Everything You Need to Know about Freediving in Gili Islands

freedive gili

Off the coast of Bali, Indonesia, the Gili Islands are globally known for their warm, clear waters and provide an ideal environment for practising freediving year-round. The islands’ abundant marine life also adds their own immaculate charms to this activity, making it an immersive experience. With the charming marine ecosystem, freediving the Gili Islands serves as a popular and liberating way to connect with the underwater world, whether you want to freedive as a personal physical or mental challenge, take photos or just explore the underwater world.

What Makes Freediving Gili Islands So Special?

When considering freediving in Indonesia, people often talk about Komodo Island or Raja Ampat, however the Gili Islands is a hidden gem and is certainly worth the visit.  Renowned as the turtle capital of the world, the Gilis boast plenty of Hawksbill and Green Turtles, along with diverse underwater landscapes and exceptional muck diving experiences.

The dive sites also offer opportunities to encounter black and whitetip sharks, octopus, lionfish, and the occasional manta ray. For those inclined towards macro critters like frogfish, leaffish, nudibranchs, and pygmy seahorses, the Gilis serve as a freediving paradise. Water temperatures, a comfortable 28°C, make it preferable compared to Bali and Nusa Lembongan, and well-equipped freedive centres are conveniently located in the main street of Gili Trawangan, with most sites accessible via a short boat ride. Visibility is generally good, barring scattered days during the rainy season, and many free dive spots are also suitable for snorkelers.

Conditions at the dive sites range from easy to moderate, catering to both beginners and experienced free divers without becoming monotonous. Numerous free dive centres on all three islands provide PADI and SSI courses, often coupled with affordable accommodation. Compared to Lombok and Raja Ampat, Gili Islands offer a more pleasant holiday experience for those looking for a relaxed, tropical getaway. Easier access and navigation, coupled with excellent spots for a cold beer and  a range of great food choices, ensures a choice between tranquillity and lively post-dive gatherings.

Getting Started with Freediving
Freediving course Gili islands

Freediving is a sport that offers the same underwater diving experience as traditional diving, but without the need for any equipment like a scuba tank. For some people, freediving is a way of life, for others it’s a competitive sport, and for many others it’s just a hobby. It’s more than just a sport. It is indeed a captivating discipline that dates back to early human ventures beneath the water’s surface in the search of food.

With minimal gear requirements—only your lung, fins, weights, a mask and snorkel, freediving combines and brings the best of both scuba and snorkelling together. It offers a unique opportunity to explore the underwater world without disturbing marine life with the bubble in your scuba regulator. The sport’s allure lies in the sense of simplicity and weightlessness, as well as the unique experience of exploring the depths with nothing but the air in one’s lungs, making it the closest thing to being a mermaid for many enthusiasts.

Beyond the physical aspects such as increasing joints’ range of motion and lung function, freediving builds mental endurance through the power of relaxation, teaching practitioners to remain calm and focused even as the body signals alarm.

Freediving Courses in Gili Islands

If you want to explore freediving in the Gili Islands, numerous well-regarded schools provide freediving courses. Freedive Gili on Gili Trawangan, led by British freedive champions Mike Board and Kate Middleton, is one such school. Mike and his team of skilled instructors offer various freediving courses, covering levels from beginner to advanced. They also organise guided freediving trips to the finest dive sites around the Gili Islands. Not only offering regular courses, Freedive Gili also opens the standardised Molchanovs system for those seeking a more serious and consistent training as well as certification.

For those starting to learn about freediving, Freedive Flow on Gili Air gives an excellent opportunity to explore this engaging sport through their “AIDA1 Introduction to Freediving” course. This course serves as an ideal starting point for acquiring fundamental freediving skills and essential knowledge about safety procedures, ensuring a fulfilling freediving experience. The course consists of one theory session, one pool session, and one open water session, introducing relaxation and breathing techniques. If you find the initial course appealing, there’s the option to seamlessly progress to the AIDA2 Full Beginner Course during your time there.

Freedive Gili price
Freediving Gili Price Overview

The price of freediving courses in the Gili Islands varies depending on the type of course, certification levels, and the course length we choose. The level 1 freediving course takes two days with about 7-8 hours each day. Certified instructors will teach you how to dive up to 20 metres underwater for long periods of time. They also will help you train your body to be more efficient with oxygen and remain relaxed underwater. This full course costs 4,900,000 IDR including 10% tax with Freedive Gili.

Several freediving shops also offer AIDA and Molchanovs systems for standardised certification with various price ranges. Freedive Gili, for instance, opens the Molchanovs courses with a price range around 3,600,000 IDR to 21,000,000  IDR depending on the levels and course length. For more accurate and up-to-date information about freediving course prices, you can check the specific freediving shops in Gilis you want to go to though their website and social media.

freedive gili
Tips for Freediving Gilis

Freediving in Gili Islands can be so much fun and exciting, but there are some tips you need to consider for your wonderful freediving Gilis experience: 

  • When engaging in freediving activities, consider the tides and opt for snorkelling during high tide to prevent traversing long distances on exposed reefs. Tide schedules can be conveniently accessed through our My Gili Trip website homepage.
  • Exercise caution by avoiding swimming beyond the coral zone, where the depth suddenly increases, and corals are no longer present.
  • Have at least a snorkelling buddy and avoid diving alone because of safety reasons. Also, the freediving community can be the perfect place for learning more sustainable underwater diving.
  • Do not touch  sea turtles or any underwater creatures as this can harm or transmit diseases to them, and riding on turtles should never be attempted. 
  • If you intend to feed fish during your freediving experience, be mindful of the impact on their natural feeding habits. Excessive feeding by tourists may disrupt their accustomed nutritional patterns, potentially causing difficulties in adapting to alternative food sources.

We wish you happy freediving in Gili Islands and to explore the depths with confidence! Don’t forget to check our instagram @mygilitrip to discover our curated list of the best things to do on the Gili Islands!