Scattered just off the coast of Lombok, the Gili Islands rank among Bali’s most popular destinations, attracting visitors with coconut palms, white sand beaches, and turquoise waters. Each of the three Indonesian islands has its own unique personality: relaxed Gili Air, tranquil Gili Meno, and cosmopolitan Gili Trawangan.
Each of the Gili Islands has a different feel, and all three lack motor vehicle traffic and are easily navigable on foot or by bike. Visitors will find the widest selection of accommodations and amenities on Gili Trawangan, a distinctly local vibe on Gili Air, and blissful seclusion on Gili Meno. Thanks to the colorful coral formations and marine life surrounding the islands, many visitors come for the spectacular snorkeling and scuba diving, either on a day trip from Senggigi on Lombok or even an overnight trip from Ubud in Bali.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Gili Islands are a must-visit for beach bums and snorkelers.
- Don’t forget to pack swimming gear, as well as sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
- In respect for the local culture, refrain from sunbathing nude or topless.
- Wear long sleeves around sunrise and sunset to avoid mosquito bites, and bring along some insect repellent.
- Book your accommodations well ahead of time for travel during the high season (July to September).
How to Get There
The most popular way to get to the Gili Islands is by speedboat from Bali. Most boats drop passengers off on Gili Trawangan or Gili Air. Several fast boats from Lombok also service the islands.
When to Get There
Visit the islands during July and August for the best weather, through this time coincides with the busy tourist season. May and September are both fairly dry, yet not as crowded as the summer months. The sea between Bali, Lombok, and the Gilis can get choppy between January and February.
Scuba Diving in the Gili Islands
With warm water temperatures throughout the year and high visibility, the Gilis are one of the world’s best destinations for scuba diving, particularly for those who wish to spot sea turtles and manta rays. Strong underwater currents make drift diving the norm at the islands’ 18 or so dive spots.