The Top 10 Dives Sites in Bali

Scuba diver at wreck of USAT Liberty, Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia
Henn Photography / Getty Images

Welcome to Bali, an island that has something for everyone. There are ornate temples, hand-carved Buddha sculptures, and a massive array of rare flora and fauna—all underwater, of course. Though Bali’s tropical landscape and affordable prices have made it popular with backpackers and expats, the underwater world is what draws divers from across the world. Bali is the 11th largest island in Indonesia, with more than 250 miles of coastline—and that’s not including surrounding islands like Nusa Lembongan or Menjangan Island.

Bali has plenty to offer both beginners and advanced divers, so we've rounded up 10 of the best dive sites around the island. For most shore dives, you will need a guide. Consider Bali Reef Divers, which runs dive safaris along Bali’s eastern shore. It’s a professional, PADI-approved shop, with modern gear, experienced instructors, and low guest-to-guide ratios.

If you want to go boat diving, check out Two Fish Divers for sites around Nusa Lembongan and Penida and Gecko Dive for sites around Padang Bai. They’re both highly rated PADI shops with modern, roomy boats.

And if your dive shop suggests a site that isn’t on this list, don’t worry: We could easily list 25 or more sites worthy of suiting up and diving in.

01 of 10

USAT Liberty

USAT Liberty

Suzie Dundas

 

Address
Tulamben, Kubu, Karangasem Regency, Bali 80852, Indonesia
  • Dive Type: Shore dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Tulamben 
  • Depth: 15-100 feet
  • Certification Required: Open water 

The USAT Liberty was a cargo ship torpedoed during WWII. It made it to shore, but was pushed out to sea when Bali’s Mount Agung volcano erupted in the 1960s. Fortunately, it’s not very deep; in fact, snorkelers sometimes circle on top of the wreck as the stern sits at only about 15 feet. There are no currents, and most divers can enter the wreck through several wide openings. It's nearly 400 feet long, so you could easily dive it several times.

02 of 10

Gili Mimpang

  • Dive Type: Boat dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Padang Bai
  • Depth: 30-100+ feet
  • Certification Required: Advanced open water

Not too far from one of Bali’s main ports is Gili Mimpang, a series of three small rock islands. Divers who don’t mind strong, unpredictable currents and colder water have an excellent chance of seeing sharks here, including threshers and white-tips. It’s also one of the only places near Bali’s mainland where you’ll have a good chance of seeing massive Mola Mola (they’re most commonly spotted closer to Lembongan and Penida).

03 of 10

Boga Wreck (Kubu)

Shipwreck

Suzie Dundas

Address
Jl. Sida Karya, Baturinggit, Kubu, Kabupaten Karangasem, Bali 80853, Indonesia
  • Dive Type: Shore dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Kubu or Tulamben  
  • Depth: 55-110 ft 
  • Certification Required: Advanced open water

As if wrecks aren't cool enough, the Boga Wreck (often called the "Kubu") is filled with much to see. There’s a full-size pirate ship wheel on the deck, a vintage car in the hull, and Buddha statues hidden in the lower decks. Because of the wreck’s depth and semi-tight interior openings, you’ll need an advanced certification to dive here. 

04 of 10

Sekolah Dasar (SD) Point,

  • Dive Type: Boat dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Nusa Lembongan
  • Depth: 30-70 feet 
  • Certification Required: Open Water

Amazing visibility? Sea turtles and colorful coral? Easy surface entries? Check, check, and check. SD Point is a drift dive, but don’t let that scare you off if you’re a beginner (some dive shops call it "primary school," after all). It doesn't matter whether the current is mild or strong: Divers will be carried across healthy, colorful corals and all manner of sea life, including turtles, barracuda, and sea snakes. Because it's one of the warmest-water sites around Nusa Lembongan, SD Point makes for a great second dive if you’ve just come from a deeper dive with thermoclines.

Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10

Coral Garden

Coral Garden

Suzie Dundas

  • Dive Type: Shore dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Tulamben 
  • Depth: up to 80 feet
  • Certification Required: Open water 

Be sure to bring your GoPro to Coral Garden, where more than 20 underwater sculptures have been sunk. The hope is that they will eventually turn into reefs and provide homes for small fish, neon nudibranch, and other creatures like octopi and eels. A lively and colorful site with no currents, this one's ideal for novice divers and beginner night divers. 

06 of 10

Manjanhga Bali

  • Dive Type: Boat dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Pemuteran Bay (or day trip from Tulamben dive shops)
  • Depth: 15-100+ feet
  • Certification Required: Open Water 

Manjanhga Bali is an ideal site when there's a variety of different levels and styles of divers in your group. It’s a wall dive, so advanced divers can get in some depth while beginners stay higher. Because visibility is almost always objectively fantastic (100-150 feet,) macro and GoPro photographers should find plenty to shoot. Divers paying close attention may find pygmy seahorses and ghost pipefish. 

07 of 10

Crystal Bay

Crystal Bay beach at Nusa Penida island. Indonesia
kurmyshov / Getty Images
Address
Sakti, Nusapenida, Klungkung Regency, Bali 80771, Indonesia
  • Dive Type: Boat dive, although this can be done as a shore dive for guests staying near Crystal Bay on Nusa Penida
  • Closest Departure Point: Nusa Lembongan*
  • Depth: Up to 100
  • Certification Required: Advanced open water is suggested but not required

Crystal Bay can be challenging dive, but it’s worth it for the amazing visibility, which can be 100 feet or more on a good day. Currents and down currents can be strong, but a competent guide should be able to read the water to ensure a safe dive. The site is a channel between Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan, so it’s an excellent location for spotting larger wildlife like sharks and mantas. Just be prepared for thermoclines (pockets of cooler water) in the deeper areas. 

08 of 10

Manta Point

A Manta Ray (Manta alfredi) swimming over a scuba diver , Bali, Indonesia
Steve Woods Photography / Getty Images
Address
Unnamed Road, Batukandik, Nusapenida, Kabupaten Klungkung, Bali 80771, Indonesia
  • Dive Type: Boat dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Nusa Lembongan 
  • Depth: Up to 60 feet 
  • Certification Required: Open water, but divers should be comfortable with swells

Manta Point has a challenging entry, with swells of up to seven feet or more. It’s worth it once you dip below the surface, though. This site is a manta cleaning station, where manta rays with wingspans of up to 15 feet come near the surface. The mantas ignore divers, so it’s your job to maintain a safe distance and avoid touching them (don't worry: they won’t hurt you.) Whether you start on Lembongan or Penida, it’ll be about a 45-minute boat ride to get here. 

Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10

The Jetty

  • Dive Type: Boat dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Padang Bai
  • Depth: 15-60 feet
  • Certification Required: Open Water 

Muck diving is really just a catch-all term to describe any dive in which you’re slowly moving over a sandy or silty bottom, searching for small life. There are few better places in Bali to muck dive than at the Jetty, a former cruise ship port where you’ll find cuttlefish, crabs, mantis shrimp, seahorses, and even the rare blue-ringed octopus (don’t touch!). The Jetty is a very popular night dive as bioluminescent creatures are usually spotted here.

10 of 10

Blue Corner

Large Mola Mola Sunfish at Cleaning Station in Bali
Martin Voeller / Getty Images
Address
Sakti, Nusapenida, Klungkung Regency, Bali 80771, Indonesia
  • Dive Type: Boat dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Nusa Lembongan
  • Depth: 15-100 feet
  • Certification Required: Advanced Open Water 

Advanced divers know that there’s one site in Bali that can’t be missed: the Blue Corner. This experts-only dive is famous for powerful currents and cold water—but with those come sharks, Mola Mola, eagle rays, and schools of large parrotfish and tuna. Visibility can be more than 100 feet or less than 40, which adds another layer of challenge to the dive. To have your best chance of seeing Mola Mola, you’ll need to come early in the morning. The elusive fish are used to solidarity and are quite skittish; they’ll often disappear back into the depths when surrounded by a few divers. 

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Where to Go Diving in Bali