Gili Islands are the best escape islands from city buzzing and need of fresh air from vehicle mufflers that pass by on busy roads of Bali or Lombok.
All islands are free of cars and motorbikes pollution, because there are no cars or motorbikes on the islands. And if you want to go somewhere you can only use bicycle, walk, or horse-drawn carriage.
The islands are quiet, especially Gili Meno and Gili Air. Probably the loud noise that you will hear is only summon of pray but only few times and you can avoid it if you choose to stay away from the mosque.
All islands surround by white sand beaches. If you looking for white with soft sand beaches, well gilis are the place. Laying on the empty beach to enjoy the sun, then jump right away to the water sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
The water is clear, you can barely open your eyes under and see what beneath. And on some part of the beach, you can find some corals with different kinds of fishes playing around it.
Because there are 3 Gilis with their own uniqueness , so you have to choose which Gili do you want to go. The islands are neighboring each other tho, you can see them from one Gili to another.
I have been there quiet often and I can tell that Gili Trawangan is a party island, Gili Meno is honeymoon island, and Gili Air is a retreat island. You will know the different if you stay to all of Gilis.
Now, here is some information about Gilis, and things that you can do there.
1. Gili Trawangan
This island is the largest compared to other Gilis. It has 3 km long and 2 km wide, and populated by 1500 people from Lombok and Sulawesi.
Even-thought Gili Trawangan has an old reputation as a drug free island, but this island is the most developed island compared to other Gilis.
The most interesting thing about Gili Trawangan is its nightlife. This island is a party island. You will find Bars and Pubs with famous DJs and live music and perform nearly every night.
Things To Do in Gili Trawangan
Beside the nightlife, there are many activities that you can do in Gili Trawangan.
- Surfing. There is a fast right hand reef break about 300 meters off the southern end of the island. There, you can surf some fast waves with a long ride and big swells with steep barrels in some parts. For the best swells usually in the wet season – January till June.
- Snorkeling. There are several spots for snorkeling at Gili Trawangan, but the best one is at Turtle Point.
- Diving. Diving is very popular in Gili islands. There are many diving spots such as Shark point, Manta point, Simon’s reef, etc-. And you can find dive centers easily at Gili Trawangan.
- Water Sport. You can do Parasailing at Gili Trawangan. Even, you can do other flying activities too. There are 3 places to do it, you just need to go to eastern part of the island about a few hundreds meters from the harbor and you will find the place to do it there.
- SUP – Stand Up Paddle. Close to Turtle Point, there is part of the beach where the water is calm and clear, it is the best part to do SUP. You can see the corals on the bottom and if you are lucky, you will spot some turtles swimming under your SUP there.
- Sunset Point. The best spot for sunset watching is on western side of the island. You will find many cafes at that place, you can sit on the bean bag, enjoying your drink accompanied with the sunset view.
- Jogging. Jogging is another activity that you can do at Gili Trawangan. The road is like a loop with view of the beach good for jogging.
- Cycling. The best way to see around the island is by cycling. Sunset time will be good to do it.
- Soaking Up The Sun. If you are too lazy to do some heavy activities, you can just lay down on the white sand beach and enjoy the sun.
2. Gili Meno
Because the island is so quiet and less touristy, this island become destination for new couple who want to enjoy their honeymoon. That is why Gili Meno is known as honeymoon island.
This island is small, the smallest compared to other Gilis and located in between. There are not many people live in the island as well, so you will find less option for restaurant and accommodation there.
Things To Do in Gili Meno
There are several activities that you can do in Gili Meno.
- Surfing. Similar to Gili Trawangan at this island you can also surfing, the location of the surf spot is at the southern end of the island.
- Snorkeling. For snorkeling you need to go to the eastern of the island a few hundreds meters away from the harbor, you will find crystal clear water and corals with colorful fishes around.
- Diving. Similar to Gili Trawangan, you can do diving as well here and you can easily find a dive center around.
- Bird Watching. There is a Bird Park on the island where you can see many kinds of birds that live on the island.
- Visit the Salty Lake. There is a salty lake in the middle of the island surrounded by mangrove, a nice place to enjoy the scenery of the lake and enjoy exploring the mangrove.
3. Gili Air
Gili Air is the second largest among the Gili islands and the closest to the mainland of Lombok. You can see the view of Mount Rinjani clearly from this island.
This Gili has different vibes compared to other Gilis. The island is quiet, less parties but more options for accommodation and restaurant compared to Gili Meno.
Things To Do in Gili Air
There are many interesting things to do in Gili Air.
- Surfing. Similar to other Gili islands, you can also surf, and the location is at the southern end of the island.
- Yoga. There are few Yoga places around with variety of yoga classes.
- Snorkeling. The best spot for snorkeling is on the northern part of the island. You can snorkeling as well on the western of the island, but only in the high tide.
- Diving. If you are new to scuba diving, you can start learning it by taking a dive course to one of many dive centers around on the islands.
- Cycling. This is a fun way to explore the island.
- Sunset Point. To enjoy the sunset view, you have to go to western part of the island, the part that facing Gili Meno.
How To Find Gili Islands
If you are flying into Bali, the easiest way to get to Gili islands is by fast-boats. There are many fast-boat companies that will bring you to the islands.
Another way to get to Gili is by plane. The nearest airport to Gili islands is Praya, Lombok. From there, you can take a taxi to Bangsal harbor, then take a 30 minutes boat ride over to Gilis.
Thing That You Should Be Culturally Aware Of In Gilis
People that live in Gilis are Muslim, to respect their culture please cover up when you are away from the beach area.
There are no rules about the dress code but it is not polite to walk into a shop or pass a mosque wearing only a bikini.
For females, topless sunbathing is not allowed.