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Indonesia forum

Best snorkelling/Diving in Indo?

Posted by Animal_lover on 4/2/2013 at 15:05

Where would you guys recommend for underwater fun? Gillis look good but are there any other spots worth a dip? Particularly thinking around central/east Java or Bali/Lombok.

Dreaming of turtles, though Jaws is just about to start on TV which might put me off...

#1 Animal_lover has been a member since 1/10/2010. Posts: 10

Posted by somtam2000 on 5/2/2013 at 20:44 admin

Gilis are good, also west Bali - particularly Menjangan Island near Pemuteran , is excellent -- can't help on the other spots sorry.

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,090

Posted by busylizzy on 5/2/2013 at 20:51

Around Komodo or Rinca Islands if you want to travel that far. Alternatively there is also good snorkeling off of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, both of which are accessible from Bali.

#3 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152

Posted by Animal_lover on 6/2/2013 at 03:48

Thanks Guys :0)

#4 Animal_lover has been a member since 1/10/2010. Posts: 10

Posted by tezza on 7/2/2013 at 00:23

I thought Menjangan was above average for SE Asia. The Gilis are pretty good - some of the best stuff can be accessed from the budget glass-bottom 3 island trips which leave from all islands and do snorkelling in a number of places - saw some nice turtles on the Meno Banks on one of these trips.

I understand if you are prepared to head further east in Indo diving and snorkelling gets a whole lot better. Haven't had the chance personally except for a few snorkels off northern Sumbaya which were nothing to write home to mum about.

#5 tezza has been a member since 13/4/2006. Posts: 1,358

Posted by Animal_lover on 7/2/2013 at 01:56

Thanks Tezza, Menjangan is now firmly on the list! Looks fairly easy to get to from the java ferry (fingers crossed anyway) :0) assume you stayed on the mainland rather than the island? Did you venture much into the National Park?

#6 Animal_lover has been a member since 1/10/2010. Posts: 10

Posted by bascanvas on 7/2/2013 at 02:35

Menjangan, Seraya secrets and the Liberty wreck at 6am before the crowds and during sunrise is magical. Some of the best diving around. Also Komodo and if you are up to it Bunaken NP and Lembeh strait on North Sulawesi. Bit out of the way but easily reached bij plane to Manado. And worth the trip.

#7 bascanvas has been a member since 18/9/2011. Posts: 14

Posted by tezza on 9/2/2013 at 18:57

It's not a great distance from Gilimanuk where the Java ferries land to Pemuteran which has the most accommodation. The north coast road is busy and would almost certainly have buses heading across to Singaraja and probably smaller public bemos to towns in between.
I don't think it is possible for tourists to stay on the island. There are a few places to stay around Labuan Lalan, the small departure harbour for the island which is abt 15-20 km west of Pemuteran. A really good choice in Pemuteran which is a nice town with okay snorkeling and diving off the beach.

I was time-short and didn't have a chance to do a National Park trek.

#8 tezza has been a member since 13/4/2006. Posts: 1,358

Posted by kitajimaland on 12/2/2013 at 21:01

How about Kanawa island near Komodo National Park......

#9 kitajimaland has been a member since 28/1/2013. Posts: 3

Posted by tezza on 13/2/2013 at 01:19

Yeah, one I forgot. I've snorkelled off Kanawa - was quite impressed. While not world class I'd consider it very close to Menjangan. Nice little island to stay on too and you are only a few minutes from the fringing reef.

#10 tezza has been a member since 13/4/2006. Posts: 1,358

Posted by tyler on 13/2/2013 at 22:02

Can definitely recommend Menjangan. You probably won't stay on the beach with a small budget though!

#11 tyler has been a member since 7/12/2010. Location: Canada. Posts: 257

Posted by pociteh on 17/2/2013 at 02:28

How about Karimun Jawa? It can be reached from Jepara or Semarang (both in Central Java) by speedboat. I haven't been there myself, but I've heard good reviews of it.


#12 pociteh has been a member since 17/2/2013. Posts: 4

Posted by Laszlo on 18/2/2013 at 20:48

I haven't been to Karimunjawa myself, but according to a well-traveled Indonesian friend it is only good by Javan standards, eg nothing special compared to places further east.
As Komodo NP has already been mentioned, I think Red Beach on the island of Komodo itself is also pretty good.

Other "bests", further out, include the Raja Ampat Islands, Banda Islands, Bunaken Marine Park, Alor, Sangalaki Islands.
All these would be quite a trip from Bali, with Bunaken being the easiest to reach and Raja Ampat the most spectacular (and expensive).

#13 Laszlo has been a member since 30/1/2013. Posts: 6

Posted by aqua_addict on 28/2/2013 at 00:22

Outside of Raja Empat or Komodo, i would advise to go East Bali, around Candidasa. Here you find the best dive sites of Bali within maximum 1 hour traveling.

As "experienced" Bali Diver is East Bali for me the "hidden pearl of Bali."

Dive sites like Tulamben (also snorkeling), Seraya, Amed, Candidasa (Gili Mimpang, Gili Tepekong) the dive sites around Padang Bai (also snorkeling), Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan are one of the best Bali has to offer.

Also with the variety of hotels and restaurants in Candidasa you can always find something which fits your wishes.

#14 aqua_addict has been a member since 28/2/2013. Posts: 1

Posted by wisnu on 8/3/2013 at 11:17

For turtles - go to Derawan or Lombok, plenty there.
If you are more snorkeler, you can also consider Tanjung Karang beach, Donggala Palu - the house reef strech more than a km. Not the best dive site for Indoneisan standard, but the place is quite relaxing.
From Donggala you can have a day trip to Marantale or Parigi - beautiful reef, huge sponges and cristal clear water; the vis. more than 40 m when we visited on July 2011. But if you're into big fish, you'll be dissapointed with Marantale. For shark lovers, you must dive Pasi kawe and north atol, dozens will be circling around you.

#15 wisnu has been a member since 8/3/2013. Posts: 5

Posted by tuanwalter on 24/3/2013 at 06:30

Hi Animal_lover,

My favourite islands are Alor and Pantar. Viz is fantastic there. I've been there 3 times already and am going again this July/August.

For dive operators, getting there and away, accommodation ... check out


All 4 dive operators have a good reputation. If you snorkel and do not dive, they will usually take you along on the dive boat. Some of the dive sites are good snorkelling sites as well.

Furthermore, snorkelling is good along the drop off in Alor Besar Village, where the water is shallow and calm, and off the small beaches on Kepa Island, where there is a bit of a current. On the latter, (as a snorkeller) you sometimes see blacktip reef sharks - they get pretty close to the shore - and turtles.

All the best,

Walter, Austria

#16 tuanwalter has been a member since 24/3/2013. Posts: 1

Posted by afron on 3/8/2013 at 21:50

I strongly recommend Alor.

#17 afron has been a member since 3/8/2013. Location: Austria. Posts: 19

Posted by holoholomango on 10/8/2013 at 23:35

I was just in Derawan and Maratua off of East Kalimantan and the marine life in this area is amazing. I highly recommend the Celebes Sea for diving. Lots of people going up to Sipadan in Sabah, Malaysia, but the islands off of East Kalimantan have a lot less traffic. There are tons of turtles near the village of Payung Payung on Maratua Island. Also, the diving off of Maratua is excellent. There are manta rays that gather around Sangalaki Island and the snorkeling with the stingless jellyfish on Kakaban Island was fun. The coral in this area is still in excellent condition, so I think this is the time to visit this area.

#18 holoholomango has been a member since 10/8/2013. Posts: 1

Posted by cbg0927 on 2/7/2014 at 05:46

Can anyone recommend a particular valuable place to get PADI open water certified? I'm on somewhat of a budget, so obviously heading to Raja Ambat would be out of the question.

A few places I'm looking at so far:

Nusa Lembongan
Either of the three Gilies off of Lombok

Would welcome any suggestions!

#19 cbg0927 has been a member since 30/7/2013. Location: United States. Posts: 62

Posted by mooball on 10/7/2014 at 22:20 TF writer

Pulau Weh is a good spot. It's off Aceh in the northern part of Sumatra. Not sure what the prices are around the place, but from memory Pulau was about 250 euro.

#20 mooball has been a member since 19/6/2010. Location: Australia. Posts: 439

Posted by peterrcole on 11/7/2017 at 04:56

My experience is purely for snorkeling. I did not find either East Bali or the general Menjangan area really excellent. You can see a lot of coral and fish off the beach in the Amed area. It is definitely nice there, but nothing compared to the coral and fish I saw in the past in Panama and in Eilat (which may not be so great at all by now). Menjangan island itself has pretty good snorkeling, better than anything I saw near Amed, but off the island it is TERRIBLE, really useless. You can only visit Menjangan on pre-arranged trips, which are quite expensive, so forget about snorkeling for hours off your hotel beach there. Overall perhaps Amed is better if you want to take your time and don't have a lit of money to spend. Overall the Amed area is a much nicer place to be, probably because the Menjangan area is a less Balinese sort of place, much more influenced by Java, including dynamite fishing from Javanese fishermen.

#21 peterrcole has been a member since 29/4/2015. Posts: 5

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