Lombok Island to the east of Bali across the Lombok Strait is a quieter alternative to Bali but the diving is similar in many ways. Dives in the Lombok Strait can have fierce currents and encounters with big marine life like manta rays, eagle rays, sharks and turtles.
Off the northwest coast of Lombok are three small islands called the Gili Islands that are popular with travelling backpackers and offer some good diving at cheap prices.
The best time to dive Lombok and the Gili Islands is the April to October dry season although diving is possible all year round.
Blonges Bay (Bay of Tranquility) on Lombok's south coast has some excellent diving just out of the bay.
The Magnet is a large pinnacle down to 60 metres that is exposed to open seas and subject to very srong currents and surge. This is a big fish dive site. Tuna, mackeral, barracuda and sharks can all be seen here and there is also a chance to see squadrons of mobular rays and hammerhead sharks.
The Cathedral is another isolated pinnacle with strong currents and the chance to see large pelagics like sharks and eagle rays. There is a cave at 40m which should only be entered by suitable qualified divers.
Gili Sera is a large rock which also gets occasional visits from sharks and rays. Coral and sponges cover the rocks and reef fish are plentiful.
Wollis Pinnacle starts at 5m below the surface and drops to the sand at 20m. It's a macro dive site with lots of nudibranchs and other small critters to be found.
Senggigi Beach is the main resort beach on Lombok's west coast and there are a few good dive sites a short boat ride from shore. Turtles and stingrays are commonly seen. Signs of coral bleaching from the 1998 El Nino are evident in places.
Nipah Slope drops off to 50m and has some good coral growth. Alang Wall also has good coral growth. Malimbu caves can be dived when conditions are right.