Lombok is famous for surfers and beach bums. Not many know that the same area where you can catch a wave of your life hides terrific underwater world.
As arriving in Kuta, dream beaches will instantly come to sight. Fringed with snow-white sand, the emerald waters are filled with coral gardens and abundant marine life. The lagoons around Kuta-Lombok are increasingly appreciated by scuba divers and snorkelers and the glorious beaches of Seger and Tanjung Aan are ideal for chill-out.
Are Goleng and Selonk Blanak, Mawun Tampa, Mawi, and Rowok are the best-kept secrets of the southern Lombok, and the perfect snorkelling sites.
BELONGAS BAY AND AWANG BAY
While surfers would typically head straight to Awang Bay the experienced scuba divers will surely want to set out on a trip to the Belongas Bay to explore “The Magnet”. The iconic dive site is an open ocean location where to meet the Hammerhead Shark or the Manta Ray.
TOP DIVE SITES IN LOMBOK: Magnet, Blue Hole, Cathedral, Gili Sera, Coral Garden, Wollis Pinnacle and Bawarlan Reef
Strikingly beautiful, with powdery sands lapped by brilliant-blue waters, the Gili Islands are attract the visitors from every corner of the world. Creating an atoll, these three little dots in the Bali Sea, truly manifest a paradise.
Apart from relaxing, no roads, no traffic, and no hustle, Gili Meno, Gili Air and Gili Trawangan are known for some of the best snorkelling spots – and the highlights are the giant sea turtles. This is a good place where to learn to dive. Join a dive school or take a driving tour to discover what is hiding in the warm shallows of the Gili islands.
TOP GILI UNDERWATER EXPERIENCES
DIVING – Halik Reef/Shark Point/Goodheart Reef
SNORKELING – near Karma Kayak and Villa Almarik
DIVING – Haan`s Reef and Gili Air` Wall
SNORKELING – near Gili Air Hotel and Blue Marlin Dive
DIVING – Meno and Meno Slope
SNORKELING – near Goodheart Bungalows and at the Bounty Pier Wreck
Flores has been favourite destination across Nusa Tenggara when it comes to scuba diving. Tourism here is significantly focused on the underwater activities. The island`s impressive coral estates are a must-see. There are endless fields of corals, undersea caves, steep walls, coral heads, soft corals and shipwrecks that will even impress the expert divers.
Maumere is the largest city in Flores. Once the most important diving destination has lately been facing a recession. The reason was a devastating earthquake followed by a tsunami in 1992 which destroyed most of the town. The underwater paradise here – the major point of interest – suffered a massive loss and tourism drastically decreased. Nowadays, the tourism infrastructure is slowly but surely improving and the scuba divers are starting to return to Maumere in order to research the fresh corals emerging from the seabed.
TOP DIVE SITES IN FLORES
4.KOMODO NATIONAL PARK
Komodo National Park is home to the world`s largest lizards and the last living dinosaurs – the Komodo Dragons (Varanus Komodoensis).
The UNESCO World Heritage Site includes three major islands: Komodo, Rinca, and Padar, stretching between the islands of Flores and Sumbawa. Established in 1980, the main purpose of the park was to conserve the unique varan and its habitat, however, over the last few years, the main motivation seems to be tourism.
Apart from the main attraction of the national park, the reserve boasts extremely rich marine environment, such as coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, seamounts and semi-enclosed bays where dugongs, shark, rays, dolphins, sea turtles and even whales can be found.
TOP DIVE SITES IN KOMODO NP: Manta Alley, GPS Point, Langkoi Rock
NOTE Be advised that you will need to arrange a diving expedition in Labuan Bajo/Flores.There are plenty of scuba diving schools and dive centres offering various tours. It is not possible to enter the marine park independently.
5. WEST TIMOR
For genuine Indonesia-lovers who are in search of the country`s hidden gems, West Timor is the place to visit. Although it is the path least travelled and the last widely undiscovered island in Indonesia the isle is stuffed with ’frozen-in-time’ surprises and excellent dive sites.
TOP DIVE SITES IN WEST TIMOR: Rote Island (Snake-necked turtle), Semau Island (Cave City, Japanese WWII shipwreck and Australian aircraft wreck), Menipo Island (turtles and crocodiles), Kera Island (Monkey Island)
WHEN TO TRAVEL
For diving in Nusa Tenggara, you will want to arrive between the months of March and June or October and November, for the best underwater visibility and relatively calm waters.
HOW TO GET THERE
LOMBOK: Fly to Jakarta/Java or Denpasar/Bali and take a local flight to Mataram/Lombok
GILI ISLANDS: Fly to Denpasar/Bali and take a speedboat from Padangbai/Bali to the Gili Islands
FLORES: Fly to Jakarta/Java or Bali/Denpasar and catch a domestic airplane to Labuan Bajo/Flores or Maumere/Flores.
KOMODO ISLANDS: Fly to Jakarta/Java or Denpasar/Bali and catch a domestic flight to Labuan Bajo where you can arrange a boat tour to the Komodo National Park.
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