Here are the 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.
I’ve visited the islands many times and have scuba-dived and snorkeled almost all sites in the area. 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.
By Olly Gaspar, traveler, travel blogger & photographer for 5+ years with 600+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.
The Best Gili Islands Snorkeling Tour
If you'd prefer to be shown some of the best snorkeling sites around Gili Trawangan and the other Gili Islands like Gili Meno and Gili Air, then you can also book the epic snorkeling day trip departing from Gili Trawangan.
This tour will take you out to three of the best snorkeling locations in a glass-bottom boat including stops at:
- Coral Garden
- Bongkas Reef
- The famous underwater statues.
This is the exact trip that I went on during my first visit to the Gili Islands. It's by far the most popular way to experience all the best Gili Islands snorkeling sites, with boats leaving twice daily, and tours lasting around 4-6 hours.
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 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.
1. Meno Slope
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
Related:Visiting the "Secret" Gili Islands
Gili Trawangan Snorkeling Locations
If you'd prefer Gili Trawangan snorkeling from the beach instead of taking a boat, then you're in luck. There are several Gili Trawangan snorkeling locations that I'm sure will surprise you.
5. Snorkeling From The Beach at 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 spots. 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.
6. 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 near "Escobar".
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!
7. 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 snorkeling sites on Gili Trawangan.
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.
Where to Stay on Gili T
With so many options for staying in the Gili Islands, I have compiled a list of the best accommodation options for your next stay.
Below I've given you my top three picks for the best places to stay on Gili T that suit various travel styles and budgets.
1. Pondok Santi Estate Luxury
Located on the beachfront with stunning views, private pools, spectacular gardens, and on-site wellness packages. This luxury accommodation option is a great pick.
2. Hotel Lumi Mid-Range
Want to relax away the hours in your own private bungalow at an exceptional price? Set on stunning grounds with a large outdoor swimming pool it's hard to beat.
3. Mad Monkey Budget
Looking to meet other backpackers whilst hanging out in the enormous outdoor swimming pool? Look no further than the Mad Monkey Hostel.
Gili Islands Snorkeling Map
Here's a clickable map to show you the rough Gili Islands snorkeling locations listed below.
Travel Hack: Click on the snorkeling map above and it will load on your Google Maps app. You can save it by clicking the grey star at the top, which will add it to "Your Places" on your Google Maps account. This way, you have a handy digital app on the go with all the best spots pinned– just refer back to this article (or bookmark it) for the explanations!
Should I Book a Snorkeling Tour?
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.
More Indonesia Travel Blogs
I hope this snorkeling guide to the Gili Islands has inspired you to dive into the incredible underwater world of this tiny island chain! After a long day of snorkeling, I recommend heading up to the Gili T sunset hill!
For more inspiration, here are some of my other travel guides you might like.
- Lombok Travel Guide - my popular & comprehensive guide to exploring the island of Lombok
- The Waterfalls of Lombok - a guide to the best waterfalls on Lombok Island
- Epic Lombok to Komodo Boat Trip - one of my personal favorite boat tours in Indonesia!
- Nusa Penida Travel Guide - an adventure guide to visiting the island of Nusa Penida off Bali
- Things to do on Gili Trawangan - discover Gili T in this epic adventure guide
- Accommodation guides: Discover epic Tree Houses in Bali and awesome accommodations on the Gili Islands.