Leaf scorpionfish camouflaging against coral in the waters

Diving Menjangan Island, Bali: Everything You Need to Know [2024]

On the far north west corner of Bali, you’ll find the beautiful Menjangan Island, part of West Bali National Park and one of the best places to dive in Bali, if not all of Indonesia.

So named for the wild deer that roam the island, scuba divers will be more interested to hear what there is below the surface: namely, some of the best wall diving that Bali can offer.

Seemingly ever-ending walls plummeting to the ocean floor, invisible in the distance, covered in a rainbow of soft corals, sponges, and gorgonian sea fans: the underwater world of Menjangen never fails to impress.

Getting to Menjangan Island

The surface side of Menjangan Island with beautiful blue waters and coral patches and some wooden boats
Wooden boats docked at Menjangan Island

In order to get to Menjangan Island and its dive sites, you’ll first want to navigate to Pemuteran as that is the hub for most day trips to Menjangan.

It’s not possible to stay on Menjangan Island, as the island is a protected part of the national park.

The closest you can get is staying at The Menjangan, a luxury resort located within the national park with its own private dock with daily dive boats to the island.

Most people instead opt to stay in Pemuteran, a lovely little fishing village that is traditionally Balinese in the best way, which is also home to the impressive BioRock Pemuteran project — the largest reef restoration effort in Indonesia.

People are incredibly friendly here, as Pemuteran is one of few places in Bali where the delicate fulcrum of tourism is well-balanced, giving locals opportunity without the massive gentrifying effect of digital nomads and foreign investors that South Bali suffers from.

Personally, I stayed at Kubu Padi Wooden House and I can highly recommend it.

Accommodations in Pemuteran at Kabul Padi Wooden House with a long lap pool and umbrella and wooden traditional Balinese style homes
Pool views at Kubu Padi in Pemuteran, Bali

It’s incredibly affordable and what you get for the price is incredible: your own Balinese wooden chalet with a lovely pool to swim and a great daily breakfast.

In November, I paid about $25 USD per night and stayed for five nights. Check prices and availability here.

You can reach Pemuteran in Northwest Bali from Ngurah Rai International Airport or other popular dive spots like Amed, Tulamben (and its famous Liberty Wreck), Sanur, etc. via private driver for about 800K IDR ($52 USD).

You can also reach Pemuteran from East Java by taking the ferry to Gilimanuk and then taking a taxi to Pemuteran from the ferry terminal.

If you’re diving in multiple places in Bali, you can also work with a dive shop like Dive Concepts that offers dive safaris where you book all your dives and transportation through one company at a discounted rate.

My Experience Diving in Menjangan

Wooden boats in Menjengan Island as seen from the water level
View right before diving Menjangan’s reefs!

Personally, I stayed in Pemuteran and did two day trips — diving Menjangan once just wasn’t enough!

I went diving with Dive Concepts Pemuteran, and I can recommend this dive center to fellow divers as they were efficient, helpful, and had some great local divemasters.

Their dive costs were really affordable too (though note that that there is an additional 200K IDR fee to access Menjangan Island, or 300K on Sundays).

Each dive trip was a two-tank boat dive, so I was able to visit four different dive sites in Menjangan.

We also had a bit of time during our surface intervals to relax on Menjangan Island itself and eat lunch and admire the rare Javan rusa deer for which the island gets its name.

The unique Java rusa deer you can find on the island
These deer definitely aren’t shy when they know it’s time for lunch (but please don’t feed them!)

“Menjangan” is the word in Bahasa Indonesia for this deer — and these deer are special because they can actually swim between Menjangan and Bali’s mainland!

I had heard the island had some of the most pristine reefs in all of Bali, but I wasn’t prepared for how beautiful it would be: I was truly blown away, even after two weeks of diving in Amed and Tulamben which are both quite impressive.

While Amed and particularly Tulamben are a macro photographers delight, Menjangan Island is the best diving for marine life and coral vitality.

While of course, you’ll see some small critters like nudibranchs and colorful flatworms perfect for macro, there’s honestly just so much density of life that it’s harder to notice the small things — and that’s not a bad thing.

Lettuce-looking coral on the walls in Menjangan Island with green and pink corals
Beautiful lettuce-like corals on the wall in Menjangan

Menjangan is mostly gentle drift dives along huge walls and coral gardens, with mild but persistent currents that are typically rather easy to navigate… unlike the crazy currents I experienced in Nusa Penida.

The visibility here is incredible: it ranges from 33-100+ feet (10-30+ meters) and I had the luck of having that picture-perfect 30-meter viz when I was there.

There’s also a lot of great shallow reef, making those safety stops whiz by in a flash.

After your first dive, most dive operators will have you do your surface interval and lunch on Menjangan Island.

A pink lunch container with white rice, chicken, egg, and vegetable on a wooden table
A Balinese lunch during our surface interval

Having lunch here is a delightful pause in the middle of a long day of diving and transit by van and wooden boat!

You’ll typically do one more dive after lunch and then return to the docks to return by van, via a bumpy 30-minute boat ride where it’s incredibly hard to stay dry!

If you get seasick, be sure to bring Dramamine, and make sure you have a good dry bag to put any sensitive items in.

What Can You See Scuba Diving Menjangan Island?

A dog faced puffer fish on the reef in Menjangan Island with coral behind it
A lovely dog-faced pufferfish, a common sight in Bali’s waters

Menjangan is great for all levels of certified divers, from PADI Open Water and beyond, as there’s so much to see even at the 18 meters/60 feet maximum depth that beginners’ certification allows for.

Common sightings in Menjangan Island are all the Indo-Pacific reef fish you can imagine: countless species of butterflyfish and angelfish, adorable giant pufferfish, darting damselfish and clownfish, all the regulars of the reef.

Keen eyes can spot some macro critters, like pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs, mantis shrimps, and flatworms while diving.

A unique blue and orange flatworm as seen in Menjangan Island while scuba diving
The lovely Susan’s Flatworm (Pseudoceros susanae)

It’s possible to see some larger pelagic life when diving but it’s not all too likely: Menjangan is sheltered from some of the more open ocean currents, which is what gives you that great visibility but decreases your chances of seeing larger species.

In theory, it’s possible to see larger life like manta rays, whale sharks, mola molas, etc. while diving in Menjengan, but it’s not very likely — expect that in Nusa Penida instead.

Expect to see sea turtles, giant barracudas, and whitetip reef sharks if you’re lucky — anything else should be seen as a huge, unexpected bonus!

Best Menjangan Island Dive Sites

Eel Garden

Corals on the wall of Menjangan Island dive site at Eel Gardens
Beautiful corals at Eel Garden — I think it looks like a cherry blossom tree!

Dive Parameters: Max depth 27m, average depth 17 meters, dive time 51 minutes, average water temperature 29° C

This was my first dive in Menjangan Island and it was a truly memorable introduction to what diving in West Bali National Park has to offer.

Eel Garden starts as a stunning wall drift dive, where you can descend to 30 meters / 100 feet and drift along the beautiful coral wall that the region is known for.

After about 20 minutes, we started to ascend a bit so we could cross over the sandy bottom area of the dive site.

A beautiful giant clam in the ocean
Maxima clam

This part of the dive site is interspersed with hard and soft corals and it’s where you’ll find the famous eel garden, where there’s a sandy feel of hundreds and hundreds of garden eels.

If you’ve never seen garden eels before, it’s a unique sight.

They waver almost like grasses, undulating in the water, and as soon as you approach they lower down, making them nearly impossible to photograph well.

It’s an experience to enjoy rather than to try to capture.

A black and orange clownfish in bubble trip anemone
Clownfish in bubble tip anemone
An emperor angelfish with yellow and blue stripes
Emperor angelfish

This part of the dive had a moderate current as we crossed over the sandy bottom, so it was nice letting it push us forward and not having to kick as the current propelled us on our dive.

Some fun sightings included a clownfish in bubble tip anemone, a maxima clam (aka the oxymoronically-named small giant clam), and a beautiful emperor angelfish.

The safety stop was incredible, with so much fish life all around!

All sorts of blue, orange, and yellow fish and soft corals in a shallow portion of the dive site
Fish galore during the safety stop

Up in the shallow portion, there were big schools of orange anthias, blue and yellow chromis, and juvenile queen triggerfish.

It was so active that it was hard to want to surface after seeing how lively the shallows were (and how good it must be for snorkelers, too!)

Anchor Wreck

A beautiful orange and white fish on corals
Blacktip grouper

Dive Parameters: Max depth 25m, average depth 15 meters, dive time 63 minutes, average water temperature 29° C

This dive site is or was once home to a wreck, but I’ve heard conflicting information about it.

In our briefing, the divemaster said that the wreck is no longer there, but other sites that I referenced say that the wreck exists, but it’s quite deep — around 35 to 50 meters deep.

After watching some videos of it, it looks like the wreck is technically there but is mostly in ruins, and the wood of the ship has all rotted away, leaving only some metal beams remaining, which may be why my divemaster said the wreck isn’t there anymore.

Leaf scorpionfish camouflaging against coral in the waters
Leaf scorpionfish

That said, my review of this dive site is only talking about the reef-y shallower portions of the dive, the parts that are above 25 meters.

Wreck or no wreck, this was such a lovely wall dive, with lots of beautiful macro life tucked away in parts of the wall, making it really fun to photograph.

A few favorite sightings were a leaf scorpionfish, a Chromodoris nudibranch, an Elysia marginata nudibranch, and some quirky fire dartfish, one of my favorite fish I saw in Fiji that was nice to see here in Bali, too.

A pair of fire dartfish as seen in Menjangan at the dive site anchor wreck
A unique-colored nudibranch with orange and black tips and ruffled edge
Elysia marginata nudibranch

At the end of the dive during the safety stop, I saw something really unique: a Lisa’s mantis shrimp, a unique kind of spearer mantis shrimp.

Unlike the peacock mantis shrimp, which frequently leaves its hiding hole in search of food, the Lisa’s mantis shrimp rarely leaves its little hole.

It was an extra-special way to end the dive!

Mantis shrimp in a hole in the sand hiding
Lisa’s mantis shrimp

Mantis shrimps are incredibly unique animals with the best eyesight in the world and incredible spearing or smashing powers.

Seeing them in the wild always leaves me in awe of the underwater world — how unbelievable what we know is, and how much we still have to discover.

Pos II

A beautiful Yellow Sea fan in the water with a diver behind it
Beautiful yellow corals at Pos II

Dive Parameters: Max depth 25m, average depth 16 meters, dive time 56 minutes, average water temperature 29° C

This was one of the Menjangan dive sites I had heard about prior to diving there, so I was really excited when our divemaster said we’d be diving this as our first dive of day two.

The dives you’ll get to do in Menjangan vary depending on the currents, which can occasionally be strong in certain places at certain times — but generally, the currents at Pos II are very mild, making this a great choice for divers of every stripe.

There are Pos II and Pos I, named for the ranger stations near each dive site (Pos stands for Position), and both are supposed to be sublime but I’ll only be talking about Pos II here.

Moray eel at Pos II dive site coming out from a crack in the stocks
Giant moray eel at Pos II

This dive was all about the massive coral wall!

It extends down all the way to 40 meters (we stayed above 30 meters, since I’m only certified as an advanced open water diver and that’s my limit).

Along the wall, we spotted some beautiful nudibranchs, including ones from the families of Reticulidia and Phydellia.

A unique textured nudibranch with orange, white, and black markings
The reticulidia fungia, also called the mushroom coral reticulidia

This dive also had a great section at the shallow area which was a lovely place for a safety stop.

This is also a popular snorkeling area and I can see why considering how much there is to see in the shallows.

Dream Wall

A hole in the coral wall creating an overhang with a window
Looking through a little ‘hole in the wall’

Dive Parameters: Max depth 21m, average depth 15 meters, dive time 56 minutes, average water temperature 29° C

Since this was the second dive of the day, we didn’t dive as far down the wall as we could.

But it was still incredibly epic, and a perfect way to end my time diving in Menjangan Island!

The wall here goes down to about 30 meters, but we stayed around 20 meters to maximize our bottom time and also to have a safer dive profile for our second dive.

Beautiful soft corals on the wall

The main highlight was just the coral density and textures of the wall.

Menjangan Island is known for being home to over 100 species of coral and it seriously feels like I saw them all in this one dive site, that’s how dense the coral biodiversity was!

We saw all sorts of fish life here, big and small, including curious little batfish and a Titan triggerfish who nearly dive-bombed me and scared the crap out of me.

a batfish on the coral reef in Menjangan Island
A cheeky batfish who would later literally take a s*** right in my face as I photographed it! For your sake, I didn’t include that picture.

This was one of my favorite dives in Menjangan, with a perfect amount of drift and a nice profile that allowed us to have a nice, nearly hour-long dive.

I can see why it’s called Dream Wall — I’ll definitely be dreaming of returning here.

More Menjangan Dive Sites

a Phyllidelia nudibranch in Menjangan island on a piece of sandy coral rubble

I didn’t get a chance to dive any of these sites, but here are some of the other dive sites people talk about in Menjangan — I’m sure all are pretty epic!

  • Bat Cave
  • Pos I
  • Coral Garden
  • Underwater Cave
  • Temple Point
  • Sandy Slope
  • Mangrove Point

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *