The Gili Islands are made up of three tiny islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. All islands are characterized by sandy beaches fringed with palm trees and offshore coral reefs that create prefect snorkelling and scuba diving conditions.
Gili Trawangan is the largest island, hosting a mix of quiet and serene beaches on the northern and western sides, and a multitude of dining and partying hotspots at restaurants and bars on the south. Gili Trawangan is commonly refereed to as the party island and is the busiest of the islands.
Gili Meno is the smallest island, known for quiet beaches and sea turtles. You can even swim with them at Turtle Point. On Gili Meno there is apparently a ban on late partying, so if you are looking to relax Gili Meno may be the island for you.
Gili Air is a mix of Trawangan and Meno, and for me was the ultimate Gili Island. My days were spent watching the sunrise over the ocean, snorkelling with turtles and ship wrecks, drinking cocktails on the beach and enjoying a fresh seafood BBQ by the ocean at night.
This is my quick guide to Gili Air.
Things to do in Gili Air
The beauty of the Gili Islands is that there isn’t a great lot to do. The Gili Islands are the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Bali and relax, as you should on any holiday. These are the things you can do in Gili Air.
Scuba Dive and Snorkel: By far the most popular activities on the Gili Islands due to the perfect conditions. The Gili Islands host rich tropical marine biodiversity and offer good visibility all year round.
Water Sports: Stand up paddle board or kayak around the crystal clear waters of Gili Air
Island Hop: Head over to Turtle point on Gili Nemo or the Sunken Ship Wreck off the coast of Gili Trawangan. Getting from island to island is easy to organise.
Surf: There is a surf break off the Coast of Gili Air that you can get to by boat. Talk to any local and they will be able to help you find someone willing to take you out for a small $$.
Bike Ride or take a horse carriage around the island: Bikes can easily be hired (most likely from your hotel or hostel) and it is possible to get around the island within a few hours. Although the island it small, the roads are bumpy so it can take longer that you would expect.
Yoga: Join a local yoga class.
Party: Whilst Gili T is the main party island, you can still find places to party on Gili Air. We had several people offer us mushrooms and weed.
Relax on the beach: This is what I happily spent the majority of my time doing on Gili Air.
Enioy the sunrise or sunset: You can watch the sunrise and sunset over the ocean in the same day. You dont get that in Australia.
Explore Lombok: The neighbouring island of Lombok can be explored on a day trip if you desire.
Getting to Gili Air
It is easy to get to the Gili Islands with a regular transfer service available from all location of Bali. The price will change depending on where you are staying and if you choose to take a transfer from the hotel.
We paid 300,000 rupiah (around $30AUD) one way from Padang Bay.
Once on Gili Air you can walk, ride a bike, take a horse carriage or boat to anywhere you need. Prices for all are negotiable.
Places to stay on Gili Air
Gili Air has budget – luxury accommodation options. We stay at Blue Lagoon and recommend it.
You can search for accommodation here:
Try the fresh Seafood BBQ at Scally wags, they also serves vegetarian options!
The Zipp is a good place to spend the day!
Sunset Bar is a good place to watch the sunset. They have a swing out the front that you can get photos with. Photo 1 in this blog!
Other Travel Tips
Many locals on the Gili Islands are Muslims and cover up. Whilst it is acceptable to wear a bikini on the beach, I would suggest wearing clothes when you walk to and from your hotel.
Want more on Bali?
Looking to move to Bali?
Check out the Expat’s Guide to Living in Bali – Click here to visit Bali Expat.