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A Guide to The Gili Islands

The Gili Islands are the travellers paradise that you NEED to visit while you’re in Indonesia. A series of three very small islands off the coast of Lombok, the Gili’s boast white sand beaches, turquoise waters and lots of sunshine. While they all have these things in common they are each very different. Here is all you need to know about this trio of tropical island paradises.

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Getting There

You can get a fastboat from Bali which will cost around 300,000 IDR. You can get them cheaper I am sure but be wary of cheap boats as I have heard that they are not the most punctual and the safety of your belongings is not their priority (your bags can get dropped in the water when they’re unloading). You can get the boat from Sanur or Padang Bay and the journey will take around 2 hours. Most of the boats will take drop off at all three islands. Once on the islands it is very quick and cheap to get to the other Gili’s as they are so close.

Transport on The Islands

The unique thing about the Gili’s is that there are no motorised vehicles on the islands, just pedal bikes and horse and carriages. There are no ‘roads’ as such, just dirt tracks. You can hire bikes from just about anywhere and it will only cost you 40,000 IDR per day. I would really urge people not to take the horse and carriages unless it is absolutely necessary as the horses look very overworked and under nourished sadly.

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So which Island should you Visit?

Gili Trawangan- Ahh Gili T, this is the rowdy party island of the lot. There is always a party on in Gili T and I mean ALWAYS. If you’re looking to chill out this is maybe not the best place. However there are other things to do than just party; get your PADI at one of the many dive schools, snorkel, cycle round the island, go see baby turtles at the turtle conservation and just be a beach bum.

Gili Meno – This is the smallest and quietest of the islands. Situated in between Gili T and Gili Air, it is the epitomy of chilled out. There are not many bars on the island, and they all close early so no wild drinking till the sun comes up.

Gili Air – This is my favourite because it was the perfect mix of the islands, not too crazy and still chilled enough that you feel relaxed.

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Things to do on the Island’s

  • Snorkel day trips – you are guaranteed to see turtles!
  • Cycle round the islands- Gili T is the biggest and it only takes an hour to cycle round the full island
  • Go on a boat party
  • Get your PADI certificate
  • Take an Indonesian cooking class
  • Try stand up paddle boarding

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Things You Need to Know

  • There are cash machines on the islands so don’t worry about having to take loads of cash over from mainland
  • Make sure you have enough suncream before you go to the islands because it is ALOT more expensive on the Gili’s.
  • Something to note – Unlike Bali, the Gili’s are part of Lombok and are predominately Muslim, so you will hear the call to prayer 4 times a day.
  • Do not be alarmed if you hear whispers of ‘magic mushrooms’ on the streets in the night from locals. It is common and almost every street vendor and shop sells weed and mushrooms.
  • Be careful of cheap spirits and cocktails and bars! There has been cases of people being very ill and even losing their lives due to cheap locally made spirits that are infact ethanol! If it looks to be good to be true it probably is.

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Other blog posts to help you plan your Bali adventure;

How Much money to Budget for Bali

Top Things to do in Ubud, Bali

A Night in the Bubble Hotel, Bali

The best Cafes in Canggu, Bali

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