Tulumben is a town in the north of Bali that is popular because of the number of dive sites in the area, including the wreck dive of the Liberty – a World War II ship that is sunk just 50 metres offshore. This was a dive spot we wanted to hit while traveling Southeast Asia, so we booked transport from Padangbai to Tulumben to spend a few days diving and relaxing.
Glen came across the dive shop/guesthouse Dive Concepts that is Francophone operated and offers the cheapest dive rates in town along with cheap accommodation if you choose to dive with them. Fun dives only cost 250,000/dive with discounts if you buy more than one. Accommodation prices range from 50,000/dorm bed, 100,000/double room with fan & private bathroom and 150,000 for air conditioning. We chose the 100,000/night option and it was great – a clean room with tiled floors and a nice little patio out front. The price didn’t include breakfast, but Dive Concepts also has a restaurant that serves really cheap food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also have wifi that had a good signal most of the time.
They say that their low cost diving and accommodation have made them the envy of the town as other dive shops can’t compete. Usually with such low prices there’s a catch – but not here. The accommodation was great, the hosts were welcoming and the diving was amazing. The crew in the dive shop were professional and always put safety first. Their dive gear was all brand new and well maintained after the dives. We were briefed on the areas we were diving before we left the shop and they always made sure we were comfortable before getting into the water.
The two dives we did were the Liberty wreck dive and the drop off dive. Both of the dives were shore dives, so we only had to walk right into the sea and drop down. The Liberty wreck was really cool – the boat was actually beached but after Gunung Agung erupted, it covered the Liberty in ash and pushed it into the sea. Now, it’s covered in corals and swimming with fish. We didn’t see anything we hadn’t seen before, but the real novelty was to do a wreck dive for the first time and we were even able to swim through the boat at one point. The drop off dive followed a reef that hung on the edge before dropping down into the darkness of the ocean. We did this dive with Bruno who pointed out a bunch of cool fish and eels to us and also brought his underwater camera along, which we ended up buying the photos (250,000 rupiah).
We didn’t venture out too far from Dive Concepts as there isn’t much to do in Tulumben except diving, but we rented a scooter one day from the general store (50,000 rupiah/day) and drove to Les Waterfalls that are a 45-minute drive from town. You have to pay a fee in the beginning (20,000 rupiah each I think) and walk for about 20 minutes to get to them, and while they’re pretty and refreshing, I’ve seen nicer waterfalls in Indonesia. We then drove in the opposite direction to get to the Ujung Water Palace, which was spectacular. The gardens are immaculate and it’s quite relaxing inside, and was cheap to enter. We spent about an hour here then headed back to our hub at Dive Concepts.
Overall, I’d 100% recommend Dive Concepts as a dive shop and place to stay while visiting Tulumben. After a few days, it felt like home and we really miss the special sandwich and the friendly staff at DC! The cost for two nights accommodation, two dives for two people and all of our food and drinks (breakfast, lunch, dinner and Bintangs) cost us 2 million rupiah – great value!
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