Strikingly beautiful, with powdery, sugar-white sand lapped by warm, azure waters, the trio of Gili is a magnet for holiday makers and couples. More isles than islands, these three little dots in the Bali Sea, truly manifest a paradise. While Gili Trawangan, the largest one, has the image of a “party island”, the smallest Gili Meno is well-known as a honeymoon hot-spot and the Gili Air offers a mix of the two, adding a slightly hippy feel.
Relax and romantic ambience is what defines the Gili atolls. Cars are prohibited here and so there is no need to worry about traffic at all. The only means of transport is feet, either using a bicycle or walking. The islands might be tiny, and the smallest islet can be walked around in just a couple of hours, yet none of the visitors will ever get bored here. The coastline is dotted with cosy seaside taverns and secluded beaches where to have some private time and watch sunset. With magnificent surroundings, peaceful atmosphere, unhurried lifestyle and phenomenal underwater scenery the islands offer nothing but joy and contentment.
-Try some of the local specialties of the Sasak cuisine at the night market – the main public dining spot. It offers plenty of inexpensive open-air food stalls and traditional Indonesian warung-style taverns. Taste Bakso and Nasi Goreng and you will lick your fingers!
-Join a pool party at one of the guesthouses on the Trawangan Island or a full-moon beach party. There is a vast range of bars, clubs, and restaurants regularly organizing funky parties, drinking games, and other activities, providing tons of fun!
-Enjoy epic Gili sunset from the Trawangan`s beach swings..
-Pay a visit to the Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary and its private hatchery and learn more about the giant turtles and marine life conservation (best time to visit is between June-November)
–Hire a sea kayak on for the whole day and explore the turquoise, shallow, nearshore waters of the smallest island. Hunt for a hidden beach bar where you can quench your thirst with a refreshing Bintang beer and chill out under a palm tree before you continue.
-Stay at one of the cozy beach cottages and enjoy the simple romance of the honeymoon island.
–Snorkel on the reef of Gili Air surrounded by the giant sea turtles, whether hiring snorkeling gear and explore the underwater world on your own or booking a day snorkel cruise and you will be taken to the best snorkel spots, lunch included.
–Chill out on one of the beaches of Gili Air at the bonfire and enjoy a fabulous sunset while singing a tune of “Don`t worry be happy” along with locals playing guitar.
–Rent a bicycle or walk around the island in just a few of hours to find its hidden bays. Relax on one of the unspoiled beaches of Gili Air, overlooking the mountainous coast of Lombok.
-Do not miss out on some of the best diving spots in Indonesia. Learn to dive or take a diving boat tour to discover what is hiding in the warm emerald seas of the Gili islands. Walk on the radiant coral gardens of the sea bottom teeming with radiant fish so that you leave the island with unforgettable memories.
–Relax. Sunbathe. Read. Swim. Enjoy…
Gili Trawangan offers plenty of restaurants, bars, dive shops etc. and it might get a bit loud in the night – the best place for backpackers and young people! Also, it is slightly more expensive.TIP
Gili Air is perfect for snorkelers, divers, and people interested in a diving license. It has cheaper dive shops than Trawangan and still great diving spots.
Gili Meno is extremely quiet with simple but stylish bamboo beach cottages –an ideal romantic escape for couples and honeymoon destination.
You can easily move between the islands using the local ferry or the more expensive private boats. The isles are so close to each other that it only takes up to 30 min by a speed boat to get from one island to the other. Simply book a guesthouse on the desirable island and go on island hopping in order to see the remaining islands in one day.
WHEN TO TRAVEL
The best time to visit the Gili Islands is in between May-October in the dry season. Especially, fans of diving and snorkeling will enjoy the best visibility and clear, calm waters in these months. Peak season is June-September and so the prices go up. Therefore, we recommend traveling in the month of May or October.
HOW TO GET THERE
Fly to Denpasar/Bali. Most of the travelers take a private speedboat from Padang Bai in Bali, which takes 1-2 hrs/$30-50 USD one way, depending on the company and weather. If you travel on a budget you might want to go with the much cheaper option, the public ferry (5 hrs boat trip from Padang Bai, but it will cost you as much as $8 USD one way). Perama Tour has regular tourist shuttle buses operating between Denpasar/Kuta/Ubud and Padang Bai.
Gili Islands are also reachable from Lombok. There are many boats frequently operating from the Bangsal Harbour to each of the Gili islands. ($1-5 USD one way, 2-hour ride). For more convenient traveling hop on one of the private speedboats in Senggigi that take you to the islands in just about 30 min for around $30 USD one way.
Gili Trawangan has also a small airport and you can get there from Bali in just 45 min, however, this is quite a costly option through Air Bali.
Subscribe to our email newsletter to receive useful articles and special offers. This monthly email is sent out on the first of every month.