Bali is one of 17,508 islands in Indonesia. Perhaps the most famous of all the islands, Bali is renowned for its forested volcanic mountains, tropical beaches, and coral reefs.
Lying in the Indian Ocean, North-West of Australia, it is not a large island. It measures only 140 km x 80 km (87 miles x 50 miles).
Best of all, you can dive all year round in Bali. Between April and September is the dry season but, if you want to experience the best diving conditions possible, you should head here between September and November.
There is so much wildlife for your eyes to feast upon in Bali. If you want to see Manta rays, April and May are the best months to go but if you dive at Manta Point dive site, you are likely to see these large rays all year round.
The oceanic sunfish, Mola Mola, is the largest bony fish in our oceans and these are present at all times of the year. Nevertheless, we recommend diving from August to October for your best chance to see them.
Want to see sharks? Head to Mimpang in Amuk Bay and you will be spoiled rotten.
There are many dive sites to choose from on the coasts of Bali. Some are ideal for beginners while others boast strong, raging currents that only experienced divers should try.
Today, we are going to guide you through the best diving spots in Bali. Whittling these down to only a few has been no easy task! But, we have found sites that are safe for novice divers and areas for the more advanced.
Some highlights include the reef manta rays of Nua Penida, the Liberty wreck at Tulamben, and the busting marine life of Shreya Secrets. Sit back and discover the best dive spots in Bali so you can plan your next trip with ease.
Bali’s Best Diving Spots
The Canyon, Tepekong, Amuk Bay
Starting off our diving tour of Bali is The Canyon at Tepekong. This 300 m long rock offers some of the most astonishing and breathtaking diving spots in Bali. Its only drawback is that it sports steep walls, cold waters, very strong currents, and a canyon making it a site for experienced divers only.
As divers drift with the currents, they have unique opportunities to see moray eels, rays, sharks, big pelagics, and much more sea life. The visibility in this region is generally very clear but even if the conditions are unsuitable at a particular time, there are other great dive sites nearby.
The Canyon is found off the edge of the south-western tip of Tepekong with a maximum depth of 40 m. As you enter on its steep slope, just north of the Canyon itself, you will find the Canyon and head straight down to 25 m.
What you’ll see
- Swells of sweetlips
- Big-eyed trevally
- Humphead parrotfish
- Whitetip reef sharks
- Mola Molas
On rare occasions, you may encounter no currents. In this instance, you should be able to see the dazzling beauty of its striking craggy black stone walls. Nonetheless, most of the time, you will experience a strong, swirling current but even when this is present, you can still enjoy the sheer drama of the dive spot.
However, your view may become obstructed by gigantic swells of sweetlips, big-eyed trevally, unicornfish, sweetlips, humphead parrotfish, white tip reef sharks, groupers, and other pelagics (tuna and Mola Molas). The best season to see these would be between September and October.
As well as these bigger aquatic animals, these nutrient-rich waters also attract smaller fish such as baskets, damsels, and anthias. And what happens when there are smaller fish around? You get larger fish! Along with its soft corals and small gorgonians, Tepekong is a true natural wonder.
Mimpang, Amuk Bay
Sticking around Amuk bay, we swim to Mimpang, also known as Batu Tiga (Three Rocks). When you reach 12 m, you come across a small coral reef, a small wall, and white sand with a maximum depth of 30 m. When here, keep an eye out for trumpet fish and, during August and September, Mola Mola, the oceanic sunfish.
The current in this dive spot can be up and down most of the time and there is often a strong surge as you enter the water.
Mimpang is exactly what its ‘Three Rock” name suggests. It is three large rocks that break the surface as well as several below. These run in a ride to the north toward Bali and to the south before roping off into the water. This end tends to be the richer end for diving.
Despite only being 1 km from Tepekong, the conditions in Mimpang are quite different. If you can not dive in Mimpang for any reason, you could go to Tepekong instead.
What you’ll see
- Unicorn fish
- Blue-spotted rays
- Moray eels
- Napoleon Wrasse
If you want to see white tip reef sharks, Mimpang’s Shark Point is a better place to dive than Tepekong. In Mimpang’s Shark Point, you are usually treated to great numbers of sharks and it is often the best chase of seeing sharks in the whole of Bali. With a fairly unpredictable and strong current, it is best left for experienced divers.
With sloping reeds, craggy walls and rocks, hard and soft corals, and some gorgonians, the topography of Mimpang is very diverse. The reef offers a good cover area for soft corals. Here, there are a range of staghorn, stony corals, and table corals to enjoy.
You will often experience huge schools of Unicorn fish, blue spotted rays, moray eels, trumpet fish, napoleon wrasse, bannerfish, triggerfish, butterflyfish, and trevally at this site as well as many more fish. You can also find barrel-sponges and large gorgonians in different spots around the area too.
Tulamben is a small village situated on the northeast coast of Bali. When diving here, you will be met with a black sandy slope that holds a 120 m shipwreck, coral gardens, and a wall. If waves are present, entering the water can be a little tricky but this is mainly down to the hand-sized black stones that scatter the floor.
Due to its northeastern location, this bay receives plankton-rich waters from the ocean current which moves from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean. The three main dive spots in this area provide completely different physical environments. This results in a wonderfully diverse underwater ecosystem.
The stony beach of Tulamben transforms into black sand as you enter the shallows. Due to a combination of this dark sand and the large amounts of plankton in the water, visibility tends to be quite low (about 12 to 25 m).
Nevertheless, it does give a dramatic contrast as you witness the different colors of the corals, gorgonians, fish, and other diverse marine life.
USS Liberty Glo/Libert USAT Wreck, Tulamben
Rated as the third-best wreck dive in the whole world, Tulamben is home to the Liberty shipwreck. This lies on a black sand slope that is almost parallel to the beach and just 30 m from the shore. The great news is that this fascinating dive spot is suitable for all levels of experience and qualifications.
The wreck lies in depths from 9 to 30 m. The shallowest section of the wreck, where it comes into contact with the sad slope, is at 5 to 10 m while the middle of the wreck lies around 16 to 20 m down.
The lower edge of the Liberty, which is furthest down the slope, is at 20 to 28 m when at high tide. The wreck measures 120 m long but it is pretty broken up.
This means you can not enter the wreck for a quick peruse around. However, you can still come across the toilets, boilers, anchor chains, guns, and much more.
This truly is a wonderful dive spot and maybe the world’s easiest wreck dive. The wreck is also known as the USAT Liberty, USAT standing for United States Army Transport.
The visibility tends to be around 18 to 25 m but this is lower after rainfall. Currents are rarely present and, if there is one, it is usually quite mild. Waves usually appear around 3 days before a full moon but the air temperature is a comfortable 25 to 32 degrees and the water is 26 to 28 degrees.
What you’ll see
- Unicorn fish
- Neon Nudibranchs
- Ghost pipefish
- Minute anglerfish
- Garden eels
You have probably seen this wreck in numerous photographs as it is extremely popular with photographers. This is because it is completely encrusted with anemones, corals, and gorgonians. Quite the sight to behold!
The black sand that surrounds it provides spectacular color contrast with the remarkable variety of marine life that dwells here. These include very large schools of big-eyed trevally and 400 or so species of fish.
If you like to swim with the fishies, you will love how tame they are at this site. Whether it’s goatfish or wrasse, they will nibble around your feet and fins while you enter and exit the dive spot.
And there are the unicornfish and surgeonfish that will take a fascination in your mask as you swim down to the wreck. This can be quite alarming at first but they will soon move on.
When diving at the Liberty wreck, you will see just about everything from an Indo-Pacific Reef Guide book. From neon nudibranchs, ghost pipefish, minute anglerfish, shrimp/goby sets, to batfish, garden eels, schools of sweetlips, and fusiliers, this really is a treat for the eyes.
There are even invertebrates such as hard and soft corals, black corals, sea fans, tunicates, and sponges. The variety is simply incredible.
If you stay overnight and are one of the first divers to the wreck in the morning, you may even see a turtle or two. We highly recommend early morning diving or even night driving, especially on a full moon.
On these occasions, you may witness flashlight fish, Spanish dancers, and even phosphorescence. An experience you will never forget!
The Wall, Tulamben
Another extraordinary dive spot in Tulamben is The Wall, an old lava flow from Mount Agung. This is situated on the opposite side of the bay to the Liberty Wreck and is about a 10-minute walk along a stony beach.
You start the dive off on a steep sandy slope where you are met with flounders, nudibranchs, and goby/shrimp sets. When you reach 12 m, you will see sponges with a huge variety of shrimp, leaf scorpionfish, crinoids, and ghost pipefish.
As you move around the right, you will find that the slope shifts into a reef with incredible topography. A vertical wall greets you from 15 m and descends to below 60 m.
For the best visibility, we recommend heading here in the morning. At this time, you can usually see about 15 m to 20 m as the plankton in the water is quite thick. Also, the location of this dive spot means currents are quite rare.
What you’ll see
- Whit tip sharks
- Blacktip sharks
- Humphead parrotfish
- Napoleon Wrasse
- Filefish (Scrawled)
- Moray eels
- Whale sharks (on occasions)
The wall is home to sponges, black coral bushes, corals, and gorgonian fans. When at 30 m, a wall reaches 2 m in width but this is only accessible by experienced divers or on an Advanced Open Water course. The Wall then reverts back to being a steep slope.
The fish life at this dive spot is quite similar to that of the wreck of The Liberty but, as it is a much larger area, the water is not so dense with marine life.
Nonetheless, when diving this site, you will generally see white tip and blacktip reef sharks, big humphead parrotfish, large napoleon wrasse, a few big filefish such as scrawled, and large moray eels.
The late afternoon tends to be the best time to see a collection of lionfish that call this site their home. There have also been sightings of Whale Sharks in water as little as 9 m here. The deeper you go, the more chance you have of seeing a hammerhead shark.
At the top of the Wall, you will find the back reef. This averages at about 5 m and boasts a breathtaking aquarium section. This includes octopus, cuttlefish, boxer crabs, and many more treasures of the water.
You can fish at 5 m for just about as long as you want at this spot. Even snorkelers enjoy this dive spot where they can have a glance at the diverse and bustling life that is below the surface.
Manta Point, Nusa Penida
Manta Point is an incredible dive site with a cleaning station where you can see Manta Rays all year round.
Located off Nusa Penida’s southwest point, this dive spot comprises a sandy bottom at 12 m to 18 m. This is the exact spot where Manta come to feed. However, while you are not guaranteed to see Manta when diving here, the chances are pretty high.
What you’ll see
- Manta Rays
This area has a small current but, on occasions, it experiences a strong surge. The Manta tend to be 2 m to 4 m wide and are completely harmless. They will be more interested in nibbling at plankton than any divers around them.
The water is generally cooler than other places in Bali because it comes in from the ocean. You can expect the water temperature to be around 71 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 26 degrees Celsius).
Biaha, Amuk Bay
Biaha is a rock that is shaped like a banana. It is situated around 4 km from Mimpang and Tepekong.
Here, the current can be extremely strong. Not only does it go horizontally but it can also surge upwards and downwards. These are certainly the most awkward currents on Bali’s northern slope.
After dealing with the current, you will experience a beautiful and healthy reef around this rock. There is a rocky slope in the north and a wall around its southern area.
With breaking waves above this rugged black wall, this dive spot is simply beautiful. At times, it seems as though the fish are almost unnecessary - but not quite, of course!
You can find entry points around the island and your dive can actually cover the whole circumference of Biaha. If that’s too much, you can choose to explore a smaller section. It entirely depends on your interests and how the currents and conditions are on the day.
What you’ll see
When you reach the inside area (the east side of Biaha), there is a cave that is large enough for six divers to enjoy. In this area, tip reef sharks are often found sound asleep. The area just outside the cave is protected due to its interesting coral.
Here, you will discover commensal shrimp and crabs as well as leaf scorpionfish, octopus, anglerfish, cuttlefish, and nudibranchs. The cave alone can sometimes take up your entire dive but this is totally worth it!