You might already know about the amazing Gili Islands. They’re incredibly popular and tourists from every corner of the planet visit for that unique atmosphere. Overall, there are three tiny islands, and Gili Air is the best pick if you want a little bit of everything. First of all, it’s the closest one to Lombok, the big island, and you’ll get there in a jiffy.
Furthermore, it does a great job of mixing Gili T’s craziness and party vibes with Meno’s “grown-up” vibes. That makes it just the right choice for people who want the ultimate experience. The white-sand beaches look enchanting, and the busy nightlife will keep the fans of parties happy all-night-long.
At the same time, there’s enough space where you’ll feel like you’re totally alone on the island. For some, serenity is the most valuable thing on a trip, and Gili Air is ideal for that. Snorkeling, diving, swimming, and pretty much any other “water activity” is at your disposal. The beach on the east coast is the best spot for that.
The picturesque sandy lane covered in cute little bamboo bungalows and tiny-yet-beautiful restaurants will conquer both your heart and your soul. The food is cheap, and it tastes really good, especially the seafood (that’s because they catch the fish right on the island and it’s super-fresh). You’ll feel connected to the ocean like nowhere else!
What Gili Air Is All About
Ok, let’s take a virtual walk through the island and see what’s good. Now, even though tourism is the mightiest part of Gili Air’s economy, the locals are also great at selling coconuts, fishing and making the so-called fishing-boat wood that they use to build the authentic guesthouses.
The second you arrive on the island, you’ll be instantly amazed by the heavenly beaches, the clean, turquoise water, and the palm trees that look exactly like you’d imagine – tall, and majestic. It’s safe to say that Gili Air is like a huge pile of clichés stuck together, and they turn it into one of the best tourist spots not only in Indonesia but also the entire planet Earth.
The locals seem to always be in harmony with the island and lead a quiet, thankful, peaceful life. The nature around here looks exactly the same as many centuries ago, meaning humanity’s hands didn’t touch any part of it. Yes, it’s something like a hidden treasure, and that’s what tourists value the most. Air is the most “easterly” Gili island. You can find it off the northwest coast of Lombok.
Overall, there are 1,5K people living there, which makes it something of a small village. What could be better than sitting under a palm tree, eating a delicious meal and listening to the waves going up and down? Believe me, you’ll forget the rest of the world ever existed!
Getting To Know The Island Better
As a tropical island, Gili Air is always nice and warm. Don’t worry about grabbing your favorite sweaters or anything like that, because you simply won’t ever wear them. The average temperature hangs around the 28 degrees Celsius mark, while the water is also quite enjoyable with a temperature in the 26-29°C range.
The climate is generally dry, mostly thanks to the volcanoes that surround it from both sides. As for the seasons, the rainy season lasts from November till April, while the dry season usually falls in the May-October period. So, make sure you pick a date that suits you best. There’s nothing worse than wasting all that time and money on a bad trip J.
You’re probably always thinking about the language barrier when traveling to far-away destinations, right? Well, you’re not the only one! As you might already expect, the locals in Gili Air don’t really know English that well. In fact, they won’t even understand the simplest phrases.
Thankfully, folks that work at the hotels, restaurants, bars, and public places have at least a basic knowledge of English and will be helpful. And hey – body language has always been a huge part of our kind, which means you should use your fingers, hands, and maybe even feet to get yourself heard. Tour guides come handy in these types of situations, but honestly, you won’t even need them.
Behaving Yourself In Gili Air
Alright, here comes the part that might sound a bit weird to some of you. Even though the Indonesian folks look Asian, the majority of the population is Muslim. That means they’ve got their own set of traditions, customs, and rules, and it would be a good idea to follow them as a sign of respect.
First of all, try not to use your left hand to eat, shake someone’s hand, or even pick something up. Just remember to go with the right hand and you’ll be alright. Second, don’t point at things with your index finger like we’re all used to do in the Western Civilization. Around here, it’s rude to do that. For pointing, these folks use their right thumb. That’s crazy, right?!
Third, remember to always take your shoes off before entering a building in Gili Air. Yes, I mean every single building, including a shop, a house, a museum – doesn’t really matter. Again, because Islam is the major religion in this country, tourists must dress appropriately, without any provocative dresses or shirts.
As a general rule, don’t ever walk around the beach topless. Even if you’re a shredded dude, the locals won’t appreciate any of it. As for the ladies, forget about revealing bikinis or anything like that. Try to understand that what you’re used to back at home looks barbaric and vulgar in Indonesia, and Gili Air is not an exception.
The Best Spots On The Island
Accommodations-vise, this island is perfect. You’ve got all kinds of options that will fit every single budget. Simple bungalows or private villas – make your choice! Up north, most houses/hotels are located very close to the beach, which means you’ll hear the waves as you fall asleep. And when you wake up, the healing sun will take your breath away.
In fact, if you can, set the alarm clock to early in the morning so that you can see the sunset. It’s most definitely worth all the trouble, especially after you go through the pictures on your phone later.
The northern and central areas are super-private and will suit adult folks with families and/or romantic couples who want to be left alone. By the way, the best sunsets are also in the north. If taking it slow and savoring every single moment with your loved ones is what you’re looking for in Gili Air, the luxurious villas are at your disposal.
However, they are quite expensive. When it comes to having a good meal, this island has a lot to offer, including Mexican, Thai, Italian, and many other cuisines. The world-famous pizzas, burgers, and other fast-food stuff will also be available there. Looking for a massage? Gili Air got you covered.
How to Find Gili Air
Without a doubt, the best (and fastest) way to get to this island is by a fast boat. Currently, there are several companies in the area providing this kind of service, and it’s quite cheap. Public ferries are also an option, but they’re super-slow (yet cheaper). A private boat will cost you around 150K IDR, which is ~11 US dollars. In my opinion, fast boats are the best choice. First of all, they are affordable.
Second, you won’t have to wait for every single ticket to be sold before takeoff (that’s the case with the ferries). And third, they have that “private vibe” from the gangsta movies. Hop on one in Bali or Lombok and enjoy the ride. On a speedboat, you’ll get from Lombok to Gili Air in less than ten minutes. All three Gili islands are pretty tiny, and there are no motorized cars allowed on any of them.
So, what are your options? Well, you can walk, rent a horse cart, or ride a cool bike. The carts are super fun; plus, if your luggage is heavy, they’ll do a great job of delivering it to the hotel. As for the bikes, renting one will cost you about 5-7 dollars, depending on the season. Some resorts hand them over for free.
Gili Air is covered in sand, and I recommend picking a bike that comes with big wheels. To me, walking is the best option, as there’s nothing like feeling the sand with your bare feet and connecting to Mother Nature on a whole another level.