Anything, everything in a diver’s wildest imagination – and even far beyond it – resides in the waters of this immense Southeast Asian country, whose size trumps that of the entire Caribbean and whose population is fifth in the world. Indonesia is smack dab in the heart of the Coral Triangle – the name dive professionals and marine biologists have bestowed upon the region of the Pacific Ocean where the planet’s greatest biodiversity lies. The number of marine wildlife species here numbers in the thousands, with startling new discoveries being made each year. In fact, about a quarter of all the world’s fish species and almost one-fifth of its total of corals can be found in Indonesia.
There are a staggering total of nearly 20,000 islands in Indonesia’s east-west running archipelago. So approach planning a dive trip here the way you do when you have a plate in your hand and you sidle up to the first food station at your local all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant. Just as you don’t pile something from every station on one plate and then try and eat it all in one sitting, look at all of Indonesia’s tasty dive regions first, one at a time, then choose one or two to satisfy your pallet. After that first sampling, you’re very likely to return later to Indonesia – just as you would to another buffet station – for another helping of world renowned diving.
Of course it would be sinful not to enjoy Indonesia’s topside temptations, both natural and cultural. Komodo National Park is famous for its wild animal encounters, while the island of Bali is in a league of its own, with a culture thousands of years old, whose dances, visual arts and artifacts and cuisine must be experienced to be believed.