Indonesia’s Top 5 Scuba Diving Spots to Not Miss

by Ruba
A close up of a sea turtle in the coral reefs in the Misool diving area, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

With over 17,000 islands at the heart of the Indian Ocean, Indonesia has one of the best scuba diving spots in the world.

Famous for its lush rainforests, wildlife, crystal-clear beaches, rich culture, and adventurous activities, Indonesia is a destination visited by millions of tourists every year with a huge portion aiming to scuba dive there. 

As I enjoyed staying 5 months in Indonesia, I had the opportunity to complete nearly 30 dives around the best diving spots in Indonesia. 

So, here are my top 5 diving spots in this beautiful country to experience.

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1. Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat archipelago is a cluster of remote islands in East Indonesia. West Papua Guinea Regency governs Raja Ampat islands, and the main island in Raja Ampat is Waisai.

Raja Ampat is the ultimate scuba diving haven for scuba divers. It’s claimed to be one of the top 10 scuba diving spots in the world, according to the PADI diving institute. 

Aerial view of the small islands in the Raja Ampat Islands

Raja Ampat is one of the best diving spots in Indonesia. Photo credit: Travel with Ruba

Where to Stay in Raja Ampat for the Best Diving Experience

It’s important to keep in mind that traveling to Raja Ampat comes with a price tag. 

This is because most resorts are remote and your stay will include boat transfers, diving sessions, and all meals are covered. 

The stays I chose for this article guarantee the highest comfort levels and offer the best scuba diving experience, and electricity is available 24/7. 

Wi-Fi connection can be tricky in Raja Ampat. Thus, I advise you either buy a SIM card from Telkomsel. Click here to buy one from Jakarta Airport. 

Or install an E-sim by Airalo and choose the Telkomsel network, as it’s the only network that works in Raja Ampat.

The top accommodations to enjoy scuba diving in Raja Ampat are:

Kri Eco Resort

Named based on the nearby island, Kri Island, which offers the top scuba diving experience in the world where over 370 species were spotted in a single dive. 

At Kri Resort, they offer extensive diving packages with a full board meal basis. 

Kri Eco Resort offers up to 4 dives per day visiting nearby islands including Kri Island within a 15-30-minute boat ride. 

Tip: Opt for sunset dives on Kri Island spot for mesmerizing dives to witness the sea currents carrying the schools of sardines, barracudas, sweet lips, and many more small and big fish schools. 

A wooden boardwalk over the water leading to bungalows at Kri Eco Resort, Raja Ampat

Kri Eco Resort is a beautiful place to start your scuba diving adventures in Indonesia. Photo credit: Travel with Ruba

Misool Eco Resort

Misool Eco Resort is located on a private island that is 165 kilometers (102 miles) to the south of the main port of Sorong City. 

Misool can be reached through their private speed boat transfer which takes 5 hours to get to the resort. 

It’s not an easy trip to get to Misool Eco Resort. 

But because of its remoteness and its location in the south of Raja Ampat islands, the marine life is unbeatable and the scuba diving experience is one of the best in the world.  

Best 5 Reasons Misool Eco Resort is the Top Diving Spot in Raja Ampat

  • Reason #1: Misool Eco Resort happens to be a conversation center that is 300,000 acres/ 1220 sq km in size. The resort is located on one of its many islands that offers easy access to a world-class diving experience.
  • Reason #2: The remoteness of the resort in the southern area of Raja Ampat and the many inhabitant islands makes it the perfect spot to do drift dives and swim with manta rays at the manta cleaning spots and sharks. 
  • Reason #3: The service and the 1 attendant to 4 guests (1:4) with a maximum of 40 guests makes the experience very special and personalized for the guests. From the moment you are picked up from Sorong in their comfy speed boat until the minutes you leave, attention to detail for your ultimate comfort is present. 
  • Reason #4: All dive sites are within 15 minutes of reach from the resort and even better, you get shore access from the crystal-clear beaches of the resort. Whether you’re a scuba diver or just want to relax, unwind, and do shoe snorkeling, Misool offers all those. 
  • Reason #5: All the accommodation options are either over-water bungalows or villas with direct access to the beach, like the Maldives resort style. 

Four boats on the white sandy beach shore of Raja Ampat Islands

Photo credit: Travel with Ruba

Other Accommodation Options

Basic Over-Water Bungalows

The above 2 resorts are the top eco-resorts that always ensure your comfort. Yet. there are more affordable options if you want to visit Raja Ampat with budget restrictions. 

Click here to see options on for Kri Island. 

Click for accommodation options on for Waisai. 

Liveaboard Diving Boats

Another option to enjoy Raja Ampat’s unique archipelago and marine life, and many opt for this, is choosing to do one to two weeks on a liveaboard diving boat. 

This might not be the most economical option, but it will cover the whole Raja Ampat key diving spots from North to South. To book your Liveaboard diving spot, book through

How to Get to Raja Ampat

To get to Raja Ampat, take a flight to Sorong City (airport code: SOQ), the capital of West Papua Guinea. 

You can find direct domestic flights from the main hubs in Indonesia, such as Jakarta, Bali (added recently in 2024), Makassar, and Manado. Currently, Sorong is not served by international flights. 

From Sorong, your pre-booked accommodation will arrange the pickup and drop off from Sorong’s main port. Or, take the ferry from Sorong Port and go to Waisai. The trip to Waisai usually takes around 2 hours.

Tip: To buy your ferry ticket, you must go to the port in person as they only accept cash payment. On the ferry, you have a choice of VIP class which includes an air-conditioned cabin, or the regular class. 

2. Manado (North Sulawesi)

Manado is a city located in North Sulawesi on Sulawesi Island.

Served by a domestic airport that connects Manado (airport code: MDC) with the rest of Indonesia and probably Manado is the least known city for scuba divers. 

Top 3 Reasons Manado is a Top Diving Spot

  • Reason #1: From Manado, you can access 2 famous scuba diving sites. They are called Bunaken and Lembeh diving sites. 
  • Reason #2: Bunaken Islands is a 45-minute boat ride from Manado. It’s a cluster of 5 islands that make Bunaken Marine Park, where you can find slop dives and corals perfect for a reef dive and spotting critters. 
    • During the dry season (May – October), the visibility can reach up to 25 meters (82 feet). During the rainy season (January – March) the visibility drops to 10 meters (33 feet), yet it’s a great place to watch for soft and hard corals. 
  • Reason #3: Lempeh Island is the world diving place for muck dives, located 10 minutes by boat from Bitung city and 90 minutes from Manado airport. Lempeh Strait is world known for muck dives which makes it perfect for underwater professional photography!

The Best Scuba Diving Center in Manado

The best scuba diving center where they can arrange accommodation with diving packages and has branches in Bali is Two Fish Divers. It’s a 5-star diving center and they provide exceptional diving experience with no detail spared. 

How to Get to Manado

You can take domestic flights from several hubs inside Indonesia, a few to name, Jakarta, Bali, Sorong, Makassar, and others. 

Because of its far away location, for example, a flight from Bali can take up to 4 hours, and from Jakarta, it can take around 3 hours flight time.

3. Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida is a unique island that is near Bali island. Famous for its seaside rock formations and for spotting the mola mola (sunfish) and much more. 

Reasons Why Nusa Penida Island is a Unique Diving Spot

  • Reason #1: Nusa Penida Island is very popular for spotting the mola mola fish (sunfish). Taking the diving boat and heading 30 minutes to Crystal Bay and then jumping to dive at 25-30 meters (82-98 feet) depth while swimming in the cold currents that can dip between 16-20°C (61-68°F) creates the perfect recipe to spot the Mola Mola fish. 

Tip: You need to have an advanced scuba diving license and it’s best if you logged over 30 dives as the currents are strong at this site. It’s very cold, therefore, a full wet suit is recommended at this site.

A large rock with a staircase in the middle of the ocean, off of Crystal Beach in Nusa Penida, Indonesia

Here is a diving area to see mola mola on Penida Island. Photo credit: Travel with Ruba

  • Reason #2: In Nusa Penida, you can dive and swim with the manta rays at Manta Point. Similar to Crystal Bay, the dive is deep and visibility is minimal which can be a challenging dive for nonexperience divers. 

TIP: The boat trip to Manta Point can encounter rough seas, as the diving boats are relatively small and the sea is choppy. It’s best to take the anti-seasickness pills before the trip. 

  • Reason #3: For open water scuba divers, do not worry. You can still enjoy the reef dives that dip to 18 meters (59 feet) with gentle currents taking you over the rich corals and colorful reef fish. Diving at these spots is so much fun as it’s easy and very colorful.
  • Reason #4: The non-diving reasons! Nusa Penida has beautiful pristine beaches, in addition to beautiful sea cliffs and viewpoints. It’s no wonder it’s a fantastic alternative to Bali Island

Top 5 Places to Visit in Nusa Penida

  • Kelingking Rock – Well-known for its T-Rex dinosaur-shaped rock. The best time to visit Kelingking is either at 7:00am before the crowds start coming or after 3:00pm when the daily tours leave the island. It requires some steep hiking, therefore, mud/waterproof hiking shoes are encouraged if you choose to go all the way down to the beach. 

Tip: While at the beach just beware of the massive waves, it’s very dangerous to swim due to the high waves and rocks. (It’s currently banned to swim there.)

A side view of a white sandy beach of Kelingking Beach

Kelingking Beach is a must visit in Penida Island. Photo credit: Life Of Doing

  • Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong –  Prepare your camera to capture the most captivating views of the waves crashing underneath the Broken Beach rocks. You can get some refreshments at this site and use the swing facing the sea. This site is not suitable for a swim. 
  • Diamond Beach is a crystal-clear water beach where you need to hike down. Practice caution when swimming at Diamond Beach. Hiking shoes are advisable at this site too.
  • Crystal Bay Beach is probably one of my top beaches on Nusa Penida Island. You can bring your towel or rent a chair and swim at this pristine beach. Waves are slightly big, therefore, do not go in the deep while swimming and stay close to the shore. The food from the stalls is so delicious. 
A women walking into the ocean from Crystal Bay Beach, Nusa Islands

Enjoy Crystal Bay Beach when you’re in Nusa Penida. Photo credit: Travel with Ruba

  • Finding a spot for sunset – Watching the sunset from Amok Sunset, one of the viewing spots on the island, for magical sunset moments, chilling by the pool, and a decent dinner. 

Tip: In Nusa Penida make sure you have enough cash with you as most places accept only cash. Finding an ATM can be a difficult mission. 

The Best Scuba Diving Center in Nusa Penida

The ultimate best scuba diving shop in Nusa Penida is Pure Diving

With their high-quality service and small ratio of instructor to diver while ensure your safety in all dives. I strongly recommend Pure Dive.

Pure Dive has 2, 3, and 7-day diving packages that include 3-star hotel accommodation, breakfast and lunch, and equipment rentals. They do offer refresher dives too.  

A small boat owned by Pure Dive Resort on the water of Nusa Penida

Pure Dive Resort is recommended for diving excursions in Nusa Penida. Photo credit: Travel with Ruba

How to Get to Nusa Penida

First, take a flight to Bali’s International Airport (airport code: DPS), you could fly either directly to Bali or get a domestic flight from Jakarta or many other hubs in Indonesia.

Second, you would need to go to Sanur where the main port is, and book the fast ferry which will take around 40 minutes ride.

If you have a few days extra, consider spending time on the other Nusa Islands such as Ceningan and Lembongan.

4. Gili Islands

Gili Islands is a cluster of 3 islands off the shore of Lombok Island that is not far away from Bali. 

These islands are Gili Trawangan (Gili T for short), the biggest and Party Island, Gili Meno (the smallest Island), and Gili Air (the quiet island). 

A black colored mermaid statue on a beach area off of Gili Air, Indonesia

Here is a low tide on Gili Air. Photo credit: Travel with Ruba

Top 3 Reasons Gili Islands is a Cool Diving Spot

  • Reason #1: Gili Meno, the smallest island is the best island to spot sea turtles! Who doesn’t enjoy watching sea turtles swimming under the water?! In Gili Meno, you don’t have to be a scuba diver to spot beautiful aquatic life. Just grab your snorkeling gear and enjoy endless corals that stretch to the nearby islands!
  • Reason #2: The reef between Gili Meno and Gili T is very rich with marine life, and you can enjoy beautiful wreck dives, Shark Points, and Manta Points that are suitable for all scuba diving levels. 
    • The visibility is great all year round and the water temperature is between 28-30°C (82-86°F). A wet suit is not needed.
  • Reason #3: If you are staying at Gili T, you can enjoy the party scene at night and watch magical sunsets by the beach and the best part is all Gili Islands are car-free! You can walk or ride a bike around the island.
A yellow boat floating in the clear blue water off a beach from Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

Gili Trawangan has gorgeous crystal clear waters. Photo credit: Travel with Ruba

The Best Scuba Diving Centre in Gili Islands

There are plentiful diving centers located mostly at Gili T island. 

My favorite scuba diving where you have high attention to detail, a personalized experience, and almost a 1 instructor to 1 diver is From Zero to Hero Diving Centre

How to Get to Gili Islands

You have 2 options to get to Gili Islands, the first option is to fly to Lombok International Airport (airport code: LOP) and then drive to the port and take the ferry to one of the Gili’s. The ferry journey is under 30 minutes. 

The second option is to fly to Bali International Airport (airport code: DPS) and then drive to the port for 2 hours and then take the speed ferry to Gili, the journey by ferry takes just under 3 hours. A ferry pre-booking is advisable. 

5. Amed (Bali)

Bali’s Amed is the best diving place for spotting critters and red fire corals where the sea is calm and meets the great heights of the sacred Mount Agung in Bali. 

Top Reasons for Scuba Diving in Amed

  • Reason #1: This is the best scuba diving spot for all scuba diving levels and a great place to obtain diving certificates. The sea is calm, and all dives are shore dives with a maximum of 18 meters (59 feet) in depth. 
  • Reason #2: Due to the volcanic activities of the nearby Mount Agung, the contrast between the dark-colored lava meeting the bright red corals makes scuba diving a unique experience
  • Reason #3: Amed diving spots offer amazing wreck dives as the wreck is almost in perfect condition. The visibility is usually high and the water temperature all year round is between 28-30°C (82-86°F).
  • Reason #4: The nature of the seabed in Amed makes it perfect for spotting critters while diving and colorful small fish. 
  • Reason #5: Amed offers so many boutique hotels and dining places within walking distance. It used to be the main port bustling town to get to Gili Islands, but the Indonesian Government moved the port elsewhere.
    • As a result of the move, the town is quieter and attracts lots of nomads who are seeking beautiful nature with astonishing seas. From Amed, you can visit nearby rice terraces. 

The Best Scuba Diving Center in Amed

Two Fish Divers Shop is the top diving shop in Amed. They have other branches scattered across Indonesia and they offer full diving packages including accommodation and meals. 

And if you dive with Two Fish Divers, you can get the 10th dive for free regardless of the dive location as long as you booked with Two Fish Divers. 

How to Get to Amed

After arriving on Bali Island, you can hire a driver to take you to Amed. The journey takes around 2 hours from the airport to reach Amed, located on the east side

Life Of Doing Editorial Note: If you need a recommendation for a driver in Bali, contact us here. We can share the contact information for a driver that we’ve used a few times. 

Final Thoughts

As a final note, Indonesia offers amazing diving spots given its location in one of the world-class diving spots. 

Other amazing diving places are the Komodo Islands which you can access by a flight to Labuan Bajo airport (airport code: LBJ). Komodo is famous for its Komodo dragons and also has pink beaches, Manta Points, sea turtles, and an abundance of coral reefs.

To enjoy exploring all the top diving sites in Indonesia. is an option to consider going to all remote areas. But Raja Ampat will remain in the top spot for sure. 

Follow my travel adventures at Travel with Ruba.

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A close up of a sea turtle in the corals of Misool, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Featured photo & pin #1 photo credit: Andaman via

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Ruba February 19, 2024 - 3:56 pm

It is a true heaven Indonesia, a must destination to do scuba diving 🙂

Jackie March 3, 2024 - 6:57 pm

Many thanks for sharing your experience Ruba!


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