Complete Lombok snorkeling guide 2019 – Explore the Secret Gilis

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.

Best places for snorkeling in Lombok:

  • 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.

Check out our Bali snorkeling guide too!

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.

Gili Meno underwater statues

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 Gilis – 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:

  • Gede
  • Asahan
  • Layar
  • Rengit
  • Goleng
  • Nanggu
  • Tangkong
  • Sudak
  • Kedis
  • Genting
  • Lontar
  • Poh

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. Should you stay on the mainland, there are some pretty hotels in Tawun (we stayed a few days in the Silver Fern Beach Resort and loved it).

Gili Asahan - Gili Goleng

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!

Read our Pearl Beach Resort Gili Asahan snorkeling trip review.

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!

Lombok snorkeling

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.

Anett Szaszi

Anett is a certified scuba diver, freediver and an expert in snorkeling with more than 10 years experience. She fell in love with the ocean when she put her head underwater in the Red Sea in 2008. Since then , she is traveling all over the world to discover our waters. Wherever she goes, she takes her mask, fins and underwater camera with her. Visiting mega-cities is not her style but getting lost in tiny coastal villages, capturing the beauty of the sea while snorkeling. She is interested in sustainable traveling and marine conservation. She is hoping to inspire people to protect our oceans by sharing her underwater stories. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!

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