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Best Scuba Diving in Bali, a Complete Guide 2023

The beautiful island of Bali is a fantastic location for scuba diving. Covered in rice paddies, volcanic mountains, spectacular beaches, and surrounded by amazing coral reefs this is the most popular island in Indonesia for good reason.

Bali diving with local boats
Diving with the local boats in Bali.

The unique island country, Indonesia, can definitely stake a claim for the best scuba diving in the world being home to many famous dive spots like Raja Ampat, Komodo, and Lembeh Strait. See our Guide to all the Best Diving in Indonesia and off-the-beaten-track little gems like the Togian islands.

Want to go snorkeling around Bali? Snorkel in 3 beautiful spots around Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida. Visit Crystal Bay, Gamat Bay, and also Manta Bay. Bali Hotel Pickup at various locations.

Dive Bali Map
Bali Dive Map

Bali – the Island of the Gods

Bali is the most popular holiday destination in Indonesia. The volcanic island is rich in culture and spirituality, and blessed with spectacular natural beauty including rice paddies, beaches, volcanic mountains, and amazing coral reefs. Bali offers world-class surfing, diving, and hiking, it is also a great island to enjoy the sandy beaches, go snorkeling, do a yoga class, or visit the beautiful temples. Snorkeling with the majestic manta rays of Manta Bay is an activity not to miss when traveling to Bali.

Bali scenery
Beautiful scenery exploring Bali by scooter.

Scuba Diving from Bali

The scuba diving around Bali is incredibly diverse offering muc diving with unique critters, interesting wrecks, beautiful coral reefs, big pelagic creatures like manta rays and reef sharks, schools of fish, and interesting unique animals such as the mola mola (oceanic sunfish) that can be seen here. 

Bali Scuba Diving Highlights

  • Mola Mola – This is one of the best places in the world to dive with the elusive mola mola (oceanic sunfish) around Nusa Penida
  • Manta Rays – Bali is a great place to dive or snorkel with manta rays at manta point, Nusa Penida. 
  • Muck Diving – The island offers great muck diving with frogfish, ghost pipe fish, sea horses, interesting nudibranches, and many more unreal macro critters to be discovered on the coral reefs and black volcanic sand of around Amed and Tulamben in the east and around Gilimanuk in the northwest corner of Bali.
  • Wreck Diving – There are some nice wrecks around Bali, the famous USAT Liberty is definitely the highlight. A shore dive with awesome marine life dropping from 4m to about 30m this amazing wreck is a dive not to miss!
  • Fish Life – Reefs covered in beautiful hard and soft coral draw reef fish and pelagic species. Reef sharks, barracudas, jacks, some big bump head parrot fish, Napoleon wrasse, and many more. 
  • Shore Dives – Diving all over Indonesia, most of the dive sites are a long drive from the island. Bali offers fantastic shore diving, around Tulamben and Amed must be some of the best shore dives in the world. The Liberty is a shore entry with calm waters and is one of the most famous wrecks in the world to dive on. Put on your gear and explore an amazing wreck or see some unreal macro critters diving from the beach!

The best dive sites around Bali 

In a nutshell, the dive sites not to miss  around Bali

  • Crystal Bay from Nusa Penida to see Mola Mola (in season).
  • Manta Point from Nusa Penida to swim with the majestic Manta Rays.
  • USAT Liberty Shipwreck unreal wreck and marine life, Tulamben on the East Coast.
  • Seraya Secrets is located in the North East of Bali, very near the town of Tulamben. Black sand with excellent macro diving. 
  • Secret Bay in Gilimanuk with black volcanic sand, great muck diving, and a nursery for a variety of weird and wonderful underwater creatures.

Some of the highlights that can be seen diving from Bali are; The Bobbit Worms at Secret Bay, Marble Rays at Blue Corner Nusa Penida, Bumphead Parrot Fish on the USAT Liberty wreck in Tulamben, and spectacular muc diving including Frog Fish, Ghost Pipe Fish, Mantis Shrimp, Pygmy Seahorses all over the East Coast.

manta ray

The Best Time to Dive in Bali

Bali has a monsoon climate with a dry season running between May and September (high season)and a rainy season from November to March. 

  • September to November usually has the best diving conditions, while January through March is not a good time to visit the island for diving. 
  • October and April are transition months and are excellent times for diving in Bali. 
  • July to October is the best time for scuba divers to dive with Mola Mola in Bali. 
  • Manta Rays are present all year, but between April and June, the numbers are usually the highest.

Dive Conditions in Bali

The water temperature around Bali usually ranges between 27 and 29C, a 3mm wetsuit is recommended. Diving around the Nusa islands with thermocline temperatures can be as low as 21C. Ask your dive center for a 5mm wetsuit! The visibility generally varies between 10 and 20 meters. Most diving is done at depths between 5 – 40m with some nice deep dives and drift dives for advanced divers. 

Bali Scuba Diving Areas

There are three main areas to explore for diving around Bali; the South, the East, and the North West Coast. Some of the best places to dive are located close to the mainland while others are around small islands, but still within reaching distance to dive from the mainland

South Bali, diving around the Nusa Islands

Most of the diving in the South of Bali is done close to the islands Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan, dive sites around these two little islands are world renowned for diving with Mola Mola (the oceanic sunfish) and Manta Rays. Sanur on the mainland also has some nice diving and is known as a good location for dive training. It is possible to dive around Nusa Penida on day trips from Padang Bai on Bali or to stay on Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan and dive with one of the dive centers on the island. There is plenty to see on the Nusa islands and diving from the island is cheaper than diving from Bali since the drive is much shorter. Staying on Nusa Penida we went snorkeling with the manta rays a couple of times. We had a  variety of good dives, some nice drift dives in strong currents flying over the coral reefs, and fantastic deep dives looking for a variety of critters. 

Getting to Dive Spots in the South of Bali

You can get to Sanur or Padangbai by taxi or public bus from Denpasar, Nusa Penida can be reached from Padangbai by public ferry or from Sanur by speed boat.

manta nusa penida stingy nomads
Swimming with Manta Rays around Nusa Penida.

Accommodation in Nusa Penida

Book Diving Nusa Penida

Dive Sites in the South of Bali (Nusa Penida)

See our complete guide to the Best Dive Sites in Bali for details on the dive sites in the area. The most popular sites in this part of the island are; Manta Point, Crystal Bay, Blue Corner, Toyapakeh, and PED.

East Coast of Bali

The East Coast of Bali is unique in that it offers some of the best shore diving in the world, unreal muck diving on the black volcanic sand, so an awesome wall dive dropping from the surface to the deep, and of course the beautiful wreck of the USAT Liberty. There is fantastic scuba diving close to the shores of the small fishermen’s villages of Amed and Tulamben, walk in from the shore or take a short ride to the dive site in a jukung, a traditional wooden sailboat. Fantastic diving whether you are an open water diver or more advanced you will have a great time. Spot sea turtles or a big bump head parrotfish. The 4 small Gili islands on the east coast of Bali; Gili Tepekong, Gili Biaha, Gili Mimpang and Gili Selang, is a short boat drive from Candidas or Padangbai. The dive spots around these islands have beautiful coral reefs and reef sharks, barracuda, stingrays, and Mola Mola (Sunfish) in the season with some luck.

Transport to Dive Spots in the East of Bali

Tulamben can be reached by renting a car, or public bus, or by taking a private shuttle from Kuta, Denpasar, or many other locations in Bali.

  • Renting a Car – Rental Car is a platform comparing the best car rental options in Bali.
  • Public Bus – Buses depart from Amlapura and Singaraja around every 30 minutes until 14:00
  • Shuttle Bus – Perama shuttle bus drops off in central Tulamben and picks up at Candi Dasa, Kuta, Padang Bai, Sanur, and Ubud. Book Shuttle Bus
  • Private Driver – get picked up and dropped up. Pickup & Drop-off Hotels in: Sanur, Ubud, Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Canggu, Jimbaran, Benoa, Nusa Dua, and Denpasar.
nudibranch on black volcanic sand
Spotting colorful nudibranches on the black volcanic sand.

Accommodation Tulamben

Best-rated and reviewed accommodation. Many centers offer dive shops and PADI courses, diving for beginner divers and experienced divers close to the USAT Liberty Ship Wreck, Bali’s most famous wreck dive attraction. Tulamben is the perfect place to do your open water course.

USAT Liberty Tulamben
Diving on the Wreck of the USAT Liberty Tulamben Bali

Book Diving East of Bali

  • Full-Day Tulamben Dive Trip – Dive three of the best dive site in the east of Bali, the Liberty Wreck, Coral Gardens, and Tulamben Drop Off
  • Full Day Snorkeling around Bali – Tulamben, Padang Bai, Amed or Nusa Penida  Choose snorkeling at one of Bali’s famous sites, snorkel on the wreck of the Liberty, or with the mantas of Nusa Penida! Includes Snorkel equipment rental, Hotel pick up or drop off (Central Kuta, Seminyak, Legian, and Sanur), Lunch, Drinks, Marine Park entry fees

Dive Sites on the East Coast of Bali

See the Best Dive Sites in Bali for a full description of the sites. Our favorite sites on the East Coast of Bali are The Liberty Wreck, Drop Off and Coral Gardens in Tulamben, Amed Wall, Japanese Wreck, and Pyramids in Amed. 

Diving the North West Corner of Bali

The North West corner of Bali, protected by the West Bali National Park, hosts a fantastic underwater world with some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling around the island. This part of Bali has spectacular wall dives on the sheer walls covered with massive gorgonians and other sea fans around Menjangan island, expect amazing visibility diving in the warm water here. The extraordinary muck diving on the black volcanic sand of Gilimanuk Bay is world-renowned. 

Menjangan Island is a small island, also known as deer island, because of the large number of wild deer living here, it is very close to the main island. Menjangan Island is about a 100km drive (3 and a half hours) from Kuta. Diving here, the closest towns are Permutaran or Lovina. Diving boats leave from the Labuan Lalang harbor 20 minutes by car from Permutaran. Gilimanuk is a large town but does not have any dive operators I know of, so it is best to find a dive centre and organize diving on a day trip from Pemutaran or Kuta.

Accommodation Pemutaran

Book Diving Menjangan Island

Two tank dive on the best sites of Menjangan Island for certified divers. Includes Hotel pick up and drop off at Sanur, South of Denpasar, Seminyak, Kuta, North of Nusa Dua, and the North of Jimbaran, Entrance ticket to the national park. Lunch and drinks

Dive Sites North West Corner of Bali

See our article “The Best Dive Sites in Bali” for a description of dive sites on the North West Coast of Bali. The most popular sites to dive here are; Eel Garden (Pos1) and Anchor Wreck from Menjangan Island and Secret Bay located in Gilimanuk Bay, well known for spectacular muck diving.

Garden Eels
You need good buoyancy to take photos of the garden eels. They retract into the sand if you get close.

Dive Insurance

Scuba diving does have risks, make sure your health and your gear are covered, read the small print. Want to know the cost of travel insurance? Get an instant online quote from World Nomads Diving Insurance

Things to Pack

My dive computer, mask, and camera are always the first things I pack for a dive trip.

Disclosure: Stingy Nomads take part in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. When you buy something recommended in this post, we may get an affiliate commission — but it never affects your price or what we pick.

I love my Mares Smart computer, a nice computer for a good price.

Mares Star liquid skin mask, we have both been diving with this comfortable, high-quality mask, scuba and freediving for a long time.

Little things to have in your dive bag.


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