Bali is one of the premier scuba diving locations in Southeast Asia with warm waters, excellent visibility, stunning natural reefs, and shipwrecks to explore. There are many dive schools to choose from on the island, so it is a good location for anyone who wants to try out the sport for the first time or improve their skills. A discovery dive offers the most basic instruction and the chance to explore underwater with the assistance of a qualified instructor. If people wish to begin diving regularly, the best option will be the PADI Open Water Course. There are also many operators on the island who will be able to arrange diving one day trips, dive safaris, or liveaboard tours.
Scuba Diving Courses Available in Bali
The most popular types of diving course in Bali are part of the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) system. There are many options to choose from including:
- The PADI Open Water Course is the basic course that takes about three to four days to complete and those who complete this training will receive their diving license. The Open Water course involves a bit of classroom work, practice in a swimming pool, and four real dives.
- The Adventure Diver course is all about fun, and it can include things like wreck diving, underwater photography, night diving, search and recovery diving, and multilevel diving.
- Advanced Open Water Diver builds on the skills that were picked up during the basic open water course. Participants in this course can get to choose from any of the adventure dives – this course usually involves five dives in total.
- Rescue Diver is all about learning about problems that can occur underwater, and it is also about finding out how to deal with them.
- Master Diver Course is the highest non-professional qualification available within the PADI system.
Many of the schools in Bali also offer an Introduction Dive which only lasts one day. It usually involves a basic instruction to the theory of diving and two dives. This course is also sometimes referred to as the Discover course.
Where to Learn to Scuba Dive in Bali
There are many scuba diving schools to choose from in Bali including:
- Bali Scuba is based in Sanur, and they offer PADI Discover Scuba Diving (US $149), Open Water (US $499), Advanced Open Water (US $499), and Dive Master (US $2099 with accommodation) – – all prices correct as of mid-2013. They also offer a good selection of specialty courses including; Emergency First Response, Enriched Air Diving, Deep Diving, Underwater Naturalist, Peak Performance Buoyancy, and Drift Diver.
- Atlantis International Bali is a large school that offers a full range of courses including; Open Water (US $460), Adventure Diver (US $245), Advanced Diver (US $360), Rescue Diver (US $370), and Introduction Dive (US $125).
- 4 Fun Diving Bali in Padangbai has a half-day discovery course (US $75), Scuba Review Refresher Course (US $60), Open Water ($360), Junior Open Water (US $380), Advanced Open Water (US $325), and Dive Master (US $925). This school can also arrange special packages which include accommodation in Padangbai.
- Pro Dive Bali offers all the popular courses, and they ask that customers contact them directly for prices. They have a dive shop in Kuta.
- Bali Aqua currently (mid-2013) have a special offer at the moment where they provide two-nights accommodation along with the PADI Open Water course for US $510. They are based in Sanur, and they offer a full range of courses to choose from.
- Dive Centre Bali in Kuta can provide introductory dives, Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver, and specialty courses. They can also arrange an Instructor Development Course (IDC).
- Bali International Diving Professionals offers amateur and professional courses. They specialize in underwater photography and video courses.
- Bali Diving in Sanur is able to provide both PADI and SSI Diving courses.
- Gecko Dive offers everything from introduction dives to the dive master course.
- Bali Bubbles in Cadidasa offers dive courses from PADI, SSI, and DAN.
PADI Courses Online
It is possible to save a bit of money on the PADI course by completing the theory parts of the course online before arriving. There are a number of schools that are willing to offer this option. Those individuals who have not dived in a long time may also benefit from the online Tune-Up which is a type of refresher course.
Best Scuba Diving Spots in Bali
Bali offers some excellent dive spots to choose from including:
- There are a number of reefs close to Amed that are teeming with marine life including Cemeluk Reef, Uyah Reef, and Bunutan Reef.
- The wreck of the USS Liberty has been transformed over the years into the most beautiful reef in the waters around Bali.
- The Lipah shipwreck in Lipah Bay is a Japanese steel freighter that lies in relatively shallow water. This wreck is now almost completely covered in black coral and sponges.
- Manta Point is just off the coast from Nusa Penida. This is the place to go if people want to get close to manta rays.
- Tulamben Bay offers some of the most plankton-rich waters in Bali so marine life is abundant here. It is a unique place to dive because of black sands on sea floor, and the diverse ecosystem.
- The Blue Lagoon close to Padangbai is a popular sport for beginner divers because there is some excellent reef just three meters below the water.
- Gili Biaha is best reached from Candidasa – it takes about thirty minutes by boat. There is some excellent visibility in the water here, and it is a good option for those who want to get up close to sharks.
- The waters around Menjangan Island also offer good visibility and plenty of marine life. This island is in a protected area, and it is part of West Bali National Park.
Best Time of Year to Scuba Dive in Bali
It is possible to scuba dive in Bali the whole year round. The best time of year though, would be between May and September.
Scuba Diving Tours in Bali
If you are looking to go on a scuba diving tour, some of the best options would include:
- Taski Divers Bali have a shop in Kuta and they can arrange diving tours lasting from 7 to 12 nights.
- Puri Wirata Dive Resort and Spa is a 5 Star Resort where the focus is on diving. They offer a number of packages that involving accommodation and daily dives – they also supply diving equipment.
- 4 Fun Diving Bali (see above) is able to offer dive safaris for groups made up of more than four people.
- Pro Dive Bali specialize in dives of the Liberty Bell wreck.
- Dive Centre Bali can arrange day trips as well as two to five day diving safaris.
- Bali Diving offers day trips, diving safaris, and liveaboards. They can also arrange tours to place such as Komodo Island.
Where to Hire Scuba Diving in Bali
Most of the scuba diving schools on Bali will be able to arrange equipment hire. There are also many dive shops such as:
- The Dive Store on Jalan Benesari in Kuta.
- Dive Sport has a shop on Jalan By-pass Ngurah Rai in Sanur and Jalan Pantai in Kuta.
- Beyond Scuba rents out scuba gear and underwater cameras.