My top 15 dive sites in Bali

Bali is the most popular island in Indonesia and one of the most popular destinations in South East Asia and the world for scuba divers. With such a large choice of dive sites all around the volcanic island, you might wonder where to find the best of Bali diving. The main locations for scuba divers visiting Bali are Tulamben, Amed, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, Pemuteran and Padang Bai. You will be able to book all your dives with the numerous PADI and SSI dive centres located in these locations. To help you navigate which are the best dive sites in Bali and whether they should be on your bucket list, check this list of the 15 best dive sites in Bali. It includes information about the best season to scuba dive there and which level is recommended before going. I also indicated where you can see the mola-mola (oceanic sunfish), manta rays and sharks.

Map of the 15 best dive sites in Bali

This dive map of the best dive sites in Bali will help you locate and plan your perfect dive holiday in Bali. As you can see most of the best dive sites in Bali are on its east coast near Amed and Tulamben and around the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida.

The only exception is the area near Pemuteran in the north-west part of the island with Menjangan Island located in the Bali Barat National Park. Check my recommended itinerary if you need help planning your dives, sightseeing excursion and accommodation at the same time.

1. Liberty shipwreck, Tulamben

Diving in Tulamben - Liberty shipwreck - Best dive sites Bali - Indonesia

The USAT Liberty was an American cargo ship torpedoed during WWII by a Japanese submarine. Today, it is the most accessible shipwreck in the world you can discover by going diving in Tulamben. The reason is that the ship was towed on the beach after its sinking. A volcanic eruption in the 1960s pushed it under the surface of the water, but only a stone’s throw away from the dark pebble beach. Open water divers can explore the shipwreck since it shallowest point starts at 5 m deep, and advanced Open water divers will be able to see its deepest point, which is not so deep, at 28 m.

The Liberty is not only one of the best wreck diving sites in the world but also a great spot for divers who love meeting interesting marine critters. All around the shipwreck you can spot ghost pipefish or leaf scorpion fish. Sometimes, there is a school of jackfish swirling above the wreck. If you don’t mind getting up before dawn, try the sunrise dive at the Liberty shipwreck to meet the Bumphead parrotfish before they leave the site for the rest of the day.

  • Type of dive: wreck diving, macro
  • Maximum depth: 28 m
  • Level: beginners & advanced divers
  • Best season: all year-round

2. Crystal Bay, Nusa Penida

Mola-Mola Crystal Bay - best dive sites Bali

Located in the Ceningan Channel between Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida, the famous dive site of Crystal Bay is where you can see mola-molas (oceanic sunfish) between July and September. At that time of the year the visibility is between 30 to 40 m; however, the water temperature is colder than in other dive sites in Bali with 23°C compared to the usual 28-30°C. A 5 mm wetsuit is usually the right choice.

Meeting a mola-mola in Bali is like the Grail for many scuba divers visiting the Indonesian island, but you will need a bit of luck to see one. To increase the odds, make sure to go in the heart of the season, go diving in Nusa Lembongan and plan enough to scuba dive Crystal Bay several times, at least twice.

  • Type of dive: coral reef, mola-mola encounter
  • Maximum depth: 40 m
  • Level: advanced divers
  • Best season: July- September

3. Manta Point, Nuda Penida

Manta Point Nusa Penida - best dive sites Bali

Manta Point is the cleaning station for manta rays on the south shore of Nusa Penida. Sightings of manta rays is almost guaranteed all year long, however during the winter months the currents and waves might be too strong to access the area.

The dive in itself is easy, as you can stay in very shallow waters and still see plenty of manta rays in 5 m of water, but the tidal current I felt may bother scuba divers prone to sea sickness. When the sea conditions are calm, this spot is also accessible for snorkellers.

  • Type of dive: manta rays encounter
  • Maximum depth: 25 m
  • Level: beginners & advanced divers
  • Best season: all year-round

4. Eels Garden, Menjangan Island

Diving in Menjangan Island - Best dive sites in Bali

Menjangan Island is part of the century-old Bali Barat National Park in Indonesia. Diving in Menjangan Island will offer the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful coral reefs around Bali due to their long period of protection.

Eels Garden is one of the 11 dive sites of Menjangan Island. It starts with a deep wall covered in elegant gorgonians, followed by a sandy bottom inhabited by garden eels (hence its name) and finally, a shallower colourful hard coral garden.

  • Type of dive: wall diving, coral reef
  • Maximum depth: 30 m
  • Level: beginners & advanced divers
  • Best season: all year-round

5. Drop-off, Tulamben

hawfish tulamben drop-off - best dive sites Bali

This is usually where scuba divers go after their morning dives on the Liberty shipwreck. But divers in the know, either because they are underwater photographers or tech divers, are all about this dive site in Tulamben. On the one hand, you have a wall with a breath-taking depth of 80 m which is perfect for tech diving training, and on the other hand, you can plenty of gorgonians where you can find pygmy seahorses and Denise seahorses.

  • Type of dive: wall diving
  • Maximum depth: 40 m
  • Level: advanced divers
  • Best season: all year-round

6. POS 2, Menjangan Island

frogfish Menjangan Island - best dive sites Bali

POS 2 is another of the 11 dive sites of Menjangan Island. It features the deepest wall of the island. Among a collection of colourful soft corals, you will find some of the most interesting fish species in Bali such as frogfish or crocodile fish. The end of the dive is above a shallow hard coral reef where you can see many sea anemones and they guests, clownfish and anemone “sexy” shrimps.

  • Type of dive: wall diving, coral reef
  • Maximum depth: 40 m
  • Level: beginners & advanced divers
  • Best season: all year-round

7. Seraya Secrets, Tulamben

Nudibranch - best dive sites Bali

Seraya Secret is the absolute spot in Bali for the nudibranchs lovers and those into macro underwater photography. It is the paradise of the cutest sea slug, namely the famous “donut” doto nubibranch or the beautiful harlequin shrimp. Lucky scuba divers may also spot frogfish or leopard moray eels. The dive site is a black sand slope descending quite deep but underwater photographers usually prefer staying above 20 m to stay longer underwater.

  • Type of dive: macro
  • Maximum depth: 30 m
  • Level: advanced divers
  • Best season: all year-round

8. Secret Bay, Gilimanuk

nudibranch muck diving - best dive sites Bali

Muck diving is not necessarily for every one but if you look scavenger hunts on black sand to look for the weirdest marine species, then Gilimanuk, on the westernmost point of Bali, is where you should go. Contact dive centres of Pemuteran to go diving there.

  • Type of dive: muck diving
  • Maximum depth: 9 m
  • Level: beginners & advanced divers
  • Best season: all year-round

9. Mandarin Point, Pemuteran

mandarin fish - best dive sites Bali

Near the east pontoon of the bay of Pemuteran, you can go on a sunset dive to hopefully meet the most romantic fish of the ocean, the mandarin fish. Beyond its superb colour of green, blue and orange, they always live as couples for life.

  • Type of dive: muck diving
  • Maximum depth: 9 m
  • Level: beginners & advanced divers
  • Best season: all year-round

10. Mangrove, Nusa Lembongan

drift diving - best dive sites Bali

Power drift dive lovers, this one is for you. Starting from the mangrove of Nusa Lembongan north shore, depending on the currents of the day, the dive can last an hour like 20 minutes!

  • Type of dive: drift diving
  • Maximum depth: 15 m
  • Level: advanced divers
  • Best season: all year-round

11. The Wall, Amed

ribbon eel muck diving - best dive sites Bali

The wall of Amed is the most interesting dive site of the area, starting on the east side of Jemeluk Bay. While you can reach it by going diving from the shore, take the opportunity to go diving in Amed on one of the traditional fishermen jukung boat.

It is a fantastic dive spot for scuba divers into deep diving and macro critters, but watch out your air consumption due to the strong currents of the area. If you have enough air, it is possible to check the other popular site of the bay, the Pyramids. It’s an artificial reef that attracts many marine species of the area including mantis shrimp, ribbon eels and a diversity of nudibranchs.

  • Type of dive: wall diving
  • Maximum depth: 40 m
  • Level: advanced divers
  • Best season: all year-round

12. Shark Point, Padang Bai

white tip shark  - best dive sites Bali

If you feel all your dives in Bali where missing some sharks, then put Padang Bai on your itinerary. Shark Point is a famous spot of the east coast where you can meet many white-tip sharks.

  • Type of dive: shark diving
  • Maximum depth: 25 m
  • Level: advanced divers
  • Best season: all year-round

13. Blue Corner, Nusa Lembongan

manta ray - best dive sites Bali

A dive only recommended to experienced divers who want to take a chance to dive in the currents to maybe meet the pelagic marine life passing by including sharks, manta rays, stingrays and mola-molas.

  • Type of dive: shark diving
  • Maximum depth: 40 m
  • Level: advanced divers
  • Best season: all year-round

14. Jetty, Padang Bai

soft coral - best dive sites Bali

This is a king of the new hottest spot around Bali for underwater photographers thanks to the beautiful corals that grew on the pillars of the jetty.  Not the type of dive site you would picture for Bali among fishing lines but a rich marine life can be found. Frogfish, rhinopias fish, flying gunard, you name it!

Important information: it seems the access to this dive site was restricted in 2018 due to works around the jetty, make sure to contact dive centres of Padang Bai to get the latest information.

  • Type of dive: macro
  • Maximum depth: 15 m
  • Level: beginners & advanced divers
  • Best season: all year-round

15. Puri Jati, Bubunan

muck diving - best dive sites Bali

If you think you’ve seen all the main dive sites but still want to take a bit more pictures of all the interesting marine species we can find in Bali, try this muck dive site between Lovina and Pemuteran.

  • Type of dive: muck diving
  • Maximum depth: 7 m
  • Level: beginners & advanced divers
  • Best season: all year-round

Do you need more information to plan your dive trip to Bali? Check these additional articles about scuba diving in Bali:

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