Diving in Gili
Why should you go diving in the Gili Islands, and how many days do you need in the Gili Islands?
Crystal clear water? Check. Exciting diving? Check.
Diving in Gili is plenty. You can go diving here year-round on the 20+ dive sites these islands have to offer. The waters are usually around 28-30 degrees celsius and diving can be done on all levels, while most are suitable for Open water divers.
I would recommend at least 3-5 days if you're diving 2 times a day. You will most definitely experience most dive sites in 5 days.
You will find many dive centers located on the main boulevard where you get off the docks but almost every resort offers some sort of diving or packages to get you started. The larger ones include Manta Diving and Gili Divers.
Usually, diving costs are between 500.000 - 600.000 IDR per dive ($35-$40). This is gear included. The boats will depart 3 times a day. At around 9 AM, 1 AM and if requested a night dive will be possible most days.
Staying on the Gili Islands
You can easily book a room in the many places this island offers. There are resorts, and homestays all around. Along the coast or more inland. If you prefer your peace and quiet, I would suggest moving inland or perhaps off the island since parties can and will happen along the eastern coast almost every night. Especially on Gili Trawangan.
How to get there and around
Getting to the Gili Islands is quite easy, especially when you're in Bali. There are 2 main ports where ferries will depart from Bali.
the first is Sedangan, the second Padang Bay a bit more north. It will take you roughly 1 hour to get to Gili Trawangan and usually the boat will go to Meno as well. You can also hop on the many ferries between the islands at any time of day.
To get around you can either walk, which is very doable since the island coast is only 5 kilometers long or you could rent bicycles from one of the many places offered on the island.
The usual rate is 50.000 IDR ($3,50) a day. But you could go as low as 35.000 IDR ($ 2,75) especially if you're staying there for a week for example.
There are also many horse and carriage rides available. Motorized transport is not allowed on the Gili Islands.
To leave the Gili Islands, you can talk to one of the many tourist information desks on the main boulevards. A trip to Bali (either Nusa Penida, Denpasar, or Amed in the north) will cost you between 400,000 IDR ($30) and 600.000 IDR ($42).
Gili T(rawangan): The largest of the Gili's and furthest away from Lombok. Inhabited by 700 people permanently. It is the most touristic by far.
Gili Meno: The middle island and the smallest. 400 people live here permanently. It's more calm, laid back, and chill while still offering everything you want and need.
Gili Air: The island closest to Lombok and easily reached from Bangsal Harbour in Lombok. Permanently inhabited by 1400 people this is a nice mix of Gili Meno and Trawangan. It has bars, cafés, and diving and still retains a very relaxed atmosphere.