Updated: Nov 7
As a scuba diver (or scuba addict as some may say), you tend to plan your holidays around the possibility of going diving. Whilst many countries offer both good diving and an exciting travel experience, Indonesia stands out as both an exceptional dive destination and an incredible country to explore on land too.
Here are a few reasons why we rate Indonesia as the best (dive) travel destination in the world:
#1 - Most of the world's best dive spots are in Indonesia
When you read dive magazine articles on the 'top best dive sites in the world', usually one or several of these are in the list: Raja Ampat, Komodo, Nusa Penida, Lembeh straits/Bunaken, Ambon or Alor; and guess what, they are all in Indonesia! It's not bragging to say that perhaps (at least) 5 of the top 10 spots are located here.
#2- Incredible Variety
It's not just the quality of the diving but also the diversity of different sites, from Komodo's incredible reefs to Raja Ampat's megafauna, as well as the seasonally cool waters of Nusa Penida attracting Mola mola, via the macro paradises of Lembeh or Ambon. You'll even find amazing wrecks in Bali or Pulau Weh. Of course, it's not just the dive sites that are incredibly diverse, the scenery of the Indonesian archipelago on land is as breathtakingly beautiful as it is varied.
#3 -Fascinating culture and delicious food
When not scuba diving, there is the rich manifold Indonesian culture to explore, ranging from the colossal temples of Java to the ancient tribes of Papua, Bali's intricate traditions and art scene or Flores's spiderweb rice fields. The culinary art, like the unmissable Sumatran Masakan Padang, also needs a mention. If you want nightlife and fun, you'll be sure to find it in Bali but also in Yogyakarta or Malang, where the independent music scenes are thriving.
#4- Safe and friendly
Few countries are as pleasant and 'easy' to travel in as Indonesia. Because it is a myriad of islands you can fly to most places, or if you have a spirit of adventure you can get a bike/car and get ferries across. Though the infrastructure is far from perfect and public transport timetables are less than reliable, people are friendly and helpful, generally pretty honest and there is very little crime ( well certainly directed at travellers). If you travel local style, you will be sure to finish your journey with a few new friends.
#5- Great dive operators (for all budgets and tastes)
Whether you are travelling on a (diver) shoestring or fancy splashing out on a posh dive resort, Indonesia has it all. The dive operators are more often than not excellent and safe. There are plenty of 5-star IDC dive centres and top-notch operators, and the diving is still very cheap compared to most of the world.
#6- Off-the-beaten-track options
If you fancy a bit of adventure or have a good budget but want complete isolation, you will find secret spots in the archipelago that will cater to your desires. Many amazing locations across the archipelago allow you to get away from it all, with a backpack or in luxury.
#7- Did I mention world-class diving?
Manta rays: tick; Mola mola: tick; world-class varied healthy reefs: tick; tons of turtles: tick; whale sharks: tick; hammerheads: tick, frogfish, pygmy seahorses, harlequin shrimp, coconut octopuses, nudis galore, flamboyant cuttlefish, tick, tick, tick... Need we list more?
If you were debating where to go on your next (dive) holiday, look no further!