5 Essential Things To Do Gili Islands Bali
It is safe to say that the Gili Islands, Bali in the Bali Sea are a true slice of paradise. They are perfect for both relaxing and also more active experiences. The 3 small islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air, are very close to the island of Lombok. That means they are less than two hours by fast boat from Bali.
Gili Trawangan is the island that has the most tourist infrastructure, hotels, private villas, bungalows, cafes, terraces on the beach, restaurants, pubs, and diving companies. It is safe to say that you will not be bored! That being said, it’s not the best choice if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.
Gili Air, also known as ‘the backpackers paradise’ (though it has been growing at a fast pace in recent years) is a perfect option for those who want to enjoy more tranquility than Trawangan has on offer.
Gili Meno is the third island, and it is located between Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. It has the most beautiful beach areas, and is also the quietest of the three Gilis. This is usually the best choice for couples, families or those who are simply seeking tranquility.
How to get to the Gili Islands
The fastest and most comfortable way to go from Lombok to the Gili Islands, is by fast boat. Travelers who purchase their tickets online avoid the hassle of having to negotiate prices at the dock. Better yet, most of the fast boat services include transportation to your hotel – a pretty convenient perk.
1 – Watch The Gili Sunsets
Quite naturally, one of the most popular things to do in the Gili Islands Bali is watch the sunset. They are breathtakingly beautiful and watching them is completely free! You can approach one of the many terraces on the beachfront at sunset to have a drink while you wait to experience one of the best sunsets in the world.
Since there are plenty of restaurants and cafes on the beach that have hammocks, sun loungers, tables on the beach, and of course, some background music, the only issue you will have here is deciding which place to choose!
2 – Walk Around The Gilis On Foot
Although Gili Trawangan is the largest island out of all three, it is still only 3 kilometers long. It takes about 2 hours to stroll around the island. Gili Meno and Gili Air are a little smaller. You can casually walk around both of those in an hour and a half.
The best thing about walking around any of the Gilis is that it allows you to take in all the small details. The quiet spots at the beach, the less crowded restaurants, and the endless natural beauty all make a walk around these gems something you should definitely do.
No matter which island you choose to stay on, it’s quite useful to walk around the whole thing on the first day. Scope out all the places that you want to visit during the rest of your trip. It is important to note that during summertime the temperatures often exceed 30 degrees celsius. So, before you stroll, make sure you’re equipped with plenty of water and sunblock.
3 – Visit All Three Of Bali’s Gili Islands
If you’ve already put in the effort to visit one of the Gili Islands in Bali, why not check out the other two? Getting around the trio is easy! At the time of writing, local boats will take you for about 40,000 rupees – just under 3 US dollars! The short journey lasts about 20 minutes.
It is possible to journey to both of the islands on the same day, but there is a lot to experience on each. So, if you check out each one on separate days, you’ll be best situated to take it all in at a relaxed pace. Walk the circumference of the island, go for a drink, snorkel, have a delicious meal, and in the afternoon take the last boat back to your own island – usually around 6 p.m.
4 – Sleep On A Beachside Bungalow
One of the best things to do in the Gili Islands, Bali is to stay in one of the many thatched-roof bungalows. Most beachside accommodations have this cozy option on offer.
The most expensive bungalows are the ones that come with AC. However, given how hot it can get in the Gilis, you will likely fell this option is money well spent. Typically, the closer an accommodation is to the pier, the more expensive, loud and crowded it will be.
If you’re in search of some peace and tranquility, consider the accommodations that are farther away from the pier. While the Bintang Tiga Bungalows are not right on the beach, they are a 5 minute walk from the seaside. Also, they have a private pool, and are a great example of a nice quite and relaxing accommodation.
No matter where you choose to spend the night, it’s easy to enjoy a room with sea view and often semi-private beaches. You can even consider “hotel hopping” by spending one night at an accommodation before trying a different one. While most accommodations have in-house restaurants, if you do venture far away from the pier, you’ll have to take a short walk to enjoy the larger restaurants and stores.
5 – Snorkel or SCUBA Dive
All three Gili islands have access to crystal clear warm water and beautiful coral beds. It is one of the greatest “amenities” of the Gilis. It also makes the Gilis a fantastic place for snorkeling or SCUBA diving.
One of the most famous points to snorkel is Turtle Point in Gili Trawangan. You will not only see all kinds of colorful fish and lovely coral, but it’s quite common to see huge turtles in this area – hence the name. This spot can get quite crowded with other people however. So, if you prefer snorkeling/dive sites with less folks, ask your dive shop for their most current recommendation.
You can rent snorkel gear all around the island, and it costs around 45,000 rupees (around 3 US dollars) per day. Then, you can head out into the water on your own and have your own self-guided snorkeling experience. Alternatively, you can go on a guided snorkeling excursion. Typically, the excursion takes you around to the best areas of all three islands. It usually lasts 4 to 5 hours, and costs about 40 US dollars per person.
While there is plenty to see by snorkeling, if you’re keen to go a bit deeper, there are plenty of SCUBA diving shops on all three of the Gili Islands, Bali. Gili Air Divers is a long standing and reputable dive operation. They offer everything from basic certification courses to advanced dives.
6 – A Little Bonus…RELAX!
There are few things better for relaxing than sitting on the beach and enjoying a fresh fruit bowl for breakfast while a warm breeze blows over you. Later on, you can transition to a hammock and then casually dip in the water to cool off a bit. And of course, you can take in a stunning beach sunset while enjoying some cocktails and music in order to round out your relaxing day. If you really want to melt in to the Gili’s relaxing vibes, you can get a beachside massage.
There are so many great things to do around the Gili Islands, but if relaxation is your goal, you’ll have plenty of chances to mellow out. If your time on the Gili Islands, Bali has simply whet your appetite for all things Bali, consider traveling to Amed, Bali, another nearby spot for all the adventure or relaxation you’d like. And, if you’ve got a family in tow, check out this family friend off the beaten path Bali itinerary.
Last but certainly not least, if you can think of more things to add to this list of things to do on Gili Islands, Bali, mention it below in the comments!
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