Diving in the 3 Pearls
Indonesia is the widest archipelago in the world, with more than 80,000 km of coastline and 3.1 million square km of marine area. With such a large marine area, it’s no wonder Indonesia is often described as a diver’s paradise. There are plenty of attractions for all kinds of marine lovers, but this time around, we will focus our attention on three small gleaming pearls – North Sulawesi’s Gangga Island, Bali’s Candidasa, and Lombok’s Gili Trawangan.
The Gangga Island, North Sulawesi
The Gangga Island arises from the depth of the ocean north of Sulawesi, in the Bangka Archipelago, just off the National Marine Park of Bunaken. A volcanic island, Gangga is adorned with lush tropical trees and colorful flowers. There are several diving areas within reach from Gangga Island, suitable for beginners and experienced divers. The diving spots available in Gangga offers an astonishing kaleidoscope of life forms in more than 25 first-class dive spots in its central position between Bunaken and Lembeh Straits, which also happens to be one of the major playgrounds of paradise for macro-photographers.
Another island paradise bound to attract scuba divers is the renowned Raja Ampat, long heralded as scuba diving’s Holy Grail. Be mesmerized by the crystal clear water, white sandy beaches and pristine marine beauty in this jewel in the ocean!
Towards the south of the Indonesian Archipelago is Bali, the Island of Gods. At the Eastern coast of this island, far from the crowd, lies the small village of Candidasa, a key location where your choice of tours in the water, and out, begins. Bali has a superb reputation as a diving destination, and overall there is as much diversity of dive sites and marine life here than anywhere else in the region. In the eastern coast of Bali, the feature is on the Mantas, mola mola (sunfish) and tiny pygmy seahorses.
Candidasa is also home to the Bat Cave Temple (Pura Goa Lawah), an important temple to the religious locals which is home to thousands of bats hanging on the rock of cave walls. Legend has it that the cave extends all the way to Pura Besakih up at Mount Agung, more than 30 kilometres away. During various holy days, thousands of pilgrims would visit Pura Goa Lawah to join in sacred ceremonies, before heading up towards Mount Agung.
From water-sports at white sandy beaches to first-class shopping, to luxurious gourmet treats and a relaxing escapade at a hillside cafe, Bali has it all. Here are some of the off the beaten track must-do things in Bali, the Island of Gods.
Gili Trawangan, Lombok
Last but not least on our quick island hopping is Gili Trawangan, one of the three small islands off the coast of Lombok. Here, visitors can experience the serenity of a small island, the excitement of the underwater world, and the energy of island nightlife all at once. The island was renowned as a backpacker mecca in the 90s, and while it is still true to some extent, there is now a range of luxury and glamour on the island, and especially so on Gili. On one hand, you have a multitude of relaxing laid-back beach-side cafes serving home-made drinks and local delicacies, but on the other end you also seafood buffets, gourmet treats and luxurious stays.
The diving on offer is excellent, and the island is well-known as a teaching center for diving newbies. There are however, spots with strong currents and drifts better suited for the experienced, with the focus on barracudas, manta rays, sharks and hundreds of turtles.
Other than the above three gleaming pearls, the archipelago of Indonesia boasts plenty other diving attractions. Be sure to check out our list of amazing dive spots in Indonesia before you book your trip down South!
Unearthing Asia is a travel zine focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. Don’t miss out on the best travel ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of top attractions in Ho Chi Minh City.