Gili Trawangan (Gili T) is an island paradise, with white sandy beaches, turquoise waters. And plenty of Gili island snorkeling adventures, just off the beaches.
Gili T is the largest of the three islands and considered the party island of the three. From my perspective, it’s what you make of it. The island can easily turn into a great party with crazy fun bars, tasty restaurants with heaps of young Europeans running a muck along the island.
Even though it’s the party island, it can be super relaxing as well. It’s really up to you, the island is large enough to escape the night life if you want a more peaceful vacation.
I’ve been lucky to have had the chance to visit Gili Trawangan a few times. With most of my days spent exploring the local reefs and shipwrecks. Even seeing a few turtles and reef sharks.
Where are the Gili Islands
The Gili Islands Islands are three small islands located just off Lombok’s west coast and north west from Bali.
The Gili Islands are actually part of Lombok, though in recent years have become a popular destination for travellers from Bali.
To travel to Gili Islands is fairly easy and only takes around 1.5 hours (by fast boat) from Bali or 30 min from Lombok.
Mid: May, June and October.
Low: February, March, April and November.
High: January, July, August, September and December.
Scuba Diving Gili Trawangan
Offering one of the most popular diving locations in South East Asia. Scuba diving in Gilli Trawangan is a great experience, with thousands of divers coming to the islands every year for good reason.
When you first arrive on the island you will notice all the dive flags, scuba tanks and dive boats all along the main beach.
And if you are after a dive center Gili Trawangan has plenty to choose from. With dive centres all along the main street across from the beach. With most having pools and bars to entice you to join the party and dive with them.
The Gili Islands are popular for divers for a lot of reasons but the main ones that stand out for me are:
The variety of great dives sites from reefs, walls and wreaks that are only a short boat trip from the beach.
The dive conditions are fantastic! Calm seas, warm waters (27-29 degrees), high visibility (20-30m).
There are dive sites for all dive levels, from beginners completing their Open Water to technical divers exploring the depths of the sea.
It’s a tropical island with white sandy beaches and great atmosphere, so spending time here is a lot of fun.
Gili islands Diving Season
You can scuba dive all year on the Gili Islands. However, the rainy season is from November to April. Also the busy months on the island are January, July, August, September and December.
Personally, I find the mid season months the best time to visit and dive on the islands. Which are May, June and October.
Who to Dive With?
There are so many dive centres to choose. All offering fun dives for the already certified divers and plenty of courses from Open Water to Instructor and then a lot more.
The two popular and largest dive centres on the island are:
Manta Dive is one of the largest dive centres on the island with a great pool and crazy fun bar. Known for its social vibe. Manta Dive, is a great diver centre to dive with.
Plus, it’s a fun place to have a few drinks after you spend the day underwater.
The Instructors and Diver masters have vast amount of local experience and knowledge in diving the local dive sites.
Located on the main street just left of the jetty where you arrive on the island.The centre has great facilities such as:
3 dive boats
Trawanga Dive Centre (TDC)
TDC has a wealth of knowledge in the diving industry. Rated as a 5 STAR PADI Career Development Centre. Making it one of the best dive centres for continuing your training to become a Professional scuba diver.
Offering course in PADI and TDI (Technical Diving) for the more experience and adventure seeking scuba diver.
The centre is located left from the jetty as you arrive on the island and has great facilities such as the following:
2 dive pools
3 dive boats
Swim up pool bar
Accommodation from budget to luxury
Best Dive Spots on the Island
Shark Point: 8-30 Meters (suitable for all levels)
If your chasing sharks, then head to Shark Point on the north of the island. The site is a flat sandy bottom that turns into deeper canyons.There isn’t any amazing coral but this dive site is known for larger marine life like sharks and stingrays.
Even though its called Shark Point, you will probably see far more turtles than sharks. Maybe it should be renamed Turtle Point.
Halik : 8-30 Meters (suitable for all levels)
Halik is a popular dive spot, offering a multi level dives that can be experienced by all levels of divers.
A steep slope drops from 5 to 24meters, with coral appearing all the way down. With plenty of marine life including sea turtles drifting around.
For myself, the currents of the site offer great drift diving.
Deep Turbo: 20-32 meters (Advanced Certification Required)
If you want to dive deeper than 18 meters, then Deep turbo is a great option. The depth is 32 meters and at the sandy bottom you will find large sea fans surrounded by a variety of coral and lots of eels.
It’s also a great dive site to see giant rays, sharks and barracudas.
Meno Bounty: 5-20 meters (suitable for all levels)
The Meno Bounty is an old sunken platform or dock from an old resort which was sunken in 1999 and is roughly 30 meters long.
It’s covered in coral, with plenty of fish hanging around. You can even spot schools of drummer fish hang around from time to time.
Plus, there is an old push bike that makes for a great photo opportunity.
Gili Trawangan Freediving
Freediving is some serious underwater fun. Using specific techniques, which enable you to hold your breath for a long period of time. So you can dive incredibly deep into the depths below.
It’s amazing how fun and impressive it is. To push yourself so deep, on a single breath.
However, freediving Gili Islands has some potential risks. So it’s important to be trained appropriately to minimize risk and to enjoy freediving in a safe manor.
If you want to freedive Gili Trawangan, you have a choice of two great free dive centres. Offering courses in SSI or Apnea.
These are two main training organisations which the freediving centres will deliver the courses under.
Freedive Gili is a popular choice when on the island. Offering great course in SSI and Apnea.
Their facilities include:
25m swimming pool
2 boats that are dedicated to freediving
A great yoga studio
Accommodation that very fancy
The courses are very well presented and great for all the way from beginners to instructors (zero to hero program). The centre is located on the main street/beach. Just to the right of the jetty as you land on the island.
Manta Dive was on of the first freediving training centres in Indonesia. Located on the main street just left of the jetty where you arrive on the island.
The centre has great facilities such as:
3 dive boats
Bellow are to freediving course available with Manta Dive:
A fun course available in Apnea freediving techniques. Teaching you the fundamentals of freediving to maximum depth of 20m. The course is delivered over two days and has a great emphasis on safe diving practices.
Static Apnea training
Static Apnea training is where you learn to hold your breath for over 3 minutes with techniques learnt in this course over a single day.
It’s an intensive course over 3 days. Teaching you more advanced Apnea techniques that will enable you do hold your breath over 3 minutes and dive to a depth of 30-40 meter on a single breath.
Snorkeling Gili Trawangan
Snorkelling Gili Trawangan is a great way to enjoy the pristine waters on your holiday. There are many locations around the island to explore by yourself. Or you can take a guided Gili snorkelling tour.
If you are exploring the island yourself, then the best marine life for snorkelling is on the north of the island. Here the reef drops off into deep water.
I’ve found lots of fish, turtles and even a few reef sharks cruising around.
The main beach along the main road is fairly average for snorkelling and lots of boats to watch out for. Plus, the current between the islands is incredibly strong. So highly recommend not going out too far.
The southern end of the island has some good reef to explore, with plenty of fish and turtles. But this area gets the most swell. Great for surfing, offering a super fun right hander surf break. But not always great for snorkelling.
But if you want to get the outer reefs or feel like heading to the other islands snorkelling Gili Air or Gili Nemo, you will need to go with a tour operator. The boats takes you to the best locations. So you can snorkel though the reefs and hang out with turtles.
This is a great way to explore not only Gili Trawangan but a chance to snorkelling Gili Air. Also, Gili Meno snorkelling is well worth paying for a tour.
Surfing Gili T
Surfing Gili Trawangan is not as well known compared to Bali but the island does have a super fast right hander. Which barrels at low tide over shallow reef.
If you want to Surf Gili Trawangan then head to the south of the island where you can hire surfboards.
Gilli Trawangan is a great destination for a vacation combined with a bit of adventure seeking.
The first time I stayed on the island, I completed my PADI Advanced Open Water course. If you haven’t yet become a scuba diver but you enjoy snorkelling, I truly recommend becoming a scuba diver while you stay on the island.
For myself, it’s been a great adventure becoming a scuba diver. Personally, I’ve always liked completing my scuba courses while I’m on vacation. Learning something new while hanging out on the beach with a cold drink, just works for me.