Bali diving frequently asked questions
Is Bali a good place for scuba diving?
Yes it is, whatever your level of experience. Beginner divers can visit more gentle sites such as Tulamben. More advanced divers can visit sites with stronger currents like Nusa Penida. Many divers come back to Bali again and again because of the wide variety of dive sites. You can dive steel or wooden shipwrecks, vertical walls, gentle slopes, and lagoons. You can dive in sheltered bays or in wild currents. You can dive over pure white sand, volcanic black sand, rich coral beds or limestone reefs. Dive in seagrass, mangrove or wide open ocean sites. Whatever kind of diving you love, you can probably find it in Bali.
What are the most popular dive spots in Bali?
Without doubt the two most popular places for diving are Tulamben and Nusa Penida. At Tulamben all levels of diver can enjoy the USAT Liberty WW2 shipwreck. Guns still intact, the wreck is covered in coral and home to an amazing 400 species of reef fish. It’s unmissable. Nusa Penida is more suitable for experienced divers because of the sometimes strong currents there. Nusa Penida’s most famous marine life are manta (found at Manta Point, obviously) and the huge sunfish (most commonly seen at Crystal Bay).
What can I see when I’m diving Bali?
A team of scientists conducted a survey from 29 April 2011 to 11 May 2011. They found an amazing 393 species of coral and 952 species of reef fish. In addition to many colourful corals and reef fish, there are huge shoals of pelagic fish (silver ocean-dwelling fish such as tuna), sharks, and manta. Don’t forget Bali’s most famous underwater visitor – the amazing sunfish, also known as ‘moonfish’ and ‘mola’. You can read more about this enormous fish in this article.
How do people dive in Bali?
Most people take day trips. This means the scuba shop will pick them up from their hotel each morning, take them to the site, then drop them back to their hotel in the afternoon. Other people take a ‘safari’. This means the scuba shop will book hotels in different parts of the island and transport the diver to and from each hotel. The great thing about a safari is that it allows people to dive a wide variety of dive sites. You can find a map of Bali diving spots here.
Are there dangerous sharks and marine creatures?
There are no man-eating marine monsters around Bali! There are several species of sharks that pose no threat to divers – especially when they are interacted with responsibly. Remember that you should never touch, tease or chase marine life because some marine creatures may act defensively if provoked.
What is the water temperature?
The water temperature varies from place to place. It’s generally a pleasant 26°C – 28°C (78°F – 82°F). Please note however from July to October some locations in the east (for example Nusa Penida, Gili Tepekong and Padang Bai) can be much colder. Temperatures here can fall to low 20’s C and occasionally even below 20°C (68°F). Brrrr! The great thing is that these cold waters bring the sunfish to Bali. It’s no coincidence that sunfish season and cold water season both run from July to October.
How much does it cost to scuba dive in Bali?
Most shops charge from IDR 1,500,000 to IDR 2,500,000 (USD 115 to 185) for a day of diving. This price will probably include hotel transfers, lunch, soft drinks, tanks and weights. Most trips are for 2-3 dives per day. The quality operators will almost always charge extra for dive equipment rental. If equipment rental is included for free this may be sign (but not always) that the equipment will be poorly maintained or rather old.
Will my dives be guided?
Yes. Almost all dives in Bali are led by a guide, who should be a certified Divemaster. It’s worth checking the qualifications of your guide because some cheaper operators use low-certified divers (or even non-certified!) instead of a qualified Divemaster.
When is the best time to dive in Bali?
There is great diving all year round. That’s why many divers head to Bali when nearby countries (such as Thailand and Malaysia) are closed for monsoon season. Rain from mid-December to mid-February can reduce visibility but this is also when the sea temperatures are at their warmest. Cold thermoclines from July to October bring phenomenally clear water to sites such as Crystal Bay in Nusa Penida and Blue Lagoon in Padang Bai. The manta rays are at Nusa Penida all year round. If you are hoping to see Mola the best months are from July to October. For macro fans and photographers any time of year promises a wonderful range of critters!
Do I need to book in advance?
It’s strongly recommended to book your dive trip before arrival. Especially in high season trips are often fully-booked to the most popular dive spots (Tulamben and Nusa Penida).
What kind of tanks are used in Bali for diving?
Most cylinders used in Bali are 12-litre aluminium tanks with yoke (international) valves. However quality operators will be able to provide tanks with DIN valves and/or larger 15 litre tanks upon request. Steel tanks aren’t used because the humid atmosphere can cause problems with corrosion.
Is Nitrox available in Bali?
Nitrox (enriched air or EANx) is very common in Bali. Quality dive operators will usually supply it for free for Nitrox-certifed divers. Cheaper dive operators usually charge extra.
Where is the nearest hyperbaric chamber and hospital?
The hyperbaric chamber meets international standards and is located at Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar. There are also a number of international-standard hospitals around the main tourist areas in South Bali.