Gili Islands Indonesia

Gili Islands Indonesia – All You Need to Know in 2024

The Gili Islands are another beautiful spot in Indonesia. It is near the Lombok in Indonesia. There are three islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. Each island has its special vibe.

Gili Trawangan is lively and fun. Gili Meno is peaceful and great for relaxing. Gili Air is a mix of both. The fun fact is, you won’t find cars here, just bikes and horse carts.

Gili Island has so much to explore, you can dive, chill on beautiful beaches, and enjoy the local culture.

In this post, I will share my experience during my trip to Indonesia. Like how to get there, the best time to visit and fun things to do on Gili Island. Let’s find out what they offer for your trip to Indonesia.

How to Get to Gili Islands from Bali and Lombok?

There are two main options to get to Gili Islands, whether you are coming from Bali or Lombok.

If you are coming from Bali, the most popular and quickest way to reach Gili Island is by renting a boat. You can catch a fast boat from several departure points in Bali, such as Serangan, Padang Bai, and Amed.

Depending on the departure point, the journey will take 1 to 2.5 hours. For example, from Serangan to Gili T, it takes about 1.5 hours, while from Padang Bai, it’s around 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Serangan to Gili T

The boat ride will cost around $50 from Serangan and $70 from Padang Bai to Gili Island.

But if you don’t want to spend much on a private boat you can take a public ferry even though it is a slower option, but it will save a lot of money.

The public ferry will take 4-5 hours to reach Gili Island. It departs from Padang Bai to Lombok, and then you can take a local boat to the Gili Islands.

If you are coming from Lombok, the public ferry from Bangsal to Gili Islands operates irregularly between 7:30 am and 4:30 pm. If you’re heading to Gili Meno or Gili Air, you may have to take a connecting ‘island-hopping’ boat from Gili Trawangan.

But if you want to save your time and reach quickly rent a fast boat, it will take about half an hour from Lombok to the Gilis.

Best Time to Visit Gili Islands

I would say that the best time to visit the Gili Islands is from May to September. It is the dry season and perfect for traveling because the climate conditions are best for outdoor activities such as snorkeling, diving, and beach relaxation.

Best Time to Visit Gili Islands

However, if you are looking to avoid the crowds and possibly find better deals, April and October are also good times to visit. But you wont find any crowd during this season.

On the other hand, the wet season, from November to March, is not suitable as it contains higher humidity and more frequent rainfalls, which might make beach time less enjoyable.

If you’re looking to balance good weather and fewer crowds, May is an excellent month to visit. The nature on the islands is still vibrant, and it’s not too crowded.

Best Restaurants and Cafes on Gili Islands

Believe me, if you love delicious food, you will gain some extra weight after returning from Gili Island because there is a wide choice with various options on each island.

Gili Trawangan Island

At Gili Trawangan island, Pearl Beach Lounge is the most popular restaurant, offering a relaxed atmosphere perfect for enjoying meals and drinks. You can go right with their delicious dishes, especially under the cozy roof or in the beachside lounge.

Pearl Beach Lounge

Then there is “Regina” for pizza lovers. They serve authentic Italian pizza right out of a wood fire oven. Their unique Nutella pizza is a crowd-pleaser.

Scallywags is another top suggestion, it is located on the main strip, and this restaurant boasts a stunning beachfront view. It’s known for its fresh seafood barbecue and an impressive selection of wine.

Trawangan Night Market

If you are into crazy street food, check out “Trawangan Night Market” It’s a food paradise with a wide variety of dishes, from grilled seafood to traditional Indonesian desserts.

Gili Meno Island

At Gili Meno island, you can find small local warungs where you can enjoy traditional Indonesian dishes. The ambience here is more laid-back, perfect for a peaceful meal. Besides, only a few fancy options are available at Gili Meno Island.

Gili Air Island

Karma Kayak is a great spot for a lazy afternoon meal or a hearty breakfast on Gili Air Island. The oceanfront seating area adds to the charm.

Then “Le Pirate Beach Club” is a stylish restaurant with a chic design known for its delicious brunches and cocktails. It’s part of Le Pirate Resort but is popular among non-staying guests.

The laid-back charm and beautiful natural surroundings complement each island’s culinary experience.

Where to Stay at Gili Islands?

Now if you want to stay at Gili Island, let’s talk about what are the best options to stay at Gili Island.

Gili Trawangan

For budget-friendly accommodation, check out “Gili Beach Bum Hotel and Atlas Gili” They offer a comfy bed at an affordable price.

Then there is the Pearl of Trawangan and The Lakshmi Villas. They provide comfortable stays at reasonable prices. If you traveling with family, Natya Hotel Gili Trawangan and The Beach House Resort are fantastic choices.

And finally, for a luxurious stay, Ponte Villas and Pondok Santi Estate on Gili Trawangan are where you can live it up. They provide beachfront views, private gardens, and sometimes a personal butler.

Gili Meno

Gili Meno Island is famous for couples as it is a bit romantic place to stay. Kura Kura Beach Resort and Villa Palma Gili Meno are a good option for a comfort and affordable stay.

Seri Resort Gili Meno or MAHAMAYA Gili Meno are a bit fancy options if you want to enjoy a perfect couple’s vacation.

Gili Air

At Gili Air Island, Banana Cottages and Gita Gili Bungalow are great for those on a tight budget but still looking for a charming place to stay.

The Turtle Beach Hotel and Bel Air Resort and Spa are mid-range spots that provide comfortable, inviting, and cosy stays.

If you’re up for splurging a bit, Kempas Villa and Ke Rensia Villas Gili Air offer a slice of heaven with a side of luxury.

Fun Things to Do at Gili Islands

There are many activities and fun things to explore on Gili Island. If you’ve planned your trip and picked the right spots, you can have a great time at Gili Island. Whether you’re into snorkeling, sampling local cuisine, or just relaxing on the beach, there is always something here for everyone.

#1. Snorkeling and Diving

Snorkeling and diving in the Gili Islands are amazing experiences, especially between May to September when the weather is just perfect.

Snorkeling and Diving at Gili Islands

The waters are crystal clear that is why it is the best time for you to explore the vibrant underwater life. You’ll see colorful corals, loads of fish, and if you’re lucky, some friendly turtles too!

Gili Trawangan is great for beginners, with its calm waters. If you’re into seeing turtles, head over to Gili Meno’s turtle sanctuary. For a quieter dive, Gili Air is your spot. It’s less crowded and just as beautiful.

There are plenty of diving schools across the islands, catering to both newbies and pros. They’ll sort you out with all the gear and training you need. The prices are reasonable, so don’t worry about spending too much.

#2. Underwater Statues at Gili Meno and the Bask Nest Statues

The underwater statues at Gili Meno and the Bask Nest statues are truly unique. These statues were created by artist Jason deCaires Taylor.

What is really cool about these statues is that they are a bunch of human figures grouped together underwater. They look amazing and help coral grow. The Bask Nest statues are big, nest-like structures that also help sea life.

Underwater Statues at Gili Meno

You can snorkel or dive to see these statues. Lots of places in Gili Meno will take you there by boat. It’s easy and not far.

The best time to visit these statues is also from May to September. So you can plan to explore all at once on your trip.

Just to remind you, these statues are there to help the ocean. Don’t touch or climb on them. It’s important to keep them safe.

#3. Nightlife and Bars, like Sama-Sama Reggae Bar in Gili Trawangan

If you are seeking a vibrant nightlife to explore, Sama-Sama Reggae Bar at Gili Trawangan is one of the highlights.

Sama-Sama Reggae Bar at Gili Trawangan

Sama-Sama Reggae Bar is all about chill reggae beats and a friendly, laid-back atmosphere. It’s a great place to unwind, dance, or just enjoy the music.

You can find it easily on Gili Trawangan. It’s one of the island’s most popular spots, so just follow the music!

The bar comes alive in the evenings, especially after sunset. That’s when the party really starts. Along with great music, they serve up tasty drinks and sometimes have live bands.

#4. Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary and Shark Point

Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary is a heartwarming experience, especially if you love marine life. And for adventure seekers, Shark Point is a thrilling spot.

Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary

Turtle Sanctuary is all about protecting baby turtles. It’s a small, simple place, but seeing the turtles is super special. They take care of them until they’re ready to go back to the sea.

The sanctuary is on Gili Meno. It’s easy to find and you can just walk in. There might be a small donation to enter.

Shark Point is more like a bit of thrill, Shark Point is a popular diving spot near Gili Trawangan. You can see reef sharks here. Don’t worry, they’re not dangerous to humans.

Shark point gili trawangan

You’ll need to go with a dive center for diving at Shark Point. They’ll take care of all the gear and guide you to the best spots.

#5. Bike Tours Around the Gili Islands

Taking a bike tour around the Gili Islands is a fun way to explore. The islands are small enough to be easily navigable by bicycle.

The bike tour is an amazing experience, you can see the beautiful beaches, local villages, and hidden spots you might miss otherwise. It’s relaxing and you can go at your own pace.

Bike Tours Around the Gili Islands

You can rent bikes on all three islands. Many hotels and shops offer them for rent. They’re affordable, and you can rent them by the hour or for a full day.

But if you ask me “What is the Best Island for Biking?” Gili Trawangan is the largest and the best Island and it has plenty of paths to explore. Gili Meno and Gili Air are smaller but equally enjoyable for a leisurely ride.

Make sure to bring water, sunscreen, and a map if you are biking alone. The paths are pretty straightforward, but it’s always good to be prepared.

Biking is a great way to see the Gili Islands. You can stop wherever you want, maybe for a swim or to grab a bite. It’s a chill way to explore and enjoy the island vibes.

#6. Yoga Classes, Spas, and Beach Lounging

In the last don’t miss out on Yoga classes and Spas and some quality time lounging on the Gili Islands beach.

The Gili Islands offer serene spots perfect for yoga. You can find classes for all levels, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned yogi. It’s a great way to start your day or unwind in the evening.

There are several spas across the islands. They offer massages, treatments, and relaxation sessions. It’s the perfect way to pamper yourself.

Don’t forget the simple joy of just chilling on the beach. The Gilis have beautiful beaches with clear water and soft sand. Grab a towel, find a spot, and just relax.

For yoga, bring your own mat, although many places provide them. For the beach, just your swimwear, sunscreen, and maybe a good book.

Read also: Best things to do in Canggu, Bali.

Best Spots for Shopping on Gili Islands

There are many small shops and market stalls in Gilli Islands, selling handmade jewelry, clothing, and local art. It’s a great way to pick up something unique and support local artisans.

Look out for handcrafted jewelry made from local materials, colorful sarongs, and wooden handicrafts. These items reflect the island’s culture and are perfect as souvenirs.

Gili Trawangan has the most options, with its main strip featuring a range of shops. Gili Meno and Gili Air offer a more laid-back shopping experience with fewer but charming local stores.

Don’t miss the night markets for a variety of local goods and a more authentic shopping experience. It’s also a great place to try local street food.

In local markets and stalls, bargaining is common. It’s part of the shopping experience, so don’t be shy to negotiate a bit.

Tips and Recommendations for Newcomers

If it’s your first time visiting the Gili Islands, here are some essential tips and recommendations to make your trip smooth and enjoyable:

  • The local currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). While some places accept credit cards, cash is king on the islands, especially in smaller shops and restaurants. It’s a good idea to carry sufficient cash.
  • There are no cars or motorbikes on the Gili islands. The main modes of transport are bicycles, which you can rent, and cidomos (horse-drawn carriages). Walking is also a popular way to get around, as the islands are relatively small.
  • Wi-Fi can be found in most hotels and cafes, but it may not be as fast as you’re used to. It’s part of the island’s charm to disconnect a bit, but if you need a steady connection, consider a local SIM card for data.
  • The Gili Islands are predominantly Muslim. Respect local customs and dress modestly, especially when visiting villages or religious sites.
  • Be mindful of your environmental impact. Avoid single-use plastics, don’t touch or step on corals when snorkeling or diving, and consider using reef-safe sunscreen.
  • The climate can be hot and humid. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and always carry a bottle with you.
  • There are limited medical facilities on the islands. Gili Trawangan has a clinic for minor issues. For serious medical concerns, you may need to travel back to Lombok.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared for a fantastic and respectful visit to the Gili Islands.

Final Thoughts on Gili Islands

And there you have it, a complete guide to the Gili Islands, ready for your exploration.

All the spots and activities mentioned have been part of my own journey across Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. Now, it’s your turn to choose which of these enchanting spots you’ll visit. The Gili Islands are sure to mesmerize you with their charm.

From the underwater wonderland of snorkeling spots to the vibrant nightlife and peaceful sanctuaries, the Gili Islands offer a diverse range of experiences. An ultimate bucket list for the Gilis could be endless.

But above all, enjoy your journey through the Gili Islands. It’s a destination that offers not just sights to behold, but experiences to hold dear and memories that will last a lifetime.

FAQs Related to Gili Islands

What is the best way to get to the Gili Islands from Bali?

You can take a fast boat (1.5 – 2 hours), a ferry (5 hours), or a helicopter (45 minutes) from Bali to the Gili Islands.

How to get to the Gili Islands from Lombok?

Public boats run from Bangsal to the Gili Islands from 7 AM to 5 PM. The price is around IDR 15,000 – 20,000, and boats leave once they are full. Alternatively, you can charter a speedboat from Teluk Nara.

How to travel between the islands?

There are island hopper boats leaving in the morning and returning in the afternoon. You can also charter your own boat at any time.

How is the weather on the Gili Islands?

The rainy season is from November to March, but it usually rains by the end of the afternoon. The average temperature is between 27°C and 32°C.

What are the peak seasons on the Gili Islands?

Peak periods are December, January, July, August, and September. During these times, it’s advisable to book accommodation in advance.

Time zone of the Gili Islands?

The Gili Islands are in the GMT + 08.00 Jakarta/Singapore time zone.

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