The Gili Islands in Bali are some of the most beautiful islands you’ll see in Southeast Asia. There are three Gili islands which are an absolute must to see: Gili Trawangan, the main island, Gili Meno and Gili Air. Each island offers something unique and has different traits about them. As I will explore, Gili Trawangan is the busiest island of the three. Whereas, Gili Meno and Gili Air due to their remoteness and chill vibes are usually more relaxed and quieter.
When you visit the Gilis, it is essential to know what you want to do on the islands. The islands focus mainly around the beach, the sea and water sports. Personally, this is absolute heaven for me, as I love water sports. However, the Gilis do offer much more than just these activities. If you do want a great night out, then the party down on Trawangan island is unreal. Most travellers are on the island, so it comes to life at night!
However, if you are looking for more chill vibes and maybe spa and massage days, Gili Meno and Gili Air may be more up your street. They’re more the yoga islands compared to the party island of Trawangan.
Without doubt, when you arrive on the islands, definitely rent a motorbike as it makes the islands more accessible. The beauty of renting a motorcycle is that you can go and explore the many viewpoints the islands offer. And hopefully, you’ll catch a perfect sunset!
Diving in the Gili Islands Bali
The Gilis are very popular for scuba diving and snorkelling and have some of the most transparent waters around! Most people head to Gili Trawangan for some partying. The main island is known for being a huge party destination and gives you the chance to party for the first time in Lombok.
One of my favourite things to do while on the Islands is go diving! Diving here is beyond brilliant. The crystal clear waters, the warm ocean and the incredible variety of marine life on offer are mesmerising. Gili islands are easily one of the most diving places in the world. If you go diving on Gili Air, then you’re more than likely to see sea turtles! Most diving schools say there is a 95% chance of seeing turtles on most dives.
Personally, this was one of my favourite places to dive in the world! The marine life on offer, the corals, the clear ocean water, it all added to one of the best diving experiences I have ever had.
Snorkelling in the Gili Islands
Another excellent experience is going snorkelling. If you don’t fancy getting down under the ocean, then why not stay on top of it? There are some great snorkelling tours which make for a great day out. You will more than likely travel from Lombok to the Gili Islands and have the entire day snorkelling Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. The guides are fun and knowledgeable, and it’s a great alternative to diving! I’ll leave a link to my favourite snorkelling tour that I used: https://www.getyourguide.co.uk/activity/lombok-l2412/full-day-gili-islands-snorkelling-trip-t33017?utm_force=0.
Most travellers say you only need two days to explore the islands. And to some extent this is true, you do. However, why would you want to rush your time in paradise?
In comparison to Trawangan, Gili Meno is much quieter than the main island. Typically, the island is known for its white-sand beaches and has quirky little bars lining the coast. If you enjoy the quiet and you want a relaxed time mainly spent on the beach; then you’ve just found your paradise island!
The busiest times for tourists to visit are July, August, December and January. December and January are in the rainy season, so do be careful if you come at this time. I visited in late September, and the islands were spectacular! The weather was great, and the islands aren’t heaving with people.
Most of the tourists will stay on Trawangan, which is the main island. One of the main reasons is that compared to the other islands, Trawangan is the place to be to party!
Nightlife on Gili Trawangan is very much on one side of the island (the side the ferry drop you off on). Due to the small size of the island, you won’t miss the party should you seek it.
If you’re looking for a quieter experience, with a few cocktails and some chilled vibes, then Gili Trawangan still offers that on the other side of the island, as do Gili Air and Gili Meno.
The key to visiting the Gilis is really to get your exploring hats on. The Gilis are a different experience to the mainland. Due to their different island cultures, it’s essential to make time for all three as they all offer something different!
As you can see, there isn’t loads and loads of things to do on the islands. But that’s why I love it so much. The islands bring the travellers who want to explore, have fun and relax. They don’t bring every tourist out there. As I mentioned before, most travellers may only stay around two days on the island, and if you are running out of time, then that’s okay! But when you get off that boat, you’ll see that the islands are just so beautiful, so picturesque, that you’ll end up wanting to stay longer.
When I visited the islands, I stayed for five days! I had a long and busy couple of months, and I wanted to relax.
If you enjoyed this article on the Gili islands Bali, you might also like to read this perfect Lombok itinerary.