Action Asia - - FINAL FRAME -

Head to the eastern end of the world's long­est archipelago for some of the most pris­tine sites in the world, but you've got Bali and drag­ons to check out first In­done­sia has im­pres­sive num­bers – it's the fourth-largest coun­try on earth by pop­u­la­tion, with more than 17,000 is­lands, and a full 54,716 kilo­me­tres of coast­line in all. At 5,000 kilo­me­tres tip to tip, the coun­try is the world's largest archipelago. Some of the coun­try's best div­ing is found around the Raja Am­pat re­gion and the seas in the very east of In­done­sia. You'll find tra­di­tional phin­isi schooners ply­ing the wa­ters with sails un­furled as though they were hur­ry­ing from Hol­land to their spice-is­land colony in the Far East to pick up an­other load of price­less nut­meg. Head­ing west, the is­lands of Ko­modo and Flores are vis­ited on live­aboards ex­plor­ing the reefs of the Ko­modo Na­tional Park, where you can find the fa­mous Ko­modo drag­ons on land and also some daz­zling div­ing un­der the waves. To reach Ko­modo, you'll like start in Bali, the heart of the na­tion's tourism in­dus­try. Nearby, the Gili Is­lands and Lom­bok are slower-paced but in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar. They're all ex­tremely fam­ily friendly spots where kids can swim and pad­dle safely, while for divers, the wa­ters in the Lom­bok Strait are as deep as you can go. The size of In­done­sia makes it tricky to nav­i­gate. Bali is typ­i­cally the launch­ing pad for live­aboards head­ing east. Bali also has ex­cel­lent div­ing of its own. It has one of Asia's best wreck dives at Tu­lam­ben, where the Lib­erty, a U.S. cargo ship tor­pe­doed in World War II, was first beached and then pushed into the wa­ter by a vol­cano. The top is close enough to the sur­face to be reached by snorkellers, and with a beach en­try, the dive is a great one for wreck novices to try. There are dive sites dot­ted around Bali's coast, from Amuk Bay near Can­di­dasa north to Amed and over to Men­jan­gan, a ma­rine park in the north­west of Bali with a view of Java. In the Lom­bok Strait, the is­lands of Nusa Lem­bon­gan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida of­fer great drift div­ing, man­tas and mola mo­las, or sun­fish, which sur­face in the dry sea­son, es­pe­cially July and Au­gust. Lom­bok is al­ready evolv­ing into a "mini-bali," with an in­creas­ing num­ber of villa de­vel­op­ments and re­sorts. There are some chal­leng­ing dive sites off its south shore, and the prom­ise of ham­mer­heads if you're there at the right time. On a much more re­laxed note, the three Gili Is­lands off Lom­bok's north­west coast have long been a favourite hang­out for cour­ses and fun div­ing alike. Horse-drawn carts ferry you around. There are no cars. Off Su­lawesi, in Manado Bay, Bunaken Na­tional Ma­rine Park was one of the coun­try's first ma­rine parks and in­cludes five main is­lands, good bases for ex­plor­ing its deep dive sites. The coast of Kal­i­man­tan, the Indonesian por­tion of the is­land of Bor­neo, is fa­mous for its man­tas and has sev­eral dive op­er­a­tors around Der­awan and Sangalaki.

Plan­ner Con­tents

Bunaken Oa­sis Dive Re­sort and Spa • Celebes Divers • Global Diver Cen­tre Am­bon • Global Dive Cen­tre Geron­tolo • Ko­modo Beach Re­sort • Kri Eco Re­sort • Kuda Laut Bou­tique Dive Re­sort • Nusa Penida Eco Dive Re­sorts • MY Oceanic • SMY On­d­ina • Pa­pua Div­ing Re­sorts • Pe­la­gian • Sanc­tum Una Una • Scuba Junkie Ko­modo • Scuba Junkie Sangalaki • Silolona • Si Datu Bua • Siladen Re­sort & Spa • Sorido Bay Re­sort • Tamb­ora Dive Cruises • Waka­tobi Dive Re­sort

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