Diving In Indonesia: CNN’s Favorite

Diving In Indonesia: CNN’s Favorite

Diving in Indonesia from a sail boat

- Dudarev Mikhail

With over two thousand participants, Indonesia holds the Guinness Book World Record for organizing a scuba diving lessons and simultaneous diving attended by the most number of participants.

This amazing achievement and others like it make Indonesia truly one of the biggest names in the top diving destinations of the world.

Indonesia: A Tropical Paradise

Indonesia, a Southeast Asian country, is considered to be the largest archipelago in the world with 17,508 islands. It is the fourth most populous country with the largest Muslim population in the world with over 240.3 million people inhabiting 6,000 of its islands.

Five main islands compose the island country of Indonesia.
These include Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Irian Jaya, and Java. Land borders and boundaries are shared with Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Malaysia.

With the abundant wealth of flora and fauna nurtured by its wilderness and pristine seas, Indonesia follows Brazil as the second richest country in terms of biodiversity.

Although Indonesia is considered to be a highly industrialized country, concerned institutions have begun initiating efforts to protect its natural resources from human exploitation.

The biodiversity of diving in Indonesia

The wilderness meets the pristine sea - Credit: KKG Photo

Diving in Indonesia

17,508 islands, 80,000 kilometers of coastline, 3.1 million square kilometers of territorial waters, 3,000 fish species, and 600 coral species—all of these combine to make Indonesia one of the best countries to visit for an ultimate scuba experience.

Indonesia, recognized as the heart of marine biodiversity, accommodates beginning and seasoned divers alike in their quest for an outstanding underwater escapade. Encompassing 20% of the world’s coral reefs and tending 10 times more fish species than Caribbean seas, Indonesian diving is nothing short of remarkable.

Indonesia is an excellent destination for shallow reef diving as well as for deep wreck and wall dives. Its crystalline waters provide numerous opportunities to meet and greet a gigantic group of tunas, sharks and barracudas. Great possibilities for swimming with the elite individuals of dugongs and sperm whales are also readily available.

Sperm whales seen while diving in Indonesia

A pod of sperm whales - Credit: Shane Gross

Given Indonesia’s ideal location, diving with beautiful underwater life and taking striking pictures of them need not be expensive. Dive resorts and live-aboard charters are available throughout the country for divers with different experience and budget levels.

Gentle weather conditions in Indonesia make this country a great diving destination all year round. The months between April and December provide the best season for diving, as the majority of the Indonesian provinces experience their rainy season from January to March.

With an average visibility reaching up to 80 meters, divers can witness the astounding coralline structures built into Indonesia’s underwater heaven.

Dive Sites

In August 2007, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono showed full support to the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI), making Indonesia one of the six CTI nations. Through this plan of action, rigorous coral preservation, sustainable fishery establishment, and food security will all be established.

Taking an active part as a corner of the coral triangle has indeed contributed to the beautiful transformation of Indonesian dive sites. In fact, CNN named three diving spots in Indonesia as some of the top 10 stunning underwater sites in Asia. These diving sites include Komodo in East Nusatenggara province, Raja Ampat in West Papua, and Tulamben in Bali.

Here's Sustainable Diving: How To Become An Environmentally Friendly Diver.

Diving in Indonesia at Raja Ampat

The colorful underwater realms of Raja Ampat - Credit: Andrea Izzotti

Several other awesome diving destinations in Indonesia that are highly recommended are as follows:

  • Bunaken National Marine Park
  • Lembeh Strait
  • Banda Islands

Komodo

World famous for its living dragons, the island of Komodo also has a strong reputation for world-class diving.

Waters can be cold and currents can be strong in the Komodo seas; but diving in the Komodo National Park is definitely worth the thrill for its abundant pelagics, lovely critters and sensational macro-action.

Witness the dazzling kaleidoscope of colors and amazing diversity as mantas, eagle rays and pygmy seahorses harmoniously live in this submarine dwelling. Several species of dolphins, ghost pipefish, and blue-ringed octopus also make Komodo truly “one of the most diverse and vibrant dive spots on the planet,” as affirmed by CNN.

You can try Diving Komodo Island: The Liveaboard Way.

Blue ringed octopus spotted while diving in Indonesia

The deadly blue-ringed octopus - Credit: timsimages

Raja Ampat

With over 537 flamboyant species of corals and 1,074 distinct species of fish, Raja Ampat in Irian Jaya undeniably holds the highest record of marine diversity on earth.

With its picturesque topside scenery and magnificent underwater topography, it is tragic that this underwater heaven is not as frequently visited as other dive sites.

Bali

Situated 30 meters from Bali’s shoreline, Tulamben is indeed perfect for a convenient yet world-class dive. Popular for wreck diving, Tulamben takes pride in the submerged cargo ship, USAT Liberty.

After being hit by a Japanese torpedo during the Second World War, this shipwreck has been a scenic haven of underwater marvels for several decades.

USAT Liberty while diving in Indonesia

The USAT Liberty wreck - Credit: Dudarev Mikhail

Sulawesi

Thousands of marine biologists, underwater photographers, and diving enthusiasts share the same wonderful diving experiences in Sulawesi’s warm and nutrient-rich waters.

As one of the well-known highlights of Indonesian diving, the internationally famous Bunaken National Marine Park in North Sulawesi is often quoted by local and foreign scuba divers alike as one of their top ten dive destinations.

Deep-sea divers also adore Lembeh Strait for awesome muck diving. Living in its waters are rare and exceptional critters such as the hairy frogfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, stargazers and the mimic octopus.

In Lembeh Strait, these interesting subjects that you have only watched on your TV screens through National Geographic documentaries come to life.

Diving in Indonesia for rare frog fish

A big rare frog fish in Lembeh Strait - Credit: Image Focus

Banda Islands

The small population and remoteness of Banda Islands have provided this area with some advantages.

Since fishing in these islands is not as extensive as in other coastal areas, Banda Islands have successfully grown large sea fans and thick coral gardens. Gigantic pelagics such as spinner dolphins and cetaceans are just a few of its hundreds of endearing visitors.

To Know More About Indonesia

From the world’s best island resort of Bali to the shopping paradise of the capital city Jakarta, there are innumerable natural wonders and historical places that Indonesia has to offer. Choose from among the best hotels fronting a scenic seascape or convenient hostels that fit your budget.

Flying to Indonesia is convenient for tourists and visitors. With several international flights and couriers gaining access to Indonesia, simply obtain a valid visa and you will be on your way to discovering  the wonders of Indonesia.

About The Author

Torben Lonne

Torben is a top skilled PADI MSDT instructor. He has worked several years with scuba diving in Indonesia and Thailand - and dived most of his life in most of the world. He is also the co-founder and chief-editor of DIVE.in you can always catch him here [email protected]

1 Comment

  1. GonnaDive

    Bali (I dive in Bali right now, so please forgive me for focussing more on this side):
    Every dive site has different characteristics. The most popular places are
    – Tulamben (Liberty wreck and drop off, shore dive, recommended for night dive, too – moray eels, blue spotted rays, black tips, turtles, nudis, shrimps, barracudas, scorpionfish and so on),
    – Nusa Penida (good chance for manta ray any time, mola-mola from July to September, reef sharks),
    – Amed (reef wall with lobsters, eel garden, large schools of different reef fishes – trevally, snapper, bannerfish, surgeonfish, parrotfish etc.),
    – Padangbai (blue lagoon, drift dive, muck dive – nudibranchs, lionfish, octopuses, the reef is very colourful here)
    – Nusa Lembongan (drift dives, small crabs, nudis, scorpionfish, moray eel, lionfish and a variety of reef fishes),
    – Menjangan Island (national park with magnificent diving and snorkelling opportunities, lionfish, frogfish, eel garden, turtles, reef sharks)
    – Gili Tepekong and Gili Mimpang (for advanced divers, medium to strong current, shark point)

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