Imagine a paradise filled with clear skies, sandy white beaches and lined up with palm trees all around you, that’s Gilli islands for you. When it comes to water sports in Bali, places like Ubud, Kuta and Seminyak have undoubtedly enjoyed the spotlight for quite some time now. Despite this, it is the three Gilli islands that have made a popular name for themselves on the map, especially with adventure enthusiasts.
Gili is made up of three unique islands- Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno, located in the north of Lombok, Indonesia. Even though each of these has a distinct personality, Gili Trawangan is the most popular one with tourists due to its vibrant stretch of bars, restaurants and diving schools. A little quieter than it, Gili Air is a perfect blend for those seeking a mix of both buzz and its laid-back charm. Gili Meno, on the other hand, is the smallest and most unexplored among the three islands.
One of the reasons that have tourists flocking over to these three islets is the unreal underwater scenery that allows you to explore some of the best water sports in the world. It is the place to experience all Bali underwater activities that you have always been wanting to try. Here are some of the best underwater activities that are a must-do on your trip!
Snorkel directly from the island
If you aren’t keen on diving or are a bad swimmer, then try snorkelling. You will find one of the best spots for snorkelling off the north-eastern coast of Gili Trawangan. With clear blue waters and colourful fish all around you, it feels like a scene straight out a movie. You can also snorkel along any of the main stretches of the beach. If you are too lazy to travel somewhere far on the island to try this, you can ask around on the streets and hire someone to bring you snorkelling straight from the island as well!
Water sports Bali Tanjung Benoa is an equally exciting alternative if you want to swim with the fishes in clear blue waters.
Soar underwater with your Subwings
Remember the time you laughed watching your favorite action hero perform an over-the-top underwater action scene? Looks like it isn’t just a visual effect anymore as you can now fly underwater with the Subwing. This new sport is not just unique, but also a fantastic new way to explore the beautiful coral reefs on the island. Instead of wearing your snorkeling gear and jumping in for a swim, you put on your gear, jump in and hold onto the Subwing board. A boat connected to the board will pull you through the ocean to marvel at all that there is to see!
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Find the lost treasure
Turn your childhood fantasy of finding lost treasure under the sea into a reality with this unique underwater activity. The bounty used to be on a buoy once used by the Bounty Resort on Gili Meno, so whatever’s on the pier sunk together with it. The bounty pier fell into shallow water along the coast, making it accessible to all divers. There’s also a coral ridge near the wreck extending from 12m to 20m for you to explore. Spread across the island, other interesting dives let you explore a similar shipwreck as well.
Sail on a glass-bottomed kayak
Jimbaran water sports is perfect for someone who prefers to enjoy the thrill of exploring the underwater life from a quiet distance in kayaks found with glass bottoms. The clear water is excellent to check out the marine life bursting with colorful coral reefs and vivid seascapes while you gaze comfortably at the equally stunning landscape around you.
Try stand-up paddling
Stand-up Paddling or SUP is one of the best water sports to try on the island. Relatively easier to master than surfing, you will find tourists young and old rowing freely across the island. While it may seem daunting at first, once you get a hang of it, it means freedom to explore the clear blue waters at leisure.
Become a PADI certified diver
The Gili waters are a top site for scuba diving and snorkelling for divers around the world. Teeming with biodiversity, you can find various species such as octopus, turtles, lionfish, scorpionfish and much more. With over 25 diving sites spread across the three islands, it has become a popular option for both beginners and advanced divers. Non-divers can borrow the equipment for half a day of snorkelling from any of the diving schools on the island or get a free 10-minute lesson to get a basic feel of the activity. With numerous reputable diving schools, it is easy to get your long-awaited PADI certification as well.
Water sports in Bali Seminyak is one such alternative where you can dive in marine life rich areas and experience an underwater world like never before.
Swim with sea turtles
Known as the “Turtle capital of the world”, Gilli Trawangan is home to numerous sea turtles including the critically endangered Hawksbills and Green Turtles. One of the most unique activities in Bali, sea turtles can be spotted all around the island. In a lot of locations around the island, you can walk straight from the beach into the water to find them. The local community also does a lot of eco-tourism and conservation work to protect this unique species.
Best time to visit: The island is accessible and easy to go at any time of the year. However, the best time to try water activities in Bali or dive is from May to September when the wet season ends.
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‘Curated by Neha Bhise’