The Tulamben wreck is an unforgettable diving experience. It’s Bali’s most popular dive site and home to an amazing amount of marine life. The chance to explore a World War Two shipwreck makes it an unmissable part of your Bali scuba vacation. However the wreck isn’t the only scuba diving site here. Don’t miss the drop-off, a shallow coral garden, and a deep coral reef. The Liberty shipwreck is the best place to explore the underwater world at night in Bali and if you stay overnight you can take a magical sunrise dive.
The story of the Tulamben wreck
The USS Liberty was built in 1918 as a cargo ship and saw service in WW1 transporting horses and general cargo. At the start of WWII it was fitted with guns and used for military transport as the USAT Liberty. The wreck starts from just 5 metres making it suitable for all levels of divers and the remains of the stern gun are still clearly visible. In 1942 the Liberty was hit by a Japanese torpedo as it passed by the nearby island of Lombok. There were no casualties but the ship was badly damaged.
An attempt was made to tow the Liberty to North Bali for repairs but it was unable to continue the journey and so was beached at Tulamben. The Liberty stayed on the beach for the next 21 years, mostly unnoticed in this remote rural area of Bali. In 1963 an eruption of the nearby Agung volcano pushed the ship into the sea where it remains to this day. This strange story explains why the shipwreck is known as one of the world’s most convenient shipwreck dives. It lies on a sandy slope just 30 metres (100 ft) from the beach.
Diving the Tulamben wreck
Anybody can dive the Liberty shipwreck. It usually has little or no current and no special wreck diving skills are required because it’s bright and airy with constant access to the surface. Less experienced divers can stay in the shallower parts of the wreck which start at around 6 metres (20 ft). More experienced divers can head down to the deeper parts of the wreck at 30 metres (100 ft).
The wreck is 125 meters (411 ft) long and 17 metres (55 ft) wide. You can easily fin around it in one dive. It’s still mostly intact and you can swim through the Liberty’s huge cargo hold. The hold is full of life because so many fish shelter there from the waves and current.
The Tulamben wreck is home to an amazing 400 species of reef fish and is visited by 100 species of pelagics (silver ocean-dwelling fish). Almost every surface is covered in healthy colorful corals. Take a look at the 90-second video of the Liberty wreck at the top of this page (or click here) and you will see Jack fish, Damselfish, Gorgonian, Surgeon Fish, Feather Star, Fire Coral, Great Barracuda, Sea Squirt, Table Coral, Barrel Sponge, Green Back Bullseye, Glass Fish, Parrot Fish, Trumpet Fish, Modish Idol and Grouper. That’s just in a 90-second video. Serious underwater photographers often spend weeks here because there is such rich and varied marine life in one easily accessible location. If you love macro diving request one of Bali Scuba’s talented spotter guides when you make your booking for a Tulamben trip.
Unlike many other Bali sites Tulamben usually has warm water, around 28C (82F). It has a rocky beach with black sand underwater. Tulamben is a quiet fishing village and a great way to escape from the hustle and bustle of the busier parts of Bali. Bring your camera to grab a photo of the young porter girls carrying two tanks and a set of scuba gear on their heads! Non-diving family or friends can relax at one of the beachside restaurants or grab a massage.
How to get to Tulamben
Tulamben is on the North East coast of Bali about two by road from South Bali. Most diving at Tulamben is from the beach or just a few minutes by traditional boat. We depart from Sanur at 8AM and return at 5-6PM. On the journey to Tulamben you can enjoy the scenic rice terrace views that Bali is so famous for.
How much does it cost to dive Tulamben?
IDR 1,600,000 for two dives
IDR 400,000 for dive equipment rental
- Included: PADI Divemater as guide, lunch and soft drinks, towels, door-to-door transfers (most destinations South Bali)
- No hidden extras!
- Special bonus: free Nitrox for any diver with Nitrox certification