Scuba Diving in the Gili Islands, Indonesia

Gili Islands Scuba Diving

Hawksbill Turtle. Credit Rickard Zerpe on flickr

The Gili Islands located a short boat ride from Lombok and around an hour from Bali is home to some of the best scuba diving on the planet and has dive sites suitable for all levels of divers, from complete beginners to advanced divers.

Water temperatures are warm all year round and visibility is generally exceelent.

Gili Island Dive Sites. Credit Indonesien2012 on Wikimedia Commons

Shark Point

Whitetip Reef Shark. Credit Bernard DUPONT on flickr

An excellent dive site suitable for all experience levels offering the opportunity to see a wide range of marine life. Many sections of the site are relatively shallow although some sections are as deep as 30 metres.

Lying north-west of Gili Trawangan just 10 minutes boat ride from shore, the site begins with a flat sandy bottom before a series of steep walls that lead to the deeper sections of the site (only suitable for more experienced divers). The site generally has a current which makes it suitable for a drift dive, it can become strong making the site inaccessible every now and then.

Shark Point lives up to its name with blacktip and whitetip reef sharks as well as many green seat turtles, stingray, scorpionfish, octopus, giant trevallies, bluefin trevallies, snappers alongside sea fans, barrel sponges and coral.

Manta Point

Blacktip Reef Shark. Credit Rickard Zerpe on flickr

This gently sloping reef to the south of Gili Trawangan is suitable for all levels and has little, if any current. Depth ranges from 5 to 24 metres.

The site feature hard and soft corals, table coral and bommies and is an excellent site to see whitetip and blacktip reef sharks, green and hawksbill turtles, sting rays, octopus, oriental sweetlips, batfish, trevallies, tuna and, during the rainy season, the odd manta or devil ray.

Halik / Deep Halik

Redtooth Triggerfish. Credit Rickard Zerpe on flickr

Lying to the north of Gili Trawangan, Halik and Deep Halik are excellent dive sites and suitable for all levels of diver although deeper sections are only suitable for more advanced divers as they can reach 40 metres.

The wonderful coral reef is home to a wide variety of marine life including many turtles as well as blacktip and whitetip reef sharks, bluespotted stingrays, clownfish, butterflyfish, moray eel, lionfish, scorpionfish, red tooth triggerfish, fusiliers, sea snake and even barracuda, tuna and Spanish mackerel.

Deep Turbo

Garden Eel. Credit Rickard Zerpe on flickr

With an average depth of 25 metres and 32 metres at its deepest, Deep Turbo is suitable for more advanced divers. At times there can be strong currents. It lies in a channel between Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno.

The site has a number of sea mounds which are well worth exploring with a sandy bottom in between. There are many types of coral and sea fans. You will see many garden eel alongside barracuda, leopard shark, triggerfish, snapper and spotted eagle ray. There are also opportunities to see giant bumphead parrotfish, batfish, pygmy seahorses and blacktip and whitetip reef shark.

Han’s Reef

Leaf Scorpionfish. Credit Rickard Zerpe on flickr

To the east of Gili Air this muck diving site is suitable for all levels of divers. Han’s reef is especially suitable for macro divers with many smaller marine life species.

The site has a gentle sloping reef with a white sand bottom. Average depth is around 14 metres with a maximum depth of 24 metres.

There are many nudibranchs, mantis shrimp, sea horses, frog fish, leaf scorpionfish, pipefish, angelfish, boxfish and much more.

Simon’s Reef

Blue and Yellow Fusilier. Credit Rickard Zerpe on flickr

Located further north than most dive sites in the area, it is an excellent site for more experienced divers and is made up of a series of canyons and coral mounds rising up from a sandy bottom at 35 metres.

Currents funnel through the channels which results in large numbers of schooling fish including snappers, trevally and tuna. There are also blue and yellow fusilier, angelfish, parrotfish, triggerfish, sweetlips, pygmy sea horses, green sea turtles and, like most dive sites in the area, whitetip and blacktip reef shark. The variety and colour of the coral is also a sight to be seen.

Bounty Wreck

Yellow Boxfish. Credit Rickard Zerpe on flickr

Not a true wreck dive as it is a collapsed pier on the southwest of Gili Meno, but it is still a very popular dive site that is now covered in hard and soft coral, that helps to give shelter and food for a wide variety of marine life.

The dive site ranges from 10 to 20 metres making it suitable for all levels of divers and is a haven for scorpionfish, stone fish, drummer fish, damsel fish, groupers and sweetlips.

Meno Wall

Bumphead Parrotfish. Credit Rickard Zerpe on flickr

To the west of Gili Meno and suitable for all levels with depths from 5 metres to 16 metres in the main section although there is a deeper section down to 30 metres suitable only for more experienced divers. Also an excellent location for a night dive.

An ecsellent site to spot turtles, lobster, cuttlefish, shrimp, sweetlips, snapper, grouper, clownfish, nudibranches and possibly schools of bumphead parrotfish.

Air Wall

Orangutan Crab. Credit Lakshmi Sawitri on flickr

With dive options for all levels Air Wall is one of the top dive sites in the area with depths from 5 to 32 metres. Air Wall lies to the east of Gili Air.

There is a gentle sandy bottom that leads to the vertical wall which is an excellent site for macro diving.

Turtles are common and eagle rays can also be seen. There are also white tip reef shark, glassfish, leaf fish, triggerfish, wire coral gobies, sweetlips, pygmy seahorses, orangutan crabs, painted lobster, banded pipefish and butterflyfish.

Air Slope

Hawksbill Turtle. Credit Rickard Zerpe on flickr

To the east of Gili Air lies this gentle sandy slope with depths between 5 and 24 metres and sheltered from strong currents and waves making it suitable for all divers.

Green sea turtles and hawksbill turtles are common here as are blue spotted stingray, angelfish, sweetlips and boxfish.

Turtle Heaven / Secret Garden

Green Sea Turtle. Credit Rickard Zerpe on flickr

An excellent dive site for all levels of diver, close to shore and with a main dive area between 5 and 22 metres deep, although there is a deeper section for more advanced divers.

As the name suggests there are plenty of Green Sea Turtle and Hawksbill Turtle here around the two pinnacles where the turtles come to be cleaned by cleaner fish that include various wrassse remora and gobbies. The area also features moray eel, scorpionfish, lionfish, bluefin trevally , spiny devilfish, helmut gurnard and many more.

Manta Point

Oriental Sweetlip. Credit Rickard Zerpe on flickr

Located to the southwest of Gili Trawangan with a depth between 5 and 24 metres making it suitable for divers of all levels.

Manta Point is located on the southwest side of Gili Trawangan. It’s a big dive site where you have a chance of spotting whitetip and blacktip reef sharks in the blue. During rainy season when the water is rich in plankton you have a chance of seeing devil rays or even manta rays passing by.

The area has spectacular staghorn coral with bommies with hard and soft coral. Another excellent site to see reef shark, especially juveniles, and turtles. There are also schools of oriental sweetlip and batfish, trevallies, tuna, octopus and shrimp.

Mirko’s Reef

Long Nose Butterflyfish. Credit Bernard DUPONT on flickr.

Also known as Secret Reef this excellent dive site lies between Gili Air and Gili Meno with a depth between 12 and 35 metres making it suitable for more experienced divers only.

This incredible reef structure is home to some of the most spectacular reef gardens in the Gili area with colourful sea fans, sponges, acropora antler, sponges and soft corals.

An excellent site to discover smaller marine life including glass shrimp and porcelain crab as well as larger solitary and schooling fish including long nose butterflyfish, yellow trumpetfish, pufferfish, snappers, fusiliers, whitetip reef shark, frogfish and blue spotted ribbon tailed rays.

Seahorse Bay

Denise’s Pygmy Seahorse. Credit Rickard Zerpe on flickr

Located off the west coast of Lombok this is not really a Gili Islands dive site but it is well worth the short boat trip as a contrast to Gili dive sites.

Suitable for all levels of diver with depths from 5 to 20 metres and is an excellent macro dive site.

There are many juvenile fish as it is a nursery for many reef fish. There are opportunities to see seahorses, ribbon eel, frogfish, spine cheek anemonefish, pipefish often among the staghorn coral.

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