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Dive Review of Lutwala Dive/Alam Gili in
Indonesia/Gili Trawangan

Lutwala Dive/Alam Gili, Mar, 2013,

by John Woolley, WA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports). Report 6943.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments Undercurrent readers are a sophisticated group of scuba travelers, so I think very hard when I write these comments and how to best summarize...here it is: when thinking of a trip to Indonesia, go to Gili Trawangan if you want to dive a little and relax a lot. Go to Raja Ampat or Komodo if you want to dive a lot and relax a little. And if you want to relax a lot and dive a little, I recommend staying at Alam Gili and diving with Lutwala.

Raja Ampat and Komodo are the places to go for world class diving: Gili Trawangan is the place to go to get wet, get warm, drink some beer, read lots of books, and eat dinner at the night market for $3. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves having entered the vacation knowing that for this trip to Indonesia, it wasn't all about the diving. Had we gone solely for the diving, we would have been disappointed.

The island is trying to become a more up-market destination, but traditionally is a backpacker destination. It seems that getting certifications, whether they be basic, dive master, or instructor must be a bargain on the island as there were hordes of twenty-somethings doing exactly that. There is of course nothing wrong with that, as we were all there at one point in our lives, it just isn't the environment I seek when I travel across the globe to dive. So if you go, stay away from the dive shops in the "town center." In particular, Undercurrent readers should stay away from Trawangan Dive. These places are what I'll politely call "corporate" diving: jam packed boats, not very organized, and not much fun.

Venture away from the "town center" and you'll find more relaxed accommodations and a much better dive center in Lutwala Dive, where our experience was very nice. Should you dive with Lutwala, make certain you talk to Fern about her dive safari in South Africa.

As to the diving, it was wet and pleasant, providing an excellent excuse to be lazy in the afternoon and to repeat the theme of this report: dive a little, relax, read a book, drink a beer, and get ready to head into the night market for some delicious Indonesian food.
Websites Lutwala Dive   Alam Gili

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Raja Ampat, Komodo, Bali, Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Kaui, Puget Sound, Bahamas, Belize, Roatan, Saba,
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 80-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50-75 Ft/ 15-23 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Relaxed dive with a relaxed dive master, following the group at a nice pace.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Subscriber's Comments

By Charles Rubinin WA, US at Apr 27, 2013 23:46 EST  
Hi Question. My wife and are experienced divers and live in Singapore. For a quick three day dive trip, Bali and Lombok are super easy, with direct flights. What is your impression of diving in the Gillis? Health of corals, big fish, schooling fish, number of divers/experience. Quiet setting is nice, but we really want is great diving. Thanks, Charlie
By report author: John Woolley in WA, US at Apr 28, 2013 12:37 EST  
Charlie: With Singapore as your hub, I am insanely jealous as you have such great diving at your finger tips. My first recommendation is to buy a book recommended by Undercurrent: "Diving Southeast Asia": Beth and Shaun Temey, Footprint Books. Some of it are just puff pieces, but I use it to then get ideas as to what to research on websites and Undercurrent. Having said that, if Indonesia is your destination (I assume you've already gone to places in Malaysia that will get you to Sipadan) and you want great diving, I would skip the Gili Islands. Have you considered places in North Sulawasi? I think you can get direct flights to Manado, with a host of places not overly far. That may be our next destination. However, with all that said, try and get a week and dive a live aboard in either Komodo or Raja Ampat--just fantastic. I can highly recommend Grand Komodo's boats: not super fancy but incredibly well organized and a relative bargain. www.komodoalordive.com
By Charles Rubinin WA, US at May 03, 2013 23:08 EST  
Hi John- we are thinking about Bunaken, since its a direct flight to Manado. My concern is that the area might have too many divers. Next month, we are going on a live aboard to N. and S. Komoto. We thought that the Gilis might proviepde great diving with little fuss. I meet one of the owners of a land based resort in the Gili Isl., Blue Marlin Diving. But I am always wary of resorts that are a bit corporate and provide so many classes that we will always dive in groups with varied experience. We have not visited Sipadan, mostly due to the permit system. We might visit during low season in October with a "charm free" operator that will give us three dive days at Sipadan if the resort is empty. We will check a few days before and book air tickets if available.
By report author: John Woolley in WA, US at May 03, 2013 23:20 EST  
Enjoy Komodo, we loved it. One essential piece of advice: take a reef hook! I suppose another is: don't panic when you get caught in a down current , which you probably will. We checked out all the places in Gili, including Blue Marlin: hopefully my original post gave a clear indication of my opinion!
By Charles Rubinin WA, US at Jun 27, 2013 02:04 EST  
John - Our Komoto Is trip was excellent using the Black Manta. You are on the mark about reef hooks. From our limited experience, we had more issues with down currents in Bali on Nusa Penida - rapidly falling tide with fast currents. Based on our experience, Bali is our best "go to" three day weekend destination (a surprise for us). This fall, we will return to Komoto again.
By report author: John Woolley in WA, US at Jun 27, 2013 22:49 EST  
Charles: So glad you enjoyed it. Now, on to Raja Ampat! And don't forget to check out Grand Komodo, our favorite company. It's Indonesian owned, so you keep you money local. But mostly they are just truly wonderful people. Tell Tian and Putu I sent you!
By Charles Rubinin WA, US at Jun 28, 2013 00:47 EST  
Hi John We will contact Grand Komoto, since we are planning a Raja Ampat trip. Other than getting to Sorong, it not that long of a trip for us. One comment, with3 dives/day over a week or so, its nice to use Nitrox. I was not sure if Grand Komoto provides Nitrox, unless this was not an issue for you.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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