Top 10 Things To Do on the Gili Islands – Trawangan, Meno, Air

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The stunning Gili Islands are a group of islands located off the coast of Lombok. They are perfect for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Bali. The Gili Islands consist of three main islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. Each has a different atmosphere and range of activities depending on your preferences.

It would be best if you remembered that whichever island you choose, you will not find a lot of tourist attractions like temples, museums, or monuments to visit. The whole point of coming to the Gili Islands is to enjoy a slice of island living. While you may still find some interesting activities here, you should also be aware that this is one of Indonesia’s most laid-back holiday destinations.

Here are our recommendations for the top 10 things to do on the Gili Islands.

Go diving

The Gili Islands have some of the best dive spots in the country, as the conditions here are clear and calm. Most people choose to dive off the coast from Gili Trawangan as this island has the best variety of dive shops and diving packages. Although not one of the top sites to dive in Indonesia, Gili Islands still offer quite a diving experience with some (harmless) sharks, rays, turtles, and more.

Visit a turtle hatchery

Talking of turtles, Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno serve as turtle hatcheries, where you can get up close with some of these cute creatures. The hatchery protects the baby turtles and takes care of them till they are old enough to be re-released into the wild. You can visit here safely, knowing you are supporting a good cause. You may also give some donations at Gili Meno for hands-on experience releasing the turtles back into the sea.

Cycle around the islands

One of the best activities around here is cycling, as there are no cars on any of the islands. Cycling is also one of the most enjoyable ways to explore the land. You can easily rent a bicycle here on any of the three islands and circumvent them in just a few hours.

Enjoy the viewpoint from Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan is known for its highest point, aptly named ‘The Viewpoint’. It takes around half an hour to walk there from the island’s central hub, but it is well worth it for the views over the sea and towards the other islands in this part of Indonesia, like Lombok and Bali.

Go snorkeling

Gili Trawangan has a monopoly on dive centers, but if you stay on Gili Air or Gili Meno, you can still enjoy the gorgeous azure seas. The best way to do this is to go snorkeling, which will allow you to spot turtles, colorful fish, and maybe even a baby shark for far less than the price of a diving excursion from Gili Trawangan.

Take a boat tour

A boat tour can be arranged no matter which island you are on, and it can be a great way to check out the other Gili Islands without staying overnight. Many operators on the islands offer boat trips, and they range from a simple trip between the islands to a luxurious glass-bottom boat tour of the surrounding seas. If you charter a boat to island hop, it can cost around IDR 300,000, depending on your haggling skills. But if you want to check out the other islands more cheaply, you can get the local ferry for IDR 30,000.

Eat some seafood

As the Gili Islands are surrounded by sea, you can probably guess that the staple food here is seafood and fish. The local restaurants here will display the day’s catch on the pavement every night. There are no better ways to enjoy the fresh seafood than having them simply grilled over coconut husks and served with steamed rice.

Visit the local night market

The local night market is located at Gili Trawangan, which is not to be missed if you stay on this island. Every evening a night market will be set up in the main square at around dusk. This is also one of the island’s best places to grab dinner. Local stalls sell traditional bites like grilled satay and spicy corn on the cob. You can also go for simple fried noodles or rice dishes. The food here is typically less expensive than the restaurants or cafes on the island, but it is equally, if not more, delicious.

Dance parties or live bands on Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan is known for being the ‘party island,’ but don’t expect this to be anything like the nightlife scene in Kuta in Bali. Still, you will find a range of beach bars that play music well into the night. Some venues even have special-themed nights and dance parties. If you prefer a relaxing evening, head to Evolution Bar for live band music.

Go to an open-air cinema

This may not sound like an activity you thought you would do on a paradise island like Gili Islands, but it is an experience. Across the different islands, there are a few places that offer open-air movie nights, where you can sit on bean bags and enjoy a movie on a big screen under the stars. The most famous open-air cinema takes place on the main beach of Gili Trawangan. But many other guesthouses and hotels on Gili T and the other islands have noted how popular this is and have set up their open-air cinemas too.

Bonus – Gili’s famous swing on the sea

Find the famous swing on the sea and get a beautiful picture with the romantic sunset as a backdrop. This swing can be found west of Gili Trawangan at Ombak Sunset resort hotel *.

A trip to the Gili Islands can highlight a visit to Indonesia for many travelers as it is covered with beautiful sights. They are also a nature lover’s dream, thanks to their turquoise waters and white sands. Part of the island’s charm is that they retain a relaxed feel and a slower pace of life. Therefore one of the best things to do here when you visit is to slow down and appreciate the chance to relax and unwind in one of the most beautiful spots in Southeast Asia.

Best Accommodations on Gili Islands

Gili Trawangan

Most good hotels to stay are on Gili Trawangan * as it is also the largest and the most popular. Here are few of the best ones:

Gili Meno

For somewhere quieter yet not too quiet, Gili Meno is where you want to stay *. It is a mix of the vibrant Gili Trawangan and the serene Gili Air.

Gili Air

If you are looking for more of a local bungalow style and homestay kind, then stay at Gili Air * where you can find the ultimate peace and quietness of village life.

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