Scuba diving in Indonesia
Indonesia is a big, but small country. Big in a way that it has over 17 000 islands, small in a way that it is not even remarkably as big as Russia or China to the surface. Indonesia is worth more than one trip, the islands are very different from each other, Bali has its stone temples, Flores its volcanic peaks, and Papua its tribal villages. Due to Indonesias location in the warm waters the marine life is teeming, and you´ll see plenty of different species. Diving in Indonesia is possible any time of the year, but remember that the monsoons may deteriorate the sight.
Indonesia has a wet and a dry season, wet season is between October to April, so the best time to go is between May and September. In some parts of Indonesia there isn´t much different between the wet and dry season.
Komodo National Park contains of three main islands and plenty of small islands around them. Komodo National park is situated in the center of the Indonesian archipelago. Around the numerous dive sites around the Komodo National park you can meet dugongs, sharks, turtles, over a thousand different fishes, and 14 species of whale. At the dive sites there´s reefs with hard and soft corals, pinnacles and submerged rocks. A not so cute but rare and endangered species that´s possible to see in a few of the Indonesian islands is the Komodo dragon.
Bali might be most famous for its spas and surfing, but it has good scuba diving as well! On the north side of Bali, there´s caves, fissures and huge drop-offs. If you like muck diving, Secret Bay and Puri Jati are places where you´ll meet frogfish, flying gunnards and mimic octopus. For you who don´t know what muck diving is, it gets its name from the sediment that usually is mud, dead corals or other garbage. On muck dives you can find exotic organisms and its also a good hideout for juveniles. Tulamben, on Balis north east coast is the best place for diving in Bali, there you´ll find it all, wreck, drop offs, deep reefs and shallow coral gardens. Dive by the USS Liberty wreck that got hit by a Japanese torpedo in 1942 during WW2. The 130 m long USS Liberty is a dive for all levels of divers, it lies on the beach of Tulamben, and it´s just to swim right out to it.
Diving in Sumatra is an amazing experience, discover volcanic channels, gorgonia gardens, wrecks and not to mention an underwater hot spring! It even bubbles! Meet mola molas, frogfishes, snake eels and shools of other fishes.
Ever seen lakes change color? In the island of Flores the water in the crater lakes at mount Kelimutu change from turquoise to red, to brown. The reefs around Flores islands are beautiful but keeps getting destroyed by careless fishermen who fish with dynamite. Still the reefs are beautiful and down in water you´ll meet stargazers, scorpionfish, octopus, barracudas and reef sharks.
If you enjoy caverns and swim throughs, the volcano Krakatoa outside Java has created just this for you. At the peninsula of Ujung Kulon National Park theres a lighthose marking a rocky dive spot where the visibility is great and the barracudas big.
If you want big diversity of fishes, you should dive in Papua and Raja Ampat. The reefs around these islands are amongst the most intact in the world. Corals in all colors, sea fans, sponges and a teeming marine life awaits you. At the bottom you can meet wobbegongs and epaulette sharks.
Tourist information in Indonesia
Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your arrival to Indonesia. You also need to fill in a disembarkation card, that you return when you leave the country. Visa is required for most citizens and is paid for at arrival, amount depending on stay.
Getting around in Indonesia is quite easy. Ferries traffic the bigger islands Sumatra, Bali, Nusa Tenggara, Java and Sulawesi daily. There are boats trafficking smaller islands as well, but they don´t depart as often as every day. It is possible to rent a boat of your own or ask a fisherman in the harbor to take you to the smaller islands. As always in archipelagos, there is a way to get to that special island.
It is very easy to rent a scooter in Indonesia and if not at a rental, the Indonesians will gladly rent you theirs. Traffic in the bigger islands Bali and Java can be quite chaotic, so be careful. And remember that they drive on the left side! If you don´t want to drive a scooter yourself, there´s “scooter taxis” to give you a lift.
Trains are only available at Sumatra and Java, and are comfortable way to travel. The Sumatra railway end where the ferry to Bali departs. Buses is not a common way to get around, they almost only exist in Jakarta in Java. Domestic flying is increasing, and there are airports in many of the islands. The planes are usually small, and hopefully in good condition.
Indonesia uses a two pin plug, 220 V 50Hz power supply.
Always bring cash with you since card is not used that much. To change go to an airport, hotel or bank. It is also possible to change at a money changer, just make sure it´s genuine. Banks are open 8am to 3pm Monday to Friday. But banks in malls might be open after office hours. The currency in Indonesia is Rupiah (IDR), but US Dollars are also accepted.
Customs might ask you to show how much money you bring in the country. Chinese medicine and printings, narcotics, pornography, firearms and ammunition and fresh fruit are not allowed in the country unless you have a license.
Many Indonesians are Muslims so dress properly when visiting a mosque.
Public Holidays in Indonesia
|New Year's Day ||January 1 || |
|Chinese New Year ||January 23||*|
|Mouloud (Birth of the Prophet)||February 9||*|
|Nyepi (Hindu New Year) ||March 23||*|
|Good Friday ||April 6||*|
|Waisak Day (Buddha's Birthday)||May 6||*|
|Lailat al Miraj (Ascension of the Prophet) ||June 16||*|
|Ascension Day||June 17||*|
|Indonesian Independence Day||August 17||*|
|Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)||August 18||*|
|Muharram (Islamic New Year)||November 15 ||*|
|Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)||November 26||*|
|Christmas Day||December 25|| |
|Boxing Day||December 26|| |
*All these are different every year, these are for 2012