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If you are an inexperienced diver or are seeking a diving license in the country, these five places offer calm waters as well as breathtaking underwater vistas that will make you want to dive again and again. Nusa Lembongan Home to manta rays and mola-mola (ocean sunfish) that have made diving in Bali famous, Nusa Lembongan is one of the island's most popular diving destinations for beginners. Situated around 20-minutes away by boat from Sanur, it also offers healthy coral reefs as well as a diverse variety of marine creatures with visibility somewhere between 15 to 25 meters. Most of the dive sites are also close to the island and thus can be reached with only a 10 to 20 minute boat ride. Its most popular ones include Manta Point (best visited between November-May), Crystal Bay and Blue Corner (between July-October). Tulamben Tulamben, in the northeastern part of Bali, around a 3-hour drive from Denpasar, is one of the island's favorite diving spots. For beginners, the site is highly recommended because of its calm, smooth waters and the fact that you can learn to dive there any month of the year. Diving in Tulamben is also cheaper than other spots in Bali because it can be accessed without having to rent a boat. Divers can simply swim around 10 meters from the beach to reach the beautiful underwater vista. With clear visibility starting from 15 to 20 meters, you can expect to see many interesting species of fish such as the big-eye trevally, jack fish, gobies, sweetlips and lizardfish swimming very close to your face. The USAT Liberty shipwreck, which has been there since 1942 after it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, has attracted plenty of divers to explore the site and will also serve as a spectacular bonus for beginners learning to dive in Tulamben. Bunaken Located north of Manado, North Sulawesi, Bunaken is one of the five islands in the Bunaken National Marine Park that offers some of the best underwater scenery in Indonesia. It is also the closest to Manado and the most visited. Bunaken National Marine Park has continuous walls that drop as far as the eye can see, plunging to over 200 meters. Also called the hanging walls, they are the walls of giant coral that stand vertically, arch toward the surface and are adorned with various colorful coral and many kinds of magnificent fish. Lekuan II and Lekuan III are two of the best sites in the vast marine park, which is widely regarded as one of the best tropical dive regions in the world. The spots are also where 1-meter diameter green turtles rest, at a depth of between 10 and 30 meters. Near Molas Beach, just outside Manado on the mainland coast, you can also find the wreck of the Molas that lies in 24 to 40 meters of water and a school of long fin batfish circling the top of the wreck. This Dutch freighter sank during World War II and its hull has become a home for many fish species. Lembeh Strait Located in Bitung municipality, around 2.5 hours drive from Manado, Lembeh Strait offers a silt-bottomed underwater feature for muck diving and has a reputation as a spectacular dive spot to observe tiny, wonderful sea creatures up-close. No wonder it has been prominent for macro underwater photography enthusiasts as about 30 dive sites stretch out beneath. Lembeh is positioned within the epicenter of the world’s 6-million square kilometer Coral Triangle, with a narrow 14 kilometer channel which is about one or two kilometers wide. Time after time, it has been rated among the top dive locations in the world as it is famed for muck or critter diving — a term that describes the small sea creatures that inhabit the black sand milieu. Diving at Lembeh Strait is relatively easy because the current is usually gentle. The visibility underwater is also quite good, with 5-15 meters being the furthest you can see clearly. Its popular dive sites include Nudi Falls, Hairball, Police Pier and Angel’s Window. Weh Island Weh Island, which is the most northwestern island of Indonesia, is also a great option for those seeking to dive for the first time. Situated around an hour away by ferry from Banda Aceh, it offers clear waters and a fascinating underwater landscape as far as the eye can see. Here, where the Andaman Sea meets the Indian Ocean, the deep waters and currents around the island sustain an unbelievable amount of marine life, ranging from tiny critters to grand pelagics. Weh Island is quite unspoiled and you can expect less-crowded dive sites while having your course there.
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