Gilimanuk is known to most travelers as the port to catch the ferry from the island of Bali to the island of Java. What travelers may not know, however, is that the straight between these two islands is also perfect for watersports, like scuba diving, thanks to the calm and clear waters.
So if you are planning to travel between Bali and Java during your trip, then stick around Gilimanuk for a few days, because the diving in this area is relatively quiet compared to other, more popular areas in Bali, but still has a fair amount to offer.
Even if you aren’t coming from Java, and are in Bali for scuba diving, you might just want to take the trip to Gilimanuk to experience the great dive sites.
Dive Sites Near Gilimanuk
The dive areas around Gilimanuk are shallow and known for their relatively calm waters. Though, compared to other dive areas around Bali, the waters here can be cold. Often around 23C, so be sure to keep that in mind.
Scuba divers should know that Gilimanuk (at the time this article was written) does not have any dive operators. Scuba divers should look to operators in Pemuteran, or talk to operators from Kuta or Sanur who frequently come up for day or multi-day trips.
These are the scuba diving areas near Gilimanuk:
- Secret Bay: In front of the docking area at Gilimanuk Harbor. The bottom here is rubble and volcanic sand, but it’s a great spot for muck diving. Plenty of frog fish, nudibranchs, ghost pipefish and mimic octopus can be found on this dive site.
- Gilimanuk Bay: Further out in the bay are a few more dive sites that are especially good for night diving. There are also a couple spots in the area that are known to be home to the mandarinfish, so make sure to ask where to find them.
- Menjangan Island: Menjangan Island is the main draw for scuba divers in Gilimanuk (though it can also be accessed from Pemuteran). It’s mostly wall diving here with depths of 20-30m. Clear waters and plenty of marine life make it a beautiful dive area suitable for divers of all levels.
How to Get to Gilimanuk
When it comes to getting around Bali, there isn’t much in public transportation. However, since Gilimanuk is an important port on the island, you can actually catch a bus from Denpasar to Gilimanuk. The ride takes approximately three hours depending on quality the bus. Roads in western Bali aren’t always the best condition, so it can be slow going. Especially if you take one of the older, cheaper vehicles.
Another option, which is a good choice if you have a group, is to hire a private driver. This will cost quite a bit (so make sure to bargain!) however it will likely be a faster and more comfortable journey. Plus, you can hire a car from anywhere without having to backtrack to Denpasar.
Again, please keep in mind that Gilimanuk does not have any dive operators, so you may want to look at coming up with a dive group from Kuta or Sanur and then request to stay and not make the return trip back.
Things to do in Gilimanuk
Gilimanuk is a small area, but there are still a few things to see and do to keep you busy after scuba diving.
- Beaches: Gilimanuk is home to several beautiful beaches. There are coral beaches, white sand beaches, and black sand beaches ideal for swimming, sun bathing, and even some snorkeling.
- Museum Situs Purbakala: The earliest evidence of human habitation in Bali was found in Gilimanuk. This small museum house is home to several artifacts and skeletons that are presumed to be 3000-4000 years old. It’s a small museum and only needs an hour tops.
- West Bali National Park: The West Bali National Park has a varied landscape with rainforest, savanna, lowland forest, and mangrove forest. It stretches across 190km squared in west Bali and also includes the waters off its shores, as well as Menjangan Island. To explore the land area, you will need a permit and a guide as only part of the park is open to visitors.
- Menjangan Island: Menjangan island, also known as deer island because of the large population of wild deer, is part of the West Bali National Park. There are no settlements on the island itself, but it’s a popular destination for scuba divers, snorkelers, and boat trips to see the wildlife.
You can also read our guide to the Best Beaches in Bali.
Where to Stay in Gilimanuk
Since Gilimanuk is so small, and usually just a place that people pass through to use the ferry, there aren’t a ton of options when it comes to accommodation. That being said, there is still a decent range of accommodation options from resort-type properties to local homestays. Since there aren’t a ton of accommodation options actually in Gilimanuk, many booking websites will also include properties that are 10-15km away, so pay close attention to the location when you go to book.
Gilimanuk may not be the best known dive destination in Bali, but if you are looking to get off the beaten path and away from the major dive spots on the island, then this quieter area is a good pick. Check our list of dive centers in Bali.
For more fun ideas, check out 101 Awesome Things to do in Bali