I must admit, that still 10 years ago I would have reacted quite arrogantly, probably answering that there were much better diving destinations in Indonesia than Bali.
This is still certainly true, but during my more than 20 years of diving Indonesia and travelling into the remotest parts of this country I always returned to Bali and slowly fell into love also with the underwater world of the Island of the Gods.
Also a short glance on a map reveals that Bali must be an attractive diving destination. The Island of Gods is situated in the centre of the volcanic ring of fire which also includes the world class dive destinations Komodo and Alor. And like these famous dive spots also Bali is influenced by the typical currents between the Flores Sea to the North and the Indian Ocean in the South.
That is why some of Bali's dive spots cannot be recommended for beginners due to the strong currents. However there are also many diving possibilities for just certified divers around Bali's coast.
Dive Spots in BaliThere are hundreds of dive resorts and dive shops in Bali. Competition is strong, safety standards and quality of dive guides vary quite a lot. Of course prices are often negotiable. However you usually get what you have paid for. Special offers and very low prices often come together with bad service, bad material, big groups and incompetent dive guides. Those of you with enough money to spend can hire a top dive guide like Graham Abbott who will arrange everything for you during your stay in Bali from transport to choosing out the best resorts for your dives.
Indeed you can get it cheaper but not necessarily better if you choose a dive center near the place you are staying.
Most of the better dive resorts are managed by foreigners. Just surf on the internet. You will find many of them with excellent and informative websites. Also have a look at the websites of travel agents specialized on diving in your own country.
A very special holiday in Bali for people who love the extraordinary are Balinese villas which are popping up in Bali during the last years like mushrooms. They usually offer fantastic comfort and some of them even have their own dive centers. One of those new villas is the Villa Markisa in Tulamben which I am featuring in my Bali-Video. Villa Markisa is situated just in front of one of Bali's best critter dive sites (Seraya Secrets) and is managed by two expert Swiss dive guides with a long experience of diving in Indonesia. The famous Liberty Wreck is only minutes away and can be accessed with the resort's own speedboat.
Indeed Tulamben at the east coast of Bali is without doubt Bali's most famous diving area. Here only a few metres away from the beach lies the wreck of USS Liberty in a depth of 3 to 29 m. Every year thousands of divers visit this wreck of an American freighter which was torpedoed in Lombok Straight by a Japanese submarine in 1942. The Americans toed the heavily damaged USS Liberty to a beach near Tulamben where it rusted peacefully until 1963, when Bali's highest volcano, Gunung Agung, erupted causing landslides and earthquakes. Due to the earthquakes the wreck slided into the water and has since become the most famous artificial reef of Bali. Make sure you go there before the crowd arrives in the late morning!
There are other very interesting dive spots near by. So it makes sense to spend some more days in this very dry part of Bali.
Many divers also visit the dive spots of the South coast near Nusa Penida. There are Manta cleaning stations and in the season beginning in October there is a good chance to spot the giant sunfish in deeper water. There are some tricky dive spots here with strong currents and high surf.
Easier dives can be found in the north-west near the island of Menjangan. This is an ideal place for beginners with a lot of fish and nice walls.
Video: Tempels and Diving in Bali
During one of my short visits to Bali in 2008 I made this video. I hope it shows that Bali is much more than a diving destination. It would be a pity to go there only for diving. The video is in German. But I think everybody will understand the film without knowing the language.
Bali - Tempel und Tauchen from Michael Bode on Vimeo.
Underwater-Videos: Diving Bali
My collection of underwater videos from Indonesia can be found on vimeo. The collection is sorted into albums containing only videos of a specific diving area. This is a very good opportunity to have a look at videos from other divers who have been in the area before.
You can see here what other divers have seen in Bali before.
Diving in Bali
Other dive destinations in Indonesia