Indonesia is a world famous diving destination and known for its amazing diversity in marine life. The Gili Islands in Lombok are becoming one of the top spots in the region, attracting more and more divers each year to these beautiful islands. One of them is Gili Air, which means “Water Island” in local language due to the lush vegetation of the island. White sandy beaches, no motorized transport, friendly local villagers, a good variety of restaurants and accommodation ranging from basic home stays to luxury private villas make Gili Air a serene place for your relaxing, yet adventurous holiday. You will be surrounded by a variety of coral reefs with immense marine biodiversity in this island. Many turtles, sharks, manta rays, scorpion fish, pipefish, moray eels, frogfish and colorful nudibranches will take your diving adventure to a new level.
Gili Air is easily reachable by both plane and boat. You can take a flight to the nearest airport in the city of Mataram on Lombok mainland. If you are traveling from abroad, you have to get to Jakarta, Surabaya or Bali first as there is no international flights going straight to Lombok. From there, then you can take another flight to Lombok with a domestic flight. There are several flight services that can take you to Mataram, such as Batavia Air, Merpati Nusantara Airlines, Garuda, Lion Air, Trigana Air, Trans-Nusa and Indonesian Air Transport. Gili Islands is close to Bali, so you can also take a flight to Bali, then take a boat to get there. You can get one of several direct boat services from Bali, straight to Gili Islands. While you were on the islands, you can travel around by renting a bike or getting a traditional horse carts called cidomos.
Gili Air is the closest to the mainland, which is a quiet, off-the-beaten-path escape with plenty of stylish bungalows dotted among the palms. The dive sites around Gili Air is relatively easy diving and is a good place to learn to dive with several diving courses available. The water temperature here varies from 26°C to 30°C with very little, even no current at all which makes diving in Gili Air is perfect for all kinds of divers. Diving in Gili Air is all about fringing reefs, slopes, drop offs and plateaus with hard and soft corals in the crystal clear water. Here, you can see white and black tip reef sharks, rays, napoleon wrasse, bumpheads, giant morays and even manta if you come at the right time of year. You can also come across smaller critters like nudis, flatworms, pipefish, ribbon eels, scorpion leaf fish, flying gurnards, octopus, cuttlefish, mantis shrimps, frog fish and many more. Unfortunately, the corals above 15 meters around this area are in very bad shape due to extensive bomb fishing by the locals in the past decade. Nowadays, the beauty of the marine lives seems to be improving but it will take time for the reef to fully recover to its original state.
Away from the busy tourist activity in Bali, you will find a hidden paradise in Gili Air. This is a perfect coral island, fringe with white sands and swaying palm trees, lay in the sparkling ocean just off the north-west coast of Lombok. Gili Air is a perfect site for diving with crystal clear water and amazing marine lives. Diving in Gili Air will make an unforgettable experience for your holiday.