Diving in Bali

* Menjangan Island * Pemuteran * Nusa Penida * Nusa Lembongan * Candi Dasa * Cemeluk

Menjangan Island

Situated in the northwest of Bali and is part of the Bali Barat National Park, Menjangan (Deer) is an island with 1 ,5 km long and 500 m wide. With its beautiful reef flat, the island became Bali's first internationally recognized diving spot in 1978. Consequently in 1997, the extensive reef flat at the island suffered damage from crown of thorn starfish, and coral bleached by El Nino in 1 998. But the wall, for which Menjangan is most famous-is still in excellent condition. This park is actually quite large; it encompasses much of Bali's western end and is also worth a visit. You will find forests, savanna, mangroves and the rich marine habitats of the Java Sea (only about 12 individuals still live in the wild, others can be seen in the bird parks in Bali) lives here. You can also see deers, wild boars, long-tailed macaques and leaf monkeys.

Menjangan Island is surrounded by beautiful white sandy beaches. It is a good place for scuba diving and snorkling with coral formations close to the shore. These unique features have given rise to a great number of large and smaller caves, festooned with sponge and soft corals and often inhabited by large groupers, moray eels and in the smaller caves by young snappers and batfish. The seabeds are also rich in large barrel sponges and vibrant sea fans, some of which are truly enormous. Given the depth, the moderate flow of current and protection from strong winds, it is common to see tuna, shoals of jack-fish, batfish, angelfish, sea turtles, and on occasion, sharks, especially off the outer corners of the island.

Menjangan Island Dive Sites


Menjangan Dive Site

Menjangan Island


Anchor wreck (Kapal Budak), also called the Anker, is an old wooden shipwreck, which sits on the western tip of Menjangan at 40 meters. The name comes from a heavily encrusted anchor, which sits at about 6m on the top of the reef nearby. There is a second anchor closer to the wreck at about 30m. The wreck lies on a fairly steep slope in bits and pieces, the bow towards the shore (30m), the stern at about 46m depths. There are some pieces even further down around 50 m. The ship is small (perhaps 30m long, it might be sailor boat probably from the 1 9th century. There are glass. and ceramic bottles in cooper receptacles, which might have contained palm whisky or arak.   Back to top

Eel Graden on Menjangan Island

Eel Graden in Menjangan island


This diving site is named after a large colony of garden eels and lies on the western point of Menjangan. It is also called Pos I for the nearby guard post of the park service. The dive starts on a nice wall (about 40m) with a lot of beautiful gorgonians and other sea fans. Then you continue your dive over the top of the reef to a stretch of white sand. Take your time to observe the white garden eels. At one occasion discovered a small ghostpipe fish just where the reef starts again. From here turn either right to the reeftop or follow the edge of the sandy area to the left There are several large blocks of coral, which are cleaner stations with clearer shrimps, a plenty beneath them.   Back to top


The post Il Ranger station is located on Menjangan l s most southeasterly point, and can be a boat entry or a beach entry. It is usually a relaxing drift dive. The dive starts at 12 meters where the white sandy slope meets the top of the wall. Slowly descending the wall, drifting with the current you will see a profusion of soft corals, sponges, and an abundance of gorgonian. This stretch is also the best place on Menjangan to see big animals such as mantas, sharks and other pelagic (depending on season and conditions).   Back to top

Under Water Caves in Menjangan


These caves lie west of Pos Il at about 18m. On the way see a yellow frogfish on a sponge, which made your day! You may also see a large gray and green Notodoris serenae nudibranch (about 1 0cm) and also a banded snake eel. The cave was nothing out of the ordinary, but there are quite a lot of nice grottoes and crevasses, nooks and crannies with gorgonians and sponges all over Menjangan. The drop off is a wall dive. See a batfish, a juvenile still with its edge a fiery orange and some scorpionfishes and large angelfishes. An interesting sight were masses of small dwarf hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys falco) on a huge sponge. In the right season you can supposedly also see mantas and sharks here.   Back to top


In the northwest of Bali, lies Pemuteran. The charming setting is a small fishing village nestled between the Bali mountains and the sweeping blue arc of Pemuteran Bay, with spectacular views of 5 of Java's towering volcanoes to the west. Because Pemuteran is in the shadow of the mountains during the rainy season, it gets less rainfall. As it is too dry for rice cultivation, people traditionally lived from the sea.

Because the area is calm and free from the strong currents and waves along most other parts of the island, Pemuteran has the largest area of shallow coral reefs in Bali that are easily accessible. This effected in spectacular coral reef growth close to land, where it could easily be seen. It is very quiet and unspoiled, since the area was in the furthest corner of the island from the main tourist centers.

Pemuteran Dive Site

Pemuteran Dive Site

Pemuteran Area has been developed as a tourism resort in the last decade. Pemuteran offers uncompromising beautiful view with nine small mountains as a dramatic backdrop and Bali Sea in the front. In about two hours, you can climb to the top of the mountains to the west from where you can view either the sunrise or sunset. Pemuteran is also packed with tidy, black sand, scenic beach, a serene beach far away from the hustle bustle of the South Bali, a perfect place for those who give more emphasis on tranquility and peacefulness.

For water sport lovers; you can do various water sports here such as diving, skiing, fishing, and parasailing. For the divers, Pemuteran has the Napoleon Reef 1.5 km offshore; the soft coral like flower blooming, plenty of reef fish such as damsel fish, silver fusilier, blue dancers, snappers, with occasional manta ray.

Pemuteran Dive Sites



El Nino devastated the House Reef at Pemuteran in 1 998. This reef became the first in Bali scuba diving to be sponsored by an artificial re-generation project fund Large holding domes were sunk with live coral samples. The reef receives electronic stimulus from shore and responds with remarkable growth rates. The local village has buoyed the area and guards it as a no-fishing exclusion zone, so that fish stocks can re-group too. So far, although still incomplete, the project has proved a well deserved success.   Back to top


Two kilometers to the East of Pemuteran (Permuteran) and a couple of kilometres offshore lies Napoleon Reef. This submerged reef rises to five meters from the surface and slopes down to thirty meters to the North, providing some easy paced scuba diving in Bali. Soft corals, sea fans and small table corals dominate the slopes Shy masked porcupinefish peek out from under the ledges with their large, round eyes. Pygmy seahorses and spider crabs hang out in the pink gorgonians The Pemuteran seabed is coveren with fields of clasping flower corals and delicate blue vase sponges. Close by on twenty two meter lies the empty 16 meters long hull of a scuttler diving boat, generously " donated" by one of the local Bali dive operators Reef-fin squic anti large cuttlefish can 6e seen as well as the occasio l ial school of bigeye trevally.   Back to top

Napoleon Reef and Close Encounters


Other Dive Sitess in the Peruteran area, such as Close Encounters - famed for its encounters with big fish such as mackerel, tuna and barracuda, and rock garden, offer large fields of shore-based hard coral reefs and boulder pinnacles with large array of macro life including colour nudibranchs and flatworms. You can visit the area and dive around the various shapes and structures of the artificial reef and see for yourself the remarkable result of this groundbreaking, yet controversial method of preserving the marine habitat.   Back to top


This is the ideal place to get off the beaten track, and to seek quietude and authenticity. All kinds of appealing myths have always been attached to Nusa Penida, due to its gloomy atmosphere and unrewarding conditions. Black magic is said to flourish here, and Balinese from the mainland are very careful about what they say to Nusa Penida people so as not to offend them. All evil affecting Bali-especially floods and diseases during the dry season as is said to come from Nusa, brought by the giant demon king. Formerly the islands were part of the Klungkung kingdom, which used by Nusa as a place of banishment. Therefore, most inhabitants' are commoners and only a few bear the noble titles of Dewa or Sri.

In the deep, whirling strais separating Bali from Lombok, that is where Nusa Perida situated. it has 10 villages scattered along its shores and in the highlands. Houses are traditionally built with limestone blocks on the Balinese pattern that more look alike Lombok huts. Most highland farmers work in terraced dry helcs and breed cattle. Nusa Perida is the largest of three islands (the others being Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan). Because of the ocean currents, the water here is fairly cold but often startlingly clear, with gorgeous corals and prolific fish, with some turtle, shark (including gray reefs and silver-tips) and Mola-Mola - the weird and wonderful Sunfish.

Nusa Penida Dive Site

Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida Dive Sites



The reef (3-25 m) is mainly a steep slope with flattened by the current, barrel sponges and some stretches of deep wall (particularly between Ped and Sental). The ever-present current means that you're always going to be drift-diving, although the currents can change direction during a dive, and can become quite fast, you may end up exiting at Toyapakeh. Visibility is usually 18-30 m. Around 20-25 m on this slope there is a good chance of seeing large pelagics (ocean-going fish) eg: manta ray, white tip and black tip shark, tuna, barracuda) because of the currents.  Back to top

Bali Manta Point and Manta Ray


Toyapakeh is Nusa Penida's most popular Dive Sites, located on the islands Northwest point in Ceningan Channel. This popularity is deserved and not only because it is partially protected from the current flowing through the strait between Penida and Ceningan, but also due to the good visibility and rich coral reef. In addition to the coral reef, there are some very attractive coral formations, with hip, gorgornans, that provide excellent places to find fish and other marine life.  Back to top


Located on the Northwest of Nusa Penida, between Toyapakeh and Crystal Bay, Gamat Bay is one of the few Dive Sitess at Nusa Penida where you don't have to Just I go with the flow', the bay is protected from the currents although once you head down the steep slope at the mouth, you are again drift-diving.  Back to top

Crystal Bay - Nusa Penida

Crystal Bay


Upon entering this small bay, we head for inland shelter and then descend directly down to the reef, which is 5-12m. This hard coral reef has a white sand base, and is covered with anemones and soft corals. It can be quite surge in the bay. The marine life includes Angelfish. Sweetlips, and many Moorish Idols. Because this area is in Ceningan Channel, when there is a current present, and due to the coldness of the water from the Indian Ocean, there is definitely the opportunity to see white tip reef shark, eagle rays and also (if you I re lucky) leopard shark.  Back to top


Different dive comapnies choose different part of Nusa Penida's Southwest coast to call Manta Point. Thris area of the coastline is a dramatic limestone cliff that descends straight into the ocean. The swell can be stupendous, sometimes making entry impossible by mid-morning. Manta Point rarely has a current, but sometimes rias strong surge. There's a sandy bottom at 12-18m. The water is quite cold because it comes in from the ocean (22 - 26 degrees). You may also see other pelagic such as tuna and tiger mackerel.  Back to top


Malibu Point is on the far Southeast of Nusa Penida, about as far as you can get from the island of Bali. The reef lies on a very steep slope, the topography of which is great with table corals and big bommies going to 22 m. Visibility is 20 m+, but rain lowers this considerably. Huge schools of rainbow runners and Trevally are seen, as are big rays in the sand and sharks.

It has been said that Malibu Point is the best place to see shark, which may be true. However, the site is a long way from the mainland and is not always diveable due to the currents. The bommies provide some sanctuary from the current, which you need to have shark there, but the higher concentration of shark is to the South of the area of bommies at 1 5-30m. At the northern end of the site, the currents can be very swirly, but it is a good place to see Manta and Mola-Mola (Sunfish, July - September).  Back to top

Nusa Lembongan

A small island between Bali and Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan in Badung Strait. It is situated 12 miles South East of Bali, the perfect holiday hideaway with few visitors and pristine un-spoilt beaches. It is one hour traveling time by boat from Benoa Harbour. This pear shaped island is around 4 km long and 2 km wide. It is surrounded by a beautiful fringing reef and the waters are renowned for their abundance of life and great surf breaks. The reef has been declared a marine park by the Indonesian authorities. Not only does the reef support its own Ecosystem, but it supports most of the villagers on the island as well. Other sources of income include traditional wooden boat building, farming peanuts, sweet potato crops, and fishing.

Nusa Lembongan Dive Site

Nusa Lembongan Mangroves Park

This is the right place for you to feel the slow and enchanting village life. On the roads, you can only see very few cars and motorbikes pass by. The people here are steeped in traditional way, and one could imagine Bali being like this island thirty years ago. The unspoilt and relaxed atmosphere of the island has been maintained and is the island's greatest asset. It's still a basic place, but interesting, and there are some lovely places to stay. There are still many things to do in this relative small island.

Nusa Lembongan Dive Sites



This can be an extremely exciting dive but heed must be taken to the advice you given by the Dive master. When you descend to about 18 - 20 meters the current grabs you and you begin the natural roller coaster ride of a lifetime. The current takes you round to the point (corner) where there is a vertical wall to a depth of around 28 meters. Blue Corner is usually full of fish as well as sharks, big Napoleon wrasse, eagle rays and plenty of other marine life. It is also one of the better spots to see the Mola Mola sunfish when currents are kind at the right time of year.   Back to top


Named after the mangrove trees that line the shore this Dive Sites has a gentler, profile. Again good marine life and can be done as a drift. Another gentle and shallower dive for those that are not speed freaks can be donga! Lembongan Bay around the island. It is a good spot for beginners snorkelers.   Back to top


Very strong currents here and it is only diveable in certain conditions. Coral growth is stunted due to the speed of the passing water. Big schools of tuna, trevally and barracuda come here to feed in the big currents. This is high adrenaline dive that is only recommend for experienced divers.   Back to top

Padang Bay

This is a beautiful, small friendly fishing village on the East coast. Not all--but, sadly, a lot of people don't stop to enjoy the life of Padang Bay. Padang Bay is also the main ferry port for heading East to the island of Lombok. Most people on a limited time rush through on their way to the Gull islands of the coast of Lombok and beyond. The main beach is generally awash with colorful outrigger fishing boats built in the shape of marlin. The front of the boat shaped with the point of its mouth open wide and large eyes looking to the heavens to its curved bow ending in its upright tail.

Two other coves are on either side of the main beach. To reach the secluded Bias Tegul Beach, back out of the main beach cross the ferry car park and turn up the road next to the police station. Keep walking up the hill until you see the sign to the beach on the right. Please take caution on this hillside track. Before you head down into the cove turn around. Good weather permitting you to see the largest of volcanoes on Bali, Gunung Agung. It's a powerful and majestic sight. This village is prominent for it's diving, and Gekko Dive is one of the friendliest and right on the beach with its own bar for after-diving refreshments.

Padang Bay Dive Sites


Padang Bay Dive Site

Padang Bay


Pura Jepun lies fifty meters off shore directly in front of the shrine after 'which it was named. The reef starts as a shallow ledge at a depth of ten meters. Swim further to sea, and a slope will take you down to 20 meters, after which a sandy bottom levels out at 40 meters. Magnificent anemones, black and yellow feather stars and sea squirts, dominate the slope. Oriental sweet lips, boxfish and yellow trumpettish are common on Bali scuba dives here. On the sand you can see lizardfish or you may be lucky to spot the heavily camouflaged peacock flounder, peering up at you with its two eyes, both on the some side of its flattened head. In the shallows cruise crocodile long toms, or needlefish.   Back to top


Tanjung Sari is the name of the headland on the left as you come out of Padang Bay. It is the most different and surprising of all the dives here. It has a distinct population of sharks, such as cat sharks, nurse sharks, wobbegongs and reef sharks. Rare critters such as schrimps, crabs and nudibranchs, mean this site is very popular for night diving. As ever, Bali can turn up the most amazing creatures, just when you least expect it.   Back to top


Blue Lagoon lies just around the corner from Padang Bay, and is rather imaginatively named since it is neither blue nor a lagoon. It's a protected and shallow; patchy reef of scattered stag horn corals and hydroids. Its unremarkable nature belies the potential for unusual sightings such as stonefish, octopus and eels.   Back to top


Tanjung Bungsil is a shÃ¥flow scuba dive to the South of Padang Bay Harbour, but the fish life here is still very gopd. Blue-fa d and six-banded angelfish and clown triggerfish will brighten up your dive.   Back to top

Candi Dasa

It's the most urbanized tourist area in East Bali. Access to Kuta is good and takes only 2 hours. Candi Dasa is an ideal place from which to base you for exploring East Bali, or as a base to stop by once in a while for a choice of restaurants. As well as the main strip of hotels and guesthouses in Candi Dasa, there are others close to the beach forest at the Eastern end of town. Buitan, Mendira and Senkidu to the West offer more accommodation options.

It was in the 60's when hippie discovered Candi Dasa as a sleepy fishing village. It is laid out along the main road, with guesthouses, small hotels, warungs and a few bars. Candi Dasa enjoyed more business in 1990 1 s than it does now. Flicking through a guide book from the early 90's, it says "Candi Dasa is a nice, relatively unspoiled getaway if you want fine dining, few sellers, and nothing to do but soak up the sun by day, or go diving by day, and lulls you to sleep with the sound of crickets and crashing surf by night."

The old name 'Cilidasa l means "10 children" (Pan Brayut). The village was actually a settlement going back before the 1 Ith Century. The temple, which is located on the mountainside of the main road, across from the lagoon, contains a statue of Hariti, the Buddhist fertility Goddess. Basically what happened was that Candi Dasa got popular, the white sand beach drawing.

Candi Dasa Dive Sites


Candi Dasa Dive Site

Candi Dasa


Tepekong, a small outcrop 1 00 meters long 50 meters wide has the best diving. A short ride from Padang Bay, a volcanic lump rising out of the water, close to the shore. Situated at Southeast of Candidasa, Tepekong is drift dive for advanced divers. The water temperature may reach a chilly 19-degree Celsius. Covered in snake life coral heads of many sizes. Bloodred sea fans, tunicates and many different kind of sponges. Golden jacks, huge batfish, groupers, blue lobster, and sometimes, near the channel facing Nusa Penida; the Mola Mola enjoy the cold up welling. Gray reef sharks, white-tips nestle in caves and holes on the Western edge of the island.   Back to top


Gili Mimpang has some challenging currents, which supports the platonic life that draws large marine-life like the whale shark, which have been seen, but rarely in these waters. Only 5 minutes by jukung (traditional boat) to reach this site. The colored sea fans along the islands decorated reefs and channels, each have at least a dozen crinoids.   Back to top


Gili Biaha is located in the East of Tanjung Biasputih. It has a large of marine creatures, triggerfish, surgeonfish, and large schools of brilliant-blue yellowtail fusiliers, who will come daringly close to divers. The terrain slopes gradually beyond 37 m. in the strait between Bali mainland and the island. Depending on the sea and tide, an incredible current can pick up along the slope. Up and downxurrents combined with horizontal currents givinydivers thedrift of their lives. It can also be very calm here too.   Back to top


The name of Cemeluk also called Amed and is situated in a quiet bay just a few kilometers East of Tulamben. The conditions from shore or boat are usually easy with good visibility. Cemeluk reef has many different kinds of sponges and gorgonians but also shrimp, goby sets, and blue spotted rays. White tip reef sharks, napoleon wrasse are sometimes encountered and the deep slope after the wall is rich in invertebrates with crinoids.

A rare and special paradise of outstanding exotic beauty, vibrant culture and friendly people are everything you could dream in Amed Beach, East Bali. Here you can finally find peace and quiet, enjoy great food and take advantage of comfortable and inexpensive accommodation. From the beach, Amed offers an outstanding site for training dives. It has a flat bottom lagoon for instruction and a coral reef only 5 minutes swim away. This special spot is highly recommended for introductory dives. By boat, Amed has a nice wall dive just a few minutes away. It is a fun, easy dive for everyone. Snorkeling and diving off the black sand beaches here is exceptional, the variety and numbers of fish on display are among the best on Bali and the water temperature is a constant 28 degrees.

On the sand slopes, you can easily see schools of cardinal fish, triggerfish, black snappers, pyramid butterflies, banner fish, and damselfish. While table corals, big fan gorgonians, and magnificent stag horn Acropora and Dendronephthya trees, dense growths of sponges, crinoids, and sea fans are commonly found within 20 meters of shore.

Cemeluk Dive Sites


Cemeluk Dive Site

Beauty Cemeluk underwaters


Lipah Bay site is a quiet black sandy bay, 3 kilometers Southeast of Amed. The main interest of this Dive Sites is a 20 meters, steel freighter wreck that's sits at b to 12 meters inside the bay where the reef goes to sand. The wreck is encrusted with gorgonians, sponges' arid black coral bushes. There is a slope down away from the wreck, which is also rich in gorgonians and some unusual species. The fish life here is quite good as well with shrimpfish, ghost pipefish, seahorses and dragon fish. The reef slopes down to black sand at about 20 meters and continues to little outcrops of life to 40 meters. The shallow water is rich with bommies and great schools of fusiliers, which make Lipah Bay a great site for snorkeling. However, some current or surge can spoil the moment, so make sure the conditions are right and you will have a wonderful dive.   Back to top


Gili Selang is accessed by boat from Amed and it takes around 30 minutes to get there. This site is for the experienced divers only as the island is often exposed to strong currents. There is a rich life of soft and hard corals. You may also encounter black tip reef sharks.   Back to top


On the Northeast coast of Bali at the foot of Mount Agung (big mountain), lies the famous US Liberty wreck that lies close to the shore. US Liberty was a cargo ship that torpedoed in the Lombok Strait on the 1 1 1 " January 1942 (during the second world war) by the Japanese. Two destroyers towards the port of Singaraja towed her but she was taking on too much water, so she was beached at Tulamben. The local people salvaged her cargo. She was left in her present position close to the shore of Tulamben during the disastrous eruption of Mount Agung in 1963, pushed off the beach and broke in half. The stern is somewhat intact, the mid-ship section is all broken and the bow is again in quite good shape. This wreck is a very popular Dive Sites and it gets crowded around the middle of the day, when divers and snorkelers from Sanur or Lovina arrive. Best to stay over night in Tulamben itself and dive there early in the morning (better visibility, fewer people and perhaps you will see the resident large group of bumphead parrotfish).

Tulamben Dive Sites


Tulamben Dive Site

Tulamben Dive Site


Entering the water from the black pebble beach can be quite difficult, but after about 30 meters you reach the black volcanic sand. The wreck lays on a sandy slope parallel to the shore, roughly Southeast (stern) to Northwest (bow). Part of the superstructure is close to the surface (about 5m) and can also be reached by snorkelers. The wreck is about 120m long, the deepest point is around 30m and it is nicely covered with corals and sponges. This is not a very difficult wreck to dive on (see my report on wreck diving in the Philippines), there are only a few places where you can penetrate, all towards the bow. When you make your safety stop you can just lie on the sand and observe the animals that live there. Night dives at the wreck are something special but should only be attempted if you are good with your buoyancy! Saw flashlight fish (turn off the lamp), special cowries, nudibranchs and many spider crabs.   Back to top


This Dive Sites lies between the wreck and the drop off. You can started at the drop off (have the Diving Helpers Club carry the tanks there) and went down to 25m to see the cleaning station just slightly to the left of the drop off on the sand. Then head towards to the Paradise Reef. If you are good on air, you can leisurely dive the whole stretch, otherwise you just get out, before you run out of air and walk back. Most of the dive is shallow (3m to 1 5m). Especially the River is a great place to do so call muck diving and find rare animals such as the harlequin and the robust ghost pipefish, several species of eels and even the mimic octopus, boxer crabs or the harlequin shrimp! If you are lucky you might also see an eagle ray or a couple black tip reef sharks, a big barracuda or Spanish mackerel. It's also very good for a night dives.   Back to top


About 500 m to the East of the wreck and close to the temple, the underwater wall drops to a depth of 60m (the top is around 3 to S m), sometimes there is a slight current. There are three coral covered lava spurs that reach down to 50 or 60m but usually you dive at the one that lays to the West of the temple. The other two reefs around the corner are also worth exploring. On the first spur at 30m is a huge Muricella gorgonian fan; it must be over 2m in diameter! Just beautiful!   Back to top


After a short boat trip you reach this Dive Sites Southeast of Tulamben Beach. There are some rocks close to the shore, around which you can dive, and some large reefs a bit offshore. You dive on a slope with nice hard and soft corals and sandy areas in between. You can also choose to do a rather deep dive - to around 30 to 50m - to see the underwater plateau. If you are lucky you see big pelagic such as tunas, sharks, manta rays, barracudas and sometimes-even sunfishes. Visibility is usually quite good.   Back to top