Diving in Bali: Things to Expect

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Diving in Bali can be an earth-shattering experience for someone searching for brilliant culture, jaw-dropping scenery, and an abundance of diverse reefs.

Also known as the “Island of the Gods", this location is by far one of the most popular diving locations in the world.

If you’re someone who has always been interested in exploring wrecks as well as viewing interesting ocean critters, it’s a highly recommended place to be.

About Bali

Everything that you would expect from a world-class vacation is available in Bali, from fantastic surf opportunities to phenomenal dive sites along beautiful beaches.

Divers will have the ability to enjoy vibrant reefs as well as famous wrecks that will amuse even the most experienced divers in the world.

Apart from its scuba diving, Bali is home to memorable beach parties, delectable dining opportunities, and an assortment of family-friendly activities.

What you’ll come to love about the island is that its numerous dive spots appeal to divers of all experience levels.

The Northwest portion is filled with calm diving opportunities on walls, as well as plenty of marine life, including sharks and rays.

The Eastern portion is home to Liberty Wreck, as well as a ton of other more advanced diving opportunities.

The Best Time for Scuba Diving

The best time to dive in Bali is any time during the year, as the waters typically don’t get cold. On average, the coldest time of the year still shows water temperatures as warm as 84°F, which is ideal for most divers.

However, you might find that some locations are best explored with the help of a wetsuit, at least three millimeters in thickness, especially if you’re visiting Secret Bay and Nusa Penida.

To avoid their rainy season, it’s best if you’re able to visit the island outside of April to October.

Many suggest the best time to dive is between May and November because you’re most likely to see a lot of ocean life such as manta rays.

You’ll also find that between August and October, the famous Mola Mola is quite visible around the islands.

If you were to pick the most dangerous time to dive in Bali, it would be around monsoon season.

The heavy rains that come down on the island can reduce visibility drastically, and the water conditions can be a little more challenging to predict.

Ideally, you’re best not to go diving from December to February out of all of the other months of the year.

Marine Life

There are quite a few species you can set your sights on during your trip, especially if you want a unique viewing experience.

Mola Molas are by far the most renowned ocean life you’re bound to see in Bali; however, you can also catch a glimpse of sharks, manta rays, tuna, and barracuda.

Overall, there are over 2500 varieties of fish hidden within the reefs that are native to the islands.

You may also be fortunate enough to spot seahorses, turtles, and octopus.

A few of the most common ocean species and the best time to view them include:

  • Sharks (July to November)
  • Manta Rays (October)
  • Mola Molas (August to October)
  • Seahorses (July to November)
  • Dolphins (January to December)
  • Turtles (April to September)

Diving Conditions and Difficulty

The central premise to remember is that the waters of Bali are to be respected and paid attention to, as they can be filled with currents.

This point is particularly crucial for beginners since you will want to have the most relaxed and safest experience possible.

Without a keen eye for changing water conditions, you can be pushed up and down as well as side to side in an unpredictable manner.

If you have little experience with diving, you must seek assistance from a trained guide since they will help to ensure your trip is as safe as possible.

You will also find that a lot of the dive spots are liveaboard trips, compared to diving right off the coast.

If you opt for a liveaboard, you can typically opt for day trips, two-day trips, or even week-long excursions, depending on your preferences.

Overall, the visibility around Bali is quite impressive, especially when you compare it to other dive spots.

With maximum visibility of 164 feet during the best months for diving, you’ll have an exceptional experience you won’t likely have elsewhere.

Recommended Diving Training

Every scuba diver will be expected to have certifications to dive, especially if you are taking a guided tour.

With that said, there are plenty of courses you can choose from, whether you need something for beginners or if you want a specialty course.

Beginners

  • PADI Scuba Diver
  • PADI Open Water

Advanced

  • PADI Advanced Open Water
  • PADI Adventure Diver
  • PADI Divemaster
  • PADI Rescue

Specialty

  • PADI Wreck Diver
  • PADI Deep Diver
  • PADI Drift Diver
  • PADI Underwater Naturalist
  • PADI Enriched Air Diver

The Best Diving Sites in Bali

There is an assortment of places you will want to explore during your time on the island. These are a few of the hottest locations that you’ll love to venture into:

1. Crystal Bay

As mentioned, the largest attraction to the island is Mola Mola, also known as oceanic sunfish.

In Bali, you can typically find them year-round, but they are most prevalent from August to October if you visit Crystal Bay.

Located on Nusa Penida, this dive site is sure to take your breath away if you’ve been on the hunt for some unique marine life.

While you're in Nusa Penida, we also recommend visiting Manta Point, which is the number one location for spotting manta rays.

As an incredible experience, you won’t soon forget, be sure to take your party to this fabulous location to view some of nature’s most beautiful underwater creatures.

2. USAT Liberty

Perfect for divers searching for wrecks, this is one of the island’s most popular dive sites as you can experience black sand muck diving as well as a wreck completely covered in coral.

Mount Agung erupted while the USAT Liberty was awaiting repairs.

The ship was then pushed into the water, where it is now lying on its side below the surface.

An average dive will start at five meters and then continue down for an additional 25 meters, making it the perfect home for pygmy seahorses, stingrays, and plenty of barracuda.

3. Gili Tepekong and Gili Selang

Both of these sites are best for experienced divers since they feature mid to strong currents.

With the right skill set, you can experience a ton of canyons and swim-throughs at Gili Tepekong, as well as unique underwater topographies you’ve never experienced before.

You’ll also fall in love with the exceptional number o of fish that call the reef home and would make fantastic subjects for underwater portraits.

Gili Selang has less large underwater critters and more small ones, such as branching corals, barrel sponges, and moray eels.

You may also be lucky enough to spot pygmy seahorses and cuttlefish along with the schooling fish in the area.

4. Underwater Temple

This spot is one of the most exciting places to see during your time on the island.

Also referred to as “Taman Pura” and “Temple Garden”, this underwater temple is an artificial reef that mimics the original design of Balinese temples.

Not only is it a stunning sight to see, but it’s a brilliant way to appreciate the beauty of Balinese culture and spiritualism.

Diving in Bali: Final Thoughts

Diving in Bali is filled with exceptional opportunities for beginners and advanced divers alike.

From an assortment of wildlife to unique species, such as Mora Moras, there’s an endless list of things you’ll love to experience.

Not to mention, there are also plenty of land-based activities the whole family can enjoy during your time away.

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