Asia, Destinations

Guide to the Gilli Islands

14th May 2018

Bali is already a popular holiday destination with tourists but whats trending these days are the Gilli islands! With picture-perfect beaches, water sports, partying and a whole lot of unpatrolled fun. The Gilis comprise of three islands: Gili Air, Gili Meno, and Gili Trawangan. If you want more of your Balinese vacation, Gilli offers the best respite. But these worth your time? Read further and find out. These islands are just off the coast of Lombok and can be reached by boats from Bali. Gilli Trawangan is touted as the Party Island with making it a hot spot for youngsters and backpackers, Gilli Meno is quiet and secluded with little or no Nightlife making it perfect for honeymooners, and Gilli Air is a mix of the two and notorious for being the magic mushroom haven.

We spent two days in Gilli T and here’s a quick guide to help you plan your visit too.

Getting There: Getting here frankly was a bit of a hassle, the boats don’t operate on time and if you’re here on a busy season they also very crowded. There are slow the slow boats and if you can afford helicopters rides with stunning island views. Try Gilli Cat or Blue Water express speedboats.

Accommodation: Gilli T has accommodation based on all budgets, expect high prices on peak season. We loved our stay in Mates Place Hostel  Buzzing with backpackers, the location was excellent, and the room was nice and clean, it’s great if you want to meet new people also a popular option is Le Boheme hostel.  If you’re looking to splurge on a beautiful property check out Kokomo Resort

Food: Finding good food in Gilli T is not a hassle, the street food stalls are a delight, and the nightly food markets have tons of options. Think lots of fresh fruit smoothies and fruits along the way. There are also decent restaurants and bars. Try the Persona Restaurant. If you want some hookah and Indian food, or Kaya Café for a vegan breakfast.

Shop: kind of, shopping can be expensive here. Your best bet is to shop in the ball itself. Also, bargaining is a must.

Getting Around: My fav thing about the Gillis is that they car-free which means less noise, pollution and lot of walking. We loved walking around and exploring the island by foot, and we also hired cycles for in the morning ( they cost you something around 35,000 IDR if you bargain well). You also have horse-drawn carriages here.

Gilli T Experiences that you must do. 

  • Gili Trawangan is home to the first diving school in the Lombok region. Here you can get your PADI Open Water or Advanced diver’s certification if that’s not your thing you could opt for a fun dive.
  • Enjoy the underwater beauty of the Gilis by Snorkelling; the snorkel sets are readily available in shops around the island.
  • The sunset swings have become extremely popular here in the islands but when something trends on social media that means long lines to get one single picture which isn’t our idea of fun, ditch the lines and go to these swings early morning. We cycled from our hostel in the morning and had a fabulous time with no tourists. Also, there are about 4-5 or more swings in the line but evenings are so crowded you’ll end up waiting for hours
  • The Jiggy Boat Party is an absolute must! The boat sails at 2 pm and then you get to party into the sunset for and spend about 5 hours dancing, drinking and relaxing in the boat. We loved the island views and jumping off the boat just before sunset too. Lots of shots and a great DJ do not miss the boat party. This was our one of our Bacherolette Trip highlights.
  • If this is your first time to Gilli, the best bet is to go to Gilli T and maybe explore Gilli Air and Meno from there. All in all, enjoy the cast-away kinda feeling in these picturesque islands and find new treasures.

Also, check out our first timers guide to Bali here.

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