Gili Islands are three little islands close to Lombok in Indonesia. Thinking which Gili Island to choose you must like beach life or water activities. But who doesn’t like little paradise islands? They are “same same but different” and I will describe each of them to help you choosing the one for you. If you are wandering how to get to Gili Islands, scroll down to the end of the article.
Which Gili Island should I choose?
There is no answer to the question: which Gili Island is the best? Gilis were place to spoil myself, relax on the beach or near swimming pool and basically get the islands chill vibe. On all of them motor vehicles are not allowed, which makes you drop you hear down even more. No rush, pace slows down as you are waking up later every day.
Gili Islands are tiny, you can go around with the bicycle or even cycle the whole islands. Common activities for all of them are snorkeling or diving. You can rent the gear or organised trip on every corner so no worries with planning that. There are quite big differences in between them though, helping you define which Gili Island is for you.
Gili Trawangan – party island
Gili T. or Gili Trawangan is the most popular island from all three Gilis. It’s also the most vivid and famous for its night life. The evening means going to the party at the beach club. Does it mean that you will hear noise all the time? Definitely, not. But it really depends what you like and where you want to stay.
First, I stayed on the more crowded part, near the port. The main street, next to the beach is full of life all the time, but once you step inside, into the smaller streets, it becomes quiet. I stayed in a very cool hostel, typical for Westerners, with party vibe and bar, called Broken Compass. During the day lots of people were hanging out in the common area or next to the swimming pool. At 10 o’clock every evening, the bar was shut and people which wanted to party were going to party and those who wanted to sleep were going to bed. It wasn’t noisy at all at night and just in 10 min walk I could be in the party zone when I felt like. Pretty convenient, right?
Later, I decided to stay on the other side of Gili T. which is famous for romantic sunsets. I chose a bit of a luxury in Aston Sunset Resort, which was all I wanted. Sunsets there were just wonderful. When I was sitting on the beach with a drink, I wanted the time to stop. Days I was spending near the sea, around swimming pool, or I could go everywhere with the resort’s bicycles. That side is much more peaceful, but you can find crowded bars in the evening as well.
Gili Meno – honey moon
Gili Meno is the most empty from all three Gilis. It’s popular for couples as they can have stunning beach just for themselves. However, if you simply like silence, where you want to write you diary and be in peace with yourself, that’s also for you. Yoga on the beach, meditation and getting tan where nobody sees you, are great advantages of Gili Meno.
Gili Air – balanced
This Gili is like a balance between party Gili Trawangan and quiet Gili Meno. Gili Air is peaceful, but you can find busy streets and plenty of things to do as well. I loved roaming around with the bicycle and look for new yummy spots to have a meal. I was staying in a magical villa, which was very comfortable so I didn’t even want to go out of there. Swimming pool in the garden, adorable private room and outside shower, which just stole my heart! They had this cozy atmosphere over there, common kitchen where I could really feel like home.
How to get to the Gili Islands?
You can get to the Gili Islands only by boat. The easiest way is to take the fast boat from Padang Bai in Bali. However, it’s quite pricy so if you are a budget traveler you can take a slow ferry to Lombok. The difference between the fast boat and slow boat is significant, from the time to the price range. Fast one takes 1,5 hours directly to Gilis and costs from 200-600k and slow one takes 6 hours to Lombok and costs around 50k. Slower way will take you the whole day as you need to take a bus to Bangsal. Be sure to arrive at the harbour before the last ferry leaves Lombok – 4.30pm.
Traveling from one Gili to another is very easy. There are frequent ferries doing the island hoping and the distance from one island to another is around 15 min. I was checking on local site, where you will find all the info about schedule and price.
How long you should stay on the Gili Islands?
Some people come for 3 days and stay on these paradise islands forever, so be aware. I would recommend staying there for one week to have enough time to relax on the beach, snorkel and get lazy.
I hope I helped you decide, which Gili Island to choose and you will have a wonderful time there. If you are visiting Bali, please read about their incredible culture, you will understand a bit about their tradition and rituals. Check out also articles about my favorite place in Bali – Jatiluwih Rice Terraces. While visiting Lombok you may want to do Rinjani trekking and relax on the beach of the south coast of the island.