the Best Gili Island for Your Vacation


Table of Contents

Hey there, adventure seekers! 🌴 Ever heard of the Gili Islands? No? Well, you’re in for a treat! Nestled just off the northwest coast of Lombok, these three gili islands are a slice of paradise. Picture this: white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and more sea turtles than you can count! 🐢

Now, picking the right island might seem like a big deal, but don’t sweat it! Whether you’re into partying on Gili Trawangan, chilling out on Gili Meno, or somewhere in-between on Gili Air, there’s something for everyone. This travel guide aims to help you make that oh-so-important choice. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the Gili wonders!

A Glimpse of the Gili Islands

Okay, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. The Gili Islands aren’t actually part of Bali—they’re closer to Lombok. Confusing, right? But thanks to their proximity to Bali, these islands have become a popular day trip destination. You’re probably wondering what makes each island unique, so here goes:

  • Gili Trawangan: Known as the party island, ‘Trawangan’ is your go-to for nightlife, diving sites, and social scenes. 🎉
  • Gili Meno: Ahh, the honeymoon paradise. Picture yourself and your loved one walking along beautiful beaches, surrounded by sculptures of life-sized human figures by the British artist Jason deCaires Taylor. 🥰
  • Gili Air: This balanced paradise offers a blend of Meno’s calm and Trawangan’s excitement. Perfect for digital nomads or those wanting a laid-back yet vibrant atmosphere. 🧘‍♀️

How to Get to the Gili Islands from Bali and Lombok

Alright, pals, time to talk logistics! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you’re not a fan of sea travel, brace yourself—ferries are the only game in town for reaching the Gilis. But hey, it’s not all choppy waters and sea sickness; you’ve got options to choose from!

From Lombok 🌴

Public Boat: Coming from Lombok? The local port of Bangsal is your starting point. These public boats cost peanuts, seriously, less than $1! However, they run only twice a day: 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. A heads-up though, these boats fill up like a college bar on a Friday night, so it’s wise to get there early. The ride lasts about two hours.

Speedboats: In a hurry? Private companies also offer speedboat services that zip you over to the islands in just 20 minutes. You can catch these from different ports like Teluk Kode and Senggigi, and it should set you back around 125k IDR ($9). Time saved, tan gained! ☀️

From Bali 🌺

  1. Padang Bai (Bali) to Lembar (Lombok): Grab a ferry to the port of Lembar in Lombok.
  2. Lembar to Bangsal: Make your way to Bangsal port. Warning: Lembar and Bangsal are like distant cousins—they’re related but not super close.
  3. Bangsal to Gili: Finally, take a public boat to reach the Gili Islands.

This whole process can be a day-long affair, so pack some snacks! 🍎

Speedboats Directly from Bali: These are the rockstars of sea travel, getting you to the Gili Islands in roughly 2 hours. Booking in advance might get you a deal as sweet as 280k IDR ($20).

Civitatis Ferries: If you’re looking for the VIP treatment, Civitatis offers a door-to-port service. They pick you up from your hotel in Bali and drop you at your chosen Gili Island. The cost is a bit more, but hey, convenience is king, right?

Whichever path you choose, one thing is for sure: paradise awaits you at the other end! 🏝

A Trio of Paradise 🌴

So, you’re planning a trip to the Gili Islands and can’t decide which island is your speed? No worries! Here’s a handy guide on what each island has to offer, what activities you can dive into, and even some pros and cons to help you choose the perfect slice of paradise. Let’s get started! 🏝️

Gili Trawangan: The Party Island 🎉


Gili Trawangan, or Gili T as the cool kids call it, is the life of the party! It’s the biggest of the three islands and a hub for backpackers and fun-seekers. Imagine a mix of beach parties, live music, and bonfires by the ocean. And the best part? No motorized vehicles to kill your vibe!


  • Diving: Dive right in, the underwater world is superb!
  • Nightlife: Don’t miss a night at The Exile; it’s THE place for sunsets, live music, and fire dances.
  • Snorkeling: Say ‘Hi’ to old turtle Bobi and explore the Mango reef to Shallow Turbo area. 🐢
  • Cycling: For about 20 minutes, explore the island on two wheels! 🚴

Pros and Cons


  • Thriving nightlife
  • Awesome for snorkeling and diving
  • Good options for food and drinks
  • Great for young travelers and backpackers


  • Not ideal for families or honeymooners
  • Internet can be sketchy, so check your Wi-Fi speed before settling in.

Gili Meno: The Romantic Getaway 💕


Gili Meno is the “quiet one” in the family. If you want to escape reality and walk hand-in-hand with your loved one on empty beaches, this is your place.


  • Snorkeling: Dive in to explore Meno Statue, an artificial reef that’s both artistic and alive!
  • Romantic walks: Walk all around the island; it’ll only take you an hour.
  • Turtle Watching: Yep, it’s a thing. There’s even a small turtle sanctuary! 🐢

Pros and Cons


  • Extremely peaceful
  • Beautiful, untouched seabeds
  • Ideal for couples and honeymooners


  • Limited dining and entertainment options
  • More expensive accommodations

Gili Air: The Balanced Paradise 🧘‍♀️


Gili Air is the middle child that offers a bit of everything. Not too quiet, not too loud. Perfect for families, couples, and solo travelers alike. And you can walk across it in just 25 minutes!


  • Yoga: Align your chakras by the sea 🧘‍♀️
  • Cycling: It’s only $2 a day to rent a bike. Go ahead, get lost on purpose!
  • Local Cooking Class: Sharpen your Indonesian cooking skills.
  • Sunset Watching: At Gili Lumbung bar, soak up the sunset while sipping on a cocktail. 🍹

Pros and Cons


  • A balanced mix of relaxation and activity
  • Plenty of dining options like Mowie’s restaurant and Juju Zero Waste Cafe for the vegans!
  • Good Wi-Fi spots like Jago Gili Air for digital nomads.


  • Beach cleanliness can be an issue.
  • It’s a bit touristy but not too crowded.

A Must-Do Experience: Snorkeling & Island-Hopping 🐠

So, you’re in Bali and eyeing those dreamy Gili Islands for your next adventure, huh? Trust me, the hype is real! If you’re running short on time, opting for a pre-planned three-day tour can be a real lifesaver. These tours are a package deal, guys! we are talking about hotel pick-up in Bali, a speedy boat ride, and a cozy stay at Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. And let’s not forget the cherry on top: a snorkeling tour that’ll take you to the finest spots across all three Gili Islands! 🌊 Now, for the adventurers who prefer the DIY route, don’t worry. As soon as your ferry docks, head to one of the many local tourist agencies near the port and tailor your Gili extravaganza! And do I even need to say it? Snorkeling is THE activity to do; we paid just 160k IDR ($12) after some friendly haggling.

Dive into a surreal underwater world at Gili Meno, thanks to the artistic vision of Jason DeCaires Taylor! His project called ‘Nest’ has turned the ocean floor into a gallery of underwater statues. Not only do these statues offer a feast for the eyes, but they also serve a dual purpose. They act as an artificial reef, encouraging coral growth and attracting an array of marine life. 🐠📸 So, you get to enjoy an eco-friendly art installation while giving back to the local community, as these unique dive spots generate jobs for the islanders. It’s a win-win! Need a place to stay? Gili Meno offers a variety of cozy accommodations. 🏨✨

Diving and snorkeling spots
Underwater Statues of Gili Meno

Accommodation Sorted: From Budget to Boujee 🏨

Choosing where to catch those Z’s in the Gili Islands can be quite the task; there’s something for everyone! Over in Gili Trawangan, the East side is the go-to for party animals and budget travelers. But if you’re after some peace and quiet, perhaps for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, the West area is where you’ll find luxury oozing from every corner. Recommendations? Sure thing! For a ritzy experience, check out Gili Treehouses. On a budget? Havana Hideaway is your spot. Now, if you’re headed to Gili Meno for some serious ‘me-time,’ places like Karma Reef and Adeng-Adeng Bungalows make you feel like you own a slice of paradise. 🌴 And let’s not forget Gili Air; Musa Villas and Old Village Gili Air come highly recommended!

Comparing the Islands: Which One is for You? 🏝️

Okay, let’s get real. The Gili Islands are like a box of assorted chocolates—you gotta pick the one that tickles your taste buds the most! 🍫 Here’s a quick rundown:

Summary Table

Gili TrawanganSnorkeling, PartyingEnergeticFrom Budget to Luxury
Gili MenoRelaxing, Watching sunsetsChill, QuietMid-range to Luxury
Gili AirDiving, YogaLaid-backBudget to Premium

Personal Recommendations 🌟

  • For the Party Animals: No contest, head to Gili Trawangan. The East side is your playground!
  • For the Nature Lovers: Bird sanctuaries await you on Gili Meno. It’s also the least developed, making it perfect for eco-travelers.
  • For the Balanced Souls: Want a bit of everything? Gili Air is your spot. You can dive in the morning and meditate by the evening.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it safe to visit the Gili Islands?
A: Absolutely! Just use common sense and maybe opt for some travel insurance for peace of mind.

Q: Are there ATMs on the islands?
A: Yup, each island has ATMs, so feel free to swipe those cards!

Q: What about medical facilities?
A: Basic medical clinics are there, but for major stuff, you’d have to be transferred to Lombok.

Q: Is it easy to hop between the islands?
A: You bet! Just grab a public boat and you’re there in a jiffy.

Final Thoughts 🌅

Alrighty, so that’s the Gili Islands for you—a paradise that’s flexible enough to fit whatever holiday style you’re vibing with. You can party till dawn, become one with nature, or even enjoy a mix of both. From snorkeling among colorful fish to finding your inner peace through yoga, the options are endless. 🌈

So, what’s stopping you? Your ideal vacation is just a boat ride away from Bali! 🛥️ Grab your flip-flops, pack that sunscreen, and go carve out your own slice of Gili heaven. You won’t regret it, promise! ✨

Welcome to Nomadstwogo
A blog for digital nomad travelers. We're Roza and Yarden, an Israeli couple who chase our dreams and live all around the world while working online!
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