Why the Gili Islands Should be at the Top of Your Bucket List
Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno make up the island trio located to the northwest coast of Lombok and just a short 90 minute fast boat ride from Bali’s Padang Bai. The islands are rapidly increasing in popularity as an idyllic escape in their own right due to the lack of motorised transport and green way of living.
The liveliest of the three islands is Gili Trawangan, where a multitude of cool, hip bars and restaurants are stretched across the shores, teamed with friendly locals serving up local and international dishes from day to night. Dive schools, mini marts and stylish boutiques flood the main strip, while authentic food stalls, cool reggae joints and bohemian retreats can be found further inland.
The crystal clear ocean is the ideal playground, and the variety of Watersports will have your adrenaline pumping for days. PADI scuba diving, free-diving, surfing, stand up paddle boards and banana boat rides are among the fun to keep your days action packed. As the sun begins to fade, nightly reggae sessions can be found at Sama Sama Reggae Bar. Party nights are held on rotation so only one party is held per night.
Perfect for the budget, tropical island explorer, Gili Air can be reached in 30 minutes from Gili Trawangan harbour, with boats leaving daily at 9.30am and 4pm costing IDR25,000, after first stopping off at Gili Meno along the way. The island is endearing to those lusting after a secluded island escape from reality, while the circumference can be completed on foot in a mere two and a half hour walk. The east coast is filled with beach bars and restaurants of a laid back, hippy vibe, and the snorkelling gives great opportunity to catch sight of turtles. For unspoilt lands and sublime shores, head over to the west.
Offering total escapism, Gili Meno is a great location for combining relaxation and mindfulness through the local Yoga and meditation classes with a spot of adventure diving or snorkelling in the crystal clear waters. Spend days lazing around in a beachfront hammock while indulging in fresh foods from the local cafés. Meno is the smallest of the islands and can be reached on the same daily departures as Air, taking just 15 minutes to reach from Trawangan and costing IDR23,000.