Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world and straddles the Equator between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is home to thousands of islands, 922 of which are permanently inhabited. Indonesia consists of a 5 thousand kilometer long archipelago offering some of the most diverse coral reefs on the planet.
Diving in Indonesia offers over 3,000 fish species and 450 species of coral, steep walls, deep water trenches, underwater volcanic mountains, World War II wrecks, and an endless variety of macro life.
We’ve put together a list of most beautiful and popular dive sites that we think should be on your itinerary the next time you visit the country.
1. Raja Ampat Island, West Papua
Raja Ampat meaning Four Kings is named after the four sultans who once ruled West Papua and is rapidly becoming one of Asia’s diving hotspots. It certainly is the world’s most biodiverse marine region with more recorded fish, coral and mollusk species than anywhere else on Earth.
The four islands of Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool are in the part of West Papua known as the “bird’s head” peninsular and have earned almost mythical status among divers. Located at the North-west part of the Indonesian’s Papuans, Raja Ampat became one of the best spots wherein you can spend your exciting trips and fun adventures.
2. Komodo Island, Nusa Tenggara Timur
Komodo Island provides any desired view of the divers in the world. With a rich marine diversity makes it one of the best scuba diving destinations in the World and a great destination for diving enthusiasts. It offers numerous diving sites that offer breathtaking views of the richness of the marine life in the area.
Scuba Diving around the Komodo islands is just a dream come true! Great variety of fishes, superb and untouched coral reefs, big fishes hunting actions, and pelagic fishes at every dive site will make your dives unforgettable.
From sunfish, mantas, dolphins and eagle rays to pygmy seahorses, ornate ghost pipefish, clown frogfish, nudibranchs and blue-ringed octopus, all are at home amongst a spectacular range of colourful sponges, sea squirts, tunicates and corals; Komodo is a macro enthusiast’s heaven.
Komodo Island is also famous for its Komodo dragon monitor lizard, the largest lizard in the world.
3. Bunaken Island, Manado
The Manado dive area is among the highlights of Indonesia scuba diving and has earned plaudits throughout the world. There are 22 official dive sites within the park. The variety of both fish and soft coral is outstanding, making this area one of the top places in the world with regards to biodiversity.
Dive in the deep waters of Bunaken Island you can see 7 times more genera of coral than Hawaii, 33 species of butterflyfish and over 70% of all fish species known to the Indo-western Pacific. Pick any of group of interest – corals, fish, echinoderms or sponges – and the number of families, genera or species is bound to be astonishingly high. For example, 7 of the 8 species of giant clams that occur in the world, occur in Bunaken.
At the ocean surface dolphins and pilot whales are frequently seen, and you might occasionally be surprised with sights of migrating humpbacked, killer or sperm whales. Dugongs, or sea cows, are regularly spotted at certain sites.
4. Sumbawa Island
Sumbawa Island offer some wonderful natural forest, archeological site, agriculture scenery, and a coastline of numerous pristine beach, waters surfing adventure fishing, sailing and under sea wonder explore.
Lying between the islands of Lombok to the west and Komodo to the east, Sumbawa Island is consequently visited as part of the itineraries of the Bali liveaboard diving cruises that run to and from Komodo Island.
It has many jutting and twisted peninsulas which form a number of protected bays for its islands dotted along the north coast. These includeMoyo,Sangeang and Satonda.
Moyo Island is a world-class tourist attraction in Indonesia. Foreign tourists like Lady Diana and Mick Jagger had a holiday on the island.
These sheltered and varied havens offer crystal clear waters, deep and vibrant walls, and fertile volcanic breeding grounds for some great macro diving opportunities. Often overlooked as a dive destination Sumbawa can yield an abundance of marine life and pristine coral reefs.
5. Lombok Island
With beautiful beaches, enchanting waterfalls, the large, looming volcano of Mount Rinjani combined with relatively few tourists, Lombok is indeed the paradisaical tropical island that many people still mistakenly imagine Bali to be now.
Most diving takes place around the Gili islands in the strait between Lombok and Bali. The Gilis Islands are a terrific dive destination. The drop-offs, plateaus and slopes of the Gili’s reflect a good cross-section of what Indonesia has to offer. Dive in and be fascinated by turtles, White-tip Reef Sharks, Cuttlefish, Moray Eels, Angel Fish, Ghost Pipefish and more.
6. Bali Island
Bali is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. And Bali is Indonesia’s most popular dive holiday destination. Bali offers an exceptional diving experience for all levels of divers, and variety of dive sites.
The greatest feature of scuba diving in Bali is the rich and varied sites – deep drop-offs and steep banks, coral ridges and bommies, one of the most famous wrecks in the world, volcanic outcrops and seagrass beds.
The best dive sites for beginners are around Amed, Padang Bay, and Pulau Menjangan which have very light or often no current at all.
Bali offers even more opportunities to those advanced divers, with many drift dives such as around Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Candidasa.
With the colourful and diverse marine life, there’s enough here to keep you coming back for more.
7. Bangka Belitung Island, Bangka
Bangka Belitung became famous for divers today because its beauty which not inferior to Bunaken Island. With excellence of comparability and supported by regional ecosystem of archipelago, coastal area and the island with the other, Bangka Belitung present marine tourism (diving, scuba, snorkeling, fishing and sailing).
The main attraction of these islands are the lovely, long, clean and tout-free beaches, with crystal clear and surprisingly calm turquoise blue seawater. It is fantastic for swimming, diving, snorkeling and sun bathing. The sand is very fine, clean and brilliant white.
8. Wakatobi Island
Wakatobi is one of the newest and most exciting diving destinations in Indonesia, winning extraordinary praise from its visitors both for outstanding and accessible diving and the quality of service they receive from the dive operation.
The islands that make up the Wakatobi chain have, without doubt, some of the world’s best diving.
Largely unexplored, only adventurous travellers enjoy the area’s riches – with atolls, walls, fringing reefs, sea mounts & a barrier reef contributing to the almost limitless diving opportunities.
9. Karimun Jawa, Central Java
The beauty of Karimunjawa Islands both in the sea and having a broad white sand as well as the hospitality of locals are not so concerned with the material make it worth to visit. Karimunjawa is known for its amazing fringing coral reefs, diving sites, and sandy beaches.
The reefs are a mixture of fringing, barrier, and patch with bottom depths ranging from 15 to 40 meters.
Karimunjawa Island is situated in the Java Sea, 45 nautical miles away from Jepara and 60 Nautical miles from Semarang, the capital city of Central Java Province.
The most interesting tourism object in these islands is the marine area, there are more than 30 dive sites across Karimunjawa Marine National Park. There are shallow dive sites with weak or even without currents for beginners, as well as the deep ones with strong currents for more advanced divers suitable for all levels of divers, from beginners to experienced ones. Interested divers can also explore several shipwrecks of old merchant ships at various depths.
10. Derawan Island, East Kalimantan
This island was included in the ranks of the best diving destinations in the world and make this island as an island of dreams for the divers. Derawan Island is located in Derawan Archipelago, Berau, East Kalimantan (Borneo).
There are at least 18 point dive in the Derawan Islands. To enjoy the beauty of the coral reefs and marine life here, dives can be made with the technique of shallow dives around 5-25 metres.
When you dive in the around sea of the Derawan Island, you will find animals such as sea Turtles, Stingrays, Jellyfish and a set of Barracuda and many more. Derawan Islands also offer you with 460 species of coral that will leave you amazed and fascinated. In addition there are about 870 fish types ranging from Pygmy Seahorses to Giant Manta Ray. Therefore, it is not wrong if the beauty of the Derawan Islands occupies second position in the world after Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua.
11. Weh Island, Sabang
Weh Island or Pulau Weh or Pulo Weh is a small active volcanic island 15 km to the northwest of Sumatra. The island is known for its ecosystem as the diving and snorkeling site in international standard. Sabang is a beautiful island with an impressive coastline, white sandy beaches and crystal clear water.
The most famous bays for snorkeling and diving are Gapang Bay and Iboih Bay in front of Rubiah Island. The water area around Rubiah Island is an impressive underwater world with many coral reefs and visibility up to 25 meters below sea level.
The house reef at Gapang Beach boasts a wide range of macro life including rare critters like Frog Fish, Star Gazers and Gunards. Large pelagics like Mantas, Whale Sharks and Mola Mola also come to feed when the seasons right. All in all Pulau Weh offers some of the finest diving in Indonesia, yet it is still very much undeveloped and untouched. Sabang is a very fine destination for water sports enthusiasts.
12. Sangihe and Talaud Island, North Sulawesi
Sangihe and Talaud group of islands is an area with a stretch of active volcanoes. This chain of around 40steep and lush volcanic islands connects Indonesia with the Philipin. It is rarely known by tourists but it is full of beautiful scenery.
Dive sites around the southern end of Sangihe Island and further northeast around Talaud Island have great visibility and the chance to see large schools of pelagics like barracuda, giant trevally, mackeral and dogtooth tuna. Hammerhead sharks can also be seen as can dolphins and manta rays. Currents can be strong around exposed dive sites. The underwater world is pristine gigantic sponges are over 100 years old, the corals have never seen divers before.
Trips to this part of Indonesia can only be described as adventure tours to the end of the world.
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