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Manta Ray Bali Tour- A Snorkel, Swimming or Dive Trip

The day we went swimming with manta rays off Bali Indonesia, was one of my favorite days of our six years of full-time travel. The famous Manta Bay is actually off Nusa Penida and we were staying in Ubud Bali. Were we even close enough to take this epic snorkeling trip?

It turned out that we were. We booked a tour from Bali to Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan in one day.

Our tour included a private car pickup from our hotel in Ubud, a return ferry from Sanur to Nusa Penida , an island tour and a full day of snorkeling off Nusa Lembongan. The included lunch was delicious and the price was very affordable. Read about our day snorkeling with the manta rays in Indonesia below, or get a price on a similar tour that will take you swimming with manta rays from Bali here.

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This post was written by my son.

Swimming With Manta Rays off Bali

snorkeling with manta rays off bali
Seeing these glorious manta rays was truly amazing and I wouldn’t have traded the experience for the world.

Manta Bay Snorkel Video

I made this video it shows some of our day swimming with the mantas, give it a look.


What are Manta Rays?

The word manta comes from the Spanish word for mantle.

There are 2 types of manta ray, the giant manta ray and the reef manta ray. They are known as mobulid rays along with the devil ray.

It is thought that there is another type of manta called the Atlantic manta ray but that may just be another name for the giant manta. The giant manta ray is the larger of the two.

These big fish can have a wingspan of about 22 feet and the largest ones can weigh 3000 pounds or 1360 Kilograms and eats people – I mean plankton. They have a skeleton made of cartilage, as all sharks and rays do, and they give birth to live young.

Do Manta Rays Sting?

No, unlike their close relatives, sting rays, who sadly saw off Steve Irwin not far from where we live in Port Douglas Australia, manta rays do not sting, nor do they have a stinger of any sort. They are harmless gentle giants and swimming with them is safe.

Are Manta Rays Endangered?

Manta rays are vulnerable and their population is decreasing due to a multitude of reasons including the fact they reproduce infrequently (every 2 to 5 years)

Other reasons include over-fishing for, unbelievably, Chinese medicine.

The manta rays are being fished because of the trade in gill plates (opens in new tab-warning graphic content) which are used in soup.

Ironically, consumption of manta ray gill plates has risen due in part to a decrease in the availability of shark fins.

The mantas can also be caught as bycatch and ghost fishing (when old lines and nets get them caught).

Poorly managed manta ray tourism can also be detrimental to the manta populations.

swimming with manta rays off nusa penida
We’re not sure if that white mark in the bottom left of the picture is plastic trash or not, but when we were in the water we did see plastics although nowhere near as much as the media led us to believe . Whenever our boat crew spotted any junk or trash they fished it out of the water, which was great to see.

Micro-plastics are incredibly small pieces of plastic that are the result of plastic break-down in our oceans. These are causing harm to manta populations as well as contributing to the toxicity of the gill plates when ingested by Chinese people.

Where in the World Can You Swim with Manta Rays?

My mum and dad have scuba dived all over the world and have never seen manta rays before now.

Manta rays can be found all over the world but they prefer temperate waters. you can find manta rays to dive and snorkel with in places such as Australia  where they can be found around Lady Elliot Island and around the Great Barrier Reef. You can also get them on the western coast and down in NSW around  Coffs Harbour.

Manta rays can be found all through Indonesia including Komodo island and Nusa Penida, where we went, which is not far from the coast of Bali.

You can have manta ray encounters in Mexico, Hawaii, even Thailand, there are plenty of places for swimming with manta rays.

Where in the World Can You Find Manta Rays in Captivity?

Manta rays in captivity can be found in places such as S.E.A Aquarium in Singapore, Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta (this aquarium was also the first place outside Asia to keep whale sharks), Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, Japan (home of the first manta born in captivity which unfortunately died five days later after the father chased her into walls and a whale shark) and Ushaka Sea World in Durban,South Africa.

This ray was rescued from a shark net and kept in the aquarium for a year before being moved to the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta.

We have only seen a manta ray in an aquarium once in Singapore. Seeing them in the wild was a much better experience.

Manta Bay and Manta Point

Manta bay is on Penida island, a small island off the coast of Bali. Manta Point is further round the coast. Weather conditions on the day will determine where your dive crew take you to see the mantas.

My Experience Swimming With the Mantas

Bali Manta Ray tour

We started the day in Ubud, where a private car came to pick us up at the hotel, not too early, around 8am.  Our driver took us down to Sanur where we got in a boat and started off towards Lembongan PNPM public ferry harbor.

When we landed on Nusa Lembongan our whole group got into 2 over-grown tuk tuks and started off towards the dive center. Once we’d had had some snacks and refreshments (look at me all fancy worded) we got our flippers and masks and headed onto the boats (which were parked on the mangrove forest out the back of the building) .

We headed off towards the first snorkeling site of the trip.

After a while of sitting in the boat we arrived at Manta Point, the water was very choppy and as expected there were a lot of other boats and divers/snorkelers.

Spotters on the boats tried to visually locate the mantas in very deep water without great visibility. When they found them we all had to jump in.

It was on our second jump in that we saw them (they had already gone the first time we took the plunge) our guide called us all over to where he was in the water and then we saw them, great birds of the murky depths.

The second time I got in I had a panic attack, the water was very deep and  not calm, but the moment I saw them I immediately calmed down. They were so big and peaceful, they were like great fishy Hagrids of the sea.

This is nothing like snorkelling on The Great Barrier Reef. I’ve done that a lot, this was a lot more terrifying.

But alas all good things must come to an end. We spent a good amount of time in the water with them but eventually they swam away.

Please share my pin to Pinterest

Bali Manta Ray tour

When we got back into our boat we drove around to another 2 good snorkelling spots and had some fun there. Sadly we didn’t see any more mantas but we did see some other cool fish and some cowrie shells the size of my fist.

After all the swimming was done we headed back for a great lunch that included vegetarian options for mum. She loves tempeh and tofu satay. I had chicken and fish because I am a barbarian.

Once we were all full the guides took us sightseeing and we saw some cool places  on the Nusa Lembongan Island, including the Devils Tear and then finally they took us back to the harbour and we were sent back to Bali where our driver picked us up and drove us home.

 

Seeing More of Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan Paradise Beach
Nusa Lembongan Paradise Beach. We took a quick tour of the island before our return ferry to Sanur Bali.

Is This Tour Suitable For Kids and Teens

Bali Manta Ray Tour With Kids Teens

Yes, it is. So long as your child has no fear of deep water and is a decent swimmer, he or she can do this. You’ll have to keep a close eye on them though.

I loved that day when we went snorkeling with the mantas. I was awestruck by the grace and elegance that they emitted and I will always cherish the memory of swimming with them. I loved everything about that day. The guides were lovely, the water was clear and gorgeous and I only had one panic attack (not kidding, it was very deep)

If you’d like to book a trip similar to ours from Bali in Lembongan or Penida, you could try this link.

It deeply saddens me to learn that these beautiful creatures are being hunted just like the sharks, all for some hocus pocus remedy that is literally poisonous to eat. When will people wake up? But at least the plastic pollution wasn’t nearly as bad as we’d feared.


About the Author D for World Travel Family

D, is a very young writer and content creator just starting out for the World Travel Family website. He is a blogger, video editor, graphic designer and aspiring social media and YouTube ninja. He is and was home educated, is a snake wrangler, a future crocodile hunter and has been to over 50 countries. Like most teenagers, he loves gaming which made him an instantly awesome drone pilot and is largely responsible for his huge and imaginative vocabulary. You can find other posts by D here. Most videos on this site are his work.


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nomadic family life

Alyson is the creator of World Travel Family travel blog and is a full-time traveller, blogger and travel writer. A lifetime of wanderlust and now over 7 years on the road, 50+ countries allowed the creation of this website, for you. She has a BSc and worked in pathology before entering the travel arena and creating this website. World Travel Family Travel Blog has been helping you travel more, better and further since 2012, when Alyson and James first had this life changing idea. On this site you can find endless travel information, tips and guides plus how to travel, how to fund travel and how to start your own travel blog.

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Gale

Friday 26th of July 2019

We are looking to try and snorkel with the Mantas in Bali. This was a great article...thanks for all the info. What was the name of the company that you went with?

Alyson Long

Friday 26th of July 2019

We booked it online Gale The links are in the post. Nusa Penida divers, something like that, can't remember, so that it included the pick up and ferry from Ubud.

Eryn

Wednesday 8th of May 2019

I never knew we could see Mantas in Bali! Can't wait to go visit them this July. I have one concern though....I have two little girls who are aged 4 and 6. They have the full face snorkel gear and have used it in Thailand. My fear is able the wavy, rough water. Do you think they are too young to go on this trip? Thanks for your advice.

James Long

Wednesday 8th of May 2019

Hi Eryn, Thanks for reading. Unfortunately I think they would possibly be a little too young. Especially the 4 year old. I'm not sure if they have age limits but from memory (and I could be wrong) most of the tours I think were 10 years and older. Best bet is to ask when you're in Bali. Hope this helps. cheers Chef

Toria

Monday 4th of February 2019

This was fascinating and fact-packed and I know my seven year old will love it too. A great read. Being a tofu/tempeh fan I appreciated the barbarian comment - it made me lol. D you really captured the day in words.

D from WTF

Wednesday 20th of February 2019

Thanks for the compliment *Insert smug face here*.

Alyson Long

Monday 4th of February 2019

He can certainly write, and he's starting to get quite keen and knowledgeable about the business. I'm very proud of him, and more importantly he's proud of himself. He's also stopped eating eggs, but when offered meat..he'll crumble.

Toby

Friday 1st of February 2019

A great read and genuinely learnt a few things about manta rays just then... thanks D! Didn’t know they didn’t have a stinger, didn’t know they grew so big, didn’t realise they were also fished as some sort of ridiculous fantasy medicine for illness and sickness... with almost certainly not an ounce of peer supported evidence.

Looks like I’ll have to book a manta snorkel / dive next time!

Alyson Long

Friday 1st of February 2019

We're thinking we may pop out to Lady Elliott island... But short of cash now as we've decided to be out of here by March. Lots to do before then.

Kris

Friday 1st of February 2019

Hi, I was wondering about the cost of the tour, and also if it is suitable for younger children at all? Thanks!

Alyson Long

Friday 1st of February 2019

Just check from the links in the post Kris. It was good value for what it was, but obviously not cheap. Chef booked it and he's out, I don't know off the top of my head. No, I wouldn't say it was suitable for little ones unless they were good swimmers and very comfortable in the water around very big fish. We took ours to the Great Barrier Reef from about 4 years old but this was a lot more challenging.

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