Dancing under the stars, sitting on deserted beaches, enjoying cold drinks and good company. Where can you find this perfect paradise? On the Gili Islands in Indonesia.
These islands stole my heart. This is a place where there are no cars, no motor cycles and most of the time no internet. They are breathtaking and have a pure paradise vibe. The island vibes, the beautiful water, the golden sand beaches, the tropical fish and coral during diving activities and the feeling that you enter paradise when you step off the boat and on the islands make them a very popular destination.
There are 3 Gili Islands and they are located between Bali en Lombok and are reachable from both islands by boat. The three islands have their own characteristics, which makes them an ever more special destination.
This is the biggest island and is more known for its parties and younger crowd. This island is the most developed and has all sorts of accommodation, restaurants, shops, internet cafés and diving schools. You will find most of these things on the east coast. But even though this is the most developed island, there are still no normal roads or even cars and motorcycles. The most common way to travel is by horse and carriage and bicycle.
During my stay at Gili Trawangan I stayed at the Gili Teak Resort. An absolute gorgeous place to stay, directly on the beach with a restaurant, swimming pool and you can rent a bicycle there. I didn’t like to stay in the busiest spot of the island because of all the partying and loud music, therefore this resort was perfect as it was on a quieter spot. Make sure not to miss the beautiful sunsets that you can see on Gili Trawangan.
What to do on this island?
Make sure to rent some snorkel gear and discover the deep and beautiful secrets of the ocean and to go to the Ombok Swings, where you can take magical pictures. Go to an open air cinema on the island and discover remoter bars away from the center of the island. Rent a bike and discover the island.
The smallest of the three islands, so if you are looking for a quiet place to stay this island is the right address for you. You can walk in 1 hour around the entire island. There are many snorkel and diving places where you can enjoy the beauty of colourful fish and coral and if you are lucky even sea turtles and sharks!
Last but absolutely not least and definitely my favourite island of the three. It is the perfect combination of party and peacefulness. There are many beautiful hotels, resorts and cafés but there are also very quiet and stunning places on the island where you are by yourself.
The first time I was there my boyfriend was with me and we stayed at the Satu Tiga Resort. Which was nice but maybe we were already too spoiled when we got here so it was not quite what we expected. The shower was a bit old and dirty and the room was nice but simple! The second time when I arrived at Gili Air, I just came back from the Rinjani Hike and I was in desperate need of some chill time. This time I stayed at the Begadang Backpackers Hostel and wow was I surprised. This hostel is absolutely amazing, clean, good showers, perfect location (50 meters from the beach) and has a mushroom-formed swimming pool. Maybe I was a bit biased as well, as they had two 5-week-old kittens when I was there (couldn’t stop cuddling them).
What to do on this island?
Grab some amazing coffee at Coffee&Thyme, get a delicious crepe at Scooperific Café & Gelato and get a very relaxed spa treatment at Spa Mulan Bulan. Go for a breathtaking snorkeling trip around all three islands. This trip can be started at any Gili Island and every snorkeling and diving company will offer this trip. There is a big chance that you will see sea turtles (I saw 4 on that trip). Rent a bike and discover the island and go to the Sapari Bar for some wonderful live music.
How do you get to the Gili Islands?
You can take the ferry from several locations to these islands. The more common ways are to take a fast boat from Padang Bai (1.5 hours for IDR450,000) and Amed (45 minutes for IDR250,000) but you can also take the cheaper local boats (IDR40,000). You are warned: if you take the local ferry it will take you around 4 or 5 hours to get to the islands.
Just make sure that you put these islands on your Travel Bucket List if you haven’t been here!