What to Read Next

Gili Islands

8 August 2013
Gili Islands
Gili Islands

If you’ve been to Bali, the chances are you’ve heard of Lombok.  But just 15 minutes from Lombok lies another little slice of paradise, in the form of the three Gili Islands - Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan. Access is easy: take the Gili Cat ferries departing from Bali with a stop-over in Lombok for the fastest service.

On arrival, the first thing that hits you is the lack of motor vehicles. Transportation is via cycles provided by hotels and rental shops, or horse carts (cidomos), which serve as island taxis. The clichéd image of undisturbed white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue-green water suddenly comes to life.

The largest island is Trawangan, where most tourists stay due to the large variety of accommodation, food and activities. Meno is the smallest and quietest, for visitors who want privacy, and Air is a nice mix of the two. The distance between each island is about 15-20 minutes by boat, so none of the trio is ever too far away.

Walking just a few feet into the water at any of the beaches brings you to a mesmerizing variety of coral, fish and yes, even sea turtles—a dream for those who love snorkelling. Along the main shores are numerous snorkelling boat rentals that take you to all three Gilis and their surrounding areas. For a little more adventure, visit any one of the many dive shops such as Dream Divers and Blue Marlin Divers, all fantastic places to get Open-Water PADI, Advanced PADI and other diving certifications—both recreational and professional.

To get some R&R once you’ve seen the wildlife, take your pick of beach chairs lining the beach and join those who are tanning, enjoying a good book, playing beach volleyball or buying trinkets from the local vendors. You can even stop by a spa and enjoy a delightful Balinese massage at surprisingly reasonable prices. If you’re staying on Trawangan, cycle around the island and head up to the Sunset Paradise Bar to enjoy a spectacular sunset with an unobstructed view - while sipping on delicious fresh fruit cocktails. For visitors who have more time, hop on a ferry to Lombok and challenge yourself to an all day hike up Mt Rinjani.

Accommodation on the Gilis used to be focused on the budget-conscious traveller, with lots of guesthouses, villas and rooms across the main beaches, but increased tourism and investment has brought with it luxury boutique hotels such as Kelapa Lombok Villas on Trawangan, each of which has a private pool.  No matter where you stay though, the water will probably be saline, as fresh water though daily imported to the island, is an extremely precious commodity.

And then, of course, there is the delicious food. After a few meals on the Gilis, your palate will be saturated by mouth-watering, fresh sea food that you can pick yourself from the fresh catch of the day. Trawangan boasts cuisines such as Indian, Mexican and Middle Eastern, and many restaurants have outdoor cinemas, for some al fresco big-screen action.

WHERE TO STAY Luce d’Alma Resort and Spa This resort has 16 large rooms with views of the pool or the beach. Luce d’Alma Resort & Spa, Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia (lucedalmaresort.com)

Villa Nautilus Located on Gili Meno, the smallest of the three Gili Islands, this resort features several villas adjacent to the Blue Marlin Dive, a popular diving location. Gili Meno, Lombok, Gili Meno, Indonesia (www.villanautilus.com

WHERE TO EAT Sunset Paradise Bar Right on the beach with a reef that stretches out 150 meters, Sunset Paradise Bar is the only bar/restaurant on the island where you can see the sun hit the horizon. Sunset Paradise Bar, Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia

Blue Marlin Cafe This cafe serves international cuisine during the day and some of the best grilled sea fish on the island by night. Try the salads or grilled trevally in garlic. Blue Marlin Cafe, Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia (www.bluemarlindive.com)

You may also like

7 MUST VISIT ISLANDS IN THAILAND

FLYING DURING THE MONSOONS -  WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW 

THE 5 BEST BEACHES OF KERELA

Abha Shah

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

This Movie Deal Is Sure To Get Your Attention!

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Exclusive Titles, Merchandise, Offers & Discounts. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

How To Make Sagging Skin Look Tight and Lifted

[Watch] The easy and effective way consumers across the country are improving the look of their wrinkled and sagging skin without cosmetic procedures.

Looking To Buy New Car Tires?

Confidently buy Goodyear® tires online with help from the experts! We'll help you find and compare tires based on your vehicle or tire size.

Switch and save!

Switch to Progressive and you could save an average of $548.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Looking to date someone over 50

Browse profiles and pics for free!

How to Choose the Best Student Loans

The fun of summer vacation is often dampened by thoughts of student loan debts. See which loan is the best for you.

9 Cards for People Who Have Great Credit

What card offers up to 5% cash back? And which one offers 24/7 concierge service? See the best credit cards of 2016. Apply online, quickly & easily.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

How to Create a Social Support Strategy

Meet your customers where they are. Read this e-book from Desk.com to learn six things to consider as you plan your social support strategy.