The Tropical Island Paradise – Gili Islands, Lombok
The Gili Islands
Somewhere in the middle of relaxing beach getaway, and holiday treat, sits a tropical island paradise in the heart of Indonesia. The Gili Islands are three of Lombok’s lesser visited islands and idyllic in every way. Travel to Gili Islands is a must do for all travellers at least once in their lifetime.
Each of the 3 Gili Island’s have their own unique charm. Gili Meno, Gili Air and Gili Trawangan are close in proximity to one another, yet achieve a blended approach to tourism across each of the three respectively. You’ll fall in love with one, if not all.
The smaller and lesser developed of the 3 Gili Islands, Gili Air is the closest to the main island of Lombok. Don’t let “less developed” put you off; what Gili Air lacks in tourism it makes up for in peace and serenity and it is precisely these aspects that make Gili Air a true contender on a holiday list of destinations. For the traveller who prefers idyllic island paradise without the noise and entertainment that so regularly comes with it, islands like this are the perfect solution.
Small bungalow style accommodation sparingly scatters the island to greet visitors after a short 30 minute boat ride to reach the island. A discreet selection of cafes and restaurants make dining slow pace and relaxing; exactly what a beach break needs from time to time. During the day wade in the clear ocean or take day trips around the area to snorkel with turtles and swim around reefs.
It’ll take around 2 hours to walk the entire island and what you’ll see is beauty on every angle. For those who head to Bali but venture no further, travel to Gili Air presents a special paradise.
The largest and loudest of the Gili Islands, Trawangan is known for the backpacker party scene. Only 15km squared in size Gili Trawangan is a haven of beach bars and restaurants, thriving music venues and simple yet beautiful accommodations. Home to one of two Gili island’s turtle projects, this is the place to be for daily glimpses of wild turtles swimming freely beside you in the ocean.
Another island to boast purely idyllic landscape, the clear ocean, white sand and green hills compliment the islands energy to create a humming island. No moto vehicles are allowed on Gili Trawangan and beautifully decorated horse and cart or push bike are the preferred mode of transport, adding to the island’s appeal.
Close to Gili Trawangan and accessed by boat, Meno is by far the smallest of the 3 islands at just 1km wide and 2km long in size. Popular for honemooners and romantic getaways, Gili Meno offers total escapism at the hands of paradise. The famous Gili Meno Wall is a popular attraction for visitors because it is an underwater haven of marine life – turtles and tropical fish – who thrive on the reefs edge. The shallow waters right off the islands beach means visitors can laze about in a hammock reading a book then flop into the ocean with a snorkel to explore, easily and without moving far. A small assortmenty of quality resorts are available on the island to accommodate the traveller looking to feel remotely perched in paradise temporarily.
What You Need to Know
Indonesian Rupee is the Island’s local currency, and ATM’s are available on Gili Trawangan. A new ATM has recently been installed on Gili Air. Gili Meno does not have an ATM.
Travel to Gili Islands
There is no airport on any of the Gilli islands and travel is by boat from either Lombok main island or Bali. Boats form Bali leave around 8am from Serangan Pier and take approximately 2.5hours.
Best Time to Visit
Travel to Gili Islands is best between July and December. The rainy season is between November and April, but unlike other parts of the world this can simply mean a short downpour every couple of days, with blue sky and warm weather between.
Words by @alexchasingdreams