Lombok lives up to the promotional term, “an unspoiled Bali“, in many ways. Lombok is believed to be the paradisiacal tropical island as it is home to beautiful beaches, enchanting waterfalls, and the looming volcano of Mount Rinjani. Combined with relatively few tourists, Lombok has become the destination frequented by visitors and dubbed as “Bali number 2”. Besides its scenic land attractions, the island of Lombok is surrounded by a number of smaller islands locally called Gili. These little islands have become one of the top tourists’ destinations, mainly for its stunning underwater vista that many divers wouldn’t miss. Out of the three Gili Islands, Gili Trawangan is the largest and the most popular among the three Gili’s.
To get to Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air, visitors may use the fast boat, slow boat, flights and transfers, and shuttle bus services available from all main Bali tourist areas, Nusa lembongan, and Lombok. By far the quickest and easiest way of getting to the Gili Islands from Bali is with the Fast Boat service. This is the most popular way of getting to the Gili Islands, providing a convenient and direct transportation to Gili Trawangan. There are also many daily flights from Jakarta, Bali, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore that directly flies to Lombok. From the airport, take a taxi to Bangsal harbour. From there, the local transport boats can take you to Gili Trawangan. A slow Ferry service from Padang Bai is available 24 hours a day. The ferry departs every two hours and it takes around 6 hours from Padang Bai to reach Lembar in the South West Lombok.
Being the most visited Gili, Gili Trawangan has matured into a destination that has a far wider appeal. The massive tourists boom have made several number of upscale sleeping, eating and drinking establishments opened in Gili Trawangan. It is the centre of a thriving dive industry on the Gili Island. With about a dozen active dive sites, white sand beaches and clear blue water, diving in Gili Trawangan is perfect for divers wishing to have a castaway experience.
Shark Point, to the east of Gili Trawangan, is a popular dive spot in the mornings. This dive site consists of different levels from 20m to 24m. It starts with a slope of hard and soft corals, the “native territory” of Green and Hawksbill Turtles. The variety of underwater life is large, starting with schools of Trevally Napoleon Fish to White-tip Reef Sharks and Rays in the sandy areas, ending up with Ribbon Eels, Leaf Fish and even Mantas.
In the rainy season when the water is rich with plankton, Manta Point dive site in the south of Gili Trawangan gives you the best chance to see Manta Rays. But even without the Mantas, you still have a good chance to see Reef Sharks and Turtles.
Another popular dive site for morning dives are the two dive spots located in the north of Gili Trawangan; Coral Fun Garden and Basket Coral Garden. In the first few meters you have the feeling of being in an aquarium where you will be welcomed by schools of colored Fairy Basslets, Fusiliers, and Banner Fish. Diving a bit deeper, you may see Groupers, Batfish, Trumpet Fish, Octopus and Bearded Scorpion Fish hiding around the big coral and stone blocks. You should look out to the big blue too, because sometimes Eagle Rays, Mantas or Reef Sharks can occasionally be seen.