The Gili Islands are a group of 3 tiny islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air – in Indonesia, near the coast of northwest Lombok Island. Characterized by sandy beaches fringed with palm trees, they’re known for their coral reefs just offshore. On the smallest island of Gili Meno, sea turtles swim at Turtle Point. At Gili Trawangan, the largest island, a sunken ship sits at Wreck Point near Mentigi Beach.
The Gili Islands are a group of three small islands located off the north-western shore of Bali’s neighbour, Lombok. Highly popular among divers, there are dive centres available on all three, namely Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air, and the waters around them boast rich tropical marine biodiversity and offer good visibility all year round. Collectively referred to as the ‘Gilis’, they are technically part of Lombok, but have become a much-loved optional itinerary for visitors to Bali, with easy and regular transfer services available.
Gili Trawangan has a good mix with quiet and serene beaches on the northern and western sides, and a multitude of dining and partying hotspots at restaurants and lively bars on the south. Gili Meno serves as an ultimate choice for an escape; overall discreet with beautifully barren beaches and a local village ban on late partying in place. Gili Air is easily Trawangan’s miniscule version, and usually completes one’s Gili island hopping experience. Plan your upcoming trip to the Gilis with our travel guide and choose from our collection of Gili Island hotels that suit your budget and preference.
lthough each island has its own particular charm they all boast powdery white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and some of the best diving and snorkelling opportunities in the region; so no matter which island you choose, whether it be to party or just to relax (or a bit of both!), you’ll always be rewarded with the key elements that make the Gili Islands an unforgettable tropical paradise.
And with no cars, or any form of motorised vehicles to disturb the peace – getting around is either by ‘cidomo’ (horse cart), bicycle, or on foot – the laid-back rustic appeal of the Gilis has people coming for a day and staying for weeks!
There’s also a budding environmental outlook on the Gili Islands, with efforts focused on reef protection and regeneration. The Gili Eco Trust was set-up to protect and monitor the environment, both under the water and on land. Through visitor donations they have managed to erect over a dozen artificial Bio-Rock reefs and ensured that local fisherman now use more sustainable fishing practices.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Don’t try to swim between the islands. They may not look that far apart but the currents that run in the channels between the islands can be very strong and unpredictable. There are plenty of cheap local boats to get you across.
- Never sunbathe nude or topless, and cover up away from the beach (no bikinis). Although it may feel like Bali, the locals are Muslims so it’s good to show some respect.
- When snorkelling or diving you should avoid touching the coral or any other marine life…..take only pictures, leave only bubbles!
- Malaria and dengue are found throughout Indonesia and although the risk is minimal in the immediate region, there are plenty of mosquitoes. Staying covered around sunrise and sunset and using repellents (DEET 50%) throughout the day and night will ensure your stay isn’t an itchy one.
- Avoid locally distilled spirits such as Arak, as well as cocktails containing local spirits. There have been a number of cases of Methanol poisoning in 2012/13, the most recent being at Rudy’s Bar on Gili Trawangan which was fatal. Stick to beer and wine.
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