The Gili Islands, sometimes referred to as the turtle capital of the world, are only a short 1-hour boat ride from Bali and a true diver’s paradise. Diving around the Gili Islands and Lombok offers a good variation of topography and marine life. Conservation efforts have secured a healthy population of turtles, and large marine animals like sharks and manta rays frequently visit the area.
The three small islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air, are situated next to the larger Lombok and are surrounded by approximately 25 dive sites. The water is warm all throughout the year and conditions are mild, making this a great dive destination for beginners and experienced divers alike. Prices for the Gilli islands are fixed for all dive operators, in order to stop continuous price wars and ensure a high standard of diving. With good diving conditions and competitive course prices, the Gili Islands are an excellent destination to start or continue your dive education.
Dive centers are spread out between the three Gili Islands, with the largest concentration situated on Gili Trawangan. This island has a reputation of being the party island, whereas Gili Meno and Gili Air are more low key, but still have good facilities like hotels and restaurants. All Gili Islands dive sites are easy to reach from any of the three islands.
Most of Gili Island’s dive sites are suitable for all levels. There is a great variety of underwater topography and divers can choose between sloping reefs, coral gardens, walls, and interesting rock formations. In the rainy season, when the sea richens in plankton, mantas frequent the area. But apart from the manta season, large marine life can be found like rays, sharks and turtles. A couple of muck diving sites are home to some interesting macro life like sea horses, pipefish and frogfish.
All within a short reach of each other, Gili Island’s dive sites have a lot to offer the beginner and experienced diver alike. The water temperature is warm throughout the year, and with 27 to 29 degrees Celsius, a 3mm shorty or long wetsuit should suffice for most divers. Diving conditions are mild, with good visibility and little current, making this area ideal for dive training. Competitive dive prices, white sandy beaches, and clear blue waters ensure a steady stream of tourists, divers and non-divers, who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Over 25 dive sites surround the three Gili Islands, offering a wide variety of topography, from sloping reef and coral gardens to walls and pinnacles. The coral is in great health and shelters a wide range of marine life, including bump head parrotfish, batfish, small critters, and large fish and rays. Most dive sites are suitable for all levels.
Shark Point, north of Gili Trawangan, is one of the best places to see large marine life around the Gili Islands. This series of canyons houses reef sharks, schools of trevallies and rays. Manta Rays can be seen in rainy season, between November and May, when the waters here richen in plankton. Halik is a nice drift dive on a steep sloping reef that drops from 5 to 25 meters deep. Turtles frequent this dive site and seem totally oblivious to divers. Hann’s reef, just east of Gili Air, is Gili Island’s muck diving site. Here, divers have the chance to see small and interesting critters like the frogfish, leafy scorpionfish, nudibranchs, seahorses and pipefish.
A more advanced dive site, Deep Turbo’s is one of Gili Island’s most dramatic sites. It is a deep dive with a sandy bottom and interesting overhangs that are overgrown with corals and sea fans. Garden eels can be found all over the bottom here, as well as stingrays and the Leopard Shark.
Fast boats depart from Bali to the Gilli islands and Lombok throughout the day. Although only a short 1-hour boat ride, the Gilli Islands, without traffic and roads, feel very far from the busy tourist hub of Bali. Another way to reach the Gilli Islands dive sites is to fly to Mataram International airport on Lombok and take a boat across. The airport has connections to other Indonesian destinations, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. To stop price competition, and ensure safe diving practices, Gili island dive centers have a fixed-price agreement. Divers pay the same price with any dive operator on the three islands.
Gili Trawangan is the largest of the three islands, and sees the most action in terms of visitors and nightlife. This island also boasts the most dive centers. An SSI Diamond rated dive center, Manta dive gets excellent reviews and offers dive courses, fun dives and accommodation. 5 star PADI IDC center Lutwala Dive trains divers from beginner to professional levels, and has an excellent café for surface intervals.
The other two islands of Gili Meno and Gili Air are less developed and well suited for the diver looking for even more peace and quiet. There are plenty of dive centers to choose from here, two of which are Gili Air Divers and Oceans 5 -professional dive centers on Gili Air. Blue Marling dive, another well-established dive shop, is located on all three Gilli islands.
Gili Islands dive sites can also be reached from Lombok. Senggigi, a growing resort town on the west coast of Lombok, has beautiful beaches and fast access to all Gili Island and Lombok dive sites. Dream Divers is a well-organized dive center, which has its head office here and organizes daily dive trips to the Gili Islands. Choosing to stay on Lombok, divers can combine their dive trip with tours on the island, like waterfalls and rice terraces.
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Two kodiak boats great driving but one boat had smaller engine and hard to maneouever currents and slow at times Food and cook were consistent and excellent. At times the drop location could have been better
Diving excellent with the added excitment of current. Really good service with an attention to details. Dive guides who did their best to meet your requirement. Flexible itinery for conditions. Amazing food. Nice purpose built boat with lots of wood.
All within a short reach of each other, Gili Island’s dive sites have a lot to offer the beginner and experienced diver alike. The water temperature is warm throughout the year, and with 27 to 29 degr...
Fast boats depart from Bali to the Gilli islands and Lombok throughout the day. Although only a short 1-hour boat ride, the Gilli Islands, without traffic and roads, feel very far from the busy touris...
Raja Ampat in Indonesia, has always held a lot of fascination for me. Customers on their way there, or just back, were awestruck by the area. “Best in the diving in the world!” they’d say, but having dove for many years, I’ve heard that before…
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