As Gili Gede’s off-the-beach snorkelling leaves a bit to be desired, doing a snorkelling boat trip can be a good way to see some of the better reefs in the area.
A typical trip will take you to Gili Layan and Gili Ringgit, two small islands to the west of Gili Gede and north of Gili Asahan. At the time of writing the former had a single low-key resort under construction and the latter was home to another of Bounty’s half-abandoned constructions — in this case some kind of an entertainment zone which, back in the day, would host parties that we were told ran for days. Little remains today save some concrete slabs, empty bars and an enormous pier they built for tethering the Bounty boats.
We did a drift snorkel on Gili Layan — the conditions were not bad — with plenty of fish and some decent coral. Afterwards we spent perhaps 45 minutes fossicking on the beautiful white sand beach here — and it is an A-grade white sand beach.
At Gili Ringgit, the reef was definitely better, with impressive coral tables and even more fish than at Layan. There were also about a dozen fishermen here, fishing off the pier and in the shallows. After the snorkelling we explored Bounty’s leftovers and wandered down to the southern point where there’s a small, very shallow reef break and more beautiful white sand.
It is about 30 minutes by boat from Gili Gede to the two islands, so this works well into a half-day trip, which your accommodation should be able to arrange. We paid 400,000 rupiah for four hours via Madak Belo but stayed out for closer to five. With more planning (or when the resort on Layan opens) you could easily take a packed lunch and spend more time laying on the beaches — that’s what we’d do next time.
The off-the-beach snorkelling from Gili Asahan is apparently also quite good, but we didn’t try that out.
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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