Complete Gili Islands snorkeling guide. Features the best snorkeling spots on Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air.
If you’re planning to visit the Gili Islands, then I’m sure that a Gili Islands snorkeling trip is high on your list of things to do. Whether you’re staying on Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, or Gili Air, there’ll be opportunities to check out some epic underwater snorkeling locations.
The water clarity is hands down some of the best in the region and you’ll get to see plenty of turtles, coral, and marine life to check out.
In this guide, I’ll outline the best places to go snorkeling around the Gili Islands so that you can immerse yourself in the incredible underwater world of the Gilis.
What is the Best Gili Island for Snorkeling?
The best Gili Island for snorkeling is Gili Meno. While Gili Trawangan is unquestionably the most popular, Gili Meno has great snorkeling access and is home to the popular Gili Island Wreck (Meno Bounty) and probably the most photographed spot in Indonesia– the underwater statues.
However, don’t be discouraged if you’re staying on Gili Trawangan. You can still enjoy Gili Islands snorkeling from the beach to spot turtles and huge schools of fish.
Gili Islands Snorkeling Map
Here’s a clickable map to show you the rough Gili Islands snorkeling locations listed below.
Gili Meno Snorkeling Spots
Some of the best Gili Islands snorkeling opportunities are found around Gili Meno. To get here, you can get a boat transfer for 35 000 rupiah, or just take an organized Gili Meno Snorkeling trip from Gili Trawangan.
Gili Meno Snorkeling Trip
By far the most popular way to see all the best Gili Islands snorkeling locations is to take an organized snorkeling trip.
The boats leave twice daily, and tours last around 4-6 hours. You can book a Gili Meno snorkeling trip from many of the tourism vendors around Gili Trawangan. However, this will be a shared boat with up to 30 people.
Alternatively, you can book a private local snorkeling tour with an included BBQ lunch or dinner online.
Opting for an organized snorkeling tour is pretty good value, as you’d need to pay for a return ferry ticket anyway if you’re staying on Gili Trawangan.
However, the shared boats can get pretty crowded, especially around the statues. In order to explore all the best snorkeling locations on the Gili Islands, we decided to take a mixed approach, exploring some on our own and some with the tour.
In saying that, all Gili Meno snorkeling trips will stop at the main Gili Islands snorkeling spots. However, keep in mind that bad weather might mean that you miss out on some of the best ones.
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The Meno Slope is a large sloping dropoff on the west side of Gili Meno. It’s a good place for freediving and snorkeling since you can dive pretty far down the wall.
This Gili Islands snorkeling spot is very popular due to the nearby underwater statues.
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Gili Underwater Statues
The perfect Instagram vacay shot. Unfortunately, this spot is extremely crowded, and you’ll probably be bumping into people left right and center desperately trying to get a (not so) elegant snorkeling photo.
If you want to experience this spot without the crowds, then I’d recommend coming here early in the morning, or just before sunset. That way, you’ll avoid the dozens of snorkeling boats and you’ll probably have the statues to yourself.
Gili Island Wreck – Meno Bounty
Just south of the Meno Slope and underwater statues is the Meno Bounty. It’s not exactly a shipwreck, but a large, 30-meter sunken platform resting in approximately 10 meters of water. It’s another one of the most popular Gili Islands snorkeling spots due to easy access and is open to all levels of experience.
The Meno Bounty wreck on Gili Meno is now covered with hard corals and is a haven for many different types of fish. It’s a cool snorkeling or diving location that allows all levels to experience a wreck.
Gili Meno Turtle Spot
After the Meno Bounty, our snorkeling guide took us to the northeast side of Gili Meno to try to find some turtles. There’s not much reef or coral here, just a deep flat area where turtles frequent to rest or to eat some jellies.
This site is also used as a scuba training area, with several small obstacles and structures on the seafloor.
We managed to spot two turtles in our short 20-minute stop at this snorkeling site. However, we didn’t want to stay in the water too long due to the small stinging jellies. While they’re not dangerous, they can be itchy and irritating.
Gili Trawangan Snorkeling Locations
If you’d prefer Gili Trawangan snorkeling from the beach over taking a boat, then you’re in luck. There are several Gili Trawangan snorkeling locations that I’m sure will surprise you.
Gili Trawangan Snorkeling From Beach – Trawangan Slope
If you’re not into trying to find the best sites and just want to experience Gili Trawangan snorkeling from the beach, then you’re in luck.
There are signs everywhere along the main east road on Gili T pointing to Gili Islands snorkeling locations. Funnily enough, they’re all called “Turtle Point”, assumingly in hopes of attracting people to their section of the beach.
The easiest place for snorkeling on Gili Trawangan is right off the beach opposite Villa Almarik. The official dive site is known as the Trawangan Slope.
You can swim out to this drop-off and explore the coral and marine life below. Here, you’ll often see several turtles cruising along the slope and munching down some lunch in the shallows.
Just remember to avoid stepping on any coral.
READ MORE: 13 Epic Things to do on Gili Trawangan
Turtle Point Gili Trawangan
As I mentioned above, most of the beaches on Gili Trawangan have signs that read “Turtle Point’. However, the real Gili Trawangan Turtle Point is located on the northeast tip of the island.
You can swim out and search for turtles cruising along the sandy flats. There isn’t much else to see at this Gili Island snorkeling spot in terms of coral and fish. However we saw three turtles in the manner of about 20 minutes, so they’re definitely here!
Shark Point GIli Trawangan
Shark Point Gili Trawangan isn’t exactly a snorkeling location, but more of a dive site. However, you can swim out at high tide and explore the reef on this side of the island without a scuba tank. To get to Shark Point,
There is a flat reef plateau that sits at about 10 meters, before sloping down to a deeper section. Keep in mind that this side of the island is more susceptible to high winds and swell. If conditions aren’t right, then I’d recommend sticking to the other Gili Trawangan snorkeling locations.
I didn’t see any reef sharks, however, I think they’re more commonly spotted in the deeper sections. For this reason, if you want to spot a reef shark, I’d advise booking a dive trip.
That wraps up the list of the best Gili Islands snorkeling locations. If you find any more epic spots, be sure to let me know below.
Where to Stay on Gili T
Being a small island, the best places to stay are usually along the beach, or just a couple of streets down. Accommodation is fairly affordable here.
Below I’ve given you my top three picks for the best places to stay on Gili T for various travel styles and budgets.
- Gili Eco Villas – A luxury, solar-powered beachside getaway. The best-rated hotel on GIli Islands!
- Tipsea Turtle Rooftop – The most vibing hostel and the best place to meet other travelers on the islands!
- Kuno Villas – Prefer a private villa? Kuno Villas have the best villas on the island. Let’s just say they are absolutely freaking incredible!
More Indonesia Travel Inspiration
I hope this snorkeling guide to the Gili Islands has inspired you to dive into the incredible underwater world of this tiny island chain!
Some more travel guides you might like include: