Top Ten Places to Learn to Dive in Indonesia

It’s no secret that Indonesia has some of the best diving in the world, and while the region’s reputation for liveaboard diving, thrilling currents and deeper dives might deter those interested in learning to dive, there are plenty of areas offering calm, clear waters and stupendous marine environments ideal for gaining your scuba certifications. From spotting manta rays and the elusive mola mola off the shores of Bali to exploring the secret spots of some of Komodo’s more remote islands, discover the best places to learn to dive in Indonesia.
1. Learn to Dive in Tulamben, Bali

Located in eastern Bali, Tulamben has one of the best wrecks in the world located just off the shore: the USAT Liberty wreck. The wreck starts at just five metres so is a haven for budding divers. The wreck is located conveniently close to shallow coral gardens while there are also some excellent shallow macro dive sites in the area, meaning divers can experience the whole spectrum.

2. Learn to Dive in the Gili Islands, Bali

The Gili Islands are some of the most popular in Indonesia for gaining scuba diving certifications. Avoid the backpacker crowds of Gili Trawangan by decamping to the tranquil island of Lombok, which is surrounded by shallow, interesting sites perfect for learning to dive (think: underwater sculpture parks, manta rays and colourful coral gardens).

3. Learn to Dive in Bunaken National Park, Northern Sulawesi

Northern Sulawesi still lies relatively under the tourism radar, meaning budding divers can begin their underwater journey trailblazing on the pristine coral reefs of Bunaken National Park, where you'll likely have sites all to yourself.

4. Learn to Dive in the Lembeh Strait, Northern Sulawesi

While diving on a mucky sea bed might not be everyone's cup of tea, learning to dive in the Lembeh Strait will mean being surrounded by some of the ocean's weirdest critters, be it hairy frogfish or mantis shrimp; no dive will ever be the same.

5. Learn to Dive in Komodo

While Komodo is often paired with liveaboards, there are some wonderfully remote resorts with the perfect conditions for mastering your scuba skills. Komodo Dive Resort particularly stands out as it is nestled in a sheltered bay with an excellent house reef just off the beach.

6. Learn to Dive in Wakatobi, Southern Sulawesi

Wakatobi Dive Resort boasts a continuous reef just offshore with myriad dive sites perfect for open water divers - not to mention a whole heap of incredible deeper dives if you're tempted to continue to your advanced certification.

7. Learn to Dive in Bali Barat National Park, Bali

Located to the west of Bali, Bali Barat National Park is often overlooked, but venture to this remote corner and discover some of the most beautiful reefs to surround the island, with good visibility, warm water and low currents, not to forget some beautiful walls and a plethora of macro life to uncover.

8. Learn to Dive in Misool, Raja Ampat

Misool Eco Resort's house reef makes it a winner for those wanting to learn to dive in Raja Ampat. There is a huge focus on ocean conservation at the resort, giving divers the opportunity to combine learning to dive with volunteering on various ocean initiatives, gaining a deeper understanding of the ocean's beautiful, fragile ecosystems.

9. Learn to Dive in Pulau Weh, Sumatra

While Sumatra is often overlooked in terms of diving, the underdeveloped, untouched shores of Pulau Weh are a great option if you want to mix your course with some epic land adventures. Spot moray eels, seahorses and nudibranchs before mingling with orangutans in the jungle - not a bad combo, if you ask us.

10. Learn to Dive in Central Raja Ampat

Both Papua Explorers Eco Resort and Papua Paradise are hidden in the jungle-covered islands that comprise central Raja Ampat, conveniently close to some of the region's most coveted dive sites, ergo divers will start their newly certified logbooks in style. Plus, should you want to progress to your advanced certification, the thrilling current dives of the Dampier Strait await.

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Jacqui is our 'Top Ten Places to Learn to Dive in Indonesia' expert and as a seasoned traveller has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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