Wreck diving at Tulamben (Bali)

If you are an amateur diver and are planning to do an introductory dive in Bali, then I recommend a spectacular wreck diving site at Tulamben. This is a great diving site for beginners and one can experience seeing lots of marine life at a small depth. I personally love and enjoy the wreck diving as the marine life is abundant and colourful.

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Wreck diving at Tulamben (Bali)
Wreck diving at Tulamben (Bali)

Where is Tulamben?

Tulamben is a small village on the north-east coast of Bali. According to Wikipedia, the village Tulamben got its name from the word ‘batulambih‘, which means ‘many stones’. The reference is given to the frequent eruptions from Mount Agung.

How to get to Tulamben?

Taxi or Drive – Tulamben is around 80 kilometres from Ubud. The best and quickest way to get to Tulamben is by a taxi or a car/bike. The taxi is the expensive mode of transport and it generally costs around USD 75 to USD 90 one way.

Ensure to haggle on the quoted price with the taxi driver.

Hiring bikes are very easy in Bali and that is the most preferred way of commuting.

Buses – There is a shuttle bus that runs between Ubud and Tulamben. The cost of the bus fare is about USD 18 one way. Perama Tour and Travel is the operator is that runs these shuttle buses. The bookings can be made on their website in advance.

  • Perama Tour and Travel contact number: +62 361 751875.

Note: The bus departure time is 7 AM every morning.

Dive site

Tulamben is popular because of the wreck dive site. The wreck is of the USAT Liberty, a US Army Transport ship. Since the wreck lies in the shallow waters, the diving is suitable for all kinds and levels of divers. The dive is famous among the beginners as the dive centres provide the introductory dives at this wreck.

The highest point of the wreck is 5 metres and the deepest is 35 metres. The ship was destroyed by the Japanese and was brought to Tulamben for salvage operations. Unfortunately, the eruption from Mount Agung in the year 1963 damaged the eastern side of Bali, and hence the landed in the ocean.

Now, the shipwreck provides a great site to attract all the marine life. There are so many shoals of fish and sea horses. The water is warm and clear. And most times, there is no current.

Logistics

  • Type of Dive: Shore dive (the wreck is around 40 metres from the shore and the path is a bit rocky).
  • Dive site: Ship Wreck.
  • Depth: 5 metres to 30 metres.
  • Visibility: Around 10 metres.
  • Ideal for: Any levels of divers from beginners to experienced. However, the dive site is famous for its night dives, which requires the divers to be experienced.
  • Wet suit: Yes advisable.

The best time to dive at the wreck is early morning or late afternoon. The dive site is also famous for its night dives. Note: The wreck is generally packed with divers from late morning to afternoon.

Wreck diving at Tulamben (Bali)

Best time and Marine life

The best time to dive at Tulamben is between October and November (inclusive). The conditions for diving is extremely good at these times as the water is calm and warm.

Diving at a shipwreck comes with a great advantage which is having an ample marine life. The site is famous for its large fish sightings such as Barracudas, Trevallies, Whale sharks and Mola Molas. There are also plenty of corals grown on the ship, which attracts many schools of fishes.

I saw a lot of sea horses and a stingray. And this was the first time I had seen a stingray during a dive.

The site is great for macro and wide angle photography.

Wreck diving at Tulamben (Bali)
A cute photo bomb

Diving Centre and Cost

There are plenty of diving centres in Tulamben. All these dive centres specialise in the wreck diving. Most of them are PADI certified as well. The bookings can be done instantly at the dive centre and the dive centres usually prefer cash.

Note: Ensure to ask your taxi driver or the hotel staff as they may know the best ones and can advise you on a recommended dive centre.

I went to Tulamben many years ago and one dive with an instructor cost about USD 60 per person with the equipment and the tank.

Haggle on the prices quoted. Sometimes the dive centres discount and get the prices down. I think if I remember correctly my friends and I were quoted USD 100 per person.

Wreck diving at Tulamben (Bali)

Safety for solo female travelers

I went wreck diving at Tulamben with a local diving centre and with my two girl friends. In spite of being with my two friends, I did not have a good time diving. I was harassed by one of the diving instructors who accompanied me underwater. He tried to hug me and dance with me underwater even though I constantly pushed him away. Due to my experience, I would definitely not suggest diving alone in Tulamben.

Unfortunately, I do not remember the name of the dive centre as it was many years ago. And yes, I did complain to the dive centre but not sure if any action was taken against the instructor.

However, if you are traveling alone and really wish to go diving here, I suggest talking and inquiring at a couple of places and reading reviews online before deciding. Also, ensure to go with a reputed diving centre.

Conclusion

Even though I had a bad experience with the instructor, I still recommend diving at this amazing site as I saw so much of underwater life. I know I will definitely return to erase the bad memory that I have. Only this time, I will ensure I do the proper research before selecting any of the centre. The dive at this wreck is surreal and provides a great experience. The ship wreck is massive and definitely worth a trip.

Gallery

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Wreck diving at Tulamben (Bali)
Wreck diving at Tulamben (Bali)

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16 Comments

  1. We are so sad we missed scuba diving when we were in Bali. I certainly had the great underwater coral and fish on my list for Bali. But did not know it was also good for wreck diving. And so cool that you can get to the wreck from a shore dive. I would love to visit when the whale sharks might be around!

  2. It’s such a shame that your dive experience was ruined by an instructor stepping over the line. That’s just uncalled for. Diving isn’t cheap, and every dive needs to be savored and enjoyed. But at least you liked the dive site, but good warning to others who want to dive here.

  3. Definitely want to do this someday and soon! Indonesia has so many incredible islands for diving. Initially wanted to go around Thailand for diving and get my license there but Indonesia is a great option too. Although going with a good dive company is so crucial for so many reasons and now even this. Never imagined that harassment could happen so down under too. So sorry you had to go through this, it’s traumatising and absolutely disgusting. Definitely keeping this tip of not going alone in mind.

  4. This is so cool! I want to try diving so bad and I think visiting the shipwreck would make the experience even better. It sounds like the perfect dive for a beginner to. I would love to see some seahorses! I’m sorry to hear about the experience with your instructor, completely unprofessional. Thank you for warning others so that they can be cautious when visiting the area.

  5. Reading your posts on diving makes me tempt to do atleast once in a lifetime. It is great to see colorful ocean life which we are unaware off from outside. Never knew about wrech diving site at Tulamben but it really looks wonderful. Good to know that beginners can also try here. It is very sad that diving instructor take advantage of situation and harass girls. But it is good you warned others and I will now also check reviews before booking anything like this.

  6. Wow, the photographs look awesome. The underwater life seem to have come alive. Diving is a great experience and I am sure, diving at night would be equally amazing. To dive through the shipwreck would be an added thrill. However, I am sorry to hear about your experience with the creepy diving instructor. It does leave a sour taste in such a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing your advice about checking with a few centres. I hope the centres have become more responsible these days.

  7. Good to know that divers of all levels can experience this place. I’d say its a paradise for beginners, esp., with no current and it being a ecologically rich spot that attracts many marine life. My daughter is a big fan of rayfish, so I’m sure my gal with enjoy this. I should slowly her to the seas. I’d sad that you instructor harassed you, so thanks for the tip about solo travel.

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