The Gili Islands are a small archipelago of three small islands located to the northeast of Lombok, Indonesia – and to the east of Bali. The islands went virtually undiscovered until the mid 1980s, when backpackers descended on the tiny atolls in search of a private paradise for holding impromptu parties.
Over the past three decades or so, The Gili Islands have become a popular, but exclusive vacation destination, due to its pristine surroundings, untouched forests and beaches.
Visiting the Gili Islands can be a little tricky – especially if you don’t know how to get there, where to go or what to do. Don’t sweat it! This handy travel guide to the Gili Islands will clue you in on all those things and more! Read on.
When To Go
The temperatures in the Gili Islands remain pretty steady throughout the year – with highs in the mid 30s (celcius) and lows in the mid 20s (celcius). However, the months of June-August tend to have milder temperatures. The Gili Islands does have a rainy season that runs from January through March where you can expect some rain every day – even if not a total washout. There is always plenty of sunshine to soak up in the Gili Islands, regardless of when you visit.
There’s only one way to get to the Gili Islands and that is by boat. First, you have to fly to either Bali or Lombok (Hint: Lombok is closer to the islands.) From there, you can choose a speed boat charter or public ferry to your island of choice. Travel times vary, but one of the speed boats can get you to any of the islands from Lombok Harbor in about 15minutes.
Motorized vehicles of any sort are not allowed on any of the Gili Islands so you will have to rent a bicycle or rent a “horse taxi” to get you around the island. However, it only takes about two hours to walk the perimeter of two of the three Gili Islands so you might just want to see the sights on foot instead.
Where To Stay
Each of the islands is a resort unto itself and, despite their small size, all of them have fabulous resort properties with all the amenities you would expect. The Seri Resort on Gili Meno has a stunning infinity pool and features dinner on the sand for the perfect romantic evening It’s a very popular place for locals and tourists alike. The Grand Sunset Resort on Gili Air is popular with the younger crowd and also features a gorgeous infinity pool overlooking the ocean. It’s a laid back place with a party atmosphere, ping pong tables and bean bag chairs on the beach. Gili Trawangan is where the family oriented touristy resorts are and is the most densely (still less than 1,000 people) populated of all the islands. You can find lots of eateries and shops there as well as small, private villas for rent.
What To Do
The Gili Islands are the perfect place to do anything – or nothing at all. However, snorkeling seems to be the most popular activity, due to the more than 20 stunning diving sites scattered around the islands that feature all kinds of sea life and beautiful reefs. As we mentioned before, you can walk the perimeter of each island within two hours and it’s a great way to explore. Once you get away from the resortsy areas, there are actually a lot of locals who live in the Gili Islands and have a very interesting culture.
Where To Eat
Despite their remote location, the Gili Islands have a wide range of menu options to suit just about any preference. You will find restaurants and eateries scattered about the tourist area. Of course, you will find traditional Indonesian food, but you will also find American and Italian fare as well.