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Why You Should Dive Indonesia

Indonesia is a world-renowned destination for scuba diving due to its extensive coral reefs, diverse marine life, and clear, warm waters. Therefore, we decided to put down some of our thoughts on why you should make Indonesia your next scuba dive trip. 

Soft coral Raja Ampat | Dive into Raja Ampat | Infinite Blue Dive TravelBiodiversity

Indonesia is part of the Coral Triangle, home to the world’s highest diversity of marine life. With over 17,000 islands, there are countless memorable dive sites to explore, each with unique ecosystems and species.

  • Coral reefs: Home to some of the world’s most beautiful and extensive coral reefs, including the Coral Triangle’s “Coral Triangle’s Amazon” and the reefs of Raja Ampat, which contain over 75 per cent of the planet’s coral species.
  • Fish species: Indonesia provides sanctuary to over an estimated 3000 fish species, including many unique and endemic species. Places like Komodo National Park or the Banda Sea, to name a few, are some areas where you can witness vast numbers of fish.
  • Invertebrates: The waters teem with invertebrates such as crabs, shrimp, and octopuses. The country is also known for its abundant nudibranchs, highly coveted by underwater photographers; these sea slugs are often bright and colourfully patterned. Tulamben in Bali is quickly becoming recognized as an area to spot these.
  • Pelagic species: Indonesia’s waters attract a variety of pelagics, with over 850 species of sharks, manta rays, chimaeras and whales. The Raja Ampat area, in particular, is known for its large populations of manta rays.
  • Critters: The waters are a macro diver’s paradise, with an incredible variety of critters such as pygmy seahorses, frogfish, and nudibranchs. Lembeh, situated in north Sulawesi, is the undisputed dive area of choice for macro enthusiasts and a go-to place for underwater photography.

Indonesia’s marine biodiversity is a treasure trove for divers, underwater photographers, nature enthusiasts, and marine biologists.

Coral ReefsRaja Ampat coral reef with schooling fish | Infinite Blue Dive Travel

Coral reefs in Indonesia are living organisms of beauty. Home to an incredible array of marine species, they are also an unbelievably important part of the earth’s ecosystem by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In addition, many of the reefs in Indonesia are remote, unrivalled and untouched, hence a significant drawcard for scuba divers from around the world. Some awesome highlights of Indonesia’s coral reefs include:

  • Coral Triangle: Indonesia is part of the Coral Triangle, the world’s epicentre of marine biodiversity. This region encompasses a vast ocean area, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. Indonesia’s coral reefs significantly contribute to the Coral Triangle’s biodiversity.
  • Extensive reefs: There are over 51,000 square kilometres of coral reefs, making it the world’s most extensive coral reef system. Some of the most famous reefs are those in Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park, and Bunaken Marine Park.
  • Healthy coral: Despite the threats of climate change, pollution, and overfishing, Indonesia’s coral reefs remain healthy in many areas. Some of the most pristine reefs in the world can be found in Indonesia, with vibrant colours and intricate formations.
  • Diverse marine life: Indonesia’s coral reefs are home to an incredible variety of marine life, from tiny critters like nudibranchs and seahorses to larger species such as sharks, rays, and turtles. Divers can also spot colourful fish like clownfish, angelfish, and parrotfish.
  • Conservation efforts: Coral reefs here have been protected by creating marine parks and protected areas. For example, the Coral Triangle Initiative was established in 2007 to support the conservation and sustainable management of the Coral Triangle’s marine and coastal resources.

Indonesia’s coral reefs are a vital part of the country’s natural heritage and make for an unforgettable dive destination.

A Shout-out to The Little GuysHairy frogfish Lembeh | Infinite Blue Dive Travel

Indonesia is a paradise for macro marine life enthusiasts. Its diverse ecosystems make it a haven for many small, fascinating creatures. Underwater photographers will find many of their ‘holy grail’ species in Indonesian waters. Whether muck diving in the Lembeh Strait, searching the sandy slopes of Padang bai in Bali or Wainilu, Komodo. Here are some of the highlights of Indonesian macro marine life:

  • Nudibranchs: Indonesia has an incredible variety of nudibranchs and colourful sea slugs known for their intricate patterns and shapes. Some popular species to hunt for are ‘Pikachu’, ‘Sean the sheep’, and the ‘Ghost Nudi’. The dive guides at many macro destinations in Indonesia are incredibly talented at spotting these little wonders for you.
  • Seahorses: Several species reside here, including the tiny pygmy seahorse, smaller than a grain of rice. Often found hiding in coral or sea fans, these little creatures are the darlings of many underwater photographers. There are five known species, and all five reside in Indonesia. Once, on a liveaboard trip in north Sulawesi, we found four, including the Bargabanti.
  • Crustaceans: The reefs are home to a wide variety of crustaceans, including shrimp, crabs, and lobsters. Some species are so well-camouflaged that they are difficult to spot. Some of the stars of the Indonesian shrimp spotting world are Harlequin shrimps, Tiger shrimps, and Bumblebee shrimps.
  • Octopuses: Indonesia’s waters are home to several species of octopuses, including the mimic octopus, which can change its shape, colour, and texture to blend in with its surroundings. The Wunderpus and Coconut octopuses are other stunning finds seen frequently in the Lembeh Strait.
  • Frogfish: here is well known for its abundance of Frogfish, which are slow-moving, camouflaged fish with a unique appearance. Often found sitting on the ocean floor or in corals, waiting for prey to come by, Frogfish come in a stunning array of colours and patterns. The Psychedelic Frogfish is one of Ambon’s claims to fame.

Overall, Indonesia’s macro marine life is a testament to its incredible biodiversity and has become a mecca for underwater photographers and macro enthusiasts.

Nudibranch Lembeh | Dive into Indonesia | Infinite Blue Dive TravelA Pelagic Paradise

Indonesia is home to many pelagic fish species, which can be seen while diving or snorkelling in its waters. Here are some of the larger fish species to look out for:

  • Sharks: The archipelago is home to several species of sharks, including Hammerhead, grey reef, blacktip, whitetip, and the Wobbegong shark. Komodo National Park is known for its large population of reef sharks, while the unique Wobbegong shark can be found in Raja Ampat. More recently, the Banda Sea has become famous for the chance to encounter schooling Hammerhead sharks.
  • Manta rays: Indonesia is one of the best places in the world to see manta rays, which are large, graceful fish that can grow up to 7 meters in width. Raja Ampat is one of the top destinations for manta ray sightings. If you love the idea of diving with these elegant creatures, then a Raja Ampat liveaboard itinerary that includes the dive sites of Manta Sandy, Manta Ridge, Blue Magic or Magic Mountain would be spot on. In Raja, you can spot both the reef and the Giant oceanic manta!
  • Whale sharks: These giants of the ocean are the largest fish in the world, growing up to 12 meters in length. They are found in several locations throughout Indonesia, including Komodo National Park, Derawan, Triton Bay, and Cenderwasih Bay; these filter feeders arrive to suck food from fisherpeople’s nets. 
  • Tuna: Several tuna species can be found in Indonesia’s waters, including yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna, and bigeye tuna.
  • Barracudas: Barracudas are fast, predatory fish growing up to 2 meters long. They often swim in open water or hover over reefs waiting for prey, making for an incredible underwater encounter. Giant Barracuda can be found around Bali, while vast schools of Chevron Barracuda dived alongside in many parts of Indonesia.
  • Mola Mola: This odd-looking bony fish, known as the ocean sunfish- is a unique and fascinating species in Indonesia’s waters. These fish are known for their distinctive appearance and behaviour of sunbathing near the water’s surface. Mola Mola can be found around Bali, specifically Nusa Penida, between July and October. Lembongan is another location well known for siting these remarkable fish.

The variety and frequency of pelagic fish encounters and the enormous, rare and utterly unique species you can see while diving in Indonesia make it a must-visit dive destination.

whale shark Indonesia | freediving with a whale shark | Dive into Indonesia | Infinite Blue Dive TravelA Rich Cultural Heritage

Indonesia has a rich and diverse culture influenced by colonization, trade, and its migration history. Many liveaboard dive trips will include visits to local points of interest; another great idea is to leave time after your dive trip to take in some of the remarkable experiences on offer, decompressing as you go.  A few things to make sure you experience are:

  • Cuisine: Indonesian cuisine is known for its bold flavors and use of spices, influenced by the country’s history as a major trading hub. Some popular dishes include nasi goreng (fried rice), satay (grilled skewers), and gado-gado (vegetable salad with peanut sauce). The fantastic thing about Indonesian food id that a lot can be made plant-based. Plenty of tofu and tempeh which can be used as a meat substitute.
  • Traditional clothing: There are various styles, each with unique patterns and designs. For example, the kebaya is a traditional blouse worn by women, while men may wear batik shirts or sarongs.
  • Music and dance: Indonesian music and dance are diverse and influenced by a combination of cultural traditions. Some well-known forms of music and dance include gamelan (a traditional percussion ensemble), wayang (shadow puppetry), and the jaipongan dance of West Java.
  • Art and handicrafts: There is a rich tradition of art and handicrafts, with diverse styles and techniques used throughout the country. Some examples include batik (a wax-resistant dyeing technique), ikat (a type of weaving), and woodcarving.
  • Religion: Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim-majority country but also has a significant population of Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists. This religious diversity has influenced many aspects of Indonesian culture, from cuisine to architecture.

As you will experience, Indonesia’s abundant culture reflects its diverse history and people; exploring this is a fascinating way to learn more about its people, traditions, and way of life.

Traditional Indonesia Batik | Dive into Indonesia | Infinite Blue Dive TravelWhy Should You Make Indonesia Your Next Dive Destination?

Indonesia is home to some of the most outstanding dive locations, all within a single country. Whether you are searching for the richest coral reefs in the world, the opportunity to encounter marine megafauna or photograph the most extensive array of secretive critters. You are perhaps dreaming of crystal-clear oceans and sea mounts pulsing with life or untouched islets whose surrounding waters have never witnessed divers. You may want to experience one of Asia’s most vibrant and seductive cultures and cuisines. Indonesia, then, is a fantastic option that Infinite Blue would love to help you achieve.


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