During the day pretty much all the action takes place on or below the waves. Prized as an unspoilt paradise surrounded by pristine coral reefs, the Gilis offer world class diving as good as anywhere in Southeast Asia. Marine life is abundant and snorkelling is just as enticing.
Waterskiing, wakeboarding and sea kayaking are just some of the thrilling water sports available and there are decent surf breaks off Gili Air and Gili Trawangan.
On dry land exploring on horseback is the most popular activity.
Scuba diving on the Gili Islands
The Gili Islands are a wonderful underwater experience for all levels from seasoned pro to first time novice and the range of underwater terrain is truly spectacular no matter what your level of proficiency.
Experience vertigo inducing drop offs, slopes, canyons and colourful plateaus populated by manta rays, reef sharks and moray eels. Seasonal highlights include the occasional whale shark, mola mola sunfish and vast schools of exotic bump head parrotfish. The Gilis are possibly the best place to learn how to dive in Indonesia and there is over a dozen professional dive schools including PADI accredited five star dive resorts.
Horse riding in the Gili Islands
A fun and relaxing way to traverse the island of Gili Trawangan is by horseback. Stud Horse Riding Stables (Sunset Point, far south of Gili Trawangan, Tel: +62 813 32 5632) offers well groomed horses and experienced riding guides. The terrain is flat and undemanding and can also include a romantic canter through the surf for experienced riders. Horseback treks can be booked through most bungalows or tour agents on the island. Prices start at rp250,000 for 30 minutes.
Snorkelling by glass bottom boat
The most popular non-diving activity on the Gili islands is a full day three island snorkeling cruise by glass bottom boat. It departs daily from each individual harbour and drops anchor at half a dozen reefs chosen for their rich marine diversity and fish life.
The highlight is at Meno Wall, a steep drop off that is literally teeming with sea turtles and regular sightings of reef sharks. It leaves daily at 10:00 returning at around 15:00. The price is rp75,000 which includes snorkel hire and it can be booked at most bungalows and beachfront kiosks throughout the islands.
Water sports in the Gili Islands
There are a handful of professional water sports operators mainly concentrated on Gili Trawangan. They offer plenty of adventurous fun on the waves with windsurfing, water skiing, wakeboarding and sea kayaking. Ferrari Fun (website:www.thegiliislands.com) provide tuition and equipment hire for waterskiing and wakeboarding at a cost of rp200,000 per 20 minute session.
A more leisurely time can be had through Karma Kayak (website: www.karmakayak.com) who organise personal guided sea kayak trips around the three islands with lunch included for around rp260,000.