Top 10 Best Diving Sites in Indonesia

Indonesia is little known to divers out there, but it has some of the best diving sites in the world.

Indonesia has one of the longest coastlines in the world, stretching from the Indian Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Being part of the world’s Coral Triangle, Indonesia has a diverse marine life with 20% of the 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.

Best time to dive in Indonesia

The best time to dive in Indonesia depends on the specific region and diving spot you want to visit. Indonesia offers excellent diving opportunities throughout the year, but certain months may be more favorable depending on the location and seasonal conditions.

Generally, the dry season, which usually runs from April to October, is considered the best time for diving in most parts of Indonesia. During this period, you can expect calmer seas, better visibility, and a lower chance of rain and storms.

Hawkbill turtle, best diving indonesia

Hawkbill Turtle, best diving Indonesia. Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten

Best Diving Indonesia – Raja Ampat

Located just off the northwest tip of Papua (Irian Jaya), it is Indonesia’s most well-known dive site. Diving in Raja Ampat is one of the most talked-about activities 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 sites. It is even coined the term Frontier Diving, where diving will take you over crystal clear seas and inhabited islands with the horizon stretching 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

Corals at diving raja ampat, papua, indonesia

Corals at Raja Ampat, Papua. Photo by Lakshmi Sawitri

Togian Islands

Diving in Togian Islands is 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

Komodo Islands

Diving at the Komodo islands is also known to many world-class divers. The Komodo National Park’s reserve offers what every tropical diving paradise does – calm and colorful shallow reefs, mountains of marine life from reef fishes to sharks, and deep walls and pinnacles. Komodo Islands is the epicenter of scuba diving for its rich marine life and coral reefs. Besides, on land, it houses the famous Komodo dragon, 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

Whale shark diving at papua indonesia

Whale Shark Diving at Papua. Photo by Marcel Ekkel

Bunaken Islands

One of the top diving sites in Indonesia, Bunaken Island (Pulau Bunaken) is unsurprisingly very popular with divers worldwide. The Bunaken Marine Park, located at the north tip of Sulawesi, is rich with marine life and mesmerizing, for its water so clear it is truly transparent. It has an incredibly 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! The Bunaken Island also features world-class wall diving.

-> Read our Guide to Diving in Bunaken Islands

Coral reef and fishes at diving bunaken, sulawesi, indonesia

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

Bali Islands

No doubt there are reasons for Bali’s popularity; it is one of the best places to surf in Indonesia and one of the best places to dive here. Many divers find this place with excellent shore-based diving surrounded by 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 include Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, Tulamben, and Candi Dasa. Divers’ favorite resorts here are Penida Dive Resort (Nusa Penida), Twin Island Dive (Nusa Lembongan), and Toyabali Dive Resort * (Tulamben).

Diving nusa lembongan, bali, indonesia

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

Lombok and Gili Islands

Just neighbor to the famous Bali, this sister island Lombok keeps its 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

Jellyfish at diving raja ampat, papua indonesia

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

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 drift diving here with a negative entry, descending pinnacles, and giant granite rock formations clinging with beautiful corals.

Pulau Weh, Sumatra

Diving in Pulau Weh is well known for its rich ecosystem and off-the-beaten track compared to its famous distant sister Bali of, Indonesia. The Indonesian government declared part of this island as wildlife protection because it is home to many rare species on land. Wild coral reefs are bursting with a large and diverse variety of Indo-Pacific marine life. The remoteness of this Island makes the open Banda Sea the best diving site, as the place is still bursting with a vibrant and natural reef system and a 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 are another Indonesia’s answer to world-class diving. Rich with reefs, barriers, corals, and fishes, this national park is well protected, thus brimming with healthy marine life. Diving here will also contribute to the local community and the support for the marine park. Relatively new in the diving scene of Indonesia, the place is still practically untouched.

-> See Guide to Diving Wakatobi, Sulawesi

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 pelagic and reef fishes. Diving Banda Islands might bring you into critter havens of Ambon and other undiscovered secrets that only diving exploration can bring.

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