Gili Islands travel and tourist guide

Located fifty miles east of Bali are three relatively unspoilt paradise islands collectively known as the Gili Islands. All are fringed by glorious white sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and deep blue waters containing an astounding array of exotic marine life. Each of these tiny islands has developed its own distinct character and the most commercialised by far is the ‘party island’ of Gili Trawangan.

Gili Air is a relaxed place with a more authentic local flavour while the smallest of the three, Gili Meno, offers a true castaway experience. Here you will find very little in the way of entertainment but you can easily have a wide expanse of tropical beach all to yourself. Plus the Gilis are a genuine scuba diving Mecca with some of the most spectacular coral reefs in Southeast Asia.

Attractions

The Gili Islands cannot compete with Bali’s history as it has only been inhabited for around 30 years, but there are some interesting attractions to explore for those tired of the beach...more

Activities

Its world class dive sites have really put the Gili Islands on the map but there is also a wealth of other rewarding activities by the beach including watersports or horseback riding...more

Hotels

There is immense variety of accommodation on the Gili Islands for every budget. There is still a great choice of cheap home stays and simple beach bungalows perfect for backpackers...more

Restaurants

There is a good variety of dining options on the Gili Islands ranging from simple rice dishes to five star resorts with a range of international cuisine from top class chefs...more

Nightlife and bars

Although generally more sleepy than the major beach resorts of Bali, visitors to the Gili Islands still get the chance to let their hair down with some fun beach bars which serve cocktails...more

Diving

Scuba diving is a major draw to the Gili Islands and there and beautiful reefs in which to learn the basics or get some practice. Snorkelling trips are also incredibly popular here...more

Transportation

The Gilis are a car-free utopia refreshingly untainted by traffic noise and pollution. Getting around is always a leisurely exercise, be it on foot, by bicycle or horse drawn cart...more

Ferries in Bali

Guide to taking boats to the Gili Islands and other outlying islands around the Bali region of Indonesia including recommended companies, departure times and travel tips...more

Gili Islands guide - snorkelling and relaxing in pure paradise

The diving industry is big business here and there are dozens of offshore dive sites suitable for both beginners and seasoned pros. An alluring attraction of the waters around the Gilis is a huge population of adorable sea turtles which makes snorkeling here an irresistible attraction.

Each island also has a rash of classy beachfront hotels and a few plush private villas. It has also become a popular destination for discerning honeymooners.  Spend a day at the fabulous Bird Park of Gili Meno or its attractive salt water lake, visit one of the islands’ turtle conservation centres or explore dense rainforests and windswept deserted beaches in nearby North Lombok.

The Gili Islands are predominantly Muslim and the atmosphere is markedly different from Hindu Bali. They also portray a very positive image to visitors of simple island life. Beach hawkers and all motorised transport is banned here and the islands and all its surrounding coral reefs form a protected eco-trust.

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