When we talk about diving in Indonesia, the dazzling Raja Ampat in Papua or the peaceful Gili Trawangan, West Nusa Tenggara will come to your mind first. However, are there any other good diving spots in Indonesia?
The city of Balikpapan in East Kalimantan may be less popular for divers, even most of us have never known whether this oil-rich city has a beautiful diving spot. However, Balikpapan actually is one of the most wonderful diving destinations in Indonesia.
You can reach this city by air as most Indonesian carriers serve Jakarta-Balikpapan route. In addition to that route, there is also a flight from Singapore.
If you are wondering about diving centers in Balikpapan, here are some recommended places:
Derawan Dive Resort
One of the most popular diving centers in Balikpapan. Derawan is a group of islands just off the coast in East Kalimantan. There are four magnificent islands with their uniqueness and richness in underwater species you have never imagine before.
Just dive in Derawan Island, the main island of the archipelago. You will see a various of stunning species such as big green turtles (chelonia mydas), whitetip leopard and nurse sharks, schooling barracudas, napoleon wrasses, cuttle fish, spanish mackerel, jacks and batfishes and ornamental reef fishes hang out in record densities and diversity.
This island is also known as critter paradise, you will be absolutely amazed by critters you find under the waters; luminous multi coloured dumpling squids, pairs of 3 ft (1 meters) crocodile fishes, finger-sized purple sea horses and unidentified species of worms, tunicates and dwarf scorpiofish.
The other three islands (Kakaban, Maratua and Sangalaki) also boast their undersea beauty. Kakaban Island, for example. This island is home to some strange sea species. Meanwhile, you can see some scariest fish in Maratua Island to test your adrenaline such as the barracuda. Last but not least, Sangalaki Island is the capital of mantas as you can see manta rays come from all directions. These mantas will accompany your swimming and this really gives you the most unfogettable experience.
About resorts and hotel, no need to worry as there is Derawan Dive Resort, a peaceful resort with all facilities you need. This resort has 27 cottages with traditional style. The floating restaurant with 75 capacity with panoramic sea view and all mouthwatering food varied from Indonesian to Western.
The price of the room varies from standard double priced at IDR 475.000,- per night to suite room at IDR 1.330.000,-. Make sure you check availability of facilities as some facilities are only provided in certain cottages.
Narwastu Dive Center
This is another great diving center in Balikpapan. This diving center is the best place for those who want to learn how to dive. You do not need to be afraid of being under water as all instructors here are PADI and HSA (for people with disabilities) certified. No matter whether you are a beginner or a professional, this place is a must-visit diving center for you.
So, are you ready to dive in Balikpapan?