Destination Fact File
Dive and relax in the day, explore the culture and nightlife in the evening.
Bali is one of the country's 33 provinces with the provincial capital situated at Denpasar towards the south of the island. The island is home to the vast majority of Indonesia's small Hindu minority. The island can only be described as beautiful, with a spectacular varied terrain, ranging from fiery volcanoes that soar through the clouds, including the "mother" of volcanoes, Gunung Agung that rises to over 3100m and fertile valleys that are filled with abundant of fruits and vegetables. To spectacular rice terraces, lush tropical forests, and the stunning beaches that are situated alongside warm clear clean turquoise tropical waters of the Indian Ocean.
It is due to Bali's beauty that it is the largest tourist destination in the country and is renowned for its interior as well as its natural terrain. Ancient temples and spectacular palaces are dotted around the island, and offer wonderful views for visitors. Bali is also renowned for its highly developed arts including dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking and music, also its fabulous elaborate festivals, as well as its unsurpassed architecture. Where temples, flanked by walled courtyards, outnumber houses and gardens peer out invitingly from homes and businesses.
Bali’s capital Denpasar is popular among tourists and is home to the famous Monkey Forest and Elephant Cave, that all visitors will enjoy especially those that love nature and the great outdoors. It is also made up of great art galleries, museums, temples, restaurants and numerous shops line the streets.
The majority of visitors though, go to the south of Bali to the beach resorts. Kuta caters for the younger generation, with great nightlife and plenty of activities to keep visitors occupied. Whereas Sanur, and Nusa Dua, cater for visitors that are looking for a quiet tranquil environment where they can relax and unwind. Although offer visitors a range of activities if they fancy a change. Day trips are available to Nusa Penida, Tanah Lot, one of Bali's most picturesque temples, rice terraces, Ubud, and coastal towns from most of the hotels situated here.
All of this combined with the friendliness of the Balinese people, glorious weather, white sandy beaches and recent marine protection measures make Bali an increasingly sought after destination by divers from across the world.
Top Dive Sites
“USS Liberty Wreck” - Just 30 metres from shore lies the broken 120 metre long wreckage of this World War II cargo ship. The Liberty was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine out in the Lombok Strait, 11 January 1942, but was able to limp back to shore. Unable to quite make port, its captain steered the ship onto the beach at Tulamben.
Large fish species that frequent the wreck include sunfish, great barracuda, Napoleon fish and scribbled filefish. Reef fish here common to Bali diving are peacock grouper and coral trout, regal angelfish and surgeonfish. Heading back towards shore on your dive you'll see a colony of spotted garden eels, heads swaying as if in a breeze, and goatfish nuzzling through the sandy rubble.
The most famous of Bali scuba diving spots and the most popular of the Tulamben dive sites, the wreck is now completely covered in healthy coral growth, and the numerous structural holes provide endless opportunities for exploration. Soft corals dominate here, with crinoids, feather stars and hydroids.
Night diving on the Liberty Wreck is particularly memorable and popular, being so close to shore. There are spectacular colourful beams of marigold cup corals, and hundreds of shrimp greet you at every corner. Common lionfish stalk their prey as well as the rare and nocturnal dwarf lionfish. Cocooned and sleeping parrotfish are quite common, and you may even see the rather strange sight of free-swimming crinoids, in search of a new hold.
“Lembongan Island and Nusa Penida” - Lying across the Badung Strait from Sanur is Bali's premiere scuba diving destination - the clear waters of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida islands. With its adjacent deep water trenches, the main attraction of diving at Lembongan Island is the common encounters with the curious and otherwise very rare oceanic sunfish, or mola mola.
Sunfish are pelagic fish growing 2 metres long. They are found in tropical and temperate waters, feeding off large plankton and jellyfish. They have large, blunt heads, heavy bodies and stubbed tails, with elongated dorsal and ventral fins that can span 4 metres. You will never misidentify a sunfish! They can often be seen at cleaning stations with attendant cleaner wrasse. They are most often seen in this area from July to September.
“Amuk Bay - Candi Dasa” - 3 kilometres southeast from Candi Dasa, Amuk Bay, lays the little rocky islet of Gili Tepekong that has some of the most spectacular scuba diving Bali has to offer. Tepekong is just 100m wide, the coral walls are steep, the water is cold, and the current can be strong but, for an experienced diver, drifting with an up to 5 knot current through Tepekong's canyon is an unforgettable and dramatic underwater experience.
Lying to the southwest of Tepekong, the canyon starts at 24m and drops to 32m. The canyon is also known as "The Toilet" as the currents can be very strong with down-pull into the canyon when there is surface swell. However, the clear rushing waters are sure to bring you teeming encounters with white-tip reef sharks and huge schools of big-eye trevally and rainbow runners, as you hang on to the boulders.
East and north of Tepekong you can dive to 25m and the relatively protected sloping reef is dominated by table corals, gullies and boulders, fallen from above.
In the shallower diving waters the overhang at the bottom of Tepekong's walls is a great place for rock groupers, Napoleon wrasse and schools of yellow-ribbon sweetlips.
Two kilometres southeast from Amuk Bay, lies Gili Mimpang, a cluster of 3 exposed rocks. The atmosphere here is often charged and alive with action. White-tip reef sharks patrol the scattered rocks and boulders and pelagic fish such as tuna and sunfish are commonly seen. Pink squat lobsters can be found in the barrel sponges. Bali scuba diving has alluring, colourful charms as well as more dramatic action packed encounters.
The dive bottoms out at 30m, and you'll come across bumphead parrotfish, longfin bannerfish as well as schooling batfish. Acropora table corals and leather corals dominate the shallows with blue-spotted sting rays and black-blotched sting rays occupying the surrounding sand patches.