The beautiful Gili islands are located off the north-west coast of Lombok and consist of three small islands.The Gilis are one of the few world-wide islands without any motorised transport making it the perfect getaway for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Bali.
Gili Trawangan is the largest and most visited of the three islands due to its well established framework that surpass the other two islands in the group: Meno and Air. If it’s your first time visiting, you can go to Trawangan as your first ‘landing point’, where you can enjoy most of the action.
Gili Air is the smallest of the three islands with the circumference of the island being walkable by foot in around two and a half hours. The white-sand beaches here are arguably the best of the Gili group and there’s just the right amount of nightlife to keep the sociable happy.
Last but not least is Gili Meno, which serves as the ultimate place to escape; overall very quiet, consisting of beautiful white sandy beaches and generally just a very calming island to unwind.
Top 10 Things To Do On The Gili Islands
1. Rent Bicycles & Explore
Bikes can be rented from just about everywhere on all three of the Gili Islands. Since there are no motorised vehicles on the island, the bikes are an excellent way to travel around. You can ride them to your favourite restaurant or beach on the other side of the island. Even better, ride them all the way around the island to get a complete tour!
Be cautious when riding all the way around the island as the trail often comes to thick sand and you will likely have to get off and walk the bike for parts of the way.
2. Visit Turtle Sanctuary On Gili Meno
The famous ‘turtle capital of the world’ owes much of its growing sea turtle population to the Turtle Sanctuary located in Gili Meno.
This privately-owned establishment presents a safe home to hatch turtle eggs and nurture newborns before releasing them into the ocean in a heartfelt process that is often joined by nature-loving visitors.
3. Watch The Sunset
Watching the sunset from the Gili Islands is a truly magical experience. There is nothing better than lying on a beach bean bag with a cold beer or fresh coconut in your hand watching the sun go down behind Bali’s Mount Agung.
The colours differ between pink, orange or red, even when it’s cloudy the sunsets are magnificent. If you’re looking for that perfect-picture shot, Gili Lumbung has one of the island’s notorious sea swings, sometimes a live musician, and they serve excellent food. A great way to finish your day.
4. Enjoy The Nightlife
The nightlife on Gili Trawangan is an unmissable explosion of entertainment, which involve everything you could ever need to let loose – with the added extra of having the beautiful blue sea all around you.
There are regular party nights with local DJ’s playing the latest hip hop, dance and house tunes, they are rotated so there is only one party a night which can go on until the early hours of the morning.
5. Island Hopping
Island Hopping is a fantastic way to experience each of the islands unique features without needing to stay overnight on them all. You can hop between the islands by using the local boat service which operates between each of the islands.
If you’re looking for a faster or out-of-hours service, then private boats are available for charter across the islands.
6. Diving in the Gili Islands
All levels of divers will find Gili Island diving exciting. If it’s your first time diving you can find great instructors situated around the Gilis. Please ensure that you use a reputable scuba diving company who are members of the Gili Dive Association. This not only means they are safe, but also committed to protecting the environment.
Additional Tip: You can contribute alongside GILA members for a beach clean-up every Friday evening on Gili Trawangan. This is a great opportunity to meet the local divers plus earning yourself a free beer!
7. Learn To Cook
While on the Gilis, why not learn a bit about the local tastes and exotic cuisine. There are various cooking classes on the islands, such as the Gili Cooking Classes, located on Gili Air. Classes are every day, and led by experienced Indonesian chefs, with meals included, obviously.
8. Visit the night market
The night market is open every evening at about 6pm in Gili Trawangan at the market square.
There are a wide variety of menu items to choose from such as seafood, grilled meats, Chinese Wok-Fries, and all-time Indonesian favourites such as Nasi Goreng fried rice, Soto Ayam Chicken Broth, and Bakso meatball soup.
9. Glass-Bottomed Kayaking
If you want to stay dry but still want to experience what’s going on beneath the waters, we would recommend hiring a see-through Kayak.
For as little as $10 you can drift out to your favourite parts of the island and enjoy watching the marine life from the safety of the boat.
10. Movies on the Beach
Watching movies on the beach is perfect for those nights where you don’t feel like partying.
There is a couple of venues to choose from, but here are just a few:
- Vila Ombak (Hours: 19:00 and 21:00 | 100.000 IDR)
- Le Pirate Beach Club (Hours: 20:30 | Free )
- Pink Coco ( After the sunset | Free)
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