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Gili Islands Travel Guide: Discover the charms of Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, and Gili Meno

The Gili Islands, nestled in the waters off the northwest coast of Lombok, Indonesia, present a serene escape, known for their crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and a laid-back atmosphere that contrasts sharply with the more bustling Bali. Comprising three main islands—Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air— each island offers its unique charm, catering to a wide range of travelers, from party-goers to those seeking solitude and natural beauty. Each island has several resorts, usually consisting of a collection of huts for tourist, a small pool and restaurant. This is a Gili Islands travel guide to help you find the information you’re looking for.


Gili Trawangan

Known for its vibrant nightlife, Gili Trawangan attracts a young crowd with its abundance of bars, parties, and events. Gili Trawangan is the island where there is a vibrant nightlife. As the sun sets, the party scene shifts to the main strip at the east side of the island, where revelers prepare for a night filled with music, barefoot dancing, and an abundance of cocktails or refreshing Bintang beers. Each night offers a variety of festivities, from live music and reggae sessions to beach bonfires and even silent discos during Ramadan. Another unmissable attraction on the Gili Islands is the popular boat parties. Guests can pay to cruise, dance, and indulge in drinks aboard a luxurious yacht for an authentic Gili party experience.

However, the island also boasts beautiful beaches, excellent snorkeling, and diving spots with chances to see turtles, and a variety of accommodations ranging from luxury villas to budget-friendly hostels. The island’s small size allows for easy exploration by bicycle or horse-drawn carts, as motorized vehicles are not allowed. Accommodation options range from budget guesthouses to a wide selection of mid-range beachfront hotels, all the way up to luxurious resort-style hotels and villas. It’s highly advisable to book your accommodation on Gili Trawangan in advance, especially during the peak season (July to September). If you want to see everything on this island, it’s advisable to stay here for at least 2/3 nights. 

Explore Gili Trawangan with us! Discover our curated selection of tours:

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Gili Meno

Gili Meno is the smallest and quietest of the three islands, making it the perfect getaway for couples and travelers seeking a peaceful retreat. The island features stunning, secluded beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a saltwater lake. Gili Meno also offers excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities, including the chance to explore an underwater sculpture park that serves as an artificial reef. Accommodations here range from simple huts to upscale resorts, ensuring a serene stay that feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle. 

Dining is a laid-back experience, with beachside cafes featuring menus dominated by fresh fish BBQs. When not relaxing, there’s plenty of choice for fantastic diving and snorkeling adventures. It’s advisable to stay here for at least 2 nights. 3/4 nights is recommended, so you can enjoy the island but also relax.

Come discover the Gili Meno Island with us! Check out our tours:

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Gili Air

Gili Air strikes a balance between the lively Gili Trawangan and the tranquil Gili Meno, offering a mix of natural beauty and a modest selection of nightlife options. It’s known for its friendly local community, cozy beachfront cafes, and excellent snorkeling and diving sites. Gili Air is the closest to the Lombok mainland. This makes it easily accessible yet still offering a sense of remote island charm. The island supports a more relaxed pace of life, with yoga retreats, and wellness centers further enhancing its laid-back vibe.

The island offers a surprisingly diverse range of accommodations to suit every taste and budget. Whether it’s nestled on the beach or tucked away amidst coconut groves. Dining options are equally varied, ranging from inexpensive local food available inland to grilled fish and international cuisine served at the numerous beachside restaurants. It’s also advisable for Gili Air to stay on for at least 2 nights. 3/4 nights is recommended, so you can enjoy the island but also relax. 

Tip: The breathtaking sunrises over the majestic Mount Rinjani on Lombok’s horizon are a must-see for those willing to rise early for breakfast while staying on Gili Air.

Come with us to the beautiful Gili Air Island! Discover our selection of tours:

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Activities across the Gili Islands

  • Snorkeling and Diving: The Gilis are surrounded by coral reefs teeming with marine life. This includes sea turtles, colorful fish, and even the occasional reef shark, making them a paradise for underwater enthusiasts. It is possible to obtain your diving certification in 3 days. Come2Indonesia has partnerships with local dive centers. We activity providers ensure that travelers have the best opportunities for diving and snorkeling. This applies to beginner and advanced divers. The diving trip services offer an immersive experience into the diverse underwater ecosystems of Indonesia, echoing the rich marine biodiversity around the Gili Islands.
  • Sunset Watching: Each island offers spots with breathtaking sunset views, often with the majestic Mount Agung of Bali in the background.
  • Island Hopping: With the proximity of the islands to each other, it’s easy to take a quick boat ride from one to another. This allows travelers to experience the unique atmosphere of each Gili.
  • Water sports: Beyond snorkeling and diving, visitors can enjoy stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and even surfing on the right days.
  • Relaxation: The Gilis’ numerous beaches offer the perfect backdrop for relaxation, with hammocks and beachside lounges aplenty. 
  • Horseback riding on the beach: Experienced and novice riders alike will discover their ideal experience during this horseback riding tour on Gili Island. Explore the beach in a unique way with our horse riding experience.

How to get to the Gili Islands?

The Gili Islands are most accessed by boat from Bali or the Lombok mainland. Fast boats and local ferries operate daily, with varying schedules and prices. 

Bali to the Gili Islands

If you’re staying near Denpasar (Bali), it’s best to take the boat from Bali to the Gili Islands from Sanur or Serangan. You can also take the boat from Padangbai or Amed. The travel time from here is shorter by boat, but this is in the East of Bali. If you’re staying nearby the Eastcoast, this is a better option. All boats stop at Gili Trawangan, with some also stopping at Gili Air or Gili Meno.

Lombok to the Gili Islands

 If you’re staying on Lombok, you can take the boat from Bangsal. This is in the Northwest of Lombok. The boat journey takes about half an hour. Another option is to take the boat from Senggigi, but this takes longer. This is in the West of Lombok.

Gili Islands

Practical Information to travel to Gili islands

Come2Indonesia excels in crafting personalized itineraries that can include island hoping, allowing travelers to experience the distinct vibe of Gili Trawangan’s lively atmosphere, Gili Meno’s serene beauty, and Gili Air’s harmonious blend of both. The tailor-made programs and island exploration services cater to individual preferences. This ensures a customized travel experience that aligns with the traveler’s vision of a perfect holiday.

  • What is the best time to visit? The best weather conditions are offered during the dry season. This is from May to September, although the islands can be enjoyed year-round.
  • What are the local customs? The Gilis, while catering extensively to tourists, still adhere to local customs and traditions. Visitors are encouraged to respect local norms and dress modestly when away from the beach.
  • What kind of transportation on the islands? Vehicles, including cars and motorbikes, are not allowed on the Gili Islands, contributing to their serene ambiance. Opting for bicycles is the ideal means to navigate and discover these islands. Renting a bicycle enables you to enjoy leisurely rides while admiring the breathtaking views of the tropical landscape. A horse-drawn carriage, known locally as a cidomo, is a favored mode of transportation among both residents and tourists. Taking a tour around Gili Trawangan in a cidomo typically lasts about half an hour.

As the popularity of the Gili Islands has grown, so has the importance of sustainable tourism practices. Efforts are being made to protect the marine environment and support local communities. Visitors can contribute by choosing eco-friendly accommodations, participating in beach clean-ups, and respecting wildlife and natural habitats. Come2Indonesia’s commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly travel aligns with the conservation efforts on the Gili Islands to protect marine life and reduce plastic use. Through collaborations with eco-friendly and sustainable organizations, Come2Indonesia offers travelers experiences that not only enhance their holiday but also contribute positively to the environment and local communities.

The Gili Islands offer a remarkable blend of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and recreational activities. Whether you’re after a peaceful retreat, an underwater adventure, or a taste of island nightlife, a travel to the Gili Islands promise an unforgettable escape in the heart of Indonesia’s archipelago.

From the initial inquiry to the end of the trip, Come2Indonesia ensures a hassle-free travel experience. Our detailed consultation process, itinerary customization, and on-the-ground support cater to all logistical aspects of the trip, including accommodations, transportation, and activities. This comprehensive support is crucial for your travel to exploring the Gili Islands, providing peace of mind, and allowing them to fully immerse in the beauty and tranquility of their surroundings.

The synergy between the Gili Islands’ enchanting allure and Come2Indonesia’s extensive offerings creates an unparalleled travel opportunity. Through personalized itineraries, sustainable travel practices, and a deep connection with local cultures and ecosystems, Come2Indonesia stands as an ideal partner for exploring these idyllic Indonesian islands.

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Article author

Dianne, a 21-year-old International Business student from the Netherlands, is doing a six-month internship in Bali. In her third year, specializing in marketing and process improvements, she is pursuing an internship with Come2Indonesia in Bali.

Dianne Wilms
Marketing Intern

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