Travelling is one of the most self-gratifying activities you can do while on vacation. Sure, the views are breath-taking, and the food is delicious enough for seconds. Nothing, however, compares to experiencing a wonderful underwater environment among tropical fish.
In Asia, Indonesia boasts some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. This tropical country has picturesque islands to visit and great waters for you to dive into. Here are some places in Indonesia that you should visit to snorkel around their coral reefs.
5 Snorkelling Spots to Visit in Indonesia
1. Raja Ampat, West Papua
Raja Ampat, ‘The Four Kings’, is an archipelago with more than 1500 small islands. While island hopping on your vacation, try heading underwater and discover the coral reefs resting among colourful fish. Here, you may need a good waterproof camera for what you are about to see.
In Raja Ampat, you should visit the two popular sites for coral reef snorkelling, which are the Citrus Ridge and the Manta Sandy. In addition, Marine Biologists have claimed that this archipelago may have the most biodiverse marine habitat in the world. There are over 1500 species of fish along with 550 types of coral.
If you are lucky, you can even spot sharks, mantas, dugongs, leatherback turtles, and even the pygmy seahorse. Raja Ampat even has large schools of fish swimming by the reef that you can watch while snorkelling.
2. Alor, Lesser Sunda Islands
The island of Alor is located in the far eastern part of the Indonesian archipelago. The coral gardens and fauna that you will be able to observe there are diverse because the location is largely unaffected by human activities. However, it is important to note that this coral reef site is not beginner-friendly.
Currents on the reef can be strong, so if you are a beginner, this place may be hard for you to enjoy yourself. Besides that, in Alor, you will be able to see schools of hammerheads swim around the reef. Along with pilot whales and dolphin sightings.
In addition, due to the island’s volcanic nature, Alor has black sand sea bottom. Consequently, making Alor a great place to try muck-diving with cameras that have macro lenses or wide-angle lenses.
Source: pexels.com — Brent Keane
3. Lembeh, North Sulawesi
Next, another snorkelling spot to add to your travel list is Lembeh. From the capital city, Manado, you can take a 2-hour car drive and then a short boat ride to arrive at this beautiful island. It is a small island bordered by a narrow strait with rare marine life. It is also popular for scuba diving and underwater photography.
Snorkelling sites are often only a short boat ride away from your hotel. Known as Mecca of Muck, the rare and bizarre marine life you will be able to see in Lembeh are unique to the region. Some marine life creatures do not even look like live creature until a guide point them out to you.
Moreover, Lembeh is a macro photographer’s dream because of the shallow water and colourful sea life set against the dark beach. So, when visiting, do not forget to bring your waterproof camera to capture the beautiful underwater view.
4. Bunaken Marine Park, North Sulawesi
Another great place to visit if you love scuba-diving and snorkelling is the Bunaken Marine Park in North Sulawesi. The islands of Bunaken and Siladen are located on the northern tip of Sulawesi and are surrounded by colourful coral gardens.
Here, you can dive and swim through forests of soft and hard coral. Not to mention the crowds of reef fish that will be there for you to marvel at. Around the coral gardens, you will also be able to see turtles, sharks, eagle rays, and other aquatic predators swimming around.
Since this coral reef is a protected area, you should also be mindful while visiting. Try and use a coral-reef-friendly sunblock instead of a normal sunblock. A coral-reef-friendly sunblock does not contain oxybenzone or octinoxate, two UV-blocking compounds linked to coral bleaching. So, choose your sunblock shield wisely!
Source: pexels.com — Jeremy Bishop
5. Komodo National Park, Flores
Although this UNESCO World Heritage Site was established for housing Komodo Dragons, the marine life it features is also worth visiting. Like most islands in Indonesia, the marine life diversity of Komodo National Park is spectacular with its bright corals.
This National Park includes three larger islands: Komodo, Padar, and Rinca, along with 26 smaller islands. These islands offer divers a more diversified opportunity to explore different marine environments.
For instance, the park’s northern regions have bright coloured coral reefs along with cruising reef sharks. The water is also generally warmer and clearer. Whereas in the southern regions of the park, chilly upwellings force nutrients to the surface, reducing visibility but increasing the number of mantas.