Top 5 Reasons to SCUBA Dive in Indonesia
Indonesia is a country that spans the entire length of Southeast Asia and more, coming to rest above Australia and against Papua New Guinea.
With over 17,000 islands it's no surprise that Indonesia has a lot to offer divers. Rebecca Mayoll was lucky to travel in Indonesia for 7 months and as a SCUBA diver she spent a lot of her time in the ocean.
In this article Rebecca has included the most popular and most intriguing diving destinations in Indonesia: Bali, Nusa Penida, Gilli Islands, Komodo, Derawan, Lembeh, Halmahera and Raja Ampat.
1. Indonesia Boasts a Variety of Underwater Landscapes
In Indonesia you can tempt yourself with incredibly different and often unique underwater landscapes.
Bali boasts some wonderful wreck diving; Halamhera's volcanic vents give you the chance to wallow in water heated from a local volcano; Komodo and Nusa Penida's incredible walls cascade into the abyss; Lembeh is famous for its black sand beaches while the GiIli Islands and Derawan are known for their pristine white sands strewn with coral.
The only difficult bit is choosing what you want to see next.
2. Which Means Great Diving Locations to Suit Every Ability
Indonesia is perfect to learn how to dive. Thanks to its sheltered sandy coves Bali, the Gilli Islands and Lembeh are superb locations for a beginner. Even several of Komodo's dive sites offer great learning conditions although this area is more well known for its strong currents which offer an adrenaline rush to even the most seasoned diver.
3. There's Incredible Animal Diversity
From mighty mola mola and mantas to macro critters and flamboyant cuttlefish, Indonesia's underwater diversity is second to none.
You can blame the larger than life creatures on warm and cold currents colliding and providing a substantial food source in places like Komodo which see's most of Indonesia's bigger creatures. In Lembeh however the black sand slopes have created a haven for creatures that many divers wait a lifetime to see.
Have you ever heard of a hairy frogfish, blue ringed octopus or the menacing stargazer? Well, if not then this is the place to view all of these. Raja Ampat is world renowned for having the most marine biodiversity (more different types of fish) plus it's very own species of shark.
Derawan and the Gilli Islands have oodles of tropical fish and reef sharks while Nusa Penida has masses of manta rays and your best chances to catch the human-sized sunfish.
4. There's Heaps of Land Adventures Too
Indonesia plays hosts to a wonderful array of land activities.
There's steamy jungles inhabited by orang-utans, tens of volcanoes to climb, cliff top vistas, deserted beaches, ancient architecture and very friendly people.
That makes it a wonderful place to combine a diving holiday with a bit of culture, adventure or world class wildlife spotting. In Halmahera Island, for instance, you can hike the slopes of Dukono volcano one day before diving its slopes the next while in Komodo you can come face-to-face with sluggish Komodo dragons before taking to the ocean and swimming alongside graceful sea turtles.
5. Diving to Suit Every Budget
For non budget conscious travellers there are numerous live-a-board operations throughout Indonesia and while they can be expensive they will offer you the chance to visit rarely dived sites or even take on exploratory dives. Budget travellers can opt for a cheaper or more localised live-a-board without "the frills."
This may involve sleeping alongside other divers on the ships deck or living in simple cabins with shared bathrooms. In most locations you will also find operators conducting day trips to their local reefs or extra cheap dives on the "house reef." This is the cheapest way to dive, luckily for us Komodo, Bali, Gilli Islands, Lembeh, Halmahera, Derawan, Nusa Pendia and Raja Ampat all offer incredible day dives.
With so much to see and do the only hard part is choosing where to start but a trip to Indonesia's underwater mecca is never going to disappoint.
By Rebecca Mayoll