SCUBA Diving in Indonesia

8 August 2023
Indonesia's 17,508 islands have some world class diving. If you are a diver who likes to travel, then Indonesia should be on your list of places to go.

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Best time of year to dive Indonesia

Indonesia lies between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. There are two seasons: wet and dry. In most of Indonesia the wet season is from October to April and the dry from May to September. The best time to go to Indonesia is in the dry season, although you can dive year round.

Diving Indonesia. Manta alley in Komodo.
The trevally is using the manta ray as cover whilst hunting, effortlessly keeping pace.

Where to dive in Indonesia?

If you want a shore-based holiday, with plenty of other things to do besides diving, then Bali is a great choice. The diving here is very good - from manta rays of Nusa Penida to macro/muck diving. And of course the famous Liberty shipwreck at Tulamben. You can read more about the dive sites of Bali here.

Diving Indonesia - Manta Ray
Diving Bali, Indonesia. Photo copyright Postlethwaite of AquaMarine Bali

For more adventurous diving you can't go wrong at Komodo. Strong currents and a strictly enforced marine reserve means sharks, giant turtles and eagle and manta rays abound. You can dive Komodo from day boats but the best experience is by liveaboard. We recommend the Duyung Baru boat.

Indonesia Liveaboards - Compare prices online. Book now & pay later.

Another place with world class diving is Raja Ampat. One for keen divers - there aren't many other activities you can do there. The resorts are minimalist and constructed with regard to the environment. Seventy-five percent of the world's corals are found around Raja Ampat.

Who to Dive With

Some of the best dives in Indonesia have wild currents and you need to choose an experienced dive operator. See divers reviews and comments of the dive shops and liveaboards they recommend.

How much to Tip?

Tipping is not part of the Indonesian culture, but - although it is still not expected - now quite commonplace in the tourist areas. Most medium to high priced restaurants have a 10% service charge, which is theoretically distributed to all staff - and then 10% government tax, so a total 21% increase. A good rule would be to only tip when you've had exceptional service and then whatever feels appropriate.

For a week's liveaboard, tip around 750000 Rupiah or $50 dollars.

Do I need a Visa for Indonesia?

In 2010 Indonesia applied new regulations regarding which nationalities have to apply for visas, and who can get visas upon arrival. For twelve nationalities these are issued at no charge: twenty-one other nationalities have to pay for the visa on arrival. This seems to be based on immigration requirements for Indonesians entering those countries.

The following twelve countries or territories receive a 30 day no-charge visa upon arrival: Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau, Chile, Peru, Equador and Morocco.

Citizens of the following sixty-two countries are now required to pay for a visa upon arrival - USD 10 for a 3 day visa, or USD 25 for a 30 day visa: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Timor Leste, Tunisia, Turkey UAE, UK and the USA.

Nationalities not on either of the above lists, and people who want to stay in Indonesia for longer than 30 days, must get a visa from an overseas Indonesian Embassy or Consulate before arriving.

You can extend your visa whilst in Indonesia. A travel agent will do this for you for a fee. It takes 3 days and you will need to give them your passport and a copy of your plane tickets.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your stay in Indonesia, and you must have an onward ticket.

Methods of payment: USD cash (as with all the US dollars you bring Indonesia, these need to be in pristine condition and produced in 1997 or later), Mastercard and Visa.

Please note, prices and regulations may change. Contact your nearest Indonesian Embassy or Consulate for authorative information. See also the Ministry of Foreign Affaires, Republic of Indonesia

Blenny in coral
Blenny in coral, by Tim Nicholson.


Indonesian Rupiah. For US dollars, banks and moneychangers will only accept post-1997 bills in pristine condition.

At a moneychanger, when you receive your Rupiah count it yourself and do not then put it down. Some charge commission

Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted in upmarket hotels and shops. Some places take American Express and Diners Card. You may encounter a 3% surcharge for credit card use.


220 volts. Try to buy a plug adaptor before arriving in Indonesia.


Indonesian people adore children - nowhere will your children be unwelcome, in fact - in places - the attention they receive may be slightly overwhelming for your children. Watch your children on the beaches, there are some strong undertows.

Travel Advice

Most visits to Indonesia are trouble-free, but the European foreign offices advise exercising caution when travelling to Aceh, Central Sulawesi Province (especially Palu, Poso and Tentena), Maluku Province (especially Ambon), Papua and West Papua Province. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

Carry a photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport and copy of your arrival card for identification purposes. Keep the original documents in a safe place.

Local Travel Agent

Want help organising your trip to Indonesia? We recommend AquaMarine Diving - Beyond Bali. By booking your diving holiday through AquaMarine, you may be eligible for free or discounted domestic flights, free accommodation or upgrades, private dive guide, free transfers, free diving, free Nitrox, or a host of other add-ons. Based in Bali, AquaMarine continually updates their Special Offers for diving throughout Indonesia. They are currently offering trips to Alor, Ambon, Bangka, Bunaken, Cendrawasih Bay, Gili Islands, Gorontalo, Komodo, Lembeh, Maluku, Maratua, Naumere, Raja Ampat, South Lombok and Wakatobi. Find out more about AquaMarine Diving - Beyond Bali.

Indonesia Diving Updates

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