The Gili Islands are a cluster of three beautiful little islands just off the northwestern tip of Lombok, all situated east of Bali. Visitors come here to relax, enjoy the gorgeous water and chill out.
How to Get to the Gili Islands
We arrived in the Gili Islands from Nusa Penida on a direct boat. Eka Jaya boats depart from Nusa Penida every day at 9am and 1pm with transfers for 400,000 IDR ($37.35 CAD) per person. These can usually be booked through your accommodation. You will take a small shuttle boat to a transfer station in the harbour near Nusa Lembongan and then will board a larger ferry for a 2-hour ride to the Gili Islands. This ferry was quite rocky and all of us sitting outside got completely soaked with sea spray!
A Quick Guide to the Gili Islands
There are three Gili Islands to choose from. The Eka Jaya boat will stop at all of them, in order as below, before going to Bangsal in Lombok. We spent two nights on Gili Air.
Gili Trawangan – this island is known as the party island of the trio. Come here if you’re looking to have a fun night out as there’s plenty of bars and drinking to keep you going.
Gili Meno – this island is known as the couple island of the trio. Come here if you’re on honeymoon or looking for a more upscale resort-like island.
Gili Air – this island is known as the chill island of the trio. Come here if you’re looking to hang out on the beach, enjoy the sunshine and wander through pretty streets.
A Guide to Gili Air
Where to Stay
We booked two nights at the Fantastic Bamboo Hut which really was pretty fantastic. We got to stay in unique bamboo huts; they provided mosquito nets as we were pretty open to the elements. There was also great wifi, delicious free breakfast, cheap lunch/dinner options, a hot shower and a funny receptionist! Book your stay here.
Where to Eat
We had breakfast at our hostel as well as a dinner. We also had a delicious meal at H&R Resto near the beach.
How to Get Around
The island is tiny; you can literally walk from one end to the other in 20 minutes! Please avoid using horse-drawn taxis as they are not well-treated. Bicycles are very common on the island if you wish to get around a bit faster.
What to Do
Head to the beach for sunset; stroll the pretty streets; get in the water!
Gili Islands Snorkeling Trip
The waters surrounding the Gili Islands are simply stunning. Crystal clear blue waters invite visitors to play! As we wanted to hit the best snorkeling spots in the islands, we opted to take a day tour that would take us to all the Gili Islands for just 100,000 IDR ($9.30 CAD) per person including snorkeling gear.
The tour ran from 9am to approximately 2pm. We stopped in Gili Air and Gili Trawangan for turtles (we saw 5!) and beautiful corals before heading to Gili Meno to spot the famous underwater statues. I didn’t like how busy this spot was as there were loads of snorkellers all trying to see the same thing. After a lunch break on Gili Meno, we did one final stop near Gili Air where we enjoyed more corals and brightly coloured fish.