Gili Trawangan

written in collaboration with mahli974 (6 spots)

The three small Gili Islands, fringed by white-sand beaches and coral reefs, are among the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia, and certainly one of the best snorkeling area in Southeast Asia. The crystal-clear waters of these paradisiacal islands, where turtle-watching is the star attraction, are the guarantee of exceptional snorkeling experiences. Gili Trawangan is the largest and the most populated of the three islands. Known as the « party island », Gili Trawangan is easily reachable from both Bali and Lombok.

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How to get there?

Visitors gets to Gili Trawangan mainly from Lombok (Senggigi, Teluk Nare and Bangsal), Nusa Lembongan and Bali, by ferry or speedboat. Inter islands boats transferts are also available (from/to Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan). Contact the different companies for up-to-date information.

Water entrance

You can enter the water anywhere along the sandy beach.

You can do snorkeling all around the island, surrounded by coral reefs, but we particularly recommend you the area on the map below, known for the richness of its marine life and the abundance of sea turtles, particularly the green sea turtle.

Aerial view


The spot to explore covers a 150 to 200 meters-wide area between the beach and the reef drop-off. At this point, starting from the beach, you will cross a few dozen yards of sandy areas and seagrass (↕0.5-2m), then a sea bed covered with coral (↕2-3m) as far as the reef drop-off (+6m).

This spot is certainly the best one in the Gilis to swim with green sea turtles, which uses to feed and rest on the sea grass beds, sometimes a few meters only from the beach. You can also meet hawksbill sea turtles on the coral areas along the drop-off, especially at high tide.

Snorkeling Report - Green sea turtle at Gili Trawangan
Green sea turtle at Gili Trawangan © photo credit Mahli974

On Gili Trawangan, like on Gili Meno and Gili Air, the turtles have been long used to human presence and can be easily approached and observed. Avoid disturbing the turtles, which come to the area to feed and rest: don't chase after them, don't touch them, and leave them enough room when they come up to the surface to breathe.

While swimming with turtles is the main attraction on the island, the other beauties of the area should not be overlooked. Along a strip of ten or so meters along the reef drop-off, the seabed is full of marine life. The reef is covered with soft and hard corals, and plunges abruptly down toward an immaculate sandy seabed. Parrotfish are abundant on the drop-off, as are butterflyfish and surgeonfish, often seen in large schools. You will also come across small groups of Moorish Idols, or sixbar wrasse, which is more shy however. 

The reefs were damaged in the past and are slowly regaining their former glory. Don’t touch the coral and be careful not to break it with your swim fins. Watch out for boats that come and go on this site when you are exploring the drop-off area.

Restaurants and accommodation

On Gili Trawangan, you’ll find countless beachside hotels, bungalows, cafés, bars and restaurants.

Snorkeling Report gives the most precise tips possible about the snorkeling spots and potential dangers, but each one of us is responsible for our own safety in the water. For more information, take a look at the snorkeling safety page. If you want to add extra information or make any corrections to the spot descriptions, please contact us.

Spot’s weather forecasts (°C)

Spot tips

  • Type of spot
  • Level of difficulty
    All levels
  • Maximum depth
  • Water entrance
    Easy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential Dangers
    Boats crossing in the area
  • Visitor numbers
  • Access costs
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Public toilets & showers

Spot map

Spot photos

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Underwater spot photos

Species you may spot while snorkeling Gili Trawangan

Common name Scientific name Abundance Fishbase Wikipedia
Green sea turtle
Chelonia mydas
Hawksbill sea turtle
Eretmochelys imbricata
Convict surgeonfish
Acanthurus triostegus
Orange band surgeonfish
Acanthurus olivaceus
Clown surgeonfish
Acanthurus lineatus
Indo-Pacific sergeant
Abudefduf vaigiensis
Sunburst butterflyfish
Chaetodon kleinii
Raccoon butterflyfish
Chaetodon lunula
You encountered a specie at this spot that is not listed here?