Water temperature: 26 C – 30 C Best time to dive: February - April Marine life: Reef sharks, turtles, eels, sea urchins, frogfish, barracuda, clown fish, pygmy seahorse, sea cucumbers and small caverns b. Gilimanuk - One of the best dive sites here is Secret Bay, particularly for those interested in macro diving. With calm waters and a diverse range of small marine creatures, this dive site is teeming with vivid ecosystems and wildlife. Diving skill: Medium Water temperature: 22 C – 29 C Best time to dive: February - April Marine life: Hard and soft corals, mandarin fish, puffer, shrimp, sea snakes, octopus, nudibranch, dragonet, cuttlefish, fire urchin and bobbit worm