Batfish on the artificial reef structure in BioWreck

Scuba Diving in Pemuteran, Bali: Complete Guide to West Bali’s Diving Hub

It’s hard to believe that on an island as visited as Bali, there are still hidden gems to discover.

On my recent trip to Bali (my third — I just can’t stay away from this island!), I had booked two weeks for diving in Amed and Tulamben, since on my first visit to Amed I was not scuba certified.

I didn’t book anything after that except a flight out onto Manila to go to Puerto Galera two weeks later, choosing to play it by ear.

I kept hearing about how great the scuba diving in Pemuteran and Menjangan Island were… and so I decided that I had to see it for myself, naturally.

The beach near Biorock preservation site in Pemuteran Bali with beach and people sitting out in the sun

And great it was — Menjangan is one of my favorite places I’ve dived to date, almost as impressive at Fiji’s Rainbow Reef in terms of coral density, diversity, and health.

I wrote a full post about diving in Menjangan Island as I did four dives there — this post will cover them briefly, as most people visit Pemuteran to do some dives at Menjangan, too, but it will also highlight the dives you can do in Pemuteran Bay.

As a bonus, diving in Pemuteran is some of the cheapest divig in Bali, so it’s definitely a place you can find yourself staying for a while!

How to Get to Pemuteran

Traditional Balinese wooden boats on the black sand beach of Pemuteran at sunset before a night dive
A beautiful sunset on the main beach in Pemuteran, before a night dive at Muck Jetty dive site

It’s easy to get to Pemuteran by private driver from the Bali airport or other places like Amed and Tulamben.

Budget about 800,000 IDR (about $50 USD) for the trip one-way.

You’ll typically get the best price if you book a driver with your hotel vs. booking a driver from the place you are leaving.

You can also get to Pemuteran from East Java via ferry to Gilimanuk and then taking a taxi from there.

If you’re traveling from Java to Bali without flying or vice versa, Pemuteran is a great place to stop for a few days!

Dive Sites in Pemuteran

Napoleon Reef

White daisy looking soft corals and other hard corals on a rock in Pemuteran

Dive Parameters: Max depth 27 meters, dive time 53 minutes, water temperature 28.5° C

Of the dive sites in Pemuteran, this one was probably my favorite!

We did it as a boat dive leaving from Pemuteran Bay in the traditional Balinese jukung boat, and it took about 10 minutes to get there by boat… just enough time to get suited up and do a buddy check!

This is a great dive for macro lovers as there’s a ton to see here, and the coral — particularly the white Xenia soft corals — are healthy, thriving, and diverse.

Various hard and soft corals in an underwater seascape in Pemuteran Bay, with coral that looks like a blossoming cherry tree
What I call “cherry blossom tree” coral — beautiful!

In terms of coral density, it’s not quite as magical as diving in Menjangan and its massive walls.

But because the coral heads are more few and far between, it’s a lot easier to spot cool macro life in the nooks and crannies and in the sand patches in between.

On this dive, I saw a lot of cool nudibranchs and flatworms, like this white, orange, and yellow guy that moved surprisingly fast!

A white flatworm with margins in yellow, black, and white.
A colorful flatworm, similar to a nudibranch but without rhinophores or gills

A few other cool sightings were some juvenile lionfish hunting on the reef, a Chromodoris elisabethina nudibranch, and lots of beautiful feather stars.

For me, this site is mostly about the diversity and density of coral and the possibility for nudibranch spotting!

Bio Wreck

Batfish on the artificial reef structure in BioWreck
A curious batfish at the wreck structure

Dive Parameters: Max depth 24 meters, dive time 64 minutes, water temperature 29° C

This dive starts above an artificial wreck which is a good point of reference for your ascent and descent.

It’s another part of the BioRock project in Pemuteran, but it’s located at a deeper depth and more aimed at divers (though divers can enjoy BioRock, too).

The view as you descend

The dive starts with exploring the artificial wreck structure, which is quickly being colonized by lots of local corals.

After that, you’ll head over to a more sandy patch where there are interspersed coral heads and barrel sponges to admire (and lots of opportunities to look for macro life in between).

flatworm in the coral reef area of bio wreck
A flatworm with a cool pattern on it!

There are a lot of fish in this area, so the Bio Wreck project seems to be working as intended!

On this dive, I spotted a dogface and white-spotted pufferfish, quite a few colorful flatworms, a Halgerda batangas nudibranch (a colorful favorite), and some

Nudibranch with orange network pattern and orange spots and white-and-black polka dot rhinophores and gills
The Halgerda batangas nudibranch

This is a great dive if you want to see more of Pemuteran’s reef restoration efforts, and it’s less busy than BioRock, which sees a lot of snorkelers.

It’s a good mix of seeing reef fish and macro critters like nudibranchs, small crustaceans, and flatworms.


part of the artificial reef system at biorock with sailfin tang
Part of the BioRock artificial reef project

Dive Parameters: Did not dive; I only snorkeled this site and did some duck diving to observe it more closely

This is either doable as a shore dive or as a snorkel — at first, I was scheduled to do a dive at BioRock in the afternoon, but I changed it to doing a night dive instead.

While I didn’t love the place we did the night dive (more on that in the next section), I was still able to get a really good sense of BioRock from snorkeling it, so I’m not too upset I didn’t dive this site.

A scorpionfish nestled in the coral
If you dive it, you’ll see more macro and camouflaged critters, like this scorpionfish and the frogfish that call BioRock home

That said, I do think diving it would really allow you to see the intricacies of this cool reef restoration project!

The BioRock project is really impressive — the largest coral reef restoration effort in all of Indonesia, in fact!

More detail of the artificial reef project at Biorock
Beautiful coral colonies slowly taking over the artificial structures

It was started nearly 25 years ago and now is composed of 115 artificial reef structures you can find along Pemuteran Bay, and the coral colonies here are thriving!

The structures are varied, from typical conical structures to more creative and inspired ones, like an octopus, a scorpionfish, a dragon, the island of Bali, and more.

coral reef structure in the shape of bali with corals below it
Names of donors to the project on the Bali reef structure!

On my brief snorkel trip here, I saw so many reef fish: sailfin tang, bird wrasse, Maori wrasse, the cutest zebra-striped damselfish I ever did see (adorably named humbug damselfish), humphead bannerfish, scorpionfish, and lizardfish.

Since I was only duck diving from the surface, I didn’t see much in the way of nudibranchs, shrimp, or other macro life, but I’m sure that if you dived the site rather than snorkeled it, you’d see so much more!

Muck Jetty

A seahorse holding onto a rope in the sand in Muck Jetty dive site
Sea horses at Muck Jetty!

Dive Parameters: Max depth 14 meters, dive time 50 minutes, water temperature 29.5° C

Of all the dives I did in Bali, this was the only one that I straight up disliked — just being honest!

This is a shore dive from the beaches of Pemuteran… and it’s incredibly polluted, with lots of trash scattered everywhere.

I’ve done a fair bit of muck diving since I love underwater macro and it was always an enjoyable experience… but here, not so much.

A hermit crab underwater at night
Even here, you can see how the visibility was pretty poor, with lots of sediment in the water

Some of it was the conditions and other factors — it was a night dive, but the visibility was terrible and my mask kept fogging up to make matters worse.

I also really didn’t like my divemaster on this dive, which is the only time in 120+ dives I can say that.

Even though I was the only diver assigned to him, I kept losing him and there were other dive groups in the water, so it was really hard to identify which torch was his.

Cuttlefish on the sand at Muck Jetty dive site at night
An adorable, shy cuttlefish!

In spite of all this, I did see a few cool things on the dive.

I spotted some ornate ghost pipefish, hermit crabs, a decorator crab wearing a jellyfish, some seahorses, two juvenile cuttlefish, and some sexy anemone shrimp.

A banggai cardinal fish in Pemuteran bay
A rare Banggai cardinal fish, not often found in Bali!

I also found a favorite new-to-me discovery of the dive, the Banggai cardinalfish: at first I thought it was a juvenile drumfish, but later on I discovered it was something far more unique!

Spotting these in Bali is incredibly rare, with only a few spotted in Secret Bay in Gilimanuk in the past, as they are typically found in Sulawesi.

Dive Sites in Menjangan Island

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

As I mentioned above, I have a full guide to the dive sites of Menjangan Island, so I’m not going to re-write that in full here.

I dove there 4 times (2 two-tank boat dives) and loved every single dive… and I wish I dove there at least one day more!

When I dove Menjangan, there were no additional fees for transit the dive shop, but we did have to pay the daily 200,000 IDR fee ($13 USD) — which is bumped up to 300,000 IDR ($19 USD) on Sundays and holidays — to the park.

Of the four sites I dove at Menjangan, Dream Wall was my favorite — the density of corals and colors is unparalleled almost anywhere.

I also loved Pos II for its beautiful wall and soft current pushing us across, Anchor Wreck for its incredible macro critters and its huge wall [we didn’t actually dive down to the wreck portion, which is deeper than my AOW 30m max depth], and Eel Gardens for its diverse dive of both wall and sandy bottom shallows with a field of garden eels.

There’s also at least 6 other dive sites in Menjangan that I didn’t get a chance to dive, so there’s way more than I just outlined above and in the post.

Other Dive Sites in Pemuteran & Surrounding Area

Beautiful corals, both hard and soft varieties in a lot of different colors, in Pemuteran Bay
Corals in Pemuteran Bay
  • Close Encounters: Two kilometers away in Pemuteran Bay, chance for pelagic life like sharks (possibly even whale sharks!) and eagle rays; large schools of fish often come through here, and there are also coral gardens in the shallow part of this dive site
  • Deep Reef or Gede Reef: Down at 15 to 40 meters, this sloping wall is packed with nudibranchs and flatworms and lots of different kinds of corals, as well of schooling jackfish and fusiliers.
  • Deep Middle Reef: A wall dive 5 minutes by boat, with gorgeous coral tables and softt corals, max depth of 40m.
  • Temple Wall: A steep wall along the cliffs near the temple in Pemuteran, depths between 15 and 35 meters — you can find the unusual ‘disco flame scallop’ here which looks like it’s coursing with electricity!
  • Temple Garden: A dive site with lots of stone statues of Hindu figures and even an underwater Balinese door (no lines for this photo opp!), home to batfish, turtles, shrimp, and macro life.
  • Secret Bay: Thirty minutes away in Gilimanuk, currently closed by the government until further notice
  • Puri Jati: A beloved muck diving site about 30 minutes away from Pemuteran

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

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