Our long wait of moving out of the pandemic and travelling to an unknown destination came as a trip to the Gili Islands. The islands are an archipelago of three islands that lie Northwest off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia. The word ‘Gili’ translates to ‘small’ in the local dialect. From where the islands get their names i.e Gili Trawangan, which is the largest of the three. The others being Gili Meno and Gili Air. All three islands are extremely popular with tourists. However, Gilli Trawangan is the most populous and famous amongst all the three islands.
How To Reach The Gili Islands
Our journey commenced from Dubai International airport and began once we touched Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali. From the airport, it is roughly a ninety-minute car ride to Padang Bai. And can cost you anything from $ 17 up to a whopping $ 80. Depending on the type of ride that you book for your travel to Padang Bai pier.
Once you reach Pandang Bai pier all you gotta do is book yourself a speed boat. That would take roughly one hundred and twenty minutes to transport you to Gili Islands. The prices can be very misleading so do your homework before you book yourself a speed boat. On reaching the island there are a bunch of things that one can do. And to give you a perspective. Below we have an interesting read on the list of things to do in the Gili Islands.
10 Things To Do In Gili Islands
The topmost thing to do in Gili Islands is snorkeling. It is one activity in the region that one can do best at Gili Islands. The activity is one of the most popular activities in Southeast Asia. And Gili Islands is one region where this activity brings out the beauty of the ocean. One can choose to just pick up or rent the snorkeling gear and go for a swim off the coast. But the best way to do this is to book a tour through the many tour agencies on the island. You can either pool in for a boat with your friends or hotel mates. Or book a private one for you and your family that gives it a more personalized experience.
Best spots: Shark point, Simon’s reef, Manta Point
Visit The Nest
One of the most exciting and intriguing things to do in the Gili Islands is to explore ‘The Nest’. The location is home to a ring of sunken statues, which is a sculpture made by the famous Jason deCaires Taylor. The location is rich with abundant marine life and makes for a wonderful moment if you carry a GoPro or rent one. There are several tours that cover this location every morning in three different slots during the day. Which includes other diving sites like an old shipwreck and the underwater wreckage of an old Japanese warship. The entire tour is pretty reasonably priced at roughly $ 7 – $ 10 per person. But be warned these tour operators tend to fill up the boat to its full capacity. So if you are not a fan of the crowd, book a private boat and tour for you and your family.
Best spots: The Nest, turtle point, northern side of Gili Meno
Rent A Bicycle
Of all the things to do in Gili Island, the best activity is renting a bicycle. The only modes of transport that one would find on the island are either horse-pulled carts, a few mopeds and some electric scooters. But the best way to get around the island is a bicycle. The rent of the bicycle may range anywhere between $ 0.35 – $ 0.50 for a day. The use of bicycles on the island also keeps the air and noise pollution in check. The Gili Trawangan island has a cycling path that goes around the island touching every bar on the beachfront. Making exploring the city a fun activity.
Best spots: Bars at the beachfront, Gili Yo Frozen Yoghurt Sunset
Explore The Islands
The next best thing to do in Gili Islands is to go island hopping. The three islands lie in close proximity to one another. And a public boat ferries to the islands twice daily in two different time slots. The first boat to leave Gili Trawangan to Gili Meno is at 09:00 AM from which it carries on to Gili Air. The last boat from Gili Air back to Gili Trawangan is at 15:20 PM. The time slot gives one ample time to explore the different activities that are available on the other islands. The time slot also allows you to snorkel if you like to explore the coral reef’s surrounding the islands.
Best spots: Gili Meno, Gili Air
Capture The Sunset
Another exciting thing to do in Gili Islands is to take pictures of the mesmerizing sunsets. The sunsets on the Gili Islands is one of the best in Southeast Asia. The sunsets from these islands are beautiful as there is very less pollution that takes place on these islands. Which results in a very clear and spotless sky that just loves to adorn the sunset like an ornament. Having a snack and some tea while enjoying the sunset is a must. And clicking some beautiful and awe-inspiring pictures of the sunset is all the more important. Be careful to ask if the seating is free of any cover charge. As some outlets might charge for sitting during sunsets as a way of making some extra money.
Best spots: Any beachfront bar.
The next best thing to do in Gili Trawangan is to take a picture while on the sunset swings. The swings offer a beautiful picture if one is to take a swing with the sunset in the background. The swings are spread across the islands on the sunset strip. That makes for a very intriguing moment that is certain to last a lifetime. Most of the resorts on the island have their own swings. But there are also some community-owned swings where one can click some pictures. While enjoying a swing over the crystal clear waters with a gentle breeze tickling your feet for a small fee.
Best spots: The swings on the western side of the island at the sunset strip.
Attend The Night Market
The next activity on the list of things to do in Gili Trawangan is to experience the local street food at the Night Market. The market comes alive a few meters from the jetty of Gili Trawangan. And is one of the best places to try out the local cuisine and Gili street food. The stalls dish out delicacies ranging from mouth-watering treats to seafood barbeque. It is one place that makes for the cheapest and best seafood of all the three islands put together. The Night Market is a haven for food lovers and a good place to enjoy local Indonesian street food.
Best spots: Night Market on Gili Trawangan
Experience The Islands Nightlife
The one thing to do in Gili Trawangan is to enjoy the nightlife of the island. Even though it may not be something that you enjoy, set one night aside to explore it. Because we guarantee you will not be disappointed. The Gili Trawangan is the main island where the majority of the nightlife is centered. So finding the right style of nightlife is the only thing stopping you from having a good time. Some of the top recommendations include the Sama Sama Reggae Bar. That comes alive every evening with live reggae music starting from 7 PM.
Best spots: Jungle, Rudy’s, The Irish Pub, Blue Marlin
Chill At The Beach
One of the top things to do in Gili Trawangan is literally to chill on the beach. Frankly, you are on a vacation on an island that is far away from all the hustle and bustle of city life. The island is home to several popular beaches that offer a myriad of activities. Ranging from snorkelling, diving, turtle spotting and many other exciting activities. Some popular resorts are close to some of these beaches and allow one to obtain a very vivid experience. But majorly if you’re on a beach then nothing beats a nice relaxing nap with the sun setting on the horizon.
Best spots: Good Heart beach, Sunset beach, Malibu beach
Treat Your Body To A Massage
The last thing to do in Gili Trawangan is to treat oneself to a nice body massage. After a day of exploration, swimming and cycling the island one should treat themselves to a nice massage before heading back to the bustling city life. And one can do that by booking a massage at any of the resorts that one may be putting up at. However if your property does not have an onsite spa centre, you can always book for one to come to your hotel room. Or the best way to get a massage is to head to the beach and have one there with the ocean breeze calming your nerves.
Best spots: Any spa centre along the sunset strip