The charm of a jukung dive in Amed

This post may contain affiliate links. It means I may earn a commission if you book or purchase something. This is at no cost to you and support this website. Learn more here.


Located on the northeastern coast of Bali, Amed is one of the most popular scuba diving destinations on the island of the Gods. Dive sites such as the Wall and the Pyramids are some of the best dive sites in Bali. Scuba divers can frequently see underwater anemone fish and nudibranchs. Amed is about muck diving and is perfect for beginners thanks to its shore dive sites.

Now, there is something that makes diving in Amed special. Imagine you wake up in Amed while on your Bali diving trip. It’s 7 am, and you go for a walk on the black volcanic sand, Agung volcano overlooks the beach. It is the time when all fishermen are coming back with their catch. The fish market is directly on the beach. Two hours later, this is scuba divers’ time on the very same boats.

How to go scuba diving on a jukung?

To dive on the beautiful drop-off of Amed (Jemeluk Bay), you can still go shore diving, but it’s easier to take the Jukung for 5 to 10 minutes to be on the site directly. Because of the currents, the dive will almost always be a drift dive, so why get tired before the dive when you can have such a unique experience?

The jukung is the traditional boat of fishermen in South East Asia, mainly in Indonesia and the Philippines, but the origin is Balinese. It’s a small wooden sailboat that looks like a canoe with two outriggers and a triangular sail (which is now also equipped with a gasoline engine). In Bali and Lombok, you can see them on the beach all around the islands. Their style can be slightly different, but it always has this elegant curvy shape. It is often painted in white with bright decorations in blue or yellow. In some areas, the front of the boat ends like a swordfish.

Diving from a jukung boat in Bali is a fun and enjoyable experience. It could almost be a scuba diving speciality as this is so special.  Sitting on the sides of the boat, you feel like surfing on the surface of the water. It is a perfect first contact with the water before the first dive in the morning.

Diving from a Jukung boat requires special briefing and preparation as space is limited, and no ladder is available:

  • Prepare all your equipment on the beach: Put on your wetsuit and boots, and take in your hands your fins. Keep in mind you won’t be able to set anything on the boat or even zip your wetsuit as there is not enough space to do it.
  • Store gear on board: Usually, porters will take you BDC/Regulator/Tank (don’t try to wear 3 tanks like Balinese people). No more than 3 scuba divers go on the boat, and tanks fully equipped are put inside the cavity of the canoe. Just take what you need for diving; remember, you won’t have any dry storage on board.
  • Get wet: To enter into the water without jumping with all your gear is possible, so inflate your BCD, put it in the water, and get equipped directly from the surface. Be careful of Jukung sidebars (outriggers) and the blades of the engine. Ready? OK? OK! Let’s dive!
  • End of the dive: Be careful while ascending as many Jukung boats are present at the surface, the guide will always launch the buoy marker to signal scuba divers’ presence. Watch your buoyancy while doing your safety stop as you do in the blue. Remove your weight belt and your BCD, but keep your fins on! You’ll need them to return on board by jumping into the boat while kicking energetically.

What to expect underwater in Amed?

The two main dive sites in Amed are:

  • The Wall, a small drop-off on the right side of Jemeluk Bay
  • The Pyramids, an artificial reef in Jemeluk Bay

Dive sites in Amed are mostly shallow at about 10 m deep and rarely go below 25m of depth. If you are good on air, it is actually possible to visit the two sites on a one-hour dive. However, be careful, currents can be strong and, as a result, impact your air consumption.

Amed is very famous for muck diving on the black sandy bottom of its bay. Between the few hard corals and sea anemones, you can spot many interesting species like mantis shrimps, ribbon eels, hermit crabs, anemone fish and a large variety of nudibranchs.

Amed dive sites are great for macro photography, especially for enthusiastic beginners who want to dig more into underwater photography. Indeed, Amed is the place where I started learning the manual settings of my CanonS95 camera with my flash on, so my pictures are not perfect but they are still a bit better than what I used to do. I can’t wait for the day I will return with much better underwater photography skills.

Which dive centre to choose in Amed?

With the largest concentration of dive centres in Bali, there are 21 scuba diving centres in Amed. They are mostly all located along the beach, so it is quite easy to walk in a few of them and check which one you like. You may consider if the staff speaks your native language. Beyond offering service in English and Indonesian, I found dive centres with staff who spoke French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese. I tried the services of Jukung Dive, a centre run by a Dutch team with a lovely café on Amed Beach.

Price will, of course, be a way to decide, but as a rule of thumb for many things, the cheapest is usually not the best idea. The best ones will detail the kind of services they offer and will let you a schedule of the dive sites they will visit in the coming days according to the weather forecast.

How to get to Amed?

Amed fishermen and their jukung boat on the beach Bali

Amed is located on the northeast shore of the main island of Bali. It is a 2 to 3-hour drive from Ubud or Sanur, depending on the traffic. I decided to rent a car as it was affordable and it wasn’t a problem for me to drive on the left. With my scuba diving gear in tow, it was indeed the easier option.

If you don’t want to rent a car yourself, don’t hesitate to ask scuba diving centres for a pick-up at your hotel. They usually all have vans since diving in this area between Amed and Tulamben is mostly about shore diving. If you need a transfer from another part of the island, the fee is reasonable.

Where to stay in Amed?

Amed beach front guesthouse Bali

Family-run guesthouses and small resorts are my favourite option in Bali. I always try to book a private bungalow in the middle of a flower garden near the beach. They had basic services but the decoration is always tasteful in all Balinese local craft-made furniture, and did I tell you about these open-air bathrooms? Prices in those cosy places usually range from 10 to 40€ a night, depending on season and distance from the beach.

In Amed, there is such a large choice of lovely beach-front bungalows, that I let you have a look and pick your favourite. Note: Walking at sunrise on the beach of Amed to see Mount Agung minutes after waking up is something I will never forget.

Do you have more questions about how to plan your first diving trip to Bali? Let me know in the comments, or have a look at these additional articles about scuba diving in Bali:


Dive with traditions - jukung dive amed Scuba diving Bali Indonesia
Dive with traditions - jukung dive amed Scuba diving Bali Indonesia

Posted by Florine

  1. novrizal herdananto November 21, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    you got almost the same experience in pasir putih beach, situbondo, east java..

    there is motored jukung (slight bigger) or pure sailing jukung (no motor on board)

    a little drawback is the viz, you need to get into the water at the earliest morning to get viz looks like bali


  2. What a nice comprehensive post. The way you explain each point is very impressive. Thanks for sharing this amazing post with us.


Leave a Reply