Divers worldwide, both amateur and professional, rank Bali as a sublime world-class diving destination. Miles of unspoiled beaches, amazing diverse coral reefs, an unimaginable menagerie of tropical sea life, and the clearest, most crystal-blue water of the mighty Pacific. Oh, did we mention that even the weather’s perfect for it nearly year-round? Whether scuba or snorkel, Bali is Neptune’s gift to divers.

The concentration of best locations are on the east side of the island of Bali, near either the small south-east islands (Lembongan, Ceningan, Penida), or Tulamben to the north-east. But really, you almost can’t go wrong anywhere around Bali. We recommend staying at a beachside luxury villa, many of which cater to the diving enthusiast. The peninsula of Nusa Dua is also popular. Here, we’ll try to give you a YouTube tour of just some of the awesome diving experiences you could have around this jewel of the Pacific.

Tulamben

Renowned for both the famous shipwreck of the US Liberty sunk in WWII, and for the fact that the shipwreck’s in pretty shallow water so its easy for the amateur diver. Besides this, it’s an underwater kingdom of colorful coral and tropical fish. In this video, look for the fields of burrowing eels at 0:17, magnificent fan coral at 1:07, the shipwreck itself coming in around 1:40, a camouflaged seahorse at 2:36, an underwater jungle of kelp at 4:10, and so much more besides. The waters are rich in plankton here, so it attracts a stunning diversity of sea life. Just in a day’s dive in Tulamben, you can meet the entire cast of Finding Nemo and be home in time for dinner.

Nusa Lembongan

The main dive site out of the three south-east islands (“Nusa” means “island”, by the way), has a dive center whose chief attraction is a manta habitat. In this video, mantas bigger than people cruise serenely through the water and frolic for the camera.

Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida, the biggest island, has another manta habitat at Batu Lumbung, plus diving locations all around its rim. It’s also less tourist-y than the other two islands, due in part to the main land of the island itself being given over to a bird sanctuary. The strong currents around here necessitate advanced diving skills, but Crystal Bay here is an exception with shallow waters suitable for all skill levels. Oh, and there are sharks! The video shows that it’s worth the while to try Nusa Penida.

Padang Bai

This scoop-shaped bay in the south-east portion of Bali is host to a small fishing village and another prime diving spot. This is an easier area, suitable for amateurs and snorkeling as well as scuba. The beach itself is one of the famous white sand varieties, so popular all for itself. The main dive site here is called the Blue Lagoon. While here, do not miss Gili Tepekong, home to one of the most diverse and amazing coral habitats around.

Menjangan Island

Just to show that west Bali has some great spots too, Menjangan Island is a little ways off the coast to the north-west of Bali Barat National Park, and is technically under Javanese governance though towns in Bali are closer. The waters here are an adventurous mix of caves, coral, fissures, and ravines. The sea life here is bigger and hardier, with many sharks and rays along the way.