WHERE ARE WE GOING?
Today we are diving in Gili Air, close to Bali, Indonesia!
WHY ARE WE DIVING IN GILI AIR?
Gili Air is known as part of the Gili Islands, which consists of the 3 Gili Islands; Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. These islands are just off the northwest coast of Lombok.
You can stay on any of the 3 islands and get to the same dive sites. These islands are known as a cheap place to dive and get your certification. Similar to diving in Koh Tao, Thailand. They are also the type of island you would see if you closed your eyes and tried to imagine a ‘paradise island!’
Accommodation is cheap; there is a variety for families, couples and backpackers
The Gilis are also not far from Komodo which is one of the best spots for diving in the world!
There are also close to Nusa Penida which is next to Bali and known for manta rays and the elusive mola mola!
HOW DO WE GET THERE?
The closest airport is Kuta Lombok, but usually, people will fly to Denpasar Bali.
From Bali: Most ticket prices will include a pick up from your hotel or a specific place in Bali. The shuttle bus will then take you to Padang Bay where you will get a speedboat to Gili Air. This speedboat will take about 1.5 hours to get to Gili Air. The whole trip will take about half a day, for example, a 6.30 am pick up and you will arrive in Gili Air around 11 am.
You also have the option of a cheaper ferry but it is crazy long maybe 6 hours on the boat.
From Lombok Kuta airport: 1.5 to 2 hours by taxi to Bangsal harbor to get the public boat. The public boat is about 10 minutes to Gili Air. The boat runs from 8.30 am to 4 pm roughly every half hour. We say ‘roughly’ as it is Indonesia and “island-time.” The boat will usually only run when it is full!
WHICH DIVE SITES ARE MUST-SEE?
Turtle Heaven – is a cleaning station for turtles where you can see many green and hawksbill turtle. The cleaning station is around 12 meters, with the deepest point at 37 meters where you can sometimes see some black-tip sharks at depth or a marble ray. This is the most famous dive site around Gili Air because of the turtles.
Shark Point – obviously because of the chance to see sharks! Black or whitetip sharks up to 2 meters.
You can start this dive site with the Glen Nusa wreck, 30 meters at the bottom of the wreck to 20 meters at the top of the wreck. This is a fisherman’s boat that was sunk 2 years ago and is great for training purposes with 2 floors for penetrations. Then you continue on to Shark Point which is 30 meters deep, up to 5 meters in the shallow. This dive site can have a crazy current and is best for Advanced divers. Or Open Water depending on the conditions.
The dive site is huge and looks like a canyon and valleys with a cave where you can see baby whitetip sharks.
Han’s Reef – is perfect for beginner or advanced divers, and great for macro pipefish, ghost pipefish, nudibranches, frogfish, and rhinopias. The maximum depth is 22 meters with the best to see around 16 meters. There is usually no current.
Deep Turbo – is a deep dive site with a lot of current. This site ranges from 18 meters to 40 meters. There are about 32 pinnacles that are covered by coral, separated by sand. It is a huge dive site, mostly for the topography with the coral and sharks and rays to be found. This one is for the advanced divers!
TELL ME MORE
Just boat diving here, but the dive sites are very close to shore. About 3 minutes to the nearest dive site, and maximum 30 minutes to the furthest dive site.
We come back at the dive shop between each dives. Simple boat. No toilet. Use the ocean!
Back roll entry into the water.
The customers don’t have to carry their own equipment.
Water, tea coffee on the boat, with some boats offering fruits or biscuits.
DO I NEED ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT?
We use a 2 mm wetsuit here or nothing – just rashie or swimsuit. The water temperature is from 26 to 32° Celcius.
A torch is nice for the rainy season sometimes but usually, the visibility will be around 15 to 30 meters.
Rainy season can get visibilities down to 5 meters but usually this will only be for a week in a year.
WHAT LEVEL CERTIFICATION SHOULD I BE?
All levels, it is accessible for try dives (DSD) to Dive Master. This is also a very good place to do your Dive Master Training because of the different currents we can have here.
WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS FOR DIVING IN GILI AIR?
26 to 32 degrees Celcius on land, with 26-27°C in the dry season from May to October. Then 28-32°C in the rainy season from November to April. There will be strong currents during the rainy season.
Usually 1 week of 5 meter visibility during the rainy season. Then it is back to 15 to 30 meters all year.
The dry season is the busiest season with people during the Christmas holiday time then from mid-January it is low season.
I would go around April just before the end of the rainy season. There is a small risk of rain of course but not so much. The island is super green, the visibility is good and there are not many people. This means cheaper prices for accommodation.
HOW MUCH WILL I SPEND?
Diving in Gili Air will set you back the following;
540.000 IDR per dive
3 Fun Dives 10%
5 Fun Dives 15%
There is also a 100.000 IDR fee for going into the Gili Matra Marine Natural Recreation Park (thhis is per visit to the Gilis – not per dive) It is a marine park fee.
10% discount if you are a professional diver; DM or higher. 5% more if you have all of your equipment. If you have a Fun Dive package you can get up to 20% discount off fun dives, but not on courses.
There is a price agreement on the Gilis which means everyone has the same price.
WHAT TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION IS AVAILABLE?
Villa, homestay, backpackers, Airbnb. Some dive shops have their own accommodation, but they cannot offer a special price for diving because of the price agreement. But there may be a discount for the accommodation.
WHERE DID YOU STAY?
I am renting a house for long term. This is only available for monthly stays.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
If you like macro diving, diving around the Gilis is a cool place to dive with lots of marine life to see.
There is also easy snorkeling for those who do not want to dive.
I would recommend beginner divers to come here. For divers who are very experienced, say 1,000 dives, then Nusa Penida or Komodo would be another great place to check out.
Gili Air is a great place if you are looking for a nice place for your holiday. This island is beautiful and there is nice diving with also some nice, chilled on-land vibes.
WHAT DO WE DO ON SURFACE INTERVALS?
Snorkeling is great and accessible for all ages. One of the best-known spots is our featured image – the ‘Nest’ statues by the artist, Jason DeCaires Taylor. It is a collection of statues that was intended as an artificial reef. This spot does get busy so get in early before the large tour groups!
On-land there is always the option to party, practice some yoga, get massages, enjoy the amazing sunsets, and cycle around the island. There are no cars or scooters here except for electric versions. The island all around is about 5 KM around which makes it quite small.