This coastal strip of fishing villages provides tourists with a relaxing place to unwind and do some great diving. The tourist development in this town is fairly recent. There was an hour or 2 during our stay, when the entire area lost all power. Apparently this happens from time to time and usually doesn’t take long to turn back on.
We chose to hire a driver for the long drive. There is always the option to take the bus, but we try to avoid bus travel if we can afford it…and in Indionesia we definitely could! We negotiated the price down to 400,000 rp (40 USD) for a full day of driving. If you end up using the same driver the entire time you are in the area, I’m sure you can get an even better deal! If you plan on driving there from Ubud, email Wayan Tagel (firstname.lastname@example.org)…he was our favorite driver.
We chose this village because it is the most popular base for visitors hoping to dive the USS Liberty wreck in Tulamben. After completing our dive, I heard that it is better to stay right in Tulamben, if possible. By staying there, you have more flexibility to dive when the site isn’t super crowded….and it was! There were bubbles coming out of every hole and crevice in the wreck, with people not far behind.
What to do?
Diving, diving, and more diving. AS far as I could tell, that’s the only focus for tourism in this village.
The very famous wreck dive site—the USS Liberty—is what we came for. This US Army cargo ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine during World War II. The damaged ship was beached on the shore of Tulamben. However, after experiencing tremors caused by a volcanic eruption, the ship slipped 30 meters off shore. It is now considered one of the easiest wrecks to access in the world…just walk right in.
The hardest part about this dive is getting past the rocks as you walk in. Once your under, there is very little current. This was our very first wreck dive and we did enjoy ourselves! The visibility was pretty good and there were fish everywhere! We were hoping to see some giant barracuda, sharks, or bumphead parrotfish, but no such luck.
The diving company we went with is called Jukung Dive. We thought that their service was just okay. It wasn’t like anything was wrong with it, but nothing stood out either. Pretty sure you can get the same experience from any of the MANY companies offering the same dive.
Where to stay?
We purchased a dive-accommodation package. The Jukong dive shop also had their own bungalows on site. Like the dive company, we thought the accommodation was simply average. Not a bad deal for only 350,000 rp (about 35 USD) a night, but probably comparable to surrounding options.