Going to the Gilis was a confirmation that I wasn’t following my original plan at all. I ditched my flight back to Bali, I stayed in Lombok longer than expected, and I pulled out from all the plans that I was supposed to do the coming weekend in the jungles of Ubud. I was already in Lombok, I thought, so I might as well waltzed towards the north and see the islands myself.
WHAT ARE THE GILI ISLANDS?
The Gilis are a group of 3 tiny islands just off the northwest coast of Lombok in Indonesia – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. These islets offer a warm, tropical climate that is home to turtles and hundreds of colorful fishes swimming freely above the landscapes of corals just off the shore.
The islands are so small you can explore it on foot! There are no cars, no motorbikes, and no worries. It forces you to beat your best record in your fitbit for accumulating tens of thousands of steps. This suits me perfectly because I am a long-walks-on-the-beach-type-of-person! But if you are not a fan of walkathons, do not lose that smile because dear, bikes are available. And if you feel like it, there are horses too.
Gili Trawangan, or Gili T, is the largest among the three. If you’re up for parties (and some drugs) this is your place! I think most of the solo backpackers that I met during this trip were either going to Gili T or already have been to Gili T.
Gili Meno is probably the calmest. It offers a relaxing vibe which is perfect for the honeymoon. It is ideal for couples that want to be pulled away from what the hell is happening around.
Gili Air. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being laid back and 10 being party hard, then Gili Meno is 1 while Gili T is 10) Gili Air is 5.5! It’s definitely the fricking meat between two buns. Gili Air is a foolproof combo of leisure, stillness, and tranquil island life.
WHERE TO STAY IN GILI AIR?
I stayed for 2 wonderful nights with Tipsea Turtle Dive Resort because that was where Jerome made the booking. He’s good for weighing the reviews and ratings, comparing and contrasting every single hostel in hostel world so for the whole trip with him, I just went with the flow. Needless to say, find yourself a Jerome.
Tipsea Turtle was just 3 weeks fresh when we stayed there. It was homey and has good music taste! Love the pool and the diving deck. And the location was just a few steps away from the beachfront.
There I met Anastassiya and her boyfriend Ry who owns the place. And nothing’s like staying in a place where the owners are welcoming and accommodating.
15 THINGS TO DO IN GILI AIR
- Scuba Diving
- Vegan pizza on the beach
- Renting a bike
- Island hopping
- Getting a tattoo
- Eat local food with locals
- Movies on the beach
- Jogging around the island
- Join a beach clean up
- Cooking class with locals
These are the things that I think I SHOULD have done while I was on the island. With only 2 and a half days on Gili Air, Jerome and I only went island hopping, snorkeling, eating vegan pizza on the beach, and eating street foods with locals in the middle of the night.
SEA TURTLES IN THE GILIS
I never thought seeing sea turtles swimming under me as I was snorkeling will be extraordinary. I mean when you see them in Sea World, they’re alright, right? But it’s different when you see them in the wild – the moment was sensational and beyond words. And these turtles are big and gentle!
That only means snorkeling tours are 100% that you’ll see turtles. Of course, that is if you swim in the morning and in the high tide.
MORE LIKE GILI PAIR
While Gili Meno is hands down the island for couples on their honeymoon, I personally think Gili Air is waltzing as a runner-up to this title as everyone we met on our long walks was couples. I mean why not, right? That clearly tells love is in the air in Gili Air!
And everyone seems like speaking French by the way. Enchanté de te rencontrer.
Although the dusk made me miss the vibe while I was still in Kuta, staying in Gili Air was a breath of fresh air for someone like us who came from a backpacker type of party place. It catered us an unflappable time during our stay. One bottle of Bintang beer and a dip in the pool while listening to Stolen Dance satisfied me deeply.
Read the full story at My solo travel to Indonesia: Bali, Lombok and Nusa Penida
Which Gili islands you think you should stay on?