Bali Indonesia - Wreck diving in Tulamben

Wreck Diving at Tulamben (2024)

For novice divers looking to embark on their first underwater adventure in Bali, I highly recommend exploring the impressive wreck diving in Tulamben. This location is particularly well-suited for beginners, offering a chance to encounter diverse marine life at shallow depths. I find wreck-diving a delightful experience, with the abundance of colourful marine life adding to the allure of the underwater world.

PIN for later reference – Wreck Diving at Tulamben

Wreck diving at Tulamben (Bali)
PIN for later reference – Wreck Diving at Tulamben

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Where is Tulamben?

Situated on the northeast coast of Bali, Tulamben is a quaint village that derives its name from the term ‘batulambih,’ signifying ‘many stones.’ This name is attributed to the frequent volcanic eruptions of Mount Agung in the vicinity.

How to Get to Tulamben?

By Taxi or Road – To reach Tulamben from Ubud, approximately 80 kilometres away, you can opt for a taxi or road transport. Taking a cab is faster but more expensive, usually costing around USD 75 to USD 90 for a one-way trip. It’s advisable to negotiate the quoted price with the taxi driver.

Alternatively, renting a bike is a convenient and popular mode of transportation in Bali.

By Bus – For those looking for a more economical option, a shuttle bus service connects Ubud and Tulamben. Operated by Perama Tour and Travel, the bus fare is approximately USD 18 for a one-way journey. It is recommended to make bookings on their website.

  • The contact number for Perama Tour and Travel is +62 361 751875.

Note: The bus typically departs at 7 AM.

About Dive Site

Tulamben is renowned for its captivating wreck dive site featuring the USAT Liberty, a sunken US Army Transport ship. The appeal of this dive site lies in its accessibility, which is suitable for divers of all levels due to the wreck’s presence in shallow waters. Beginners particularly favour this dive, as dive centres offer introductory dives at this iconic wreck.

The highest point of the wreck is at a depth of 5 meters, while the most profound point reaches 35 meters. Damaged initially by the Japanese, the USAT Liberty was brought to Tulamben for salvage operations. Unfortunately, the eruption of Mount Agung in 1963 led to the ship landing in the ocean, creating a captivating wreck site.

Today, the sunken ship is a thriving habitat for diverse marine life, featuring schools of fish and even sea horses. The water in Tulamben is warm and clear, and the absence of solid currents makes for an enjoyable diving experience.

Logistics of the Dive

  • Dive Type: Shore dive (the wreck is approximately 40 meters from the shore, and the pathway is a bit rocky).
  • Dive Site: Ship Wreck.
  • Depth: Ranges from 5 meters to 30 meters.
  • Visibility: Approximately 10 meters.
  • Ideal for: Divers of all levels, from beginners to experienced. Notably, the dive site is renowned for its night dives, which require divers to have experience. If you are an experienced diver, scuba dive at Nusa Penida.
  • Wetsuit: Advisable to wear.

The optimal times for diving at the wreck are early morning or late afternoon. Additionally, the dive site is well-known for its night dives. It’s worth noting that the wreck tends to be crowded with divers from late morning to afternoon.

Wreck diving at Tulamben (Bali)

Best Time to Dive

The prime period for diving in Tulamben is between October and November (inclusive). During these months, diving conditions are exceptionally favourable, with calm and warm waters providing an ideal environment for underwater exploration.

Marine Life

Exploring a shipwreck offers the distinct advantage of encountering abundant marine life. The site, renowned for its diverse marine ecosystem, features impressive sightings of large fish, including Barracudas, Trevallies, Whale sharks, and Mola Molas. The shipwreck is adorned with flourishing coral formations, attracting schools of fish.

Wreck diving at Tulamben (Bali)
A cute photobomb

During my dive, I had the delightful experience of spotting numerous sea horses and even a stingray, marking my first encounter with this fascinating marine creature.

The site is an excellent choice for macro and wide-angle photography, providing opportunities to capture the captivating underwater scenery and the vibrant marine inhabitants.

Diving Centre and Cost

Tulamben boasts numerous diving centres, each specializing in wreck diving, and many of them hold PADI certification. Bookings at these dive centres can be made promptly on-site, with cash being the preferred payment method.

A helpful tip: Seek recommendations from your taxi driver or hotel staff, as they often have insights into the area’s best and recommended dive centres.

Wreck diving at Tulamben (Bali)

Drawing from my experience several years ago, a single dive with an instructor, including equipment and tank, typically costs around USD 60 per person. However, it’s advisable to negotiate prices, as dive centres may offer discounts. In my case, haggling brought the initially quoted USD 100 per person down to a more favourable rate.

Is Diving at Tulamben Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

I engaged in wreck diving at Tulamben with a local diving centre, accompanied by my two female friends. Despite being in the company of friends, my diving experience took a negative turn. I encountered harassment from one of the diving instructors who joined me underwater. He persistently attempted to hug and dance with me, despite my continuous efforts to push him away. Based on my unsettling experience, I strongly advise against solo diving in Tulamben.

Regrettably, I cannot recall the name of the dive centre, as this incident occurred several years ago. Although I did file a complaint with the dive centre, I am unsure if any action was taken against the instructor.

For solo travellers keen on diving in Tulamben, I recommend thorough research, including talking to multiple dive centres, reading online reviews, and ensuring you choose a reputable diving centre before making a decision. Your safety and comfort should be the top priorities.

Closing Notes

Despite the unfortunate incident with the instructor, I still highly recommend experiencing diving at this incredible site, given the abundant underwater life I witnessed. I am confident that I will return to create new and positive memories. However, next time, I will conduct thorough research before selecting a dive centre to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. The dive at this wreck is truly surreal, offering a remarkable underwater adventure. The sheer magnitude of the shipwreck makes it a destination well worth the visit.

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    PIN for later reference – Wreck Diving at Tulamben

    Wreck diving at Tulamben (Bali)
    PIN for later reference – Wreck Diving at Tulamben

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