As far as I am concerned, Bali has it all. Great diving, wonderful people, delicious food and accessibility. I particularly like some of the western sites on Nusa Penida island and those on the northern shores of Bali at Seraya/ Tulamben. Bali has something for every interest, be it Mola Mola and Mantas in Nusa Penida, shark coves of Candidasa or the northern shores of muck , wall and wreck diving. A few of my favorite sites are Crystal Bay, Manta Point, Padang Bay, Liberty Wreck, Seraya Secret and Coral Garden. Liberty can be done as a shore dive and is always fantastic. Get there before daybreak and enjoy the massive Bumphead parrotfish frolicking in the shallows. The soft and hard corals on the wreck are profuse and better than 20 years ago. Local inhabitants are now focused on the tourism industry rather than traditional fishing, hence large schools abound. The Sunfish (Mola Mola) season is July to October but the big mantas are out year round. On the north shore, large swells and near shore surface waves can be common in the winter ‘rainy season’ but in between storms, conditions can still be excellent.
Recommended dive operators:
Scuba Seraya Dive Resort: http://www.scubaseraya.com
BIDP Dive Centre ( Sanur): http://www.bidp-balidiving.com