Indonesia is little known to divers out there that Indonesia is actually one of the world’s best scuba destination even though it has many beautiful diving spots.
Indonesia has one of the longest coastline in the world stretching from the Indian Ocean to the east and Pacific Ocean to the west. Being part of the Coral Triangle of the world, Indonesia has a diverse marine life with 20% of world’s coral reefs. There are over 3000 fish species and 600 coral species to discover, where the dive sites come in diverse types from coral, steep walls, deep water trenches, wrecks and underwater volcanic mountains. To top it off, diving in Indonesia is affordable.
Forming one corner of the ‘Coral Triangle’, the epicenter of world marine biodiversity, and containing 20% of the world’s coral reefs, it will come as no surprise that it boasts the most diverse waters in the world.
Raja AmpatLocated just off the northwest tip of Papua (Irian Jaya), it is the most well-known dive site in Indonesia. Diving in Raja Ampat is one of the most talked about activity in Indonesia travel. It is an archipelago of 1,500 small islands. The marine life diversity here is staggering with 1200 fish species where a world record of 284 on a single dive in Kofiau Island was noted, Raja Ampat set itself apart from the rest of the world’s dive site. It is even coined the term Frontier Diving, where diving will take you over crystal clear seas, inhabited islands with the horizon stretch out beyond into infinity. If you are lucky and in the season, you can even catch whale sharks while diving!
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Diving in Togian Islands are also among the top activities in Indonesia that many know besides Raja Ampat. Just located North of Sulawesi, Togian Islands are a group of islands boasting secrets to amazing dives. This place is still largely unexploited, invoking feelings of diving in unexplored places. One of the best diving places in Indonesia and maybe even on earth, you will have to explore more than the 3 dive sites among these 56 islands The two top places to stay on this island are Black Marlin Dive Resort * and Kadidiri Paradise *.
Diving Komodo islands are also known to many world class divers due to the Komodo National Park’s reserve that offers what every tropical diving paradise does – calm and colourful shallow reefs, mountains of marine life from reef fishes to sharks, and deep walls and pinnacles. Komodo Islands is the epicentre of scuba diving for its rich marine life and coral reefs. Besides, on land, it houses the famous Komodo dragon which is the largest lizard in the world.
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Bunaken IslandsOne of the top diving sites in Indonesia, Bunaken Island (Pulau Bunaken) is unsurprisingly very popular for divers around the world. The Bunaken Marine Park, located at the north tip of Sulawesi, is not only rich with marine lives, but it is also mesmerizing for its water so clear it is truly transparent. It has an amazing diverse marine life such as 70 different corals, five species of sea turtles, many fish species and even white tip and black tip reef sharks, the almost extinct dugongs, barracuda and even saltwater crocodiles! Bunaken island also features a world-class wall diving. Explore Bunaken Islands with Liveaboard Diving *.
No doubt there are reasons for Bali’s popularity, not only was it one of the best places to surf in Indonesia, but it is also one of the best places to dive here. Many divers find this place with excellent shore-based diving surrounded with a view of magnificent volcanoes and lush rice paddy terraces. Scuba diving in Bali gives you deep drop-offs, steep banks, coral ridges and famous wrecks from the world war, volcanic outcrops and seagrass beds. Choices of dive sites here including Nusa Penida, Lembongan islands, Tulamben and Candi Dasa. Divers favourite resorts here are Penida Dive Resort (Nusa Penida), Twin Island Dive (Nusa Lembongan) and Toyabali Dive Resort * (Tulamben).
Lombok and Gili IslandsJust neighbour to the famous Bali, this sister island Lombok keeps its own secrets to spectacular diving with untouched coral reefs and pinnacles. You may even find Hammerhead sharks here and other wild marine life. besides being a peaceful holiday getaway, it features many adventurous dive to balance it with drop-offs, plateaus and slopes among fascinating corals and diverse marine lives. The most popular dive resort around here is the Manta Dive Gili Air Resort *
Bangka and Belitung Islands
Bangka and Belitung Islands, just off Sumatra, offer over 25 dive sites that promise reef slopes and pinnacles of soft corals and rich marine life. You can also do a drift diving here with a negative entry and also descending pinnacles and giant granite rock formations that are clinging with beautiful corals.
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Pulau Weh, Sumatra
Diving in Pulau Weh is well known for its rich ecosystem and off the beaten track in oppose to its famous distant sister Bali of Indonesia. A part of this island had been declared as wildlife protection is by the Indonesian government because it is the home to many rare species on land wild the coral reefs are bursting with large and diverse variety of Indo-Pacific marine life. The remoteness of this Island makes the open Banda Sea all the more fascinating to dive in as the place is still bursting with vibrant and natural reef system and large variety of marine life that are not exploited. Seemingly only good dive resort on this island is the aptly named Pulau Weh Dive Resort *
Dotted in the Banda Sea, the islands of Wakatobi – Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomea and Binongki is another Indonesia’s answer to world class diving. Rich with reefs along barriers, corals and fishes, this national park is well protected thus brimming with healthy marine lives. Diving here will also contribute towards local community and the support for the marine park. Relatively new in the diving scene of Indonesia, the place is still practically untouched.
One of the best-kept secrets of Indonesia, this little-known diving site of Indonesia is bursting with healthy reefs of massive hard corals, sea fans, sponges and marine wildlife of pelagics and reef fishes. Diving Banda Islands might just bring you into critter havens of Ambon and also other undiscovered secrets that only diving exploration can bring.
Photo credits from top: Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten, Lakshmi Sawitri, Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten, Marcel Ekkel, Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten, Lakshmi Sawitri, prilfish and Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten