Best Scuba Diving Sites of Indonesia

October 21, 2016

Diving in Alor, Indonesia

As my plane flew over Indonesia, I looked down at thousands of tiny islands, each surrounded by clear, turquoise water. This fascinating country, with its 18,000 islands, is home to some of the most beautiful diving sites in the World. Indonesia prides itself in having the longest coastline in the World, straddling the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is within what is known as the Coral Triangle, an area of tropical marine waters stretching from Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. This huge area is also known affectionately as the Amazon of the seas because of its biodiversity. Indonesia contains 20% of the world’s coral reefs and there are over 600 coral species and 3,000 species of fish for divers to marvel at. Indonesia offers a wide diversity in dive sites, ranging from shipwrecks, coral reefs and fascinating colourful underwater life. Given Indonesia’s all-year-round warm climate, divers can enjoy the warm ocean water  without a wetsuit throughout the year. I was lucky enough to travel around the islands with the famous Indonesian scuba diving duo, Pinnang and Gemala, aka Wet Traveler. Pinnang and Gemala introduced me to some of the most beautiful dive sites of their country. These were my favourite places: diving indonesia

1. Batu Bolong site, Komodo Island
This island is not only famous for being the home of the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the World. It also includes spectacular diving sites. Komodo Island is famous for calm and colourful shallow reefs, crystal clear water with many reef fish, turtles and some sharks as well. There are also deep coral walls and pinnacles. It is a wonderful diving location, with great visibility and warm water.

Diving in Komodo, Indonesia

Diving in Komodo, Indonesia by Wet Traveler

2. Mari Mabuk, Wakatobi Islands
The first time I heard about the three islands known collectively as Wakatobi and its spectacular underwater life was from the in-flight magazine on my flight into the country with Singapore Airlines. The magazine described Mari Mabuk as offering some of the most spectacular diving sites in the world. I couldn’t wait to go to this remote dive resort on the Sulawesi Island to explore this underwater gem. Wakatobi consists of three islands: Wangi, Kaledupa and Tomea. These islands offer a paradise for divers. The area is rich in reefs, corals and fish. There were many sea snakes and small colourful fish in large groups swimming among us.

Diving Indonesia in Wakatobi

Diving Indonesia in Wakatobi – Photo by Wet Traveler

3. Tulamben in Bali
Bali is not only a surfers’ paradise, but it also offers great shore-based diving. Tulamben is a small fishing village in the North-Eastern part of Bali, where a giant US Army ship was sank in WWII. The shipwreck is within easy diving reach of the shore. Within about 20 meters from the shore, you can reach the giant shipwreck, lying just 30 metres beneath the surface, now completely overrun by corals and colourful small fish. If you are lucky, you can even see some large animals such as whale sharks and black-tip reef sharks around the wreck. For me it was a wonderful experience to dive on black sand beaches and observe how this giant ship was completely encrusted by colourful corals and fish.

Diving Indonesia in Tulamben, Bali

Diving Indonesia in Tulamben, Bali – Photo by Wet Traveler

4. Kal’s Dream in Alor
Alor is located in the eastern point of province East Nusa Tenggara and it is well known for its clear waters and pristine coral. Average visibility in Alor is 30m. It is situated in North-West Timor and it tends to be a ‘live onboard’ diving destination. It is only recommended to experienced divers as currents are very strong. One of the best diving spot is known as “Kal’s Dream“. This underwater mountain is fully covered with colourful corals and is permanently decorated with a living blanket of fish and ocean life, from bright coloured anthias to big pelagic like dogtooth tunas, bump head fish, and reef sharks. Fortunately it is not too frequented by scuba-divers, so the site is still pristine.

5. Nudi Falls in Lembeh

Lembeh is heaven for underwater photography lovers. During muck diving in Lembeh, you will have to keep your fingers close to your shutter button. Most of the dive guides will point you to the location of the critters which sometimes cannot even be seen with your bare eyes. It is important to find an experienced dive guide to point out the most fascinating underwater species. Nudi Falls is one of Pinneng’s favourite dive sites in Indonesia. It is just north of Tandu Rusa village. Here you will have encounters with different species of Nudibranches such as Pygmy Seahorses, Frogfish, Flamboyant Cuttlefish, Blue Ringed Octopus, Hairy Octopus, Wonderpus and Seahorses. These creatures have extraordinary colours and striking forms. Nudi Falls is an amazing place for night dives. All the little creatures light up at night and create an underwater light show.

Diving Indonesia in Lembeh

Diving Indonesia in Lembeh – Photo by Wet Traveler

6. Arborek in Raja Ampat

Arborek is a small village at the end of the Dampier Strait and close to Manta Sandy. It’s the perfect place for beginner divers because they can practice underwater skills in the shallow water. The dive site is frequented by angelfish, regal fish and 6 banded fish. The highlight of the site is a massive coral head about 12 meters deep. Tons of soft coral, sponges and big schools of small fish adorn this rock. It is a great place for underwater photography, as the water is shallow and lots of sunlight penetrates through the surface.

Read more about Raja Ampat by Sonal of Drifter Planet.

Diving Indonesia - Arborek, Raja Ampat

Diving Indonesia – Arborek, Raja Ampat

Check out the YouTube Channel of Wet Traveler to see more of the underwater life of Indonesia.

Disclosure:I participated in the above trip free of charge for the purpose of this article as part of the Wonderful Indonesia campaign. The article reflects my unbiased opinion about the country.
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About Barbara

Barbara is a London based luxury travel and lifestyle blogger. She started traveling through Paris, London, New York, Milan, Tokyo at the age of 17 to conquer the World as a model. Ever since, she has visited 67 countries. She writes about the most exclusive jet-set destinations such as Cannes, Venice Film Festivals, Monaco Grand Prix, Oscar Parties in LA, Fashion Weeks in Milan or Paris as well as yacht parties in St-Tropez, Miami Art Basel, Biennale in Venice, Frieze in London or the Royal Wedding in Monaco.

  • Time to start saving to explore the waters of Indonesia…also need to learn how to swim in the deep end. Heh

  • Mansoureh

    Wow, 18,000 islands seems a lot. I am going to save this post because I just started scuba diving and searching for great sites around the world.

    • Barb

      Oh, Indonesia is an amazing destination for divers. You will love it if you go there to dive. I highly recommend it.

  • Wow the water, sea and plant life are just absolutely stunning. I am a diver but have never been to Bali, we need to get there right away!

    • Barb

      You should go there if you like to dive. This country has some of the most wonderful diving destinations in the World. As you can see it from my article as well.

  • Melody Pittman

    Bali is just too beautiful to believe. I would love to see Komodo Island some day. How cool to photograph these beauties in their domain. Loved your photos, too.

    • Barb

      Thank you! Yes, the Komodo Island might be even cooler than Bali. It is certainly more untouched.

  • carlingdoodling

    The under water photos are simply amazing! It is really a different world under! Thanks for sharing.

    • Barb

      Yes, they are amazing. I love being underwater and seeing these colorful creatures.

  • Everywhere & Back

    Beautiful! I have been wanting to get my dive certification and this just provides a bit more incentive to do so!

    • Barb

      Oh, you should definitely do it! Diving is one of my favorite things to do in the World.

  • Danik Bates

    Really think I need to take my partner Claire here to do some scuba as she passed her test last year! Looks amazing 🙂

    • Barb

      Oh, thats a good idea! I am sure she will love it here.

  • Gokul Raj

    I just booked my tickets to Indonesia today few hours back. This post has really boosted my planning.

    • Barb

      Great news! You will love this beautiful country!

  • Awesome list! I just compiled a list myself last week. Batu Bolong in Komodo is a personal favorite!

    • Barb

      Oh, great that you have been there also. I am so glad we agree on Batu Bolong!

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