Snorkelling and diving in Bali - what is it really like?

Like most travel writers, I can only speak from the heart, drawing upon the rich memories of one particular destination that will forever be etched into my mind.

That location is of course, Bali, Indonesia. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit this beautiful country, you will definitely understand what all the hype is about. Especially when it comes to the many bodies of water that surround the 17,000+ islands of Indonesia.

For most travellers, you will probably be visiting the main island of Bali, Lombok, Java, or perhaps even one of the legendary Gili Islands.

Regardless of where you swim in Bali, the most striking thing that you will notice is the temperature of the water!

"Regardless of where you swim in Bali, the most striking thing that you will notice is the temperature of the water!"

The seas in this part of the world are very warm...and when I say warm, I mean it’s like ‘taking a bath’ warm. The water temperature rarely drops below 27°C, it’s incredible!

For us folks from cooler climates who are used to much colder oceans, swimming in Bali is such a welcome change.

So, it’s no surprise at all that this makes snorkelling all day in Bali a very enjoyable experience indeed (something you might not realise from looking at photos online).

The second most striking thing you’re going to notice about the Balinese waters is all of the vibrant colours there is to see! Even without wearing any goggles or a diving mask, the shallower waters in Bali are clear enough to see all of the colourful marine life that lives just beneath the water's surface.

The first time you do put on some eyewear and dunk your head underwater, this vibrant world of colour awaits you (and you’ll be wanting to go find Nemo in no time at all).

"you’ll be wanting to go find Nemo in no time at all"

The next most striking thing about swimming around Bali is just how much marine life there is to see. The sheer amount of biodiversity here is just mind-blowing. Even just swimming close to the shore, you will discover all kinds of different coloured corals, sponges and seaweeds.

There are fish of every colour, manta rays gliding around, lazy turtles floating about, slithering eels and all kinds of crustaceans crawling around on the seabed; it is a world teeming with colourful lifeforms.

In no time at all you will be hooked on snorkelling and wondering how you can prolong the experience or even swim a bit deeper? This is how an underwater swimming addiction begins. Next you’ll be wanting to find out how you can go diving with scuba tanks.

So far we have only praised the wonders of snorkelling in Bali, and not really mentioned diving yet.

This is because there is a big difference between the two activities. Snorkelling can obviously be done with little training and basic equipment. As long as you can swim adequately, you’ll have no problem going down a few metres and enjoying the view for as long as you can hold your breath.

Scuba diving, on the other hand, requires extensive training from certified instructors, along with using carefully prepared and well-maintained equipment.

Understandably, there is a big difference in the level of ability required for the two activities. Think of it as the difference between casually riding a bicycle down the street and then climbing onto a 500cc superbike. You’re definitely going to want to approach the latter activity with far more caution!

For safe and successful diving, always choose reputable diving instructors who are happy to show you their certifications, such as those from PADI, SSI or TDI. Qualified instructors will have no problem showing your their credentials, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Before attempting any diving:

Always research which diving organisations are available at your destination before travelling.

If you’ve never dived before you should definitely take an introductory diving course on ‘dry land’ at a certified diving centre. Typically, these courses are known as ‘DSD’ courses, AKA, ‘Discover Scuba Diving’ courses.

The purpose of these courses is to safely introduce you to the various equipment, techniques, signals and other practices you will need for safe diving. When entering the water for the first time with scuba gear you should always be guided by a dive master with a DSD leader card, or by a PADI instructor.

For more information on safe diving, check out the following websites:




Check out to learn more about the differences between organisations.