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Liveaboard Diving in Bali

From manta ray hotspots to World War II wrecks and some of the best muck diving in the world, Bali has a little bit of everything for those on a liveaboard diving adventure.

Bali liveaboards

The Indonesian archipelago has over thirteen thousand islands and sits inside the area known as the Coral Triangle. Of these islands, Bali is one of the most popular destinations for tourists. Of course, it hosts a number of fantastic dive sites as well. Because of this, several of Indonesia’s liveaboards service the Island of the Gods. But many of these itineraries combine Bali with other Indonesian destinations such as Komodo. Dive cruise itineraries including Bali vary between 4-11 days. The length will often depend on how many islands you choose to visit. There are two kinds of dive cruise available, namely motorised dive yachts and traditional Indonesian sailing boats. The sailing boats range from clean and simple like the KLM Euphoria and Lady Denok to high end luxury like the The Dewi Nusantara. The latter boasts a spa and ensuite rooms with their own baths. For something a little special, the master and state cabins of the Damai I and II have their own private balconies. In Bali, motor yachts are less common than sailing boats and most are simple and comfortable. If you want a little more luxury, the Blue Manta has very large cabins with ensuite baths and a classy dining area.

14 liveaboards in Bali

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Diving in Bali

Quick facts

Bali may be known as the Island of the Gods, but its underwater life makes it a wonderful destination for scuba divers. Here you’ll find a huge variety of scuba diving environments which host everything from huge manta rays to tiny pygmy seahorses. You might be lucky enough to see whitetip and blacktip reef sharks, mola mola, eagle rays, tuna, coconut octopus, mimic octopus, scorpion leaffish, hairy frogfish, painted frogfish, harlequin shrimp and a plethora of rare nudibranchs. As previously mentioned, you’ll find a mix of underwater environments around the island. In the northwest, there are brilliant coral reefs and steep walls for exploring. Along the north and east coasts, you’ll find muck environments rivalling those found in Lembeh. Check out Puri Jati, Seraya and Padang Bai’s Jetty if this interests you. The northeast of Bali hosts one of the best wreck dives in the world, the USAT Liberty. And just a short boat ride away from the mainland, you’ll find manta ray cleaning and feeding stations at Nusa Penida as well as upwellings which attract the elusive mola mola. Some of Bali’s dive sites can be challenging, but for the most part, they are appropriate for beginners. Still, many liveaboards departing from Bali will also visit Komodo. For this reason, liveaboard operators may require an Advanced certificate along with 50 logged dives. Check with your chosen operator for specific requirements.


April to November

It is possible to dive in Bali year-round. Your favored time of year may depend upon what you are looking for. However, the best months for diving in Bali in general are between April and November with the most liveaboard departures occurring from April to August. May to September is the dry season, while November to March is the rainy season. The months between, namely April and October, have the calmest surface conditions. You’ll generally find that sea temperatures vary more based on location than season. On one side of the island, you might be diving in 66°F (19°C) while on the other side, it’s 84°F (29°C). Although these fluctuations occur more often during the summer months (July to September). Visibility in Bali is usually great at about 50 feet (15m) or more. Sites reached by liveaboard can boast visibility of 100 feet (30m) even. During the rainy season, visibility can be diminished. Changes can also occur based on tidal shifts and moon cycles. In terms of marine life, the best time to spot manta rays is from December to April while the best time to see mola mola is during the month of August. Some macro critters also have a season. It appears that mimic octopus are most commonly seen around the month of April. While the above may be true in general, we have been warned that changes in sea temperatures have shifted Bali’s diving seasons. It’s still unknown how permanent these changes will be or the impact they will have. So, it’s best to contact our scuba travel expert or your chosen operator to determine the current year’s optimal diving time.

View our full scuba guide

How to Get to Bali

Ngurah Rai International Airport is Bali’s only airport. It’s located on the south side of the island and welcomes direct flights from many Asian destinations, including Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Dubai. If you are flying from Europe, South America or North America, you will most likely need to connect through one of these cities. The majority of liveaboards in Bali depart from Benoa Harbour. This is just a short ½ to 1 hour ride from the airport. Many of the dive safari crews will pick you up at the airport and take you directly to the port. If you need to arrange your own transportation, taxis can easily be found outside the gate.

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