Lombok is an island in southern central Indonesia. It's the same size as Bali, its immediate neighbour to the west, but gets far fewer tourist visitors. Lombok has some great diving areas, most notably at the Gili Islands in the northwest corner. But there are also some other locations around Lombok for scuba diving, including several challenging and exciting dive sites where you might get the chance to dive with Hammerhead Sharks.
The three Gili Islands are located between Bali and Lombok in central-southern Indonesia, much nearer to Lombok than to Bali. They are Gili Air, Gili, Meno & Gili Trawangan. The scuba diving around the Gili Islands is fantastic, and the more than 15 dive sites are all a very short boat trip away from the islands' dive centres, meaning that guests go out for one dive at a time, and then return to enjoy lunch at a beachside restaurant or a nap in their hotel.
But diving in Lombok isn't limited to The Gili Islands. Lombok has several other diving areas around its coastline. And to confuse you, there are more 'Gilis.' This is because 'gili' is the word for 'island' in the local Sasak language. Therefore, 'Gili islands' actually means 'islands islands' mixing Sasak and English.
Probably the best-known Lombok dive sites outside of the three famous Gili Islands are located in Belongas Bay in the southwest corner of Lombok. The two main dive sites here are 'Magnet' & 'The Cathedral.' These dive sites are not for the faint hearted, due to their depth and potential currents. Both dive sites are pinnacles in exposed sea, meaning that sea conditions can vary and become challenging without warning. But the benefits are lots of healthy corals, resident species, and the large pelagics which visit. These include schools of Giant & Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks.
The 'other Gili islands' are referred to as 'The South Gilis' and are of course located in the southern area of Lombok. Actually, there's a peninsula at the southwest corner of Lombok known as Sekotong and this has lots of small islands on its northern coast. The three largest of these islands are called Gili Gede, Gili Asahan & Gili Layar. The South Gilis are home to dive sites such as Lighthouse & The Stairs to Medang.
Other bays, beaches and areas along the south coast of Lombok are Kuta, Tampah, & Gerupak Bay. All of which have some accommodation, dive centres and their own diving areas.
You can dive at Lombok and its surrounding islands all year round. But the months from December to February are the low season due to strong winds which cause waves and bring rain. June to August are the peak season months.
There are so many dive sites around Lombok and its surrounding islands, that you can expect and enjoy a mixture of almost everything possible in tropical seas. Most dive sites are coral reefs, some with strong currents. There are several wrecks in the area, some of which sank due to accidents, and others were planned as wreck dives.
Lombok is in central southern Indonesia, next to Bali. It's part of West Nusa Tenggara, which has Flores as its main and largest island. The sea channel between Western Flores and the east coast of Lombok is just 14 kilometres at its narrowest point.
Lombok has its own international aiport (LOP) that accepts flights from around Southeast Asia and Australia. You can also arrive by fast ferry from Bali, as well as local ferry from many surrounding islands.
At some dive sites around Lombok and its Gili Islands, you can learn to dive, or even take part in a Discover Scuba Diving introductory dive. But some dive sites are only suitable for Advanced Divers (due to depth) or experienced divers (currents). And dive sites such as Magnet in the south of Lombok are only really for semi-professional divers or above.
Lots of endemic and general marine life can be found around Lombok. There are plenty of sharks, with the most-commonly sighted species being the Whitetip Reef Shark (Triaenodon obesus). Hammerhead Sharks are not found around the Gili Islands, but they can be seen at Magnet and sometimes The Cathedral. There are also some muck diving sites where you can search for critters and nudibranchs.
Lombok is a large island, with lots of dive sites covering a wide range of types and suitabity for certain divers. Fewer tourists visit Lombok than Bali, which is its neighbour. However, at or around Lombok you can find 5-Star resorts, backpacker hostels, local homestays, easy, challenging & extreme dive sites. The diving is excellent for all levels and experience. The international airport makes getting there easy as well. Finally, underwater you can find the smallest nudibranch, reef fish and schools of Hammerhead Sharks.