If you believe variety is the spice of life, you have come to the right place – stunning Indonesia, where you can gaze your eyes upon over 3000 different species of fish! Compare that with 1500 on the Great Barrier Reef and just 600 in the Red Sea, and here you have an amazing array of diversity and rich teeming reef life just waiting to be discovered.
You also have the chance to spot graceful Manta Rays gliding through the water at many dive sites throughout the country as well as the mysterious Mola Mola in Bali. Reef sharks and big schools of pelagic fishes are also very common in various spots and the macro life is just as incredible with quite possibly some of the best muck diving spots in the world, such as Lembeh strait, Sulawesi.
The good thing is, you can dive just about anywhere in Indonesia! Check out this vid to get a small glimpse of this underwater paradise which may just inspire you to come and see the real thing!
Out of the water, if you are feeling ambitious you may want to experience an up-close encounter with the mysterious (and rare!) Komodo dragons in the Komodo National Park. There is plenty to explore in Indonesia, from the beautiful sparkling green rice terraces to the pristine white sandy beaches.
The coral, which is made up of over 600 species, is absolutely everywhere you go. In some places, part of the reef may have been heavily damaged by cyanide fishing and bomb fishing but places like Bunaken, Raja Ampat, Komodo and other spots in Bali feature unspoiled and outstanding hard and soft coral! These destinations are a must for underwater photography!
Beginners have the chance to learn scuba diving for very cheap in places like the Gili islands, Lombok.
Where to dive?
The best and main scuba diving destinations are:
Muck Diving in Indonesia
Indonesia offers terrific muck diving opportunities. The macro photographers will be delighted to find all the rare famous species such as the mimic octopus, the ornate ghost pipefish, the flamboyant cuttlefish and the pygmy seashore. The best location for macro lovers is the Lembeh strait in North Sulawesi.
This is a real muck diving paradise. Many rare critters and nudibranchs can also be found North of Bali at dive sites such as Secret Bay, P.J. and Seraya Secret. Another upcoming new dive spot is Raja Ampat with the highest biodiversity on Earth! Underwater photographers are coming from all over the world to shoot new and very rare species there!
You will find many wrecks to dive in Indonesia. The most famous one is the world class dive site of the US Liberty Ship in Tulamben on the North East coast of Bali. This is among the best wreck diving in the world. You can also find some wrecks to explore in Papua from World War II.
Indonesia is very easy to dive. There are numerous dive centres in the touristy areas. However some diving places are much better to explore via Liveaboard like Komodo, the Celebes and Raja Ampat.
I usually use this website to book in advance my liveaboards in Indonesia as they usually have the lowest rates I find. I like it because they have an easy booking system.
Your safety is important so keep in mind that some dive centres do have lower safety standards than others so choose your dive operator carefully.
It is possible to dive in Indonesia all year round. Although it is important to remember that the country is a very large country and weather conditions varies greatly from place to place so check the conditions in advance. The basic rule for many areas is:
For more specific weather information on an area, refer to the destination pages. For example, in Moluccas (Maluku), seasons are reversed. Bali has also it’s own weather patterns and is actually much less affected by monsoon.
As you can imagine the best time to go diving is during the dry season and the worst time during the rainy season when the visibility is usually not as good. However destinations like the Komodo islands are really exciting to dive during the monsoon because this is the Manta Season!
Komodo and some of the Raja Ampat Liveaboards in Indonesia are running all year.
Air temperature: 25°C to 35 °C depending on the location and the season
Average Water temperature: ranges from 26°C to 30°C year round, places like Nusa Penida, Komodo islands or Lembeh Strait can be much colder as low as 16°C!
Average Visibility: You can expect from 10m to 60m depending on the season and location.
Current: Depends a lot on tide and location, ranges from none to fierce
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If you are planning an upcoming dive trip or travelling to Indonesia, it is a really good idea to invest in travel insurance for scuba diving, because you never know what could happen and when you might need it (because accidents do happen!). I recommend this diving insurance as they offer worldwide coverage and focus on providing scuba divers a quality insurance and medical assistance service.