Beginners’ Guide to the Gili Islands

When visiting paradise, exploring and relaxing are undoubtedly at the top of many peoples’ agenda. Dotted in the ocean off the coast of Northwest Lombok, is a cluster of tiny palm lined islands that offer visitors the ultimate off-grid getaway.

Having managed to retain their pristine beaches and authenticity, despite the growing tourism numbers, the Gili Islands, with their natural appearance, breathtaking sunsets and restrictions on transport, have cemented themselves as three of the most beautiful paradise islands in the world.

Despite their proximity to each other, these islands are strongly contrasting, with each Island having something unique to offer; and luckily, with improved boat links between the islands, island hopping has never been so easy.

Gili Trawangan

Gili T, as it is affectionately know, is the largest of the three islands. Despite being known as the ‘party island’, with hidden villas among coconut groves, horse-drawn carts and bicycles for transport, unspoiled coral reefs and unobstructed views of the sunset over Mount Agung, tranquillity still prevails.

With an eclectic mix of travellers and divers, Gili T has seen the growth of bustling streets with an array of laid back restaurants, bars and markets along the shoreline as well as a vibrant nightlife. This is however, far from soulless gentrification, as the islands still retains its authenticity with much of the west side of the island remaining relatively quiet.

Gili Meno

Undisturbed, palm lined, white sand beaches and calm ocean waters set the scene for the smallest and arguably the most romantic of the three islands.

With no direct ferries, Gili Meno is the most private and secluded of the islands, with a small selection of luxury bungalows and restaurants along the water’s edge. Many are lured to the island for the total sense of escapism, the collection of flora and fauna found around the Salt Lake and incredible snorkelling.

Home to a turtle sanctuary, Gili Meno offers some of the best underwater activities, including snorkelling over BASK Nest where you can find an array of sea life, and at Turtle Point where snorkelers can often encounter groups of turtles.

Gili Air

Closest to Lombok lies Gili Air, the most traditional of the three islands offering an ideal blend of Gili T and Gili Meno as well as providing a true sense of local living, with many villages and farming communities still based there.

Thanks to its stunning beaches, multiple restaurants, bars and evening entertainment, Gili Air offers visitors a laid-back vibe with a sense of happening making it popular with travellers who want a balance of social and rustic atmosphere.

As with all three of the islands, the ban on motorised transport helps retain the tranquillity and authenticity of the island. What are you waiting for? Come and see for yourself.

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