The Gili Islands are a small chain of islands located off the coast of Lombok Indonesia. While it’s technically not a part of Bali a lot of people do associate Gili Islands with Bali since it’s easy to travel to from there. Here you’ll find clear water, beautiful beaches and tropical vibes which keeps people coming back for more.
There are 3 main Gili Islands which include Gili Trawangan (commonly known as Gili T), Gili Meno, and Gili Air. I haven’t personally spent any time on Gili Meno so my island tips are mainly for the other 2 islands. Here is my list of the best things to do around the Gili Islands.
SWIM WITH TURTLES
One of the most popular things to do around Gili Island is to discover the underwater world. You’ll find so many beautiful species of fish and coral plus plenty of sea turtles. The turtles can be found just offshore at all 3 of the Gili Islands so you don’t need a tour to see them. For Gili Trawangan head to turtle point in front of Villa Almarik to see them just off shore. On Gili Meno you can spot the turtles between Good Heart Bungalows & the old Bounty Pier Wreck. And Gili Air you can spot the turtles in front of the Gili Air hotel.
DISCOVER THE UNDERWATER STATUES
One of the major attractions that people flock to the Gili Islands is to see the underwater statues. The statues, known as The Nest, were designed by an artist and placed in the ocean off the coast of Gili Meno to promote coral growth. Even though the statues are close to Gili Meno you don’t necessarily have to stay on that island to see them. There are a lot of tours from all Gili Islands to take you around to various locations including the statues. I chose to visit the statues without a tour. For the specifics on how I got there check out my recent post on Best Underwater Places In The Gili Islands.
WATCH A SUNSET
The sunsets at the Gili Islands are among some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. I consider myself a sunset connoisseur and the sunsets here are at the top of my list. There are some beautiful beach bars spread along the west coast of the islands that are in the perfect position to view the sunsets. One of my favourite places on Gili T to watch the sunset is from Ombak Sunset which has a couple of “Instagrammable” swings to get photos on. Gili Air also has a number of similar bars with lots to choose from. All the bars have beanbag chairs set out and happy hour specials on to relax and enjoy the beautiful views.
VISIT THE NIGHT MARKET
The night market on Gili T was my favourite place to have dinner at. There are lots of food stands set up by the locals with some delicious Indonesian cuisine. To find the best food look for the place with the longest line. The place I found (with the long line) had so many different food options set out that you can choose from. There were a lot of vegetarian options so if you have specific dietary needs you can find it here. And the best part is it is so cheap, yet so delicious. A large plate of food cost me approximately $2 AUD.
PARTY ON GILI T
Gili Trawangan is well known to be the party island so if you’re up for a fun night out the nightlife here is great. On Gili Air and Gili Meno everything closes down quite early so Gili T is the place to be. You can find various places to dance and drink the night way. The majority of the bars and clubs are near the night market on the south-east side of the island. You’ll see plenty of bars and nightclubs as you walk along the main road. Whether you’re looking for a nice relaxed bar on the beach, bars with beer games, or a fun night club there is something for everyone here.
BIKE AROUND THE ISLANDS
All of the Gili Islands are car free, however the main mode of “public transport” is via horse and carts. Unfortunately these horses are treated very poorly so I highly suggest getting around by bike to not support any animal cruelty. Not only is biking around the island better for the animals, but it’s a great way to explore everything the islands have to offer. All of the islands are pretty small so you can easily bike around the islands in less than an hour. A lot of hotels include bike rentals if you’re staying there, but if not you find easily find cheap bike rentals anywhere around the islands.
HEAD TO THE BEACHES
The Gili Islands have some of the most picturesque beaches you’ve ever seen. The water is crystal clear tropical water and the beaches have beautiful white sand. All along the beaches are plenty of beach bars spread out with beanbags to relax on. No matter which of the Gili Islands you’re staying on all the beaches are just as beautiful as the next.
SHOP MY GILI ISLAND ESSENTIALS
PIN THIS TO READ LATER