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12 Best Places to Scuba Dive in Bali

After learning to dive in Indonesia in early 2020, I made it my mission to explore as many of the archipelago’s best diving spots as possible. And fortunately, from my home in Bali, there are plenty nearby. Bali has some of the best scuba diving opportunities in the world, with dive sites to suit all levels and a huge range of marine life to match. Indonesia sits in the Coral Triangle, an area of the ocean that supports the greatest diversity of coral species in the world, which means a dive here is always exciting. From vibrant coral reefs to elusive mola mola, endless turtles, and schools of colorful fish, read on for all the best places to scuba dive in Bali.

Nusa Penida Nusa Penida
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Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida ticks all the boxes for scuba diving in Bali, no matter what level of certification you have. This beautiful island, only around a 40-minute boat away from mainland Bali, has dive sites to suit everyone and plenty to see. One of the main attractions for divers in Nusa Penida is the chance to encounter majestic manta rays at Crystal Bay. Throughout your dives, you’ll likely see surgeonfish, angelfish and butterflyfish fill the reefs, creating a vibrant and dynamic setting as you venture further into the underwater world. Elsewhere, you’ll find crystal clear waters, vibrant schools of fish, and stunning underwater landscapes to keep you entertained.

Nusa Lembongan & Ceningan Nusa Lembongan & Ceningan
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Nusa Lembongan & Ceningan

Nusa Lembongan & Ceningan are two islands located opposite Nusa Penida and are often explored as a package deal thanks to the tiny yellow bridge separating them. These idyllic islands boast a wealth of marine biodiversity, making them a haven for divers of all levels. The islands are home to an array of stunning coral formations, including colorful hard and soft corals, creating a vibrant backdrop for your diving adventures. Here, you’re likely to see angelfish, parrotfish, and triggerfish, as well as curious sea turtles and playful reef sharks. Some of the best dive sites to visit include Ceningan Wall, Lembongan Bay, and Blue Corner.

Menjangan Island Menjangan Island
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Menjangan Island

Menjangan Island actually put Indonesia on the map for scuba diving and played host to the first-ever diving meet-ups in the country, way back before Bali became the tourist hotspot it is today. One of Bali’s best-kept secrets, particularly for divers and snorkelers, Menjangan Island is an enchanting destination located off the northwest coast of mainland Bali. Sure, it takes a little more effort to get here. But those who do make the journey will find stunning walls and drop-offs as well as underwater cliffs adorned with an impressive array of coral formations, including magnificent gorgonian fans, barrel sponges, and colorful hard and soft corals.

Secret Bay Secret Bay
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Secret Bay

Secret Bay is located close to Menjangan Island and is famed for its muck diving. Also known as Gilimanuk Bay, this dive site offers a secluded and pristine experience for adventurous divers. What sets Secret Bay apart is its incredible biodiversity and the opportunity to encounter rare and fascinating marine like the tiniest seahorses and colorful nudibranchs to elusive frogfish and rare octopuses. A haven for macro photography enthusiasts and those seeking extraordinary underwater encounters, Secret Bay should be on all scuba divers’ bucket lists. It’s also a top spot for night dives when a whole new world comes alive beneath the surface. As the sun sets, expect a whole new world to unravel throughout your dives.

Amed Amed
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Amed

Amed is a scuba diver’s paradise and this part of Bali, on the east coast, is mostly reserved for those who like to spend the majority of their time underwater. While the area itself is pretty relaxed, the dive sites here offer a whole other experience. This region is blessed with an impressively rich marine ecosystem, offering an abundance of colorful coral reefs and an impressive variety of marine life. Most divers come here to explore the stunning USAT Liberty shipwreck, a World War II cargo ship that’s now covered in an explosion of corals. Swim through its nooks and crannies, observe its coral-encrusted remains, and wave hi to the schools of fish that have made the wreck their home.

Tulamben Tulamben
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Tulamben

The peaceful village of Tulamben is another top spot for scuba divers in Bali and offers plenty of different opportunities to suit all tastes. A world-class diving experience that’ll leave you in awe of the natural beauty of the underwater wonder, Tulamben never disappoints with its diverse marine ecosystem. Here, you’ll find a number of creatures great and small, like nudibranchs, shrimps, and octopuses as well as angelfish and parrot fish. With this in mind, Tulamben offers a perfect blend of macro and wide-angle photography opportunities for those looking to capture the perfect shot. The calm and clear waters make it an ideal destination for divers of all levels, while its convenient shore entry points allow for easy access to dive sites.

Padang Bai Padang Bai
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Padang Bai

Most tourists visit Padang Bai to catch the fast boats over to the Gili Islands. But, if you’re a scuba diver, it’s well worth spending an extra night or two in this part of Bali for some great scuba experiences. Padang Bai is a charming coastal town located on the eastern coast of Bali that offers a great chance to explore the famous Blue Lagoon. This sheltered bay is home to excellent visibility and a sandy bottom, making it a popular choice for beginner divers. For more experienced divers, Padang Bai offers a variety of dive sites that cater to different interests. Bias Tugel and Jepun are known for their beautiful coral gardens, while Shark Point is home to reef sharks, turtles, and reef fish.

Candidasa Candidasa
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Candidasa

Picturesque Candidasa should be on every traveler’s visit list regardless of whether or not they dive. But, for those who’ve already fallen in love with the underwater world, Candidasa offers an awe-inspiring setting to explore. One of the main attractions of diving in Candidasa is the incredible variety of coral formations, with a kaleidoscope of colors throughout its hard and soft corals, sea fans, and impressive gorgonian fans. Dive a little deeper to find sharks, graceful sea turtles, and schools of colorful tropical fish as well as pygmy seahorses, ghost pipefish, or even the curious mimic octopus. Beginners here should check out the calm and shallow reefs of Gili Mimpang and Gili Tepekong.

Gili Selang Gili Selang
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Gili Selang

Looking to step things up a notch? Gili Selang is one of Bali’s more challenging dive sites and is perfect for anyone looking to experience something a little more heart-pumping. Located at the easternmost tip of Bali, Gili Selang boasts dramatic underwater landscapes and strong currents with deep walls and vibrant coral formations to drift dive alongside. While the currents can be strong, they bring nutrient-rich waters that support a flourishing marine ecosystem. Expect to see fusiliers, snappers, and surgeonfish while you navigate the currents here. While some of Bali’s best dive sites can get pretty popular (with seemingly more humans than fish around), Gili Selang’s complexity ensures this spot always remains pretty quiet.

Gili Trawangan, Meno & Air Gili Trawangan, Meno & Air
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Gili Trawangan, Meno & Air

We could write a whole other article on scuba diving around Gili Trawangan, Meno & Air! And, although they’re technically part of neighboring Lombok rather than Bali islands, these impressive scuba diving spots are easy to access from mainland Bali and are definitely worth venturing across for. Gili Trawangan, Meno & Air are a trio of tropical paradises with marine life that will leave you in awe.  The islands are surrounded by an impressive variety of dive sites, ranging from gentle sloping reefs to exhilarating drift dives along steep walls. On Gili T, you’re guaranteed sightings of turtles at Turtle Heaven. On neighboring Meno, you’ll find picturesque underwater statues. On Air, you’ll find slightly more advanced spots, including my all-time favorite dive site, Simon’s Reef.

Sanur Sanur
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Sanur

Sanur offers the perfect jumping point for all kinds of scuba trips and is a popular place to start day trips to the nearby Nusa islands. But the dive sites right by here are also pretty popular and great to add to the list. The dive sites around Sanur are easily accessible and suitable for divers of all levels, offering a vibrant underwater tapestry ready to explore. While the dive sites here might not be quite as magical as some of Bali’s more remote options, this part of the island is perfect for allowing you to explore the underwater world if you’re traveling in a rush.

Pemuteran Pemuteran
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Pemuteran

You’ll have to venture up to northwest Bali to dive at Pemuteran, a tranquil coastal village right at the top of the island. This is a place that’s doing its best to improve the underwater world, thanks to its Pemuteran Bay Reef Restoration Project, an inspiring initiative that’s transformed damaged reefs into thriving underwater gardens. Dive around the stunning artificial reef structures created by the project and admire the schools of tropical fish who’ve begun to call it home. These bio-rock structures provide a haven for marine life and promise to keep on thriving as the years pass. Pemuteran is also a gateway to Bali’s renowned West Bali National Park, which you should definitely stop by and explore while you’re here.

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