Need Help with Best Dive Spots in Bali
Hello! My husband and I are planning a trip to Bali in 2014. We plan to do a variety of different activities, not just diving. I was wondering if anyone could recommend the best places to dive in Bali, as well as hotels? Ideally, we want somewhere that isn't too remote, where you could go to local restaurants at night and that sort of thing. Or if there was a "all-in-one" dive resort, that would be OK too. I have been looking at Tulamben. We are PADI Open Water certified and have been diving in the Caribbean, Red Sea, and Pacific. I would describe us as intermediate divers who want relaxing, non-complicated dives. As for hotels, this trip is for my 40th birthday, so were looking for recommendations on really nice, luxury sort of places. Kind thanks!
Check out the link to Scuba Seraya. Easy diving, great accommodations, wonderful people. http://www.scubaseraya.com/
We love Scuba Seraya as well - intimate, well run dive resort with terrific muck diving (we've been twice + are looking at a third stay). JudyG likely has detailed reports on some of her Seraya stays at awoosh.com
Since you mention it's your 40th though, I will tell you that Seraya's massages sucked. If you want massages/spa in Tulamben, there aren't a wealth of options - Mimpi Tulamben down the road has the best nearby spa we've found but it is nowhere near as good as e.g. Jamu Spa in Sanur/Jakarta. For restaurants, Seraya has an in-house restaurant and most guests tend to eat there but there are other restaurants housed in nearby dive resorts.
Seraya is a very nice dive resort, but if it's all-out luxury you're looking for, you might want to consider a couple days in one of the 5* luxury resorts in Ubud, Jimbaran, Seminyak, etc. Tulamben has excellent diving, but not hotels at that level. Be warned that accessing any great diving from Ubud, Jimbaran or Seminyak will involve long car rides -- you might want to split your stay between great diving and luxurious hotels.
For luxury hotels, I visited friends for dinner at Ayana and thought it was stunning. Food and drink were incredible as well, and their rock bar is famous as well as gorgeous: http://www.ayanaresort.com/en/gallery/
I suspect the ultimate diving/luxury combo would actually be one of the top liveaboards - Arenui or Damai I or II. Massage is usually available, as well as land visits to more remote areas. You could easily do a 7 or 10 day trip with time to spare for topside touring before or after. I can vouch for the incredible beauty of Komodo and Raja, but have not dove those particular boats yet.
Or for Bali area land-based dive resorts we've visited with greater than average amenities, there's Villa Pantai on Nusa Lembongan (we visited the great spa and supped at the restaurant - however we did not enjoy Lembongan diving anywhere near as much as diving in Tulamben, except for the manta and mola mola dives). Mimpi Menjangan has villas, a spa that we couldn't get into when we were there and wonderful natural hot springs, but we weren't blown away by the food when we were there in 08, and it's a significant drive to get there (although we did some quality touring on the way there and back). Both we haven't seen in several years so I would check trip advisor for the latest. Whether you love the diving in either place will depend on your experience and what you're looking for.
If you're willing to consider resorts outside Bali you might also want to look at Aman on Moyo Island (not too far from Bali but not sure how serious the dive op is - have dove several sites there via liveaboard, all beautiful) or Wakatobi on South Sulawesi (significant flight from Bali, well known dive resort).
In summary: ultimate diving + luxury, I would look into liveaboards for 7-10 days.
Great diving with luxury/high end accommodations on Bali itself: maybe a Tulamben stay with a luxury hotel add on?
scorpio_fish, JudyG and others will hopefully add their thoughts.
Last edited by NatashaS; 04-29-2013 at 11:53 PM.
Thank you so much for all of your generous and detailed responses. This is really helpful! Scuba Seraya does look very nice---what beautiful views of the ocean! I did have some follow up questions on Tulamben. We have never been muck diving before and I am not sure if that is our sort of thing. What is it like? Are there other types of diving there? To date, I guess you could describe us as the traditional types that like to look at corals and colorful reef fish. But we are open to new experiences, but just trying to educate myself a bit first. Kind thanks.
skigirl74 I would start with JudyG's terrific trip report on her 2012 Scuba Seraya stay, complete with a summary of how muck diving differs from reef diving: http://awoosh.com/blog/?p=1114 . From there you can also link to another report on Seraya and a blog post on Liberty wreck diving, all illustrated with Judy's beautiful images.
There are several non-muck options from Seraya: the Liberty wreck has resident schooling jacks and bumpheads, as well as lots of coral growth. You can also do day trips to Nusa Lembongan (drift, mostly hard coral), Nusa Penida (manta cleaning station and mola mola if in season) and Menjangan if you don't mind longer boat or car rides.
If you search the archives I remember another Bali thread with hotel and dive op recommendations not too long ago.
Last edited by NatashaS; 04-29-2013 at 11:27 PM.
Another option is to hire a dive guide who can take you to various spots around the island. I agree with the other recommendations, but since you mention you want to blend multiple activities, you might want to move around the island. (But strongly recommend a couple of days with Ubud as your home base and day trips out and about. Mozaic was a truly fine dining experience when we were there a few years ago. Others may have surpassed it by now but I highly recommend you research it.)
So, my thought is hire a guide. Graham Abbott of Diving4Images has, in the past, set up private trips. I'm not sure if he still does it but you can contact him through his website at diving4images.com.
Have a great time. It's a wonderful place.
I forgot to mention that Menjangan is pretty isolated -- no restaurants in the immediate vicinity of the resort when we were last there. Even the nearest dive resorts weren't all that close - you'd need a car or moped. Reef diving primarily with good macro. Few land tours available. You want to make sure you there in the right season if you are interested in visiting the West Bali National Park.
I second Tracy's suggestion of a couple days in the Ubud area. Tonnes of terrific smaller Balinese hotels there (e.g. Alam Indah). As with diving, if you hire a local guide he can make recommendations and take you to what you are most interested in seeing, be it carvers' studios, galleries, music/dance performances, etc.
Last edited by NatashaS; 04-30-2013 at 09:09 AM.
Tags for this Thread