There are three Gili Islands, Gili Air, Gili Trawangan, and Gili Meno. Close enough to seemingly swim between them, they share between them a wealth of sea life in the warm embrace of tropical seas. Regardless of which island you choose for lodging, it is easy to join a snorkel day cruise that scampers between the islands’ snorkeling sites. Bring a camera, water, a waterproof bag, a towel, and don that super relaxed attitude you reserve for vacations.
Wade on in and board the boat
This account is written from the perspective of someone starting the tour from Gili Air, but it’s a safe bet to say that regardless where you board the ship, you will have to wade through the ocean a bit. With clear, warm water at your feet, you will think nothing trundling aboard the boat with belongings in hand. Find a spot to sit down, a dry-ish spot to put your stuff, and apply some sunblock. Though the boat is covered, you’re still going to get a lot of sun exposure over the next five or six hours.
Flippers and mask in place, it's time to take the plunge!
The boat tour provides both mask and flippers, so put ‘em on and in you go! Gearing up while still on the boat, then entering the ocean by sitting on the boat’s edge and falling backwards into the sea will make you look like a true professional. Trying to get organized once you are already in the water is bound to result in salt water in the mouth, nose, and eyes.
Once in, you may be surprised by just how deep the clear water runs. The giant, watery universe unfolds as a great expanse below, begging you to diver deeper and explore more. Back in the here and now, schools of fish swarm by and even around you, and your guide will ensure that you get to see at least one of the famous large sea turtles that tootle about (“turtle sighting guaranteed!”).
A snorkeling respite for lunch on an island
After a few dives – there will probably be four or five snorkeling opportunities today in total – you will alight for lunch. This particular tour stopped at Gili Meno, which is the smallest and most laid back of the islands. Lunch is on your own, and regardless of exactly where you find yourself, you surely will be able to make what you want of it, from Western food in the 60,000 IDR (4 USD) range to Indonesian rice plates coming in at around 20,000 IDR (less than 2 USD). After an hour or so, you’ll be rounded up by the guide and brought to the boat.
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Not just the snorkeling, but the scenery as well
As you buzz around the tiny archipelago, it will be hard not to be moved by the beauty which surrounds you. White sand beaches, turquoise waters, mountains on distant, larger islands, and you, floating right in the middle of it. This is one of those times where everything just seems right.
Your day at leisure in a nutshell
Get on the boat, breathe in the scenery, snorkel. Then repeat. And all of this for a mere 100,000 IDR (7 USD)! Yes, a full five to six hours for that low, low price. Have you booked your ticket yet?
Tours can be booked all over the place while in the Gili Islands, with the 100,000 IDR (7 USD) price being standard across all outlets.
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