Gili Air is the first of the three Gili islands, North West of Lombok. All three islands are tiny, with walk-able circumferences. Gili Air in specific was around 1.5 hours walk along its beaches, with views ranging from open seas, to Lombok view, to Gili Meno view on the other side!
What is best about Gili Islands is that they keep their primitive ways of living. Mind you, it is not very primitive, as life on the island in general is less than one century old, but cars and motorbikes are banned, most housing options are simple (or posh) bamboo bungalows, and you can find fresh sea food caught the same day in all restaurants!
It is not as adventurous as I imagine it was 30 or 40 years ago, when its locals didn’t speak English, like most other Indonesians. The island is mainly surviving because of tourism, no other – main – means of income, but the beauty of Gili islands, and Gili Air in specific lies in its relaxing and serene mood!
A quick walk around the island, we decided we don’t want to stay on the main strip as it might be noisy when there are parties at night, we stayed on the North side of the island, a 20 minute walk from the main (Eastern) side of the island, in a very nice bungalow that is 20 meters from the sea shore and nothing in between!
150k Rupiah (+/- 15 USD per night, breakfast included, for two people – cheaper options are available on the island!)
When I moved to Gili Meno after New Year’s Eve, I couldn’t really get used to it just like Gili Air! It is quieter, which could be a plus for some, but unlike what is written online that Gili Air is the most overlooked in term of development, it is Gili Meno that is less developed, with fewer hotels, less people, no ATMs and no restaurants/bars opened after 9 pm.
Add to that that it was more expensive than Gili Air! Although the bungalow we got was more posh, but it was one of the cheapest options we found!
I haven’t been to Gili Trawangan, or as they call it in Lombok and the other Gilis, “Gili T.” Being the bigger brother of the three islands, it is the most crowded, and is known to be the party island. This reputation didn’t really push us to go to Gili T, given my bad experience with party islands before! So I will not have much to say about it except from the word of mouth of other travelers.
What makes Gili Air the most special, in my point of view, is that it is in between. Well, in position it is the first one to Lombok, but in size it is in between, which makes it not TINY and not HUGE; but walk-able. It is in between in development, it is not full of luxurious hotels like Gili T or totally empty like Gili Meno.
And the most important thing is that u can find whatever makes Gili T or Gili Meno special. If you are looking for the quietness and relaxation of Gili Meno, you’ll find it. And if you ever decide that today is a day that you want to drink and party, there is a party everyday somewhere on the island. You will not get bored!
I stayed in Gili Air 9 days, and then moved to Gili Meno for two days. If I have the same number of days again, I’d do the same again! Gili Meno, as boring as it is, is a must visit! With the lake, the amount of turtles swimming around you all the time! It is just unmissable! And next time I’ll make sure I get accommodation in one of these rooms:
I really liked their idea, and they were even cheaper than the one we got! But of course they were fully booked…
Have you ever been to Gili Islands? Which Gili was your favorite and why??