7SEAS Dive Gili Air Lombok

Learn to Dive on Gili Air with 7SEAS Dive Gili

In Asia, Diving & Snorkeling, Indonesia by Sheena6 Comments

We’ve compared all 8 PADI & SSI dive centres on Gili Air, Indonesia – find out why we chose to do our Open Water course with 7SEAS Dive Gili.

When we here at DIY Travel HQ were looking to at doing some diving in Bali, we discovered something interesting…

PADI vs SSI on Gili Air

A price agreement on Gili Air means that the minimum price for a PADI or SSI Open Water diving course is 4,900,000 IDR / $367.00.

For the SSI certification, the Open Water course is offered for 4,900,000 by the following dive shops:

Dreamdivers charge 5,500,000 IDR / $412.00.

For the PADI certification, the Open Water course is offered for:

  • 4,900,000 IDR / $367.00 by 7SEAS Dive Gili
  • 5,000,000 IDR / $374.00 by Scallywag Divers

There’s little difference between SSI & PADI – they both adhere to the standards set by the WRSTC (World Recreational Scuba Training Council).

They use different training manuals but the knowledge & skills requirements are the same. Rather, more important than the course itself, is the dive instructor – more on that later…

Dream Divers Gili Air Lombok

Go dive shop shopping on the main strip – this is Dream Divers & their training pool

Choose a Dive Shop on Gili Air

I walked up & down the main strip of Gili Air, visiting all of the above dive centers, and trying to speak to my would- be instructor.

As prices were much the same, my main points of considerations were:

  • Instructor to student ratio
  • Instructor style/vibe
  • Safety considerations

Many of the staff/instructors at the centres were somewhat blasé.

For the price I was going to pay for the course,(a lot for Indonesia) I wanted the people to earn it – first impressions count:

Gili Air Dive Tank Cart Lombok

Don’t let this put you off learning to dive on Gili Air – actual standards are much higher!

Gili Air Divers were ok, the instructor I spoke to was somewhat attentive.

However, I was going to be combined with other discovery divers for the 2nd & 3rd days, rather than having the full attention of the instructor.

Scallywag Divers were very friendly, however they had no local boatmen in place for the next day (due to a national holiday, “Feast of the Sacrifice”).

In the end, I decided to go with 7SEAS Dive Gili.

My instructor would be Gareth, the manager, with over 5,000 dives under his belt and a certified Elite instructor. He was very attentive, personal and reassuring, especially in regards to my concerns about safety.

7 Seas Dive Gili Air

The stunning seafront location of 7Seas Dive Gili, a perfect place to learn & have fun

PADI Open Water: 7SEAS Dive Gili

  • Day 1

I was mostly focused on theory. I completed 3 out of 5 units from the PADI Open Water Diver Manual.

This involved watching videos & answering questions. In the afternoon, I had a solid 2.5 hrs in the pool learning drills & skills:

  • Day 2

I had 2 open water dives to 12m, for around 50mins each, one in the morning & one in the afternoon.

I watched more videos, did a quiz & had a pool session focusing on the drills I had problems with in the ocean & learning new ones.

  • Day 3

I had a dive in the morning to 18m for 50mins, followed by a pool session.

In the afternoon I had a final dive (also 18m for 50mins) which was all diving & minimal drills.

After that, I took the PADI exam, where I answered 39 out of 50 questions correctly, with a pass rate of 78% – phew, 1 question & 3% to spare!

7 Seas Dive Gili Air Lombok

The perfect classroom to watch PADI videos

  • Dive Instructor

I was completely satisfied with 7SEAS, all of it due to my instructor Gareth & the fact that I had 1-on-1 attention.

As I already struggled with many of the drills & didn’t feel comfortable in the water, I couldn’t imagine sharing an instructor with another 1, 2, or more people, as is common for most courses.

Gareth explained things slowly & repeatedly, making sure I understood everything. When I struggled with doing a task, such as clearing my scuba mask, he suggested a different technique.

I’m sure we frustrated each other at times, but Gareth was thoroughly patient & professional at all times. He has a great sense of humour, often making jokes at my expense, which I definitely deserved.

7 Seas Dive Gili pool

The training pool at 7Seas Dive Gili

Learning to Dive Recommendations

If you are not confident in the water or feel nervous about diving, I would recommend:

  • Ensuring you have a 1-on-1 instructor
  • Choosing an instructor that speaks native English or your mother tongue

I felt more comfortable after each dive, and even started to enjoy some of it on my last day.

The course goes through a lot of problems & emergency situations that you are not likely to encounter – some of these drills I had difficulty with. I was much more relaxed when just diving, as it would be in real-life.

One thing I took away is that diving, from the equipment to the buddy system, is a very safety-conscious activity

. I didn’t trust myself, the equipment, the sea or my instructor – all my nerves about diving were mental, not physical.

PADI Open Water Diver Gili Air Lombok

If I can do it, anyone can!

Where to Learn to Dive in Indonesia

The Gili Islands is definitely not the cheapest place for diving – almost every other country in South-East Asia is more popular & affordable, particularly Thailand & the Philippines.

In Indonesia, I would actually recommend getting your certification in Nusa Lembongan – here, the course is cheaper, the accommodation is better value, the diving is better, & the island life more idyllic.

Komodo Island & Pulau Weh are also cheaper places to consider.

Whichever course or destination you choose, if you’re in Indonesia & after a challenge & keen to learn new skills & knowledge, take 3 days to become Open Water certified & dive right into a whole new world.

Know Before You Go

Course: PADI Open Water Scuba Diver

Dive shop: 7SEAS Dive Gili

Price: 4,900,000 IDR / $367.00

Duration: 3 days

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*** The Final Word: Learn to Dive in Nusa Lembongan instead ***

Where did you complete your Open Water course?

5 Shovels

Super easy DIY travel around city centres

Visited in September 2015


  1. Thanks for sharing. Good to know that in the end, the diving quality in Nusa Lembongan would be better. It seems you made the best choice when selecting a company on Gili Air to dive with. My pet peeves are when customer service personnel/sales people are so blasé with you. Sounds like Gareth did a great job!

    1. Author

      I got my Open Water nearly a year ago but I’m still so thankful I had Gareth from 7 Seas Dive Gili – a one-on-one instructor is so important for people who are not completely comfortable in the water like myself. Yes, the attitude of many dive shops puzzles me too, especially when I’m looking to spend more than $400 & no-one seems interested! 🙂

  2. I’m so nervous about water, sounds like a 1-on-1 instructor is definitely what I’d need! I definitely do want to go diving one day though, despite my fears. I feel like I might end up doing it back home in NZ before I go anywhere, or maybe in Aussie, so I feel safer xD

    How come you ended up doing it on The Gili Islands in the end, if it’s not the best place?

    1. Author

      Hi Alicia, Gili Air was my 1st stop on a 2 month trip to Indonesia & I knew there were a lot of great dive sites around so I wanted to get my Open Water early. I found out later as I travelled around the country that there were cheaper places – if I had known earlier, I would’ve done it in Nusa Lembongan, which is less expensive & a way more beautiful island. But getting a 1-on-1 instructor was also luck & kinda priceless!

      I’ve done about 15 dives now & am still not completely at ease. It takes getting used to but I enjoy it more & more with each dive. I say go for it when you get the chance with a company & instructor that speaks native English & that you feel comfortable with – good luck! 🙂

  3. I’ve actually been really afraid of diving. To get a license was really cheap when I lived on Okinawa, but I’ve never been able to bring myself to do it. I like how you gave tips for people who are more comfortable. I can definitely relate and this advice is pretty great!

    1. Author

      Thanks Gina, the Open Water course has a really strong emphasis on safety & you learn about what to do in many situations where you can get into trouble. I hope you try diving one day, good luck 🙂

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