Bali is truly on of the best places in the world to dive. A huge diversity of underwater seascapes are breathtaking. Deep lushly covered walls; black sand slopes crawling with rare, bizarre and wonderful creatures; impossibly gorgeous, multi-colored coral reefs; exotic white sand beaches and coves; heart-pumping drift dives past other-worldly undersea cliffs and legendary big fish dives. Bali has everything you could need!
To the east of the island lies the Lombok Strait, the first deep water trench directly to the east of the Asian continental shelf. Through this channel flows the greatest volume of tidal water on earth. This Pacific Ocean can create some powerful currents and rollercoaster rides that characterises some of the dive sites. It also means regular visits from large and unusual pelagic fish like the incredible mola mola, or sunfish. The strong currents can also clean the water and create fantastic visibility.
Most famous Dive Sites
Amed – The east side of the north facing shallow bay of Cemeluk has dense stands of sloping staghorn corals, teeming with cardinal fish. Here you can see striped convict tangs, sail fin tangs and orange-lined trigger fish quite close to the Bali shoreline.
Biaha – You can be forgiven for questioning the wisdom of diving here as you are thrown around on the surface before descending at this site, close to Candi Dasa. A quick glance into the water below will reveal countless fish being tossed back and forth by the swell.
Candi Dasa (Amuk Bay) – 3 km southeast from Candi Dasa, Amuk Bay, lies the little rocky islet of Gili Tepekong that has some of the most spectacular diving Bali has to offer. Tepekong is just 100m wide, the coral walls are steep, the water is cold, and the current can be strong but, for an experienced diver, drifting with an up to 5 knot current through Tepekong’s canyon is an unforgettable and dramatic underwater experience.
Gili Selang – Gili Selang is a small island lying just off the eastern most point of Bali. Its relatively isolated location make it a popular choice on liveaboard cruises.
Lembongan Island – Nusa Penida – Away from the crowds of mainland Bali, just off Nusa Lembongan, lies Blue Corner where there are common sightings of one of the most incredible and odd-looking creatures of the sea – the sunfish. Spot one here and you can tick off a major diving ‘must see’. Emerge slightly shaken by the changeable currents but with a smile that won’t leave your face for the rest of the day.
Menjangan Island – 8 kilometers off the north west coast in Barat National Park lies Deer Island, or Menjangan, one of the more popular Bali diving destinations. Due to its protected location, waves are rarely a problem and the visibility is occasionally mind blowing.
Padang Bay – 50 meters off shore directly in front of the shrine after which it was named, lies Pura Jepun. The reef starts as a shallow ledge at a depth of 10 meters. Swim further to sea, and a slope will take you down to 20 meters, after which a sandy bottom levels out at 40 meters. The slope is dominated by magnificent anemones, black and yellow feather stars and sea squirts. Oriental sweetlips, boxfish and yellow trumpetfish are common on dives here.
Pemuteran – 2 kilometers to the east of Pemuteran (Permuteran) in north west Bali and a couple of kilometers offshore lies Napoleon Reef. This submerged reef rises to 5 meters from the surface and slopes down to 30 meters to the north, providing some easy paced scuba diving in north west Bali.
Secret Bay – Just to the east of the Bali-to-Java ferry terminal in the small village of Gilimanuk in northwest Bali, lie the calm waters of Secret Bay. Although not in the same league as other muck diving destinations such as Lembeh Strait, this spot has a fair collection of its own treasures waiting to be discovered; it’s definitely worth a dive or 2.
Tulamben – The USS Liberty is a wreck dive of international renown. Just off the stony shore of Tulamben lies the most beautifully colorful wreck you can imagine. Easy access, mild conditions and shallow water mean that everyone can enjoy the splendours of this wreck and interact with the myriad species that call it home.
The Sacred Monkey Sanctuary is home to 300-600 spirited long tailed macaques that live in three distinct troupes. The dense forest, one of Bali’s most revered for its Taksu, or spiritual power, encompasses 115 different species of trees, and none more impressive than the colossal Banyon Tree that leads to The Holy Bathing Temple. Actually, the tree and its hanging root system is so large it shelters an ornately carved Naga or Dragon Bridge that spans a deep gorge cutting through the heart of the forest.
There are many additional noteworthy facets of the Monkey Sanctuary. There are three principle temples, the oldest dating back to the 14th century, hundreds of moss covered expressive sculptures, grand trees and plants, and even a primate cemetery.
The mysteries surrounding the monkey cemetery are compelling. It is known that scores of the monkeys pass away each year, but only a small percentage of their bodies are actually recovered. No one is quite sure what happens or where they go. Numerous studies have been conducted with no definitive results. For the departed monkeys that are recovered, the human caretakers thoughtfully create a carved headstone reflecting their personality, their name and year of expiry.
Butterflies are insects in the macrolepidopteran clade Rhopalocera from the order Lepidoptera, which also includes moths. Adult butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. The group comprises the large superfamily Papilionoidea, which contains at least one former group, the skippers (formerly the superfamily “Hesperioidea”) and the most recent analyses suggest it also contains the moth-butterflies (formerly the superfamily “Hedyloidea”). Butterfly fossils date to the Paleocene, which was about 56 million years ago.
Butterflies have the typical four-stage insect life cycle. Winged adults lay eggs on the food plant on which their larvae, known as caterpillars, will feed. The caterpillars grow, sometimes very rapidly, and when fully developed, pupate in a chrysalis. When metamorphosis is complete, the pupal skin splits, the adult insect climbs out, and after its wings have expanded and dried, it flies off. Some butterflies, especially in the tropics, have several generations in a year, while others have a single generation, and a few in cold locations may take several years to pass through their whole life cycle.
Butterflies are often polymorphic, and many species make use of camouflage, mimicry and aposematism to evade their predators. Some, like the monarch and the painted lady, migrate over long distances. Many butterflies are attacked by parasites or parasitoids, including wasps, protozoans, flies, and other invertebrates, or are preyed upon by other organisms. Some species are pests because in their larval stages they can damage domestic crops or trees; other species are agents of pollination of some plants. Larvae of a few butterflies (e.g., harvesters) eat harmful insects, and a few are predators of ants, while others live as mutualists in association with ants. Culturally, butterflies are a popular motif in the visual and literary arts.
Visit the Bali Butterflypark to see and interact with butterflies in all shapes, colors and sizes.
In Ubud you can find an abundance of tour companies offering bike trips around the island. The typical tour is a 40 km mostly downhill bike trip that includes breakfast at the top of a mountain, a visit to a coffee farm and a traditional Balinese village on the way down. You’ll stop at a restaurant before heading back, but this meal is not included in the tour price.