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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 perfect 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 and restaurants and bars on the south. Gili Trawangan is commonly referred to as the party island and is the busiest of the Gili 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 shipwrecks, drinking cocktails on the beach and enjoying a fresh seafood BBQ by the ocean at night.
Things to do in Gili Air
The great thing about staying on the Gili Islands is that there isn’t a 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 best things to do in Gili Air.
Scuba Dive and Snorkel
This is 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. You can snorkel with thriving coral reef and tropical fish,
You can stand up paddle board or kayak around the crystal clear waters of Gili Air. You can rent equipment from a number a spots around the island for an hourly rate.
Head over to Turtle point on Gili Nemo or Gili Trawangan. Getting from island to island is easy to organise with many boats going in between. You can ask a tour company to drop you, or you could ask a local and give them some cash.
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 fee.
Bike Ride around the island
Bikes can easily be hired (most likely from your hotel or hostel). This is a great way to explore the island. You could circle Gili Air in a couple of hours. Although the island is small, the roads are bumpy and sand is soft so it can take longer than you would expect.
If you are looking for a relaxing stay on Gili Air, add yoga to your to do list.
Whilst Gili T is the main party island, you can still find places to party on Gili Air. Most places do happy hour and serve delicious cocktails.
Relax on the beach
At least half a day on Gili Air should be spent simply relaxing on the beach.
Enjoy the sunrise or sunset
You can watch the sunrise and sunset over the ocean in the same day. Make the time to get down to the
The neighbouring island of Lombok can be explored on a day trip. You can do this as part of a guided tour, or independently. You may even wish to spend a couple of says exploring Lombok.
Book a tour on Gili Air
Getting to Gili Air
A regular transfer service to the Gili Islands is available from all location in Bali. The price will change depending on where you are staying and if you choose to take a transfer from the hotel.
If you get yourself to Padang Bay, you can expect to pay 300,000 rupiahs (around $30AUD) one way from Padang Bay.
Once on Gili Air, you can walk, ride a bike, take a horse carriage (but please don’t) or boat to anywhere you need. Prices for all are negotiable. I recommend hiring a bike to get you around. This will cost around 150,000 rupiahs per day.
Places to stay on Gili Air
Gili Air has lots of accommodation options, ranging from budget to
Recommended length of stay
2 – 3 nights is a great amount of time on Gili Air. Ideally you want one full day for snorkelling and water sport adventures, and another day to relax and explore the island.
Dining in Gili Air
Try the fresh Seafood BBQ at Scallywags, they also serve vegetarian options!
Other Gili Air 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 walking to and from your hotel.
- Avoid using plastics on the island as there is no recycling facility. Tell the waiter you don’t need a straw and refill your water bottle instead of purchasing plastic bottles.
- Use reef safe sunscreen.
- Always remain aware of your surroundings. Mushrooms and party drugs are common on the Gili Islands so it is important to be aware of what is going on around you. Say no with certainty and if you feel uncomfortable, leave.
- Get travel insurance before your trip to the Gili Islands.
Planning a trip to Bali
If you are in the process of planning a trip to Bali, this article will tell you everything you need to know about visas, flights, travel insurance, getting around, places to visit, budgetting and other travel tips.
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