As a PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) dive center based in the Gili Islands, Indonesia we often get IDC candidates finishing their Instructor Development Course (IDC) and asking us where in Indonesia should they go to work or even just for a diving trip? The answer is not as easy as one may think, in fact the answer should be; “What exactly are you looking for?”
Indonesia boasts some of the most fantastic dive sites in the world. But what is more interesting is its diversity between diving locations. Many people have travelled to Indonesia for diving, and have usually dived in only one particular area. In fact many people loved it and found it to be the best diving experience the ever had and subsequently book a return trip. This is why you will often find people talking about their experiences in Indonesia with what can be seen as a slightly narrow mind. However it is easy to understand why this is the case, people can’t imagine that diving gets any better anywhere else. This probably true, most likely it doesn’t get any better, but there is certainly a variety of different diving conditions and different marine environments across Indonesia.
Where else can I dive?
Undoubtedly Komodo and Raja Empat are considered to jewel of Indonesia when it comes to diving. There is for sure some of the best diving in the world to be had in these locations. However there is huge range of fantastic dive spots between Bali and Timor. These locations are just two of the fantastic locations on offer and there is a range of dive sites scattered between Bali and East Timor.
Bali offers a fantastic range of dive sites offering everything from the rarest and most unusual macro subject in the calm water of north Bali to the large pelagic sites of south Bali with its raging currents. As well as a huge array of macro subject the north of Bali is home to two fantastic wrecks. The Kubu wreck is relatively new, having been purposely sank a couple of years back and the USAT liberty, which is possibly one of the most famous wrecks in this part of Indonesia and is sprawling with life. Most of the dive sites in the north are relatively calm and can be accessed from the shore. The other big attraction to Bali is the island of Nusa Penida with is accessed from the south of Bali and is home to many of our oceans large pelagic life such as Manta Rays, Sunfish and the occasional waleshark. Prices for diving in Bali can be very variable. In the north of Bali prices are relatively cheap, but however there is no local airport so divers will need to get a 3 hour transfer from the south. Nusa Penida in the south is approximately a 45 minute boat journey from the resort of Sanur and a two dive package can cost your $120 upward. As well as fun diving, many dive centers offer the full range of courses from beginner level, right up to Instructor. Courses can be more expensive than other locations, but there are some very experienced and well established dive operators here.
Lombok is the neighboring island of Bali and has just a handful of dive centers, the most established being Divezone. They offer diving all-round the Island of Lombok, again offering a range of marine habitats. One benefit to diving Lombok is that there are only a few dive centers and most of the time you will find that you are alone on the dive site. One of the most spectacular dive sites available in Lombok is the Magnet, which is a hammerhead dive. It is generally recommended that you have 50 or more dives before you undertake diving it, as the Magnet’s currents can be heavy both on the surface and underwater. Dive Zone is a five star IDC center offering all the PADI courses and prices tend to include accommodation. All in all, Lombok offers some reasonable priced diving and accommodation packages.
Off the north east corner of Lombok you will find the Gili Island which comprise of Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan. These islands have been a favorite for backpackers for many years. Most of the dive operators are based on the large island of Gili Trawangan, and diving is cheap. A single dive around the Gili’s will cost approximately $35, and this becomes even cheaper if you book multiple dives. The Gili islands offer the full range of courses from beginner level through to Instructor and certify the largest amount of divers in Indonesia. Diving is good, although it may not be as good as some of the other spots across Indonesia. However if you are looking to take a dive course, this is the place. Dive centres here are amongst the most experienced in Indonesia and all courses are amongst the cheapest. Instructor Courses are also available here and not only will you get one the best prices available in South East Asia; you will get some fantastic experience as these dive center are amongst the busiest in the region. The larger Island of Gili Trawangan host’s a huge array of reasonably price accommodation so therefore learning to dive or taking a professional qualification can work very reasonable.
Another, often overlooked island is Sumbawa which lies sandwiched between Lombok and Komodo. Sumbawa is often only visited by passing liveaboard cruises. Being a volcanic island there are a few black sand sites harboring the same array of macro as neighboring komodo as well as many of the wide angle subjects such as schooling tuna and reef sharks. There are few diving operator in Sumbawa and diving is not as spectacular as neighboring Flores and Komodo but well worth diving if you’re passing through.
Slightly north is the island of Sulawesi which hosts a variety of dive locations and conditions. Its coastline stretches over 6000km harboring a diverse topology, whether you are looking for sheer drop offs, bommies or muck dive here is the place to go. Biodiversity is amazing here. If you are looking to see some of the rarest macro available you could try the Lembeth Straights or if you wish to see more variety of marine life you could choose the Bunaken National Park. Sulawesi really has it all.
The area of Flores has long now been recognized as one of the world’s most spectacular dive locations with over 50 unique and diverse dive sites. Komodo national Park is home to over 250 different species of coral and over 1000 species of fish. Komodo, with its strong currents offers absolutely everything. Filtered by plankton rich water flowing in from the Indian Ocean, Komodo provides a rich feeding ground for an endless supply of marine life. Currents can be extremely strong and therefore dangerous if you are not suitably experienced enough, so it is important to choose the right dive operator. There are many operators in the Flores and Komodo area, and it is advised to do your research.
Raja Ampat, literally translated to four kings, is Indonesia’s most easterly province as is well known for its marine biodiversity. In fact Conservation International has claimed these islands to have the most bio-diverse marine environment on the planet. As well as being able to see every documented species in the book and some yet to be published; Raja Ampat offers the healthiest reefs on the planet. Although a little out of the way it is a must go area of Indonesia. Raja Ampat is probably the best place to dive in Indonesia, but it is also probably the most remote.
So there is it a brief look at what diving is available across Indonesia. Indonesia is not only a fantastic place to dive but a great place to work as a PADI dive instructor.
We here at the Gili IDC run PADI Instructor Development Courses every month and are always willing to help our IDC graduates find work across Indonesia and beyond. We run a 10+ day PADI IDC schedule at a highly competitive price of 950 Euro.
We have produced a Full PDF IDC Brochure which is fully downloadable and includes everything you need to know about our PADI IDC Program. To download the IDC Brochure simply click here.
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