The mystery of the deep, blue sea is something that has always captivated us; now, we have the ability to explore it in all its glory: scuba diving. Diving is one of the most unique and inspiring experiences you can have, and nowhere is this truer than the serenity of the Indian ocean. Diving in Bali is suitable for all levels; it’s also one of the most popular places in the world to become a certified diver because of the gorgeous underwater scenery. Incredibly safe and fun, becoming a certified diver here means you’ll be able to dive anywhere else in the world. In general, November to February is the best time to dive because the currents and weather will be favourable, but there are great options all year round. So, whether you’re a scuba expert or don’t know your DCS from your DPV, get ready to back-roll into the wonderful world of Bali scuba diving.
The Best Scuba Diving Schools in Bali
Most people entering Bali are diving novices, and it can be intimidating to take up a new hobby or sport, especially on holiday whilst surrounded by strangers. However, this really shouldn’t stop you from getting into diving; everyone will be at the same skill level as you, and schools encourage a jocular atmosphere between divers. Even if you’re experienced and just want some likeminded people for Bali diving companionship, or a refresher course, these dive schools are your best bet to find that.
This Bali diving school is great for beginners. Based in Amed (on the East coast of the island) they have a range of classes on offer. Their Try Scuba course costs IDR 1,200,000 and involves some shallow pool diving, before a real dive under the direct supervision of a certified instructor.
If you enjoy this and want to continue, you can go on to get certified as an Open Water diver (IDR 4,700,000), which means you can dive up to 18 metres anywhere in the world, alongside another qualified diver. Your original dives in the starter course will count towards your certification, and the three-day Open Water diver course ends with a diving trip to see the USAT Liberty wreck, which in itself is a stunning experience.
This school is located much closer to the main tourist areas around Denpasar. They offer similar courses to Adventure Divers Bali, although their beginner dives are on the North East coast at Tulamben or East coast at Padang Bai.
Atlantis is costlier at approximately IDR 2,150,000 for the beginner course, but they do offer more dives. Their PADI Open Water course is around IDR 7,800,000, but again offers more dives over longer periods. They also offer diving trips for more experienced divers.
The Best Scuba Diving Spots in Bali
So, you’ve fallen in love with diving and want to explore all you can around Bali. Luckily, the island is surrounded by great dive spots for all levels. You can get to each of them through tours with the numerous schools on the island, or, if you’re more experienced, you can simply rent your equipment and head to these excellent Bali diving locations. Tours generally cost between IDR 1,000,000 and IDR 2,700,000, depending on area and level of expertise, whereas rental varies by area, but can be as cheap as IDR 250,000/day.
The home of the Tulamben Liberty shipwreck, this area is suitable for beginner divers in Bali as well as more advanced practitioners. All over the wreck there are schools of fish and even barracudas; if you’re lucky, you might even spot a Blacktip Reef shark. Night diving is also popular around here because of the calm conditions.
Aside from the shipwreck, there is also a wall called the Drop Off, which is ideal for a second dive of the day. Those looking for more coral action can head north to Kubu village, where there are dive sites suitable for beginners; it’s also the home of several pygmy seahorses. The area has a lot of black, volcanic sand too, which contrasts amazingly with the vibrant colours of the local wildlife.
This area is considered one of the best for scuba diving in Bali. It can get a little colder than some other areas, but the dive is worth it, especially from August to September when you can encounter Mola Mola at a fairly shallow level. Outside of that period, the area is full of different types of sharks: Hammerhead, Wobbegong, and even the rare Cat shark are just some you can see. With that all being said, the current here is much stronger than in Tulamben, and in general anywhere on the Lombok Strait is the same, so it’s not suitable for beginners.
The area is split across several small islands, or Gilis. More experience divers can head to Gili Tepekong, where there’s a beautiful, if not tricky, drift diving spot called The Canyon. Cave divers can head towards the Plateau in the same area to get a glimpse of some unique wildlife, including octopuses, turtles, and Moray eels.
With dives ranging from 20 to 60m, Pulau Menjangan is suitable for all levels of Bali divers. The current is usually quite relaxed, and there’s high visibility in most of the spots. Furthermore, the reef, which is recovering after years of bleaching, is easily accessible at 10m deep. Generally, the coral is more of an attraction here than the marine life, which although beautiful is on the smaller side, aside from the odd Manta Ray.
The Budak wreck is seen as one of the best spots here. On a deep dive, there is plenty of opportunity to see schools of yellow strip snappers. Pos 1 dive site is more suitable for beginner divers in Bali, and because of the weaker current is also excellent for night dives. There are a tonne of corals with unique crevices, as well as smaller caves to explore for the more experienced divers, and if you’re lucky, you might spot a bull shark. However, please note the Menjangan area has the highest incidences of the bends in Bali, so make sure to dive safe!
This island is about a twenty-minute boat ride from Bali and is seen as a bit of a mecca for everything scuba. Manta rays can be seen all year round here, as can Mola Mola (especially in late summer) and Grey Reef sharks. The vivacity of the colourscapes on offer throughout the 17km long area makes it worth a trip alone.
Crystal Bay is seen as one of the more popular sites here, although the currents are strong so you shouldn’t go unless you’re highly experienced. Manta point is a bit easier, and as you can guess from the namesake, is a great place to spot the Manta Ray. Drift divers can experience the best of all worlds at Blue Corner, which is a steep slope with a plateau at 20m, although most of the dive is 30m. However, Nusa Penida isn’t the best spot for beginners in general, so it’s best to avoid unless you’re confident.
Like the sound of Bali’s water sports scene, but prefer to stay above the waves? Check out our guide to surfing in Bali. Or if you prefer to stay on land altogether, our thrill-seeker’s guide to Bali is the article for you.
Has reading this made you want to jump head-first into the world of Bali scuba diving? Then download the Orbzii app today to Dream, Plan, and Book your next underwater adventure.