The best snorkeling experiences in the Gili Islands

While the overland adventures through Lombok will leave you in awe of the incredible terrain, you could not possibly leave Lombok without getting up close with the beautiful underwater life surrounding the Gili Islands.

The pristine water and stunning stretches of beach will leave you occupied for hours. Hop on a boat and easily move between the islands to encounter the active marine life surrounding. Home to an array of turtles and colourful fish, explore for yourself the underwater playground that is, the Gili Islands.

Whether you choose to explore Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, or Gili Meno (or why not all three islands?), each presents a choice of sparkling beaches and coral gardens to enjoy.

If you are planning your trip to the Gili Islands purely around snorkelling, the best time to visit is from April to October, when the sun is shining, and the water’s visibility is at its best. The peak season falls over July and August, so to avoid crowds, opt to visit in either June or September, which are slightly quieter months. At this time of the year, you will have more accommodation options too.

Gili Trawangan (Gili T)

Across Gili Trawangan, the island is home to several turtles swimming calmly around the shoreline. Just off the beaches, visit Turtle Point home to a sandy beach and seagrass where the turtles like to eat. Here, the coral reef eventually drops off, and the turtles swim into the lagoon to snack on the seagrass.

Always maintain a safe distance from the turtles to keep them happy and visit at high tide, so the water above the rocks is enough to swim comfortably.

Gili Air

Surrounding the northeast coast of Gili Air is Hans Reef, home to many black tip reef sharks and parrotfish. If you are a strong swimmer and more of an ‘advanced’ snorkeller, continue to Frog Fish Point to see trumpet fish and sea turtles. As you venture further south, there are even more snorkelling spots to enjoy. Nemo City is home to coral garden and active marine life to observe.

Gili Meno

Gili Meno is often tipped as one of the best shorelines to enjoy snorkelling across the Gili Islands. Whether you go northeast, west or east, there are a variety of areas to explore. Karma Reef in the east brings colourful coral, fish, more turtles, moray eels and sea stars.

In the west, the famous Nest Underwater Statues, which stands in place to encourage reef growth. The “Nest” is home to 48 life-size human figures placed in a circle formation, sitting just four metres underwater and in front of BASK Resort.

While the southern part of the island is home to many sea turtles, also on the north coast, Turtle Heaven draws in many giant turtles laying on the seafloor. To access this area, hire a boat or join a day tour, as it is quite a swim from the shore.