When most people think of Indonesia, their minds immediately drift to beaches, volcanoes, surfing, or Komodo dragons. While all these things are symbolic of Indonesia, diving should definitely be up there too! With one of the longest coastlines in the world, there are so many dive sites to choose from. What’s also cool, is that Indonesia is a part of the Coral Triangle of the world. This means that this one country has 20% of the world’s coral reefs, resulting in a beautifully diverse marine life!
As well as bright and colorful dives, you will also stumble upon a wide variety of experiences. Think of deep water trenches, sunken wrecks, and underwater volcanic mountains, all waiting to be explored. To help you narrow down your search for the best sites, here are our top scuba diving sites and destinations in Indonesia that we think you can’t miss!
- 1 Top Indonesia Diving Sites and Destinations
- 2 Raja Ampat
- 3 Wakatobi Islands
- 4 Komodo Island
- 5 Pulau Weh
- 6 Bali Island
- 7 Lombok Islands
- 8 Bangka & Belitung Islands
- 9 Bunaken Islands
- 10 Togian Islands
- 11 Banda Island
- 12 Best Time to Scuba Dive in Indonesia
Top Indonesia Diving Sites and Destinations
Location: Northwest of Papua, Irian Jaya
There’s a reason why Raja Ampat makes the number one spot on our best diving sites in Indonesia. Diving in Raja Ampat is the most well-known and talked about activity in Indonesia travel, and it deserves to be! An archipelago of 1,500 small islands, this one area has a massively diverse marine life and a rich WWII history. Here, there is every type of dive, so you can be diving in the richest coral reef ecosystem in the world one day, and swimming through sunken fighter planes in the next. As well as everything it has to offer, Raja Ampat has also coined the term “Frontier Diving.” From its crystal clear waters, uninhabited islands, and never-ending horizon, you can’t get much more idyllic than this!
Highlights: We love diving in coral reefs, so where better to do it than in the Coral Triangle! Here you will be swimming with over 1200 various species of fish and corals making it a real treat to swim through. Raja Ampat actually holds the world record for the most species of fish recorded on one dive! It was 284 species on a single dive in Kofiau Island. If you are diving during the right season, you may even come across some whale sharks!
Best Dive Sites in Raja Ampat: A few of the best dive sites in Raja Ampat are Boo Rock, Manta Sandy, Kaleidoscope and Muck Bay. In Boo Rock, experience a part of the rich ecosystem while swimming through two big “eyes” in the reef. At the signature dive site of Manta Sandy, it can be hit or miss if the mantas grace you with their presence. When they do, however, they show up in great numbers giving you an experience like no other. The Kaleidoscope site is, as you can guess, a complete kaleidoscope of color both in the reef itself and the animals. There is also a massive rocky overhang that dominates the reef and hides the beauty. Mucky Bay is a great diving spot for muck diving, where the pretty corals are replaced by a sandy bottom and camouflaged macro-critters. A great place to discover some weird and wonderful life!
Location: Southeast Sulawesi, Banda Sea
An amalgam of its four main islands – Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko – the Wakatobi islands are a premier place for diving. Holding a national marine park status, the Wakatobi islands are also a popular destination for conservationists and avid scuba divers drawn in by the underwater diversity. With gentle currents, the islands are a great place for beginner divers, as they offer so much untouched underwater scenes, that it is perfect for every diver! With this protected national park comes healthy marine life and every dive contributes towards the local community.
Highlights: The Wakatobi Islands are home to 25 coral reefs and 900 marine species, and are known for sightings of moray eels, dolphins, manta rays and sea turtles! What’s even better, is that these islands are much less crowded and offer a quiet reprieve to enjoy diving and beaches without the crowds. Being a part of sustainable tourism in Indonesia, this spot is sure to develop in the future whilst still retaining its local culture, pristine environment, and exciting underwater life.
Best Dive Sites in the Wakatobi Islands: Obviously each island offers a slightly different experience, but the top dive site is said to be the House Reef. Known as one of the best dive sites in the world, this is the place to go for amazing reef diving and night diving. Let’s just say the fluorescent diving here is something you’re going to have to see for yourself!
Location: Komodo, East Nusa Tenggara
Diving in Komodo Island is a favorite among world-class divers. Why I hear you say? Well, the Komodo National Park’s reserve is every tropical diver’s paradise! Boasting an abundance of marine life from reef fish to sharks, colorful shallow reefs, deep walls and pinnacles, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is something unique. As the currents here can get quite rough, it is recommended that only intermediate or advanced divers dive here. As well as the incredible underwater life, this dive site also offers something that no other Indonesian dive spot does – the Komodo Dragon! These giant carnivorous lizards are the largest in the world, so surely it’s worth the trip here for these alone?
Highlights: The Komodo National Park has an incredible variety of coral reef diving and therefore plenty of species to see. Depending on each dive, you can see a range of creatures from manta rays, sunfish, dolphins, sharks., and other large pelagics.
Best dive sites in Komodo Island: Komodo Island offers many dive sites with some of the best being Batu Bolong, Tatawa Kecil, Manta Point, and Batu Tiga for those who enjoy big fish dives.
Location: Northwest of Sumatra, Banda Aceh
For an off the beaten track dive site, Pulau Weh ticks all the boxes. In complete contrast to its distant sister Bali, the remoteness of this island makes the open sea all the more fascinating to explore! This island bursts with vibrant and natural reef systems, together with a large variety of Indo-Pacific marine life. The fact that this area isn’t exploited and is not a tourist hot spot, makes the exploration all the more intimate. You get to experience this all by yourself!
Highlights: As a part of this island has been declared as wildlife protected, expect to see many rare species underwater and on land! This is something unique that you might not get to experience anywhere else, so don’t miss it!
Best dive sites in Pulau Weh: Some of the top Indonesia diving spots in Pulau Weh are Batee Tokong, Sophie Rickmers Wreck, Rubiah Sea Garden, and Pantee Peunateung. Head to Batee Tokong for great marine life, from Napoleon and large Groupers to black-tipped reef sharks. A deep dive for advanced divers, challenge yourself at the Sophie Rickmers wreck which is 134m of history and mystery. For a gentle and shallow dive with an easy current and colorful coral, head to the Rubiah Sea Garden and say hello to the turtles. Pantee Peunateung is a dive spot that will also challenge the recreational diver. Here you’ll spot schools of barracudas, big tunas and if you’re lucky, devil’s rays.
Location: Bali, West of Lombok and East of Java
As well as being the party island of Indonesia, Bali is also worth exploring for dive enthusiasts. Here you’ll get deep drop-offs, steep banks, coral ridges and sunken world war wrecks, along with fascinating underwater landscapes of volcanic crops and seagrass beds. Along with the amazing dives comes even better surroundings. Who knew you could dive with a beautiful backdrop of rice paddy terraces or volcanoes? A lot of these locations also get very light or no currents, so they are perfect for divers with any amount of experience. Scoring extra points for convenience, the island offers the most accessible of Indonesia diving spots, so expect excellent shore-based diving!
Highlights: Bali Island is home to some of the best macro diving spots in the world! What’s even more, is that it offers incredible variety. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, enjoy shallow reef diving, muck diving, all the way to fun wreck dives. It is literally a scuba diver’s paradise!
Best Dive Sites in Bali Island: The best Indonesia diving spots in Bali are Malibu Point, Manta Point, Crystal Bay and Gili Biaha. As you can guess by the names, Manta Point is known for the incredible gathering of the huge rays, while Crystal Bay offers the best visibility in Bali! At Malibu Point, you can dive with the big ones! Here you’ll be swimming with giant rays, tunas, groupers, and sharks. Lastly, Gili Biaha is a dive site for the more advanced, complete with large marine creatures, a strong current, and a shark cave.
Location: West Nusa Tenggara
Although next door to the famous Bali Island, somehow Lombok Island has managed to keep its awesome dive sites on the down low. What it lacks in crowds it definitely does not lack in spectacular diving! Featuring untouched coral reefs and pinnacles, it’s a great place to explore Indonesia’s diverse underwater life. Although the island gives you the opportunity to have a peaceful getaway, you can make your own adventure by trying out the more challenging dives. Do you fancy trying deep drop-offs and slopes? Or do you want to go all out and swim with the hammerhead sharks?
Highlights: Lombok is one of the only places in the world where you can dive with both scalloped and great hammerhead sharks!
Best dive sites in the Lombok Islands: Top dive sites in Lombok include Belongas Bay and the Gili Islands. Belongas Bay boasts pristine dive sites and an abundance of macro life, including hammerhead sharks! The Gili Islands however, are famous for their turtles! With stunning beaches, clear waters, small coral reefs, and turtles, what more could you want?
Bangka & Belitung Islands
Location: Off the east coast of Sumatra
Another location off the tourist path, Bangka & Belitung Islands are one of the most untouched Indonesian diving spots. If you like pretty dives, then this place is for you. With thick carpets of colorful corals, reef slopes and pinnacles, diving here is as picturesque as you can get. Apart from that, you have a vast amount of marine life swimming around you to keep you more than occupied. With relatively calm and shallow waters, and over 25 dive sites to choose from, this area is great for divers of all levels.
Highlights: These Islands are one of the best places for drift diving in Indonesia!
Best dive sites in the Bangka and Belitung Islands: A few of the best dive sites in Bangka and Belitung Islands are Cepor Cepor and the Lighthouse Wreck. At Cepor Cepor you will be diving down a channel between two granite islands, and as you expect, with rocky boulders comes a lot of sea urchins. Lighthouse Wreck also sits in the channel between two islands, where you can explore the nooks and crannies of the sunken wrecks. Diving here is challenging as the current can be strong.
Resources: Best Things to Do in Sumatra
Location: North Sulawesi
Out of all the Indonesia diving spots, and there are many, Bunaken Island is a favorite amongst divers around the world. It’s no wonder really, as the Bunaken Marine Park is teeming with marine life. This spot is particularly mesmerizing for its crystal clear waters; the transparency is truly amazing! All the better to see the varying corals, the many species of fish and sea turtles, white and black tip reef sharks, and saltwater crocodiles! A favorite among divers and the best place for macro diving!
Insider’s Tip: Although most of the dive resorts in the area offer diving trips, the standards vary greatly. Make sure to do your research and choose the professional and well-managed ones to ensure that you get the most value for your money.
Highlights: Bunaken Island features a world-class wall diving area. With its crystalline waters, there’s no better place to do it than here!
Best Dive Sites in the Bunaken Islands: For fantastic scuba diving sites in the Bunaken Islands, you should check out Lekuan, Celah Celah and Fukui Point. In Lekuan, you will be bombarded with colorful species of coral left, right, and center. Amongst this backdrop, you’ll see Napoleon wrasse, tuna, and sea turtles! Celah Celah is a haven for underwater photographers. With the sheer fissured wall, sunlight beams filter through amongst the fans and sponges, creating a vibrant scene perfect for pictures. Fukui Point is more for the experienced diver. With the strong current, you’ll see a lot of red-toothed triggerfish and butterflyfish floating by.
Location: The Gulf of Tomini, Central Sulawesi
Diving in the Togian Islands is up there with Raja Ampat, it’s just as popular and has every reason to be! A group of islands still largely unexploited, you’ll feel like your the first one to explore these waters. The bomber wrecks are particularly amazing here, and with the high visibility of the waters, nothing needs to be left to the imagination. Feast your eyes on world war II wrecks, stunning coral reefs, and black-tail barracudas!
Highlights: The islands are just as untouched on land as they are under the waters. This place is a real island getaway so if you’re looking for seclusion and tranquility, this is your diving paradise.
Best dive sites in the Togian Islands: If you’re diving here, the best sites are Bomba Wall, House Reef, Bomber Plane and Una Una. If you like exploration, Bomba Wall offers plenty of mystery! Armed with a torch you can discover the many caves and channels, while swimming with many fish and reef sharks. The House Reef is perfect for snorkeling by day and diving by night! Here you’ll find many crabs, shrimps, and huge parrot fish. Bomber Plane as you can guess is another special wreck dive site worth exploring. At Una Una, the volcanic island has made an amazing seabed of lava ash sand which is something to behold!
Location: Central Maluku Regency, Maluku
This little-known diving site is full to the brim with healthy reefs of corals, sea fans, sponges and reef wildlife. Again this is a site that makes you feel like you’re discovering it for the first time, so every discovery is that much sweeter. Indonesia diving spots like Banda Island are so remote that the trip there makes it all worthwhile. Although the currents are generally calm, they can be strong, so this dive spot is recommended for intermediate to advanced divers.
Highlights: Another untouched beauty. This dive spot is known as one of the best-kept secrets of Indonesia!
Best dive sites in Banda Island: Top dive spots to see here will be Gunung Api and Batu Wali. Gunung Api is a small volcano island where hot molten lava streams flowed down its slopes and destroyed the reef system. Here you can see the beginnings of a developing reef. Batu Wali is the island’s marine protected area, so expect a stunning coral reef and a high abundance of fish species. It is actually a spawning area for the pelagic plectropomus grouper, so there are plenty of these fish there.
Best Time to Scuba Dive in Indonesia
It is possible to dive in Indonesia all year round. However, the best time and weather to dive in is during the dry season (from April to October), as the visibility is better and the currents are calmer. It does vary depending on the location though. For example, it is really exciting to dive in the Komodo Islands in the rainy season (November to March) as this is Manta season!
Insider’s Tip: It’s important to bear in mind that Indonesia is a massive country so the weather will vary greatly from place to place. Make sure to check the weather conditions of each individual place that you are diving in!
So, we’ve reached the end of our best Indonesia diving spots list. Now all that is left to do is to explore this underwater world! Whether you want a few easy dives or to get your PADI certificate and take on some challenging currents, you’ll be sure to find the dive site for you in Indonesia!
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