Scuba diving Gili T is the perfect mini trip away from your time in Bali – with the island situated just a 45 minute ferry journey off of the East Coast, close to neighbouring Lombok Island.
Famed for the abundance of turtles that call this island chain home, Gili T has become a big destination for scuba divers from around the world, both those looking to learn to scuba dive and experienced divers.
So when I headed over to Gili T on my last trip to Bali I joined to crew of Blue Marlin (the same company I joined when scuba diving in Komodo) to see what scuba diving Gili T has to offer…
Scuba Diving Gili T With Blue Marlin Dive
Scuba Diving On Gili T
Scuba diving on Gili T is suitable for all levels of diver, but has become an increasingly popular option for those looking to try scuba diving for the first time or complete their open water dive course.
The warm, clear waters, tropical island vibes and of course the famous nightlife have turned Gili Trawangan into a backpacker hotspot and you could easily compare it to Thailand’s Koh Tao in that respect.
As a PADI 5* Dive Centre, Blue Marlin Dive offer the full range of courses – from intro dives (no experience needed) through to open water, advanced open water and even divemaster internships.
…and if you want to go all out, Blue Marlin also has a tech diving team so you can really push your dive learning!
Situated off of Lombok, the Gili Islands as a whole offer shallow dive sites perfect for beginners, through to more challenging drift dives and deep dives sites too.
Plus the water is heaps warm as well – so even though they have short wetsuits a diving rash vest is ideal for the shallower dive sites.
Gili T Dive Sites
Along with Gili T itself there are a whole heap of dive sites across the neighbouring Gili Islands of Air and Meno too – all easily reached within a 15 minute boat ride. From drift dives and wrecks to colourful coral gardens, there’s a good mix on offer.
Some of the most popular dive sites include:
- Manta Point – some of the best corals in the area and around 10-25m, a nice relaxing dive site
- Shark Point – with heaps of turtles and shallow coral gardens sloping down to 30m this is a Gili T favourite
- Bounty Wreck – a pontoon turned wreck, turned artificial reef
- Meno Wall – offering both a shallow and deeper wall dive, this is just off of Gili Meno. Great for night dives
- Deep Turbo – advanced only at 25-30m deep this is a good drift dive filled with rays and big shoals of jacks
- Turtle Heaven – no prizes for guessing what you’ll be seeing heaps of here!
- Halik Reef – perfect for all levels of diver this varied dive site includes hard and soft corals
The Blue Marlin Dive Experience
I actually couldn’t dive on my trip to Gili T so I sent Charlie from ABroadOnABoard.com into the blue to check it out…so over to her!
This was my first time diving on Gili T and having heard great things, I was stoked to be jumping in with Blue Marlin. With 16 dives under my belt, I’m still a relatively new diver, so the professional setup at Blue Marlin gave me confidence and put my mind at rest that I was in good hands.
In the morning, I was greeted at the dive centre by my dive master Ary, who kitted me up and introduced me to my buddy for the day.
Over the course of two days I did three dives.
The dive boat was moored on the beach just across the road from the dive centre. With several other groups also going out, the boat was lively and the atmosphere was fun. One of the crew gave a welcome and safety briefing as we made our way to the dive site, then as we arrived Ary briefed us on the specifics of our dive.
On each dive, after buddy checks were completed, we backward rolled into the water, convened on the surface, then all descended together. Ary, our dive master, led a group of four of us, pointing out interesting fish and marine life as we went.
Over the course of my three dives, I saw things like lion fish, huge puffer fish, shrimp, emperor angelfish, nudibranchs, trigger fish, octopus, clown fish (aka Nemo), and of course several massive turtles – the Gili Islands are famous for them.
All three of the dives I did were pretty easy, with hardly any current under the surface. I think the Gilis would be perfect for learning to dive or for less experienced divers. There was a bit of current on the surface but the dive masters managed it by linking up and holding on to each other’s tanks as the dive boat approached to pick us up.
Overall, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Blue Marlin. They have a large friendly team, great kit which is all in good condition, and a social atmosphere.
Blue Marlin Resort
If you’re looking somewhere to stay Blue Marlin Gili T has its own in house dive resort, located right behind the dive centre.
I stayed there for the duration of my trip and it was ideal – not only due to the proximity to the dive centre (a mere 30 seconds walk from my bedroom!) but it’s well placed for access to everything else on the island.
A huge array of bars, restaurants and beaches are within easy walking distance, or you can opt to hire a bike which will set you back around 50,00IDR (about $5AUD) per day.
Kitted out with A/C, TVs (if you fancy longing out in the evening rather than partying!) in house restaurant, bar and dive shop the Blue Marlin Resort ticks all the boxes.
Oh and then of course there’s the pool, the perfect spot for a cold post dive beer!
Admittedly it’s not the cheapest accommodation option – with rooms staring at 500,000IDR (approx $50AUD/£25GBP) per night in low season, but if you’re looking to treat yourself or want somewhere super clean and comfortable whilst you dive it’s perfect.
For those on a slightly tighter budget there are plenty of hostels and local guesthouses on the island which cover a variety of styles and price ranges.
So What Does It Cost?
When if comes to the cost of scuba diving on Gili T there is a standard pricing system across the island, which is great as it means you don’t need to hunt around for the best deals!
Expect to pay the following for your diving on Gili T;
- Discover Scuba Dive = 950,000IDR ($66USD, £55GBP, $99AUD)
- Open Water Dive Course (3-4 days) = 5,900,000IDR ($413USD, £339GBP, $610AUD)
- Advanced Open Water (2 days) = 4,900,000IDR ($343USD, £280GBP, $510AUD)
- Rescue Diver (3-4 days exc EFR) = 5,900,000IDR ($413USD, £339GBP, $610AUD)
- Divemaster (4 week+) = 15,000,000IDR ($1051USD, £865GBP, $1549AUD)
- Certified Fun Dive = 540,000IDR ($37USD, £31GBP, $55AUD) this is for a single dive, with discounts available for more dives
Keep in mind that the Gili National Marine Park fee of 150,000DR isn’t included and you’ll need to pay that before you start diving too, payable locally at the dive centre.