Snorkeling & Diving
With so many wonderful islands and beaches, a Lombok snorkeling trip offers you endless opportunities to enjoy stunning scenery not only underwater but on land too. No matter you wish to stay on the popular North Gili Islands, or prefer to visit the less discovered areas like Sekotong Peninsula in South Lombok or the East Secret Gilis, this complete guide will provide you with all the information you need to know when snorkeling in Lombok!
The Best Lombok Snorkeling Places
Lombok, this less discovered yet stunningly beautiful Indonesian island won’t disappoint you if you are looking for a peaceful destination for a snorkeling holiday. The main island doesn’t offer good off-beach snorkeling because the coastline is either rocky with high waves or surrounded with mangroves/seaweed colonies. But Lombok has altogether 26 islands ‘Gilis’ (gili means island in Sasak language) that feature excellent coral reefs and rich marine life.
- North Gili Islands: Trawangan, Meno, and Air
- South Gili Islands in Sekotong
- East Gili Islands
The popular North Gili Islands are easy to reach and offer a wide variety of accommodation, shops, and restaurants. Those who are ready to walk the extra mile to explore the Secret Gilis and enjoy some of the best Lombok snorkeling places will find amazing scenery on the southwest and also on the east coast.
NORTH GILI ISLANDS
If it comes to snorkeling in Lombok, the North Gili Islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air come to the mind first. Out of the 26 Lombok islands, these are the best known and many think wrongly that they belong to Bali. These 3 islands might seem alike at first sight, but in fact, are completely different. Trawangan became famous for parties, Meno for underwater sculptures called ‘The Nest’, while Air remains a perfect combination of relaxed beaches and moderate nightlife.
What is their common feature then? They all have good snorkeling places! You will find here vibrant coral gardens as well as many turtles! Read our Gili Islands snorkeling guide for detailed information about the best snorkel spots in Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air!
In 2018 August an earthquake hit North Lombok and the islands suffered damages, but now all the facilities are re-opened and ready to welcome visitors.
THE SOUTH GILI – SEKOTONG LOMBOK
The less discovered Southwest Lombok awaits tourists with mesmerizing landscape and picture-perfect islands! Far from the earthquake zone, the Sekotong Islands offer excellent conditions for a relaxing Lombok snorkeling holiday!
The Southwest Gilis include 12 bigger and smaller islands:
The biggest island is Gili Gede with a wide variety of hotels and homestays on it and even has direct speedboat connection with Bali (Gili Getaway). Most of the smaller ones are uninhabited, but some like Gili Asahan, Gili Layar, Gili Nanggu or Gili Sudak offer accommodation too.
From here, you can do snorkeling with South Lombok island hopping tours, but we highly recommend to spend a few days on any island that has accommodation if you wish to enjoy a quiet getaway with excellent snorkeling at your doorstep. The best snorkeling you find around Gili Asahan, Gili Layar, Gili Goleng, Gili Rengit, and Gili Nanggu, but all the others worth a visit if you are around!
EAST LOMBOK SNORKELING
Like the Southwest region, East Lombok also still enjoys uncrowded beaches, beautiful nature to explore as well as some of less known Lombok snorkeling islands. There is not much tourism on the east side. Don’t expect fancy hotels or restaurants. This region is visited mainly by locals on weekends and holidays, therefore the corals here are still in good condition.
Gili Lawang and Gili Sulak: the northeast uninhabited islands with the surrounding waters build a marine conservation area. The mangrove forests, coral reefs, and seagrass fields host a wide variety of marine life. On the islands, you can observe bird species and monkeys too!
Gili Kondo, Bidara and Lampu (also known as Petaran): visiting these three islands is an easy yet enjoyable Lombok snorkeling tour that gives you the opportunity to observe colorful corals and playful fish. Daily trips are available from Pondok Gili Lampu.
To get to the east coast of Lombok, the best option is to hire a driver for the most comfortable experience. You might do it by scooter too, but it is a long drive and not all roads are in good condition. The journey takes about 2-3 hours from Mataram or Kuta Lombok.
Best Time For Snorkeling In Lombok
Lombok enjoys tropical climate with 30°C (88 F) maximums and 22-24°C (72-75 F) minimums all year round. The rainy season from November to March brings showers and high humidity. From June to September there is dry season with little rain and less humid air. The sea temperature is always between 27-29°C (81-84 F).
Of course, the mountain areas enjoy colder temperatures and more rainy days, but if you plan to spend your Lombok snorkeling holiday on an island no matter in the north, south or east, most likely you will experience wall-to-wall sunshine while watching passing storms on the horizon only.
In summary, there is no bad time to visit Lombok, but if beach activities are your priority, we recommend to schedule your Lombok snorkeling holiday before or after high season. The months of May, June, September, and October offer good weather combined with low prices.
3 GILI DIVING
Turtles galore! But that’s not everything… There is such a wide range of sea life around the Gili’s, with plenty of fish and critters around the reefs. Our sandy House reef offers a range of nudibranchs, shrimps, crabs, pipe fish and ribbon eels with octopus and cuttlefish also coming for a visit. On our wrecks we often find scorpion fish, lionfish, schools of bat fish, turtles, leaf scorpion fish and file fish.
For those of you who would like to see the bigger fish we have plenty of dive sites to choose from to find these beauties. On dive sites like Shark Point, Manta Point, Deep Turbo and Gili Air wall we often see reef sharks, manta rays (in season January-March), turtles, eagle rays, moray garden and ribbon eels. The schooling fish we see are trevally, barracuda, bat fish and tuna. We also get a drop in from whale sharks on occasions, usually around January to March.
Most of the dive sites are pristine coral reefs with colorful soft corals and crinoids, vast staghorn coral fields and huge table corals in the shallow parts, giant elephant ears in the deeper parts, giant sponge barrels along the slopes. These reefs harbor bright colorful tropical reef fish such as angel and emperor fish, damsel and butterfly fish and many more. The corals hide a variety of shrimps, crabs and of course nudi branchs.
Our guide will help you hunt down also the pigmy seahorse, ghost pipe fish and frogfish. Also the green sea turtle, a variety of moray eels, blue spotted stingray, cuttlefish, squid, octopus, lion and scorpionfish, flathead crocodile fish are part of the scenery. Occasionally you will encounter a white tip shark.
The sea is fairly shallow, visibility never crystal clear but this doesn’t affect the caliber of the dive sites.We offer diving all year around with sea temperatures of 26-30C and visibility 10-20 meters. Only the months January and February might have a low visibility and doesn’t go higher than 10 meter due to the heavy rains.
From March till the beginning of June the conditions are fairly mild and the water temperature around 27*C/28*C and the visibility 15m-20m+. In June/July the rougher conditions set in, with mid July till mid September posing the most challenging conditions. During this time of the year the average temperature is around 25*C/26*C, but can also drop down to around 22*C for shorter periods of time, the visibility usually at around 8m-15m+. Starting in the second half of September the conditions normally get less challenging again, but the general conditions such as temperature and visibility remain around the same as during the preceding time.
Most of the dive sites are pinnacles sticking out of the surface of the ocean and covered with bright soft corals. The dive sites harbor not only pelagic such as hammerhead sharks, mobula- eagle- and sting rays, white tip reef sharks, barracudas, batfish and sea snakes but also macro life. Nudi branchs, pigmy seahorse and the orang hutan and porcelain crab are only a few of the many different species.