Where is the best dive spot in Bali?
The question of questions!
The answer to this question would depend on who you ask. There would even be a few that says that Bali don’t have any good dive sites. Why they would say that I can only speculate but I guess they did a dive with the wrong people at the wrong time. Maybe they went to Manta Point and saw no Mantas? Or went to the wrong place at the wrong time and just ended up having a bad dive and judged all the sites on that. To bad, come back and I will show you some pretty wicked sites. Now I’m not saying that Bali is THE shiznit of dive sites in the world but they must come pretty darn close for several reasons. Now I have not been around the world at all the spots people talk about but I’ve heard quite a few stories from all over the world and if you compare what you hear with what Bali’s dive sites has to offer I can only Imagen that Bali has the best of the best! I know that is a pretty bold statement but wait, let me explain what I mean.
When I say that Bali is the best I’m not only talking about the dive site it self. I bet you can find an out of the world dive site miles aways from anything and you need to drive, fly, take a boat for days to get there and once you get there it is like entering the holy of holiest gardens where everything is pure awesomeness for an hour or so. Ok so now you spent 100 hours on getting there and you did your dives, now what? What else is there to do. I’m guessing since it’s at the end of the world there is no nice hotels or shop or restaurants where you can relax and enjoy your time topside. Well ain’t that just to bad. We’re on a holiday right, we NEED topside activities!!
So lets take the same example and apply it to Bali. You drive for an hour or two. You come to a nice secluded place where you set up you gear (Read: we set it up for you). Enter the water and bazzinga, an awesome site with black sand loads to see. Dives done, exit and head on back. Once back at the comfort of your hotel a few hours later you can enjoy the best of what ever area you are staying in has to offer for the evening and your all set. Either you head on out the next day for another trip or stay and relax. Do you see the difference in the two examples that I made. If you prefer the first then ok. You will have the dive of your life and probably hate the rest unless you have Bear Grylls with you to show you how to survive on rocks and stones. If you pick option number two then ok, you are with me!
Getting to the point.
So I want to do some dives, enjoy the dives with stuff to see as well as enjoy my topside. Cool. I will now tell you where you can enjoy your bottom time!
Personalty I have no single dive site that I like more than the other. It all depends on what I want to do and see. If you ask a tec diver where the best spot is he will tell you based on his preferences where it is or might ask you want you like and base his answer on that. Fair enough but can he really tell what you will like based upon your answer? Maybe, maybe not.
I can only tell you the best dive site in Bali is the one that I like for the day. I have been so many times to Nusa Penida and it is awesome. Probably one of the most coral rich places around with tons of stuff to see and experience. Manta Point, OMG the times I have been there and had Manta Rays flying high and low, circling and showing you the best time of your life. But for that is experience dives and they might be awesome but they are not the best. I have had some of my best dives at Nusa Penida but that is another topic for another time. I will tell you about the best dive spots and not the best dives.
So what site is the best?
Well first we need to agree on a point system for everything. How good is the site. 1-10. How far it is from where you are staying 1-10. What else is there to do 1-10. I know this system has its flaws but thats ok. Don’t worry about that now, let’s get to it.
I will pick 3 sites to start with. Tulamben (for being the most popular site in Bali), Nusa Penida (for being the most awesome site in Bali) and Sanur reef! Why Sanur you ask. Well Sanur is probably the most underrated dive site ever but it offers rough conditions like in Candi Dasa as well as awesome things to see as in Tulamben. As for bigger stuff that you might see in Nusa Penida well they have them too in Sanur. So let’s start with Tulamben.
Dive site rating 6
Distance rating 2
Topside rating 4
Total score 12
You have a lot of cool stuff here, first you have the USAT Liberty wreck for wreck diving. You have the drop off and Coral garden both filled with smaller to mid size things to see. We use it as training site for some of our courses and boy it sure is cool to see first timers reaction to the underwater things Tulamben has to offer.
The drive is about 2 hours which is not that bad and you would be back in Sanur around 4:ish after 2 dives.
If you are staying overnight in Tulamben you have a nice selection of local restaurants that serve pretty good food. A few nice resorts and thats a about it. Looking to go dancing? Better leave your dancing shoes at your hotel before you leave.
Nusa Penida / Manta Point
Dive site rating 7
Distance rating 5
Topside rating 3
Total score 15
Boy oh boy the stuff you can see in Nusa Penida. Besides the Manta Rays, Eagle rays, Marble rays and the Mola-molas you do get the random lost Whale shark passing through but lately we been seeing Dolphins underwater, DOLPHINS!!! How wicked is that. Remember the tv show flipper? SAME THING!!! Almost. Hard corals, soft corals, corals as far as you can see. Nice currents making this the top spot for drift dives and dang it’s fun.
The trip over to Penida is not that bad, 5 min down to the beach and about 3-40 min with speedboat and your there. Quick and easy gives Nusa Penida a 5.
I bet there is a lot of stuff to do on Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan but since I have never set foot there I cant really tell you if it’s good or bad. I know there are houses on the Islands so I guess there are people and if there is people there better be bars, restaurants and resorts. But as I have no experience from it I can only give it a 3. (Can some one please confirm there are people on the Islands.) Thanks 🙂
Dive site rating 3
Distance rating 10
Topside rating 10
Total score 23
What the hell? How did Sanur pop up to the top position? Good question. I believe that most of the coolest stuff I’ve ever seen while diving (that is smaller than my hand) I have seen in Sanur. Blue ringed octopus, Seahorses, Nudies, Juneviles, Ghostpipefish and sharks. On a slack tide the reef is awesome and when the tide moves it becomes less so but the fact that you can see so many stuff on it makes it a pretty cool site.
The drive is less than 5 min away from our shop and that gives it top score!!
What you can do after the dive gives Sanur it’s top score as well. Many restaurants and shops, only 30 min away from Kuta where you have the best of the best in evening entertainment and you have my personal favorite, The Cinema in Beachwalk.
Now Sanur Reef is not the best site Bali I think we can all agree on that but my point was you cant really rely on what someone tells you. You need to experience it your self and perhaps dive it a few times to get the idea of if its the best or not. So if you came here expecting to read about the best dive site in Bali I can only say “Sorry. I can’t tell you because I don’t know!” Most sites in Bali are Awesome. Some are good and some are better. What Bali don’t have is bad dive sites! If you where to compare Bali with let’s say a triplets of islands close to Bali where the site are as close as Sanur reef and all you can see if broken off corals and water. Well then my good reader I tell you this. Bali is better!!
So if you want to dive the best sites in Bali I can only give you the advice: Dive them all!
However if you where to ask me for some suggestions and you never dived Bali before. Check out Amed, Nusa Penida and Padang Bai. If you like a bit of a challenge you need to dive Candi Dasa – Pure awesomeness!!
The views and opinions expressed on Rants and Ramblings are soley those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Bali Crystal Divers and www.crystal-divers.com, staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.