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Bali / Nusa Penida or Similan Islands?

Discussion in 'General Asia' started by Deanioni, Oct 10, 2019.

  1. Deanioni

    Deanioni Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Netherlands
    2
    2
    3
    Dear all,

    I’m new to the forum as registered member but I have been reading topics since a couple of years. I dive since 2016, currently Advanced Open Water with about 30 dives. I’ve been to Mexico (Puerto Morelos, Cozumel), Malaysia (Tip of Borneo) and Galapagos (Isla Isabela, Santa Cruz, Christobal). I got my certifications in The Netherlands btw, cold waters brrr.

    In 2020 I will be in SE Asia for work, and I have some time left. The challenge is: I only have 5-6 free days. Because of the logistics (I am coming from China and want a direct flight from Chengdu or Singapore to the dive destination to avoid to much flying hours) I have selected these 2 options:

    - Flying directly to Phuket Thailand, and do a 5D4N liveaboard to Similan Islands.
    - Flying directly to Denpasar / Bali Indonesia and stay for 5 days at Nusa Penida.

    I like seeing big fish - especially manta’s are on the list so both options should fit. Your opinions are highly appreciated, let me know your thoughts :)
     
  2. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    6,150
    1,491
    113
    What time of the yr are you talking?
     
  3. Dan

    Dan Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Texas
    5,215
    2,832
    113
    I was in Nusa Penida on Sep 20 (~ 3 weeks ago) and saw these guys:

    29A3D643-CECA-4164-9FF8-0034708BB1DC.jpeg F4C73063-09CD-4D0A-A04D-12F2FED9AD63.jpeg 5145358D-F7FF-4C37-B577-4B06BC675B5B.jpeg A4FC2441-77B6-439A-922B-F91B01A0B7D8.jpeg

    Mola Mola season is around July-September with cool breeze coming from Australia winter weather.
     
    NYCcowgirl likes this.
  4. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    6,150
    1,491
    113
    It is never a good idea to mix a LoB trip with a tight schedule.
    Less selection and any unforeseen delay means missing the boat or the flight. Flight originated from china is notoriously unreliable, delay is very common and I believe you must aware of that.
     
  5. diveUAE

    diveUAE Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Abu Dhabi
    116
    65
    28
    Time of year is the essence here.

    Richelieu rock/Koh Tachai/Koh Bon (where you can meet “the big guys”) are only open from October to early May. We went there in April 2018 and did not see any mantas/whale sharks. The diving was still good (with Richelieu Rock being awesome!!), but lots of boats/divers.

    Bali/Nusa Penida is almost opposite in season, although you can dive there year round in winter seas may be rough - also be aware the boat to/from Penida might be cancelled (sometimes for several days), and even in summer, maybe have a look at staying in Padang Bai and do day trips.

    We went to Bali in July/August 2015 and saw many mantas:) Diving in general was great.
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  6. Tippytoes12

    Tippytoes12 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK
    1,004
    423
    83
    I would agree that Bali is the better choice. Between late February / early March and the end of November, I would probably stay on one of the Nusa islands. World Diving , an excellent dive shop, go to Manta Point every second day, where you have excellent chances of seeing many mantas all year round and Molas between August and mid October.

    Padang Bai is also an excellent option. The local diving is really good , white tipped sharks in caves , molas in season and excellent macro under the Jetty. Tulamben and the Liberty Wreck are just up the road. It is only 40 minutes across to the Nusa for a three dive trip. We love Padang Bai , there are lots of places to eat with live music and it is only 90 minutes to the airport. Highly recommend Absolute Scuba who have great boats and guides and very nice accomodation with a pool and a garden.

    Enjoy your trip !
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  7. Deanioni

    Deanioni Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Netherlands
    2
    2
    3
    Thanks everyone for the helpful information! It’s end of March - beginning of April. I’m leaning towards Bali then (although no Mola season. Beautiful pictures Dan!)
     
    Tippytoes12 and Dan like this.
  8. torachen

    torachen Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Shanghai
    21
    6
    3
    Bali is better imo even it's the season for similan
     
  9. Dan

    Dan Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Texas
    5,215
    2,832
    113
    In 12 years I have been visiting Bali, I have not seen any Mola Mola in Nusa Penida during March-April. I have seen Manta almost every time & at different time of the year at Manta Point, it’s named accordingly. To me visiting Nusa Penida once or twice during the trip is enough. Then I would check out other sites, like Tulamben.

    Most Bali diving aficionados go for “Diving Safari”, i.e., hoping from site to site around Bali. I did that for 4 days in August 2014, starting from Secret Bay, in the northwest end of Bali, moving eastward to Menjangan, Tulamben then southward down to Padangbai and ending in Nusa Penida on the 4th day morning. That morning in Nusa Penida we saw 9 Mola Mola. After lunch that afternoon my DM took us to Benoa to aboard Mermaid 1 for 11-day liveaboard trip Bali-Komodo-Bali. A perfect itinerary for spending a 2-week vacation in Indonesia. :D
     

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