Top 5 Bali’s snorkeling spots

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The island of Bali in the south Pacific is considered to be one of the best places to relax in the world. While sitting on the beach and working on your tan can be a great way to spend the day, more active travelers are going to want to get out and explore at some point. Fortunately, Bali is also home to many snorkeling spots with plenty of aquatic life for you to see.

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Nusa Dua

As Bali’s most exclusive resort area, Nusa Dua’s beaches are generally quiet and well-kept. The waters along this south-eastern coastline are calm, thanks to the long-stretching Nusa Dua reef breaking the otherwise big swells that constantly surge in from the open sea. Between the two focal ‘twin island’ landmark is a bay with blue waters, a favourite spot for swimming and snorkelling. Further south is Geger Beach, in front of the St. Regis Bali and the Mulia Resort, with white grainy sand gently slanting into a vast natural blue pool.

Menjangan Island and Pemuteran

In stark contrast to the large waves that are common to the island’s southern coasts, Bali’s northern beaches feature a more tranquil seascape. Menjangan Island is right at the north-western tip of the West Bali National Park, with its coasts featuring shallow waters and great visibility. Under the surface are thriving coral gardens and great tropical marine habitats. Great retreats such as The Menjangan and Shorea Beach Resort offer guests activities amongst nature. Three kilometres east from Menjangan is Pemuteran, with surrounding waters home to a bio-rock coral reef project and several pearl farms.

Menjangan Island (via villabossibali)

Nusa Lembongan

The nearest offshore escape off the Bali mainland is Nusa Lembongan, only a 45-minute boat transfer southeast from the Sanur Beach or Benoa Harbour. The calm waters around Lembongan and its sister island, Ceningan, are the tending fields of local fishermen and seaweed farmers. Almost all of its western beaches – particularly the so-called Mushroom Bay and Dream Beach – are great for snorkelling. On its other coasts, low tide reveals pools that are also enticing, with fish trapped between coral gardens. Some of Nusa Lembongan’s beaches get no deeper than a metre during high tide, and visibility is great year round.

Padangbai

Padangbai neighbours the quiet east coast retreat of Candidasa, and offers a great collection of diving and snorkelling sites. These include Blue Lagoon, Bias Tugel, and the namesake bay of Padangbai itself. Within the Blue Lagoon, is a favourite site called Jepun, featuring a white sand bottom and an artificial coral garden. Most of the sites are coves, and fringing reefs are the main draw for snorkelers as they are teeming with rich marine life. Currents can be strong in some areas, and extra caution must be taken at all times. Best visibility is during the calm times, over the dry season between May and September.

Amed and Tulamben

Snorkeling in Amed Island (via pinterest.com)
What the far eastern area of Bali lacks in with its dry, arid and bland volcanic topography, it greatly makes up for with its beautiful underwater scenery. Amed has an immense spread of coral reefs spanning its Jemeluk Bay. The Banyuning site is home to a Japanese shipwreck that is now a thriving habitat of tropical fish, napoleon wrasses and shy reef sharks. When the local fishermen don’t take out their traditional Balinese jukung outriggers to harvest the ocean, they provide charter trips for diving and snorkelling trips. Amed is also a perfect base to enjoy neighbouring Tulamben, where the US cargo shipwreck, the USAT Liberty serves as main attraction, only 15m from the shore.

Bali snorkelling tips

Bali’s tropical sunshine can be strong, even as you spend your time (and lose a sense of time) in the water. Long sleeve rash guards or wetsuits are recommended, as is a minimum SPF 30 waterproof sunblock. Some sites such as Padangbai have high watercraft traffic – extra caution must be taken when snorkelling far out from the shore. Be considerate about the environment and try to cause minimum impact – take only pictures and try not to touch or tread on the corals. Jukung charters can be arranged right on the beach. However snorkelling trips are best arranged through your concierge for safety concerns and to avoid extortion.

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