If you have never been to the Gili Islands well we’ve got great news for you; the place is absolutely awesome. We have just returned from a recent trip there and the untouched natural beauty is something you really should see for yourselves.
The 3 islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno make up the Gili’s and if you are travelling to Bali or Lombok, make sure you pop over the the Gili’s for a couple of days to really chill out.
Following are 11 incredible things to do on the Gili Islands that should entice you to head over there.
1. Stay at the Exile and get incredible Instagram shots.
Whether it’s laying in the famed hammock on the water or staying in one of the bungalows, the Exile is an eclectic mix of rustic charm and Indonesian beauty. The Exile is a relatively small hotel where the accommodation is cheap and the value is fantastic. It’s a short 20 minute bike ride or horse cart from Trawangan harbour.
2. Try the glass bottom boat at the Gili Air Lagoon Resort
That’s right! This resorts pool is that large that you can take a kayak and paddle around the circular pool. It’s easy to do. All you need is to walk out of your private bungalow that surrounds the pool and start paddling. Ideal for those that want to hang local.
The resort will also let you take their glass bottomed Kayaks and explore the ocean nearby. It’s great family fun for those that want to see the fantastic marine life on Gili Air. It’s a great way to explore the reef without getting too wet! Prices for Gili Air resort are really reasonable and considering what you get this is fantastic holiday accommodation.
3. Incredible places to eat and chill out
If you like Bali is laid back then the Gili Islands are going to take it to the next level in terms of peace, tranquility and an overall relaxed vibe. When it comes to dining on the Gili’s the restaurants are no exception. Most of them are on the beach where you can simply rock up these grab a seat and spend hours eating great fresh local food all in a really relaxed atmosphere.
> Watch the bonfire at Casa Vintage Store: this is a really unique place on Gili Trawangan and also is a vintage store where you can buy clothes. Every night there is a bonfire on the beach and it’s a fantastic place to site watch the sunset and enjoy this ambiance. There is also a bar here for that obligatory sunset cocktail. This is where you are going to get some seriously good Instagram selfies!
The location is perfect as it’s only around 100m from the harbour
> Top cuisine at Naty’s restaurant: If you like top dining in a casual atmosphere on the beach then Naty’s in Trawangan is perfect. Have your meals as you gaze out onto the ocean and perhaps even savour a sunset moment with a drink or two. Cuisine here is local fresh food as well as western dishes. There are also private almost bird cage like boots for those intimate moments.
You must try the Bamboo House on the beach: A bit more glitzy and a bit more pricier than other restaurants on Gili’s but the tune steaks and wagyu burgers make it worth every cent. Dine on lounge chairs on the beach and enjoy incredible ocean views.
4. Go snorkelling and enjoy gorgeous underwater tropical scenery
The waters off the north east tip of Trawangan are so clear and so pristine that you are going to feel like your in a fish tank. Marine life is everywhere and you may even spot the odd turtle swimming close by you. If however, you prefer to snorkel locally all the islands that make up the Gili’s have great marine life. So it’s just a matter of putting your book down and walking into the water for some spectacular underwater sea life – it’s like being on the ‘finding nemo’ movie set with that many fish around!
5. Walk on the sea bed
All you have to do is wait for the low tide; generally in the late afternoon and you can walk
out on the ocean sea bed and discover what’s underneath. There are heaps of interesting rock pools where you can see an array of sea creatures. Make sure you wear shoes or thongs as it can be sharp out there plus you do not want to step on nay sea urchins, starfish or bit of coral.
6. Hire a horse and walk along the ocean shore.
You can actually rent horses for a couple of hours and ride along the ocean shore. If you have never done this before it’s an amazing experience – perhaps once you get your confidence up a bit you can go for a gallop. This will et the heart pumping. Horse hire is available on Trawangan and all you have to do is keep an eye out for vendors.
7. Meet other back packers at the Gili Meno Eco Hostel.
For those travellers to Meno looking for cheap accommodation where you are bound to meet other like minded people then a couple of nights, even weeks at the Eco Resort is going to be heaps of fun. There is a restaurant as well as a bar so you can share a few drinks with the new friends you will make. If you like there are hammocks there to rent where you can sleep under the stars at night. It’s a chilled out place aimed mainly for backpackers and long term travellers looking for a bargain.
8. Learn to scuba dive for free!
If you have always wanted to learn to scuba dive but were not willing to commit to a 2 or even 3 day course, you can at the many dive schools have a quick 10 min free try in the pool to see if you like it. Scuba is one of the main reasons people come to the Gili’s so if you think that after 10 minutes your hooked, why not learn the sport and see some of the best dive spots in the world. Give it a go, you may end up liking it — after all you’ve got nothing to loose.
9 Go on a boat party on Trawangan
We all know that Gili Trawangan has a bit of a reputation as a party island, but did you know there are also boat cruise where you can drink and party hard? Check out the Youtube clip below and you will get the idea.
10 Have you ever tried subwings?
Now you can fly under water in super fast speeds with subwings. It is a new sport that’s taken off and is now available on the Gili Islands. It’s the same as snorkelling but you get to hold a subwing and fly through the water. A boat will pull you through the water and these wings allow you to dive down and control your depth.
11. Hit the Tir Na Nog Bar
If you are wondering what to do at night on Trawangan, one of the go to places is the Tir Na Nog Bar, especially Wednesday as this is when the place really kicks off. This is the big night and what it’s know best for. Loud music and lots of alcohol – this is where you will meet people! This place is also known as the Irish Pub so you get the idea of what to expect.