The 7 best places to go snorkelling in Bali
With its vibrant coral reefs and abundant marine life, Bali is a paradise for those who love to snorkel. Bali island is part of the coral triangle and that means it is one of the most biodiverse areas of marine life in the world. Bali’s best snorkelling areas are located in the east and north-east of the island. In this article we have gathered the best snorkelling spots in Bali and all the information you need about each one of them.
Located in the Karangasem regency, Amed is one of the best-known places for snorkelling and diving in Bali. Amed has a very attractive seabed and two of the best snorkelling spots here are Lipah Bay and Jemeluk Bay.
Lipah Bay is a black sand beach, located near the city of Amed, and is home to a stunning reef full of corals and a great variety of fish. This is one of the easiest places to snorkel in Bali as you can access it directly from the beach. Snorkelling without a guide in Lipah Bay is quite safe, but we recommend you do not go too far from the shore as there may be strong currents.
Jemeluk Bay is a quiet semi-circular bay in the Amed region. This is probably one of the beaches with the best views in Bali as from there you can see quite closely the Agung volcano, the sacred mountain. Jemeluk Bay is one of the most popular places among tourists who want to snorkel.
The waters in this bay are calm and suitable even for beginners and children. The coral reefs at Jemeluk are impressive and full of colourful fish such as angelfish, damselfish and surgeonfish among others. Also, here you can find an underwater temple which tourists call the Underwater Post Office. You can even buy waterproof postcards at the stalls near the beach and leave them in the underwater mailbox.
Tulamben is probably the most famous Bali destination for snorkelling lovers. Just in front of Tulamben beach there are two of the best spots for snorkelling on the island: USAT Liberty, an American warship sunk in World War II and the Coral Garden.
The USAT Liberty is the wreck of a ship that sank near Tulamben beach. This ship is wrecked at a depth of 30 meters and is accessible only by experienced divers, but the top is only 5 meters underwater and it can be seen while snorkelling. When the water is calm, the ship can be seen even from the surface. The biggest attraction of this place is undoubtedly the reef that was formed on the boat and the large amount of fish that have made the wreck their home. This place, besides being one of the best places in Bali for snorkelling and diving, is also considered one of the best in Asia.
The Coral Garden
The Coral Garden is not as famous as the Liberty, but it’s even better than its neighbor. The Coral Garden is a mixture of natural reef and man-made structures that were placed in the waters of Tulamben to help replenish the coral.
This reef has depths ranging from 3 meters to 20 meters, being the shallowest part ideal for snorkelling. In addition, the reef is only a few steps away from the shore, which makes it very easy to access. At the Coral Garden there is a great variety of fish and here you can see large schools of damselfish, butterflyfish, glassfish and clownfish among others.
Padangbai is another area located in eastern Bali, in the Karangasem regency. Besides being a major port in Bali, Padangbai also has some of the best snorkelling spots on the island. The best place for snorkelling is Blue Lagoon, located a few metres from Padangbai beach.
At Blue Lagoon you will find a shallow coral reef where you can see corals and lots of tropical fish quite close to the shore. Less than 5 meters deep you can see cuttlefish, angelfish, cowfish and starfish.
Blue Lagoon is a snorkelling spot suitable for both adults and children, and is accessible from the beach, but there are also tour operators who provide boat trips to other more attractive snorkelling spots.
Pemuteran Bay, located in Buleleng Regency is one of the best places in Bali for snorkelling and diving. Pemuteran Bay is home to the world’s largest Biorock artificial reef project.
Biorock is a cement-like substance used to create structures that provide the perfect habitat for corals and marine animals. The purpose of these structures is to bring life back to reefs that have been destroyed by storms, overfishing or coral bleaching.
In Pemuteran Bay there are several Biorock structures that are thriving and helping to replenish the reefs with thousands of fish. In addition to small colourful fish, in Pemuteran you can see larger sea creatures such as sea turtles or sharks. Although not very common, occasionally you can even see whale sharks.
Virgin Beach is one of the few white sand beaches in Bali, and especially in the eastern part of the island, and is also called White Sand Beach, Pantai Pasir Putih (which means the same thing, but in Indonesian) or Bias Putih. Virgin Beach is located in eastern Bali, about 10 kilometres from Candidasa.
Virgin Beach reef is very similar to Blue Lagoon in Padang Bai and begins about 5-10 meters from the shore where you can see tropical fish and sometimes even turtles.
In addition to these 7 best snorkelling spots in Bali, on the nearby islands there are also many great snorkelling options in amazing locations. Some of the best places to snorkel in the islands near Bali are Manta Point in Nusa Penida, Mangrove Point in Nusa Lembongan, Pos Dua and The Coral Garden on Menjangan Island.
When is the best time to snorkel in Bali?
Bali is a tropical island and has two seasons: a dry season and a rainy season. In the rainy season, underwater visibility may be limited and there may also be currents, resulting in less pleasant and also less safe conditions for snorkelling. It should be noted that during the rainy season it does not rain every day and there are days when you can enjoy calm and clear waters.
The dry season, from May to September, is certainly better for snorkelling and diving as the waters are calmer and visibility much better. Keep in mind that July and August is high season in Bali and you will probably find the beaches crowded and lots of people snorkelling, so it won’t be such a nice experience.
Although you can snorkel at any time of the year, the best months to practice this water sport are May, June and September. During these months there are fewer rainy days, the weather is nicer, there is better underwater visibility and also more affordable prices for accommodation.
Tips for snorkelling in Bali
- for safe snorkelling, make sure your gear is in good condition and correctly placed
- if you rent a snorkelling equipment in Bali make sure that it’ s in good condition and clean it properly before using it
- for hygiene reasons, we recommend you to bring your own snorkelling kit from home or to buy it when you arrive to Bali
- be responsible with corals and marine animals: don’t touch anything, don’t take anything and don’t feed the fish
- if you hire a snorkel tour make sure it’s with a environmentally responsible company
Lastly, snorkelling is an incredible experience and one of the best ways to get in touch with marine life, but remember to always do it safely and not to venture into rough waters as you could get hurt.