Scuba Diving Bali and Lombok
Arguably one of the best choices for a great diving holidays that include touring, cultural and relaxation.
Bali “The Island of the Gods”, probably the most famous island in Indonesia, Bali blends spectacular mountain scenery and beautiful beach.
Lombok Island is located east of Bali. Lombok geographically is almost the same size as Bali, with beautiful beaches, enchanting waterfalls, the large, looming volcano of Mount Rinjani combined with relatively few tourists. In many ways lives up to or exceeds the promotional term, “an unspoiled Bali”.
SCUBA DIVING BALI
Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, the area with the highest biodiversity of marine species. In this area alone over 500 reef building coral species can be found. For comparison, this is about 7 times as many as in the entire Caribbean. There is a wide range of dive sites with high quality reefs, all with their own specific attractions. Many sites can have strong currents and swell, so diving without a knowledgeable guide is inadvisable. Deep drop offs, steep banks, coral ridges and bommies complement outstanding wreck diving, volcanic outcrops and sea grass beds. Large pelagics, including Mola Mola (sunfish), mantas and sharks.
Experience the excellent Bali diving with the added benefits of Bali’s unique culture and shopping for the creations of Bali’s many artists.
BALI – Highlight Dive Areas
Tulamben: This area has become Bali’s most famous diving area and therefore where you are most likely to meet internationally recognised underwater photographers and writers. Being on the north east coast, the bay receives very plankton-rich waters from the major ocean current that moves from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean. This, coupled with the fact that the three main dive sites provide totally different physical environments, mean that Tulamben contains a stunningly diverse underwater ecosystem.
Secret Bay: Gilimanuk – known as Secret Bay in Bali’s dive community – is the only bay off the narrow Bali Strait where currents can reach 7 knots. A reef lying just outside the mouth of the bay creates a channel through which these waters are swept meaning the bay basically acts as a massive catch tank (a big underwater nursery!) for many larval fish. These strong tidal currents mean that the fish and invertebrates are extremely healthy, colourful and well-fed (also that the water is quite cold, around 20-25°C and is what makes Gilimanuk an extremely appealing dive site for macro photographers.
Menjangan Island: A National Marine Park, Menjangan Island revels in legions of tropical fish, lush seascapes and pristine coral environments. Famous for its wall-diving with great visibility (50m at certain times of the year). Menjangan’s walls generally start at 3m and descend to varying depths. They are flooded with sunlight; full of small nooks and crannies, overhangs, and bigger cavelettes, crevasses, etc; covered with soft corals, sponges and offer the greatest diversity of gorgonian fans in Bali.
Amed: The village, is located on the north east coast of Bali, however the sites we call “Amed” actually stretch along the coast from Amed village (muck site) to Jemeluk and Bunutan, and beyond to Lipah Bay (“Japanese wreck” site). The area is quiet and the scenery lovely. The area makes a great location for Day Trips.
Padang Bai and Candidasa: The sites in this area provide some of the most interesting and diverse sites in Bali. Blue Lagoon, while bare of reefs, is still rich in a variety of marine life, some not found in other areas of Bali. The other four sites included here are small rocky islands off the coast of Bali that offer some of the most breath-taking diving in Bali. Cooler temperatures and currents are what make the sites here so special and yet also unique. All are surrounded by healthy and abundant reefs that attract a myriad of marine species from schools of sweetlips and bannerfish to sharks and other pelagics.
Nusa Pendida: Nusa Penida is the largest, 17km long, of 3 islands the others being Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan, that lie the other side of the Bandung Strait from Bali’s east coast. The water here is fairly cold, due to a deep upwelling south of Bali, but often startlingly clear, with gorgeous corals and prolific fish and some turtles, Grey reef and Silver-tip sharks. In July-mid November Mola-Mola, the weird and wonderful Ocean sunfish can be seen here.
SCUBA DIVING LOMBOK
Lombok offers a variety of destinations to suit different holidaymakers’ tastes and still give you great diving holidays. Three small islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, Gili Air off Lombok’s west coast, are fast becoming one of her main draw cards. Dive centers with all the high tech equipment and professional instructors ensure that visiting divers at all levels of experience and ability can dive in waters that have more varieties of fish than anywhere in the world.
Most diving takes place around the Gili islands in the strait between Lombok and Bali. Expect to se a vast array of rich underwater life ranging from sharks, Eagle Rays, turtles and Manta Rays.
LOMBOK – Highlight Dive areas
Most diving takes place around the Gili islands in the strait between Lombok and Bali. Due to a conservation program, water around the Gilis are full of turtles! And you can see many during a single dive or even just snorkelling off the shore.
There are about 25 dive sites around the islands of Trawangan, Meno and Gili Air, with a variety of topography (slopes, walls, ridges and canyons) and an enormous amount of diverse marine life. This includes black – and white tip reef sharks, lots of turtles (hawksbill and olive ridley), lionfish, scorpion fish, cuttle fish and octopus, moray eels, sea snakes, different types of rays (blue – spotted, eagle and, from December to March, manta rays)not to mention schools of bump – head parrot fish every full moon and the occasional whale shark…plus countless varieties of hard and soft corals.
In addition to the Gilis there are many other dive and snorkel possibilities such as an area now being promoted on the rugged south coast where the experienced can now dive among hammerheads and rays.
South of Lombok: South Lombok offers excellent diving for all levels of experience! colorful, relaxed reef diving for all levels of training, and fun diving for families and beginners. Full of bright soft corals and colorful crinoids, which harbor an amazing variety of rare marine life, including Ghost Pipe Fish, Leaf Fish, Pygmy seahorses and much more. Chances of seeing turtles and white tip reef sharks are fairly high, and you’re likely to sight blue spotted stingrays, cuttlefish, scorpion fish and more.
Gili Trawangan: Now appears to head the list as the most popular island – it has long had a reputation as the ‘party’ island mainly through a concentrated and central foreshore area of restaurants, dive operations and hotels including some luxury boutique choices.
Gili Meno: Still the quietest island is a place to escape to and although it has a smaller list of accommodation options those that it has are tending towards a more up-market clientele. Snorkeling off beaches of pure white sand the coral is superb.
Gili Air: Has the largest local population and while it has more of a lived-in feeling than the other two islands for some that is quite possibly its attraction. On Gili Air it’s possible to likewise enjoy the marine possibilities but also one can absorb some of the local culture missing on the other islands.
DIVE SEASON: Year-round but the best time to visit is from April to October. The monsoon season runs from December to March. Mola Mola season is July – October.
VISIBILITY: Average visibility is 10m/33ft to 45m/148ft.
CURRENT: Some dive sites can have very strong current, choose dive site according to your dive skill level. Lombok Strait between Bali and Lombok is one of the main channels for the Indonesian Throughflow, a water movement that starts in the Philippines, flows past Sulawesi on the west and east and then hits the barrier of what is Nusa Tenggara (Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores). From here it finds its way to the Indian Ocean in the south. The Indonesian Throughflow is strongest during the southeast monsoon (June, July, August) which means, that currents can be really strong here, reaching up to 8 knots (1 knot = 1 nautical mile per hour = 1.852 km per hour)!
WATER TEMPERATURE: 27°C/79°F (July to Dec) 29°C/84°F (Jan/Feb)
WEATHER: High humidity can be expected during the Wet Season between the months of October – April. The Dry Season between the months of May – September has the lowest humidity.
The Wet Season brings daily rain and quiet overcast days with the most rain recorded between December – February. Occasionally rainfall can also be expected during the dry season but usually at night or very early morning. June – August there is usually a very refreshing cool breeze all day long. The central mountain area is typically cooler than the lower coastal areas mainly especially at night.
SKILL LEVEL: All diver skill levels are available.
MARINE LIFE: You can expect to see a lot of macro life, with plenty of Nudebranches, Scorpion (leaf) Fish, shrimps, crabs, Pygmy Seahorse and so much more. If you are lucky you will see Mantas, whale sharks, seasonally Mola Mola, many different species of sharks.
CLIMATE: Dry season lasts from April – September, with May, June and July being the coolest months when temperatures ‘drop’ to 28C. Monsoon season starts in October and ends in March, but in between the monsoon showers you can expect bright blue skies and plenty of sunshine. That’s why the monsoon season is fine to travel to Bali. The hottest months are February and March, with temperatures around 30C. Best time to travel to Bali is in the drier, cooler months from May – August, with high temperatures during the day and cooler evenings with a refreshing sea breeze.
LANGUAGE: Bahasa Indonesia is the national and official language in the entire country.
ELECTRICITY: Electric power supply is 220 volts in all regions. So be careful with your 110-volt electronic equipment. The sockets will only fit with with two pins rounded-tip plugs (technically known as Type C, E, and F) or use adaptors.
CURRENCY & CREDIT CARDS: The Indonesia Rupiah (Rp) is also called IDR. IDR and US$ are the most acceptable currencies. Most tourism resorts have money changer facilities. When you are traveling to remote areas it is advisable to exchange your money and clear your check. Credit cards are only acceptable in big hotels, restaurants, shops and traveling agencies.
GRATUITIES: Most hotels add a 10% service charge to the bill on top of the 10% tax. In restaurants where service charge is not added, a tip of 5 to 10% on the bill will be appropriate depending on the service and type of establishment.
PHONE & INTERNET SERVICE: Country code +62. Most hotels and many restaurants in large cities provide internet connections or free WiFi.
VISA & PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS: All travelers to Indonesia must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of arrival, and have proof (tickets) of onward or return passage. Visa upon arrival is $35 Payable by USD cash only. Please check with your country if you are eligible for visa upon arrival. Visa-on-Arrival are valid for 30 days and are extendable with another 30 days to be applied at Immigration offices in Indonesia.
CUSTOMS: Maximum items allowed by customs when you visit Indonesia, 1 liter of alcoholic beverages, 200 cigarettes OR 50 cigars OR 100 grams of tobacco, Reasonable amount of perfume per adult, meaning if you arrive drenched in perfume the customs probably will not mind you carrying loads of bottles, Cameras, video cameras, portable radios, cassette recorders, binoculars and sport equipments are admitted provided they are taken out on departure. They must be declared to Customs.
DEPARTURE TAX: An airport tax of IDR150,000 – IDR200,000 is levied by airports on departing passengers on international flights and IDR30,000-IDR75,000 for those on domestic routes. Airport tax must be paid in Rupiah cash.
GETTING THERE: Most all major cities are connected by direct international flights and many carriers fly passengers to Indonesia’s towns and remote locations.
Denpasar (Bali): Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS)
Mataram (Lombok): Lombok Praya International Airport (LOP)
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