Advanced Diving in Indonesia

As the world's largest archipelagic state, with over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is home to a huge diversity of dive sites, with many of them regularly mentioned on lists of the world’s top ten sites. While you can find plenty of gentle dives on coral gardens and house reefs, you can also find some strong and swirling currents in the deep, nutrient-rich channels between islands. If you prefer dive sites for which dive centres require guests to be advanced, diving in Indonesia will give you plenty of options to enjoy some exhilarating sites. Our team of Original Diving travel experts have already explored Indonesia’s best-loved dive destinations and are on hand to advise you on where to find the best of the more advanced diving in Indonesia. From Bali’s deeper, southern sites to the ripping cur-rents around Alor (if you want to test your skills in the heart of the Coral Triangle), we know just the place for your dream diving trip.


The gateway to Indonesia, Bali is the country's most popular dive destination. Aside from the myriad manta rays, seasonal mola mola, accessible wrecks and unbelievable macro life that surround it, Bali's diversity of dive sites never gets boring. In fact, there's always something new to discover. With some excellent shore dives and house reefs, Bali has dive sites to suit all levels of experience, including plenty that can test your skills yet still reward you with unbelievable marine life encounters.

Gili Tepekong is a small rocky island sitting a short distance offshore from Padang Bai, on Bali's east coast. While many of Padang Bai's dive sites are close to shore and protected from much of the current, Gili Tepekong's location affords it much less shelter. When the current is pumping, the site is definitely among the more advanced diving in Indonesia. But with challenging currents comes rewarding sights of mola mola and reef sharks. It's a stunning dive for those with the correct level of experience.

The twin islands of Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan, in addition to being home to the world's premier mola mola diving sites, can at times throw up some interesting dive conditions. Water flows into these dive sites from the tropical north and more frigid south, and the mix of temperatures, coupled with some strong currents and interesting topographical features, make this a particularly fascinating (if not slightly precarious) dive.

Crystal Bay on Nusa Penida is the reason many people choose Bali as a diving hotspot. By It's by far the best dive site to catch a glimpse of the elusive mola mola. The outer edge of the dive site sits in the channel between Penida and Lembongan, which means strong and occasional down currents so you will need a certain level of experience and in-water comfort to enjoy the mola mola show to the max.


A short, one-hour flight due east from Bali will transfer you to Labuan Bajo, on the doorstep of Komodo National Park. As one of the most popular and most beautiful places to dive in Indonesia, it has its fair share of dive sites that are categorised as being among the more advanced diving in Indonesia.

If you're in search of the best advanced diving in Indonesia, jumping into the cluster of dive sites around Gili Lawa Laut - "island close to the sea" - and Gili Lawa Darat - "island close to the land" - off the north-east corner of Komodo Island are great places to start your search. The currents swirl around these two islands and funnel through the channel between them, creating more than interesting dive conditions. Dive sites like Crystal Rock, Castle Rock and The Cauldron - which is also known as 'The Shotgun' - have been thrilling adrenaline-junky divers for years. While the currents can make the diving trickier, they also attract plenty of pelagic fish life to the sites. Grey reef and white-tipped reef sharks are all but guaranteed on these advanced sites, but you also need to remember to glance towards the surface now and again as you never know when a huge manta is gliding by in the shallows.


For the truly intrepid diver, the remote Alor Archipelago, just to the north of Timor-Leste, is the ultimate challenge. Home to interesting currents and epic diving, the channels between Alor and its smaller neighbouring islands are home to a mind-boggling array of macro subjects and corals as well as sunfish and wobbegong sharks. The diving here is split between two areas: Kalabahi Bay for muck diving and the Pantar Strait for the bigger fish. Whether you choose to explore these remote sites by liveaboard or from a shore-based resort though, chances are you will have these pristine reefs to yourself. Avid muck divers will enjoy hunting for rhinopias in the black sand. But it is the prospect of encountering a super-rare psychedelic frogfish that lures many a macro photographer to these waters.

Alor is a true muck-diving haven, but venturing out to the sites in the Pantar Strait will leave you with no doubt that these sites are also among the best advanced diving in Indonesia. These sites are best suited to wide-angle photography, especially when the current is pumping. Make sure to keep an eye out in the blue for passing hammerheads or the friendly and curious (albeit a little odd looking) mola mola in the cooler deeper waters.

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Emily C, Eleanor and Jacqui are our 'Advanced Diving in Indonesia' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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