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Diving in Gili Islands

These three tiny islands offer a bohemian vibe, laid back atmosphere and good variety of dive sites. With generally easy, year round conditions the diving is suitable for all levels. White sand beaches, crystal clear waters and an abundance of turtles are highlights.

Diving in Gili Islands

Quick facts

The three Gili Islands of Trawangan, Air and Meno, located off Lombok promise something for everyone. Younger crowds looking for nightlife will love the lively atmosphere of Gili Trawangan, those looking for some serious rest and relaxation will prefer the quieter Gili Air and for those that really want to get away from the crowds and enjoy a more rustic environment Gili Meno is the perfect escape. All three Gili Islands are bordered by white sand beaches and crystal clear waters and whichever one you choose, get ready to relax and absorb the bohemian island vibes.

When to go

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USD 516Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
USD 753Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
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USD 641Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
Shark Point – Located on the west of Gili Trawangan this is one of the Gili Islands best known dive sites. Here you will find larger marine species that include reef sharks, huge green turtles, moray eels and occasional rays. Shark Point also boasts some of the best marine biodiversity around the islands. The site is a sloping reef where turtles hang out in the shallows, sharks in the deeper areas and has a mid-section mixed with angelfish, barracuda, snappers, pufferfish, butterflyfish, numerous different triggerfish, critters and much more. Turtle Heaven – Positioned on east Gili Meno this site certainly lives up to its name as it’s possible to lose count of the number of turtles in one dive! This sloping dive site has a pinnacle which attracts colourful and diverse marine life. Expect to see lionfish, clownfish, trevallies, and schools of damselfish over the corals. If you look carefully you may see mantis shrimps, ribbon eels and octopus in amongst the rocks and sand. Deep Turbo – Located to the north and positioned in between the islands of Trawangan and Meno, this site is a firm favourite with many divers. The dive site is a sea mount which rises up from a sandy bottom, the top of which offers a stunning coral garden. In the deeper sections there are interesting canyons where black and white tip reef sharks are often spotted. Corals here are among the best in the area with colourful soft corals and large gorgonian fans. Expect to see an excellent range of reef life and look out for passing “big fish”. Simon’s Reef – This series of sea mounts to the north of Gili Meno boasts a healthy mix of hard and soft corals including large barrel sponges and gorgonian fans which are often harbouring pygmy sea horses. When looking out to the blue you will see fusiliers cruise by, occasional eagle rays as well as turtles. The canyon areas are where you are most likely to spot reef sharks and in amongst the vibrant corals there are an array of critters including porcelain crabs, numerous nudibranch species, squat lobsters and orang-utan crabs. Sunset – A pleasant sloping reef dive site on the southern end of Gili Trawangan with abundant hard corals that include branching and table corals under which numerous species of reef fish take shelter. Deep water upwellings from the Lombok Sea attract reef sharks and other pelagics including tuna, trevallies. Occasional manta rays have also been spotted here when there is an abundance of plankton. Sunset has good diversity of small and medium sized reef fish including snappers, triggerfish, sweetlips and hordes of damsels over the branching corals.

What to see

Turtles are undoubtedly one of the highlights of diving around the Gili Islands – both green and hawksbill species are abundant. Reef sharks are frequently spotted, along with tuna, barracuda, trevally and occasional passing eagle rays. There is broad range of marine fish, most notably including, sweetlips, pufferfish, angelfish, batfish, butterflyfish, lionfish, scorpionfish and schooling snapper, fusilier and damsels. On the rubble and sand patches look out for odd shaped bottom dwellers and critters.

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Location

Gili Islands is a small archipelago of three islands just off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia. It is the most loved and popular tourist retreat in Lombok area. For long, the islands were the primary destination of backpackers. However, with changing times, Gili islands have become a known scuba diving location. These quite islands have a decent tourist infrastructure of accommodations, restaurants, cafes and bars. The restaurants serve delicious local and international culinary delights. The absence of vehicles and motorbikes has made this area a very peaceful and quite corner. There are countless opportunities for diving and snorkeling. The archipelago is known as Turtle Capital of the world. The water temperatures remain 28°C on the average all round the year and as a result divers and snorkeling enthusiasts keep coming to the islands. There are some 25 dive sites in the area with a variety of landscape and topography. There are slopes, walls, ridges and canyons in the area. Among the inhabitants of this area are included Black and White Tip Shark, turtles (lots of them), lionfish, scorpion fish, cuttle fish, octopus and moray eels. The underwater flora includes hard and soft corals and sponges. The reefs in the area host a variety of critters and macro life as well. You can expect to see frogfish, flying gunard, shrimps, nudibranch and pygmy seahorses in these reefs.

Getting there

The Gili Islands can be accessed from Lombok and Bali by boat and also from the island of Nusa Lembongan. Boats from Bali leave from Sanur Beach and Padang Bai ferry terminal, boats from Lembongan depart from Jungutbatu beach and boats from Lombok (local boat) leave from Bangsal Harbour or (by fast boat) from Teluk Nara and Teluk Kodek.