Top 10 Best Diving Sites in Indonesia

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.

Coral reef and fishes at diving Bunaken, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Coral reef and fishes at Bunaken, Sulawesi. Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten


The best time and weather to dive in Indonesia are during the dry season of April to December. But it is generally alright to dive all year round in Indonesia.

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.

Corals at Diving Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia

Corals at Raja Ampat, Papua. Photo by Lakshmi Sawitri

Raja Ampat

Hawkbill Turtle, Diving, Indonesia

Hawkbill Turtle. Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten

Located 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!

-> Read our Guide to Diving in Raja Ampat

-> Find the best hotel deals in Raja Ampat at Booking.com *

Togian Islands

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 *.

-> Read our Guide to Diving in Togian Islands

Whale Shark Diving at Papua Indonesia

Whale Shark Diving at Papua. Photo by Marcel Ekkel

Komodo Islands

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. The place to stay on this island itself is the Komodo Resort *.

-> -> See our Guide to Komodo Islands National Park

-> Find the best hotel deals near Komodo Islands at Booking.com *

Bunaken Islands

Diving Nusa Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia

Diving Nusa Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia. Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten

One 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.

-> Read our Guide to Diving in Bunaken Islands

Bali Islands

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).

-> Check out our Bali Travel Guide

Lombok and Gili Islands

Jellyfish at Diving Raja Ampat, Papua Indonesia

Jellyfish at Diving Raja Ampat, Papua. Photo by Lakshmi Sawitri

Just 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 *

-> See our Lombok and Gili Islands Guide

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.

-> Find the best hotel deals in Bangka and Belitung Islands *

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 *

-> Read our Guide to Diving in Pulau Weh

Manta Ray Diving  Indonesia

Manta Ray. Photo by prilfish

Wakatobi Islands

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.

Diving Komodo Islands, Indonesia

Diving Komodo Islands, Indonesia. Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten

Banda Islands

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.

Recommended tours *:
Indonesia Liveaboard diving tours

Related articles:
Top 10 Places to Surf in Indonesia
Top 10 Things to Do in Indonesia
Top 10 Must Visit Places in Indonesia

Author: Rachel

Fascinated by Indonesia, Rachel hopes to bring the best Indonesia Travel Guide to independent travelers so that they can enjoy what Indonesia has best to offer. Being an independent wanderer herself, Rachel knows what it takes to make a good, fun-filled yet responsible independent traveling. So let’s join her to discover wonderful Indonesia together. Google+

3 thoughts on “Top 10 Best Diving Sites in Indonesia”

  1. I will go to asia this winter and spring and will go to sulawesi and the banda island to snorkel. I would love to see a whale shark and I am trying to sort out when they migrate thru this area. At this point I plan april and May to be in this area. Do you know when the shark would be in the area?

  2. Hi,
    My friend and I are coming to Indonesia in July and were looking for options for diving. We don’t mind about areas. I am a rescue diver and my friend is open water. We don’t mind if we don’t dive together but both want the best experiences for our levels. Alternatively if there was a compromise this would be even better.
    Could you let me know what options we’d have available with you, prices and dates please?
    Thanks
    Kara

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