Bali, the Island of Gods attracts thousands of visitors year after year thanks to its rich culture, historical attractions, and diverse landscape. Moreover, it is a heaven for sea lovers too! Vibrant coral reefs, rich marine life await snorkelers and divers that want to explore Bali underwater side. When is the best time to visit Bali? Where can you see turtles or do shipwreck snorkeling? We put everything in this article that you need to know about snorkeling in Bali!
Table of Contents
- Bali beaches – Where to go snorkeling
- Best time for snorkeling in Bali
- Nusa Dua snorkeling – South Bali
- Snorkeling Padangbai and Virgin Beach – East Bali
- Tulamben and Amed snorkeling – North East Bali
- Menjangan Island and Pemuteran Bay – North West Bali
- Nusa Islands – Mantarays and pristine reefs
- Boat snorkeling in Bali – tips and prices
Bali beaches – Where to go snorkeling
Are you looking for dramatic rocky shores or volcanic black sandy beaches? Do you want surfing not just snorkeling in Bali? Or prefer just lying in the white sand snipping your cocktail? You will get all these here!
This magical island has a varied landscape, fantastic flora and fauna, it is truly a paradise above and under the water too. But you need to know a little bit about the island’s characteristics to decide what Bali beaches are the best for snorkeling.
The most popular tourist areas like Kuta, Jimbaran, Seminyak, Sanur and Nusa Dua offer wide sand coasts for visitors. These South Bali beaches are good for sun seekers becacause there is no coral (or the reef is too far from the shore). Southwest Bali beaches such as Padang Padang, Dreamland or Uluwatu coast are surfer’s paradise with big waves and often strong current.
The best Bali snorkeling beaches are on the East, Northeast and West side of the island. In these areas, the sea is calm and there are vibrant coral reefs close to the shore in shallow water offering perfect conditions to explore the underwater world!
Best time for snorkeling in Bali
The island has a tropical climate which means hot and humid weather all year round. There are two seasons in Bali: a long dry season from April to September, and a rainy one from October to March.
To cut it short, don’t come in the rainy season if snorkeling in Bali is your priority. The sea can be very rough, wind is strong resulting unpleasant and unsafe conditions. Due to rain, wind, and currents, the water is often murky with very limited visibility. Often charter boat trips get canceled which makes difficult planning your holiday. Of course, it is not raining 24/7 and you might be lucky to enjoy some completely dry days but to be on the safe side plan we recommend to schedule your Bali snorkel trip for the dry season.
The weather is pleasant with less rain from April till September. July and August are the driest months but keep in mind that this is high season in Bali! Bali snorkeling is good in these months, but expect more tourists, crowded beaches not to mention higher hotel rates and excursion prices. Best time to visit Bali: May, June, and September when pleasant weather coupled with low prices!
Travel tip: even if you come in the dry season, prepare a warmer sweater, trousers, raincoat, and waterproof shoes if you’re planning to go to the mountains or hike the volcano! Bali weather changes quickly and it can easily happen that there is bright sunshine at the beach but you find fog and rain just a few kilometers away while driving up to the mountains to visit a temple. Don’t forget to bring your sarong too!
Related: The nearby Lombok has also superb coral reefs and it is a bit more quiet than Bali? Read our Lombok snorkeling guide to learn what areas we recommend to visit!
Nusa Dua snorkeling – South Bali
Snorkeling in Bali is very limited in the South area due to currents and coast’s characteristic. The only place you might consider visiting if staying in the South is the Nusa Dua snorkel point. The place is called Tanjung Benoa reef.
Recommended only for first time snorkelers or kids as introduction since the corals and marine life are not so lively. Better option is to sign up for a Nusa Penida Manta snorkeling trip! It is costly and takes almost the whole day but a lifetime experience!
Snorkeling Padangbai and Virgin Beach – East Bali
On the East coast, you find 2 beaches, Padangbai Blue Lagoon and White Sand Beach (Virgin Beach) that can be considered to try snorkeling in Bali.
Blue Lagoon Padangbai
Padang Bai is a popular transit area for a few days before or after visiting Lombok or the Gili Islands. Speedboats and ferries depart and arrive from and to Padang Bai’s harbor. At the same time, the area is known about Blue Lagoon. It is a favorite spot for families and new snorkelers that wish to do easy snorkeling in Bali.
Best to visit Padang Bai Blue Lagoon in the morning as usually, the sea gets rough in the afternoon resulting unsafe conditions. Plastic pollution is a big problem at Blue Lagoon too such as throughout Indonesia (and sadly worldwide). Visitors use to review the place as a “could be a nice spot if it would be cleaned more often” feedback. Due to direction of currents, plastic is often washed up on the shore.
Tip: read our how to reduce your plastic waste article to learn some easy tricks and become a responsible traveler!
Virgin Beach Karangasem
Often mentioned as White Sand Beach (Pantai Pasir Putih or Bias Putih). This small sandy stretch gained popularity in the past few years because of the whitish sand that is not so common on Bali’s East and North coast. Despite the increased number of visitors, it is still considered as hidden beach. It is just 20 km far from Padangbai, 10 km from Candi Dasa.
Virgin Beach is just a short drive from the famous Taman Ujung Water Palace which is a popular day-trip from Amed-Tulamben area. The reef (similar to Blue Lagon Padang Bai) starts around 5-10 meters from the shore where you can observe tropical fish, sometimes even turtles. Snorkel gear can be rented at warungs on the spot, but for practical and hygienic reasons, we always recommend to have own equipment at least mask and snorkel.
Tulamben and Amed snorkeling – North East Bali
Amed-Tulamben is celebrated among tourist that seek a relaxed holiday with stunning scenery rather than a resort experience in busy city areas. You will be amazed by the view of the majestic Agung Volcano as well as the unique black sandy beaches. In addition, Northeast Bali is best region for snorkeling in Bali!
Amed snorkeling beaches
If you start searching recommendation on best Bali snorkeling, most people will suggest going to Amed. Believe them! Amed is definitely the best region for snorkeling in Bali. You find here healthy reefs, shipwrecks and rich sea life including rays as well as turtles. Uniquely, the black sandy bottom gives a magical tone to the corals making colors more sharp and vibrant.
The best beaches for Amed snorkeling:
- the reef at Amed Beach in front of Kembali Beach Bungalows (artificial reef, healthy corals, turtles)
- Jemeluk Bay (coral reef on the right side, Submarine Post Office)
- Lipah Beach (hard coral patches and vibrant soft corals)
- Bunutan Reef (hard corals including huge table corals)
- Japanese Shipwreck (small shipwreck and coral reef)
In our detailed “Where to snorkel in Amed” post we share more details on each location.
Snorkel Around The World Tip: The reef in front of the Kembali Beach Bungalows was our best Bali snorkeling spot with healthy corals and many sea turtles around! If you are looking for a nice hotel to stay at, check out them!
Tulamben shipwreck snorkeling and Coral Garden
This tiny village, Tulamben just right next to Agung volcano is famous of the 125 m long USAT Liberty wreck. Mainly visited by divers although the wreck is totally visible for snorkelers as well since the top lies on 5 m deep only.
Try to go as early as possible because the sea is calmer in the morning. Expect to see vibrant corals and plenty of fish around! There is no buoy at Tulamben shipwreck, therefore, it is a bit tricky to find it. Follow the signs to Tulamben Wreck Divers Hotel and the road will take you to the beach.
Once there, just look where the divers enter or ask people about directions. When snorkeling in Tulamben, don’t miss out visiting the Coral Garden which is just a few hundred meters from the shipwreck. The reef starts close to the shore. By calm water, this shallow coral garden is easy but beautiful snorkeling in Bali experience with many different fish species to see. The spot features an Underwater Temple too with undersea status.
Snorkel Around The World Tip: The Tulamben shipwreck is much bigger than Amed Japanese Shipwreck. The body itself is in better condition, therefore, it can offer a more dramatic experience than the Japanese shipwreck. If you have time, it is worth a trip to Tulamben!
Menjangan Island and Pemuteran Bay – North West Bali
The west side of Bali is quieter since it takes longer to get there. Expect less tourists, preserved nature, and more authentic local feeling. Menjangan National Park often mentioned as the Number 1 on the Snorkeling in Bali list!
Menjangan Island National Park
Small island located in Bali Barat National Park 8 km off the coast of Bali. Since it is a protected marine reserve, you find here preserved coral gardens and diverse ecosystem. Turtles spotted frequently here.
On the top of the beautiful underwater scenery, you can spot here different sea and shorebirds as well as a Barking Deer! It is definitely not an everyday experience to observe a deer having bath in the sea, isn’t it?
Pemuteran Biorock snorkeling
Small fishing village that is home to the largest artificial reef project in the world! Pemuteran Biorock is a complex conservation project started by local community in 2000. Now, the total length of the installations is more than 300 meters forming a trail in shallow water that snorkelers or divers can follow.
Pemuteran Bay is usually free of currents, therefore, a safe spot for beginner snorkelers too. Biorock Pemuteran locates right in front of Taman Sari Resort. A truly unique and interesting Bali snorkeling spot!
Nusa Islands – Mantarays and pristine reefs
The 3 Nusa Islands, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida are just 20 km off the southeast coast of Bali. These 3 heavenly islands feature impressive beaches as well as excellent snorkeling for water lovers.
Although the most visited is Nusa Lembongan, we recommend staying in Nusa Penida if your priority is exploring the undersea world. Not only because you can do manta snorkeling but also there are vibrant coral reefs around the island.
Nusa Penida best snorkel places:
- Crystal Bay
- Gamat Bay
- The Wall Point
- Buddha Temple
- Manta Bay
Check out our Nusa Penida Snorkel Guide for more info!
Boat snorkeling in Bali – tips and prices
However there are superb offshore snorkel spots in Bali, there are some places that are accessible only by boat (or it is more convenient to visit them in this way) so let us share our experience on the tour conditions and prices.
First of all, when in Indonesia, accept one thing: you, as a tourist, almost always pay more than locals. Sometimes even official price lists (boat tickets for example) have local and tourist sections. The only thing you can do: try haggling. Excursion, boat, and snorkel trip prices are always changing, depending on the season, weather, and on the mood of the seller.
If you want to know how much a good price for a trip is prior to your purchase, try to search on travel forums or Tripadvisor. If you don’t have time for this, try to haggle with your seller and accept the offer if you feel the price is reasonable. Don’t be shy to ask about prices at different places, don’t accept the first offer.
If it comes to Bali snorkeling trip prices, the range is wide. Public Bali snorkeling trips are available from 80-100.000 IDR per person. They are cheap, but as a downside, you need to share the boat with sometimes 30-40 people. For your comfort, we recommend choosing smaller boats (maximum 10 people) which is just a bit more expensive. Around 150-200.000 IDR per person is normal price for a 2-4 hours long snorkeling tour.
If you want specific places to visit, or just prefer being far from the crowd, spend a bit more and go for a private snorkel trip. The price really depends on your business skills, try to make a good deal! Usually, they calculate it per boat so if you are a group of friends or family, at the end, you can easily pay almost the same or even less per person than on a public trip.
For an approx. 3 hours long private trip, 500-600.000 IDR considered normal for a medium-sized boat. Calculate paying if you are signing up for an organized whole day trip that includes shuttle, lunch and entrance fees. Of course, the best and cheapest option is to stay at places where you can do free shore snorkeling like in Amed or Tulamben.
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