Over 3,000 fish species and 600 species of coral, steep walls, deep water trenches, underwater volcanic mountains, World War II wrecks, and a seemingly endless variety of colourful macro life, scuba diving in Indonesia's warm waters is truly excellent and inexpensive.
With over 13,500 tropical and often deserted islands straddling the equator, and with the Indian Ocean to the east and Pacific Ocean to the west, Indonesia has the longest coastline of any country in the world and is one of the most beautiful places on earth.
The Banda Sea, Sulawesi (Celebes) Sea, Bali Sea and Flores Sea hold some of the best scuba opportunities in this expansive underwater wonderland. Land-based or liveaboard, the Indonesian dive sites offer just about everything - Komodo, Raja Ampat, the Banda Islands, Sulawesi and Bali are all excellent destinations for an adventure vacation.
Liveaboard cruises can take you further afield to such magical places as Komodo and the Banda Sea. Komodo is an island famed throughout the world for its legendary dragons, and all liveaboard trips include going ashore to see these incredible creatures in their natural habitat. But it's not all about monitor lizards. Diving around Komodo means world-class reefs full of colour and life with pinnacles and walls, manta rays and maybe even dolphins and dugongs!
The Banda Islands are fast becoming known as one the world finest dive destinations since a trip here means you can expect, not only huge variety and numbers of pelagics and reef fish, but also vibrant healthy reefs with immense hard corals, sea fans and sponges. Diving in Banda also means experiencing the critter havens of Ambon, so you can have it all in this one area. Discover another of Indonesia's best kept diving secrets.
But if you really want to get off the beaten track then you will want to check out the awesome dive sites around Raja Ampat, where the combination of topside beauty and underwater delights make it pioneer diving at its best. Scientists are falling over themselves to proclaim Indonesia's Raja Ampat as the centre of it all, and with such vast numbers of fish and coral species being recorded and discovered all the time, it is clear to see why.
Sulawesi scuba normally means combining the unparalleled bio-diversity of Bunaken Marine Park in Manado and the breathtaking Lembeh Strait - a spot that lays a strong claim to offering the best muck diving in the world. And Bali has a great range of varied shore-based sites, the world-famous Tulamben wreck, mola mola and reef sharks as well as a wealth of topside entertainment.
The season for scuba diving in Indonesia runs all year round. Overall, the best conditions exist from April to December, as many provinces have a rainy season from January to March.
The liveaboard season cruises all year round.
For more detailed information on the best time to visit at each of the destinations, review our detailed dive site descriptions below.
The main international airports in Indonesia are Jakarta and Bali although local Asian airlines fly into other airports as well. Jakarta is a direct flight hub from flights all over Asia, Australasia, the Middle East and many cities in Europe.
Great for: Small animals, underwater photography, walls, wrecks, drift dives, reef life and health and advanced divers
Not so great for: Beginners
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 10 - 80m
Currents: Can be very strong
Surface Conditions: Calm
Water Temperature: 19 - 30°C
Experience Level: Intermediate - advanced
Number of dive sites: ~500
Access: Dive resorts and liveaboard charters
Recommended length of stay: 2 - 4 weeks
More detailed information on the diving sites: