Okay, so I've a confession to make. On three separate journeys to Indonesia, I've by no means actually fallen in love with the island of Bali. I've at all times felt that Bali’s seashores have been a bit of underwhelming, the seaside golf equipment have been a bit pretentious, and the site visitors was whole gridlock.
That being mentioned, I believe Bali offered an incredible jumping-off level for among the coolest Indonesian adventures like exploring japanese Java, climbing to epic seashores on Nusa Penida, climbing Mt Rinjani on Lombok, and chilling out on the Gili Islands!
With no motorized site visitors, cheap lodging, gorgeous sunsets, idyllic seashores, and a significantly laid-back vibe, it’s not possible to not fall in love with Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. Listed here are our 9 favourite methods to take pleasure in these three Indonesian island paradises!
Attending to the Gili Islands
The Gili Islands are situated simply off the coast of the Indonesian island of Lombok (and visiting them is among the greatest issues to do on Lombok). Nonetheless, many individuals select to go to the Gilis from Bali and there are quite a few corporations that run quick ferries between Bali and the Gili Islands. The three most established ferry corporations that additionally boast one of the best reputations are Eka Jaya Quick Boat, Blue Water Specific, and Scoot Quick Cruises.
From Bali, most boats depart from Padang Bai Pier in northeast Bali (about 1 hour from Ubud or 2 hours from Kuta/Seminyak/Canggu). Many quick ferry corporations present a switch bus service as a part of the ticket worth, however the high quality of the bus can range considerably from firm to firm.
It's also possible to discover a handful of quick ferries that depart from Sanur or Nusa Lembongan. These price a bit extra however might prevent a while. The best approach to test schedules and ticket costs for all of the quick ferries is on Bookaway.com.
Verify Quick Ferry Schedule & Ticket Costs
Getting across the Gili Islands
The one motorized autos on the Gili Islands are used for development or public companies, equivalent to hauling trash. The shortage of motorized site visitors is among the issues that makes the Gili Islands so quaint and interesting. You’ll encounter the occasional electrical scooter, however nearly everybody travels by bike or on foot.
Whenever you first arrive on the pier, you may rent a horse carriage to hold you and your baggage to your resort. Horse carriage charges run between 100,000 – 200,000 IDR relying on how far your resort is from the pier.
When you’re settled in at your lodging, it’s straightforward to journey across the Gili Islands by bicycle since many resorts present bikes freed from cost. If yours doesn’t, there are dozens of motorbike rental stands across the islands the place you may decide one up for 30,000 IDR per day (~$2).
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Additionally, most companies across the Gili Trawangan ask that you simply take away your footwear earlier than coming into. That, coupled with the truth that you’ll be spending most of your time on a seaside or within the water, means you’ll in all probability need to stick to sporting flip-flops.
The place to Keep on the Gili Islands
Whereas all three Gili islands provide nice lodging choices, we desire staying on Gili Trawangan as a result of it has essentially the most facilities out there when it comes to bars, eating places, and actions. It’s additionally only a brief boat trip away from Gili Meno and Gili Air if you wish to discover additional!
1. Go Snorkeling
Gili Island is thought for its crystal clear waters and plentiful sea life. You may count on to identify sea turtles, lionfish, eels, rays, and plenty of different wonderful aquatic animals. There's an underwater sculpture known as “The Nest” by Jason deCaires Taylor that has develop into fairly well-known on Instagram and makes for some fairly exceptional underwater images in case you lease a GoPro.
If you wish to go snorkeling on Gili Trawangan, there are group snorkeling journeys that depart 3 times a day and value simply 100,000 IDR (~$7) per particular person. They go to all three islands and comply with the identical route daily which incorporates the ring of sunken statues (“The Nest”), turtle level on the northern aspect of Gili Meno, and some different scenic spots. However be warned that the boat holds 25 individuals and they'll make each try to fill it up. So in order for you any elbow room on the boat or solitude within the water, this won't be the best choice for you.
Our suggestion is to rent a personal boat. For those who ask round, you must have the ability to rent a ship and captain to take you on a personal snorkeling journey for the day for ~1,000,000 IDR (~$70), together with a snorkel masks and fins. For those who can spherical up 4-5 individuals to affix you in your personal boat journey, it'll make your snorkeling expertise far more gratifying and can solely price you round $12-15 per particular person!
E book a Snorkeling Tour
2. Get your PADI Certification
Scuba diving within the Gili Islands is among the hottest actions and they're one of many least expensive locations on the earth to get your PADI certification. You’ll discover the principle road of Gili Trawangan lined with countless dive retailers, every with its personal resort and restaurant connected. Virtually all the dive retailers on the Gili Islands have nice reputations, however if you wish to be certain you could have an exquisite expertise you should definitely take a look at Manta Dive or Blue Marlin.
There are spectacular diving websites surrounding the Gilis, together with three completely different wreck websites. The Bounty Wreck is probably the preferred dive website within the Gili Islands. It was beforehand a jetty for the Bounty Cruise ship, nevertheless it broke in half throughout a storm and sank. Now the submerged dock sits about 25 ft beneath the floor and is roofed in coral and surrounded by sea life.
The opposite two wrecks are an previous tug boat known as the Glen Nusa and a Japanese World Struggle II ship that sank within the channel between Lombok and Gili Air. The Japanese Ship is essentially the most fascinating dive, however resulting from its depth of virtually 150 ft, it’s not a dive for newbies. You’ll have to be Superior Open Water licensed, have finished 30 dives, and be Nitrox licensed.
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E book a Newbie Discovery Dive
3. Bike Across the Island
One of the simplest ways to discover Gili Trawangan is by bicycle as a result of the island is small and tremendous straightforward to navigate. There's a highway that hugs the seaside for the circumference of Gili Trawangan aside from a brief part on the northeast nook the place the highway doesn’t fairly join. There you will have to stroll your bike throughout the seaside for about 200 yards.
You’ll discover beachfront bars all around the island so you may cease at your leisure and seize a snack or an ice-cold Bintang beer. Our favourite snack cease is Gili Yo Frozen Yogurt Sundown on the west aspect of Gili Trawangan. Seize some frozen yogurt and revel in it on one in all their beachfront bean bag chairs!
Many resorts and visitor homes present bicycles freed from cost throughout your keep, but when yours doesn’t, there are many tour businesses that lease bicycles on the principle road of Gili Trawangan.
Be sure to test the brakes and tire stress earlier than you begin your bike tour. Despite the fact that the roads are straightforward to trip on, you’ll take pleasure in your self extra in case your bike is in good working situation.
4. Hike to the Highest Level on Gili Trawangan
All the Gili Islands are very flat. The truth is, the best level on all three islands, Gili Trawangan Hill, is simply 200 ft above sea stage. This implies you may take pleasure in panoramic views with out having to do a lot climbing in any respect.
It’s a brief bicycle trip from nearly anyplace on the island and when you arrive, you’ll simply have a brief 10-minute hike via the forest to succeed in the highest of the hill. From the highest, you’ll have 360-degree views of Mount Rinjani on Lombok, Mount Agung on Bali, and the opposite two Gili Islands.
Most individuals on the Gili Islands have a tendency to move to seashores for sundown so in case you go to Gili Trawangan Hill on the finish of the day you would possibly even have the spectacular lookout all to your self!
E book a Glass-Backside Boat Tour round Gili Islands
5. Go Spearfishing
We bought a style for spearfishing after we lived in Hawaii, and now we’re at all times looking out for good fishing areas. The Gili Islands provide an amazing alternative for spearfishing with crystal clear water and loads of marine life. Whilst you’re snorkeling, why not catch your dinner on the identical time?
There are not any group spearfishing excursions provided on the island so that you’ll want to rent a personal boat together with a captain and a spearfishing information. Count on to pay across the identical as a personal snorkeling journey (~1,000,000 IDR) for the entire day, together with snorkeling gear and your spearfishing setup.
6. Watch Sundown on the Seashore
Sunsets throughout Indonesia are fairly epic, and the Gili Islands are actually no exception. The very best place to observe the sundown is on the west aspect of Gili Trawangan the place the solar units over the water immediately in entrance of you.
There are a great deal of bars dotting the western shore with quaint seating areas and swings set within the ocean. We’d suggest Casa Classic Seashore for excellent meals and music to accompany your sundown view. Or attempt Malibu Seashore Membership which has a beachfront pool that you're welcome to chill off in if you are ready for the solar to set.
Catch the Sundown and E book a Lombok Tour
7. Work on Your Instagram Sport
Because you’re already watching the sundown you would possibly as effectively snap one of many Gili Islands’ most iconic images – a silhouette of you on an ocean swing set with an orange and purple sky behind you. Simply take into account that everybody else needs the identical photograph so you'll have to line up and wait your flip.
Many of the bars on the west coast have constructed some kind of swing equipment in addition to a handful of hammocks slung over the shallow water. We thought essentially the most photogenic swings on Gili Trawangan have been at PinkCoco or The Exile.
8. Go Vegan at Pituq Waroeng
We’re not vegan, and even vegetarian, however we fell in love with Pituq Waroeng on Gili Trawangan. The meals there's each stunning and scrumptious. Strive the Inexperienced Curry with Jackfruit and the Fried Cauliflower for essentially the most delectable snack you’ll have throughout your journey! Pituq Waroeng was undoubtedly one in all our favourite eating places on the Gili Islands.
As an added bonus, Pituq Waroeng is part of the Pituq Neighborhood Basis which supplies earthquake aid to the affected communities of Lombok and Sumbawa. Each Islands skilled catastrophic earthquakes in the summertime of 2018 which resulted in over 500 deaths and left almost 500,000 Indonesians homeless.
By consuming at Pituq Waroeng or shopping for one thing from their small store, you’ll be getting an incredible meal and in addition serving to Indonesians get well from these latest pure disasters.
9. Eat on the Night time Market
Each evening alongside Gili Trawangan’s most important drag, you’ll discover a bustling road meals market. Just a few dozen meals stalls show piles of skewers and lengthy rows of Indonesian curries that can make your mouth water!
There are two most important methods of ordering and consuming on the evening market in Gili Trawangan. The primary is to select from the number of skewers on show on the meals stands which embrace tuna, beef, rooster, and vegetarian choices. They’ll grill it and produce it to your desk together with rice and Indonesia’s ubiquitous peanut sauce.
Your second choice is to peruse the curry stands. They've rows of plastic containers with home made Indonesian dishes on show. Simply level to every merchandise you need and they'll pile all of it on a plate with rice. Most dishes price simply 5,000 IDR per scoop so you may get an enormous, scrumptious meal for lower than 30,000 IDR (~$2).
We hope you fall in love with the Gili Islands too!
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