Top 10 things to do in the Gili Islands
The Gili Islands are a tiny archipelago in Indonesia, located northwest of Lombok. The Gili’s consist of three islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air and are known for their laid back vibe, amazing underwater world and beautiful white sandy beaches. You can reach the Gili islands by fast boat from Bali or speed boat transfer from Lombok. Here’s our list of Gili top 10 things to see & do:
Top 10 Gili
2. The Gili Islands are one of the most popular diving destinations in Asia with thousands of divers going there every year. It is well suited for beginners as well as experienced divers with a great vareity of dive sites in the surrounding waters.
"Diving in the Gilis is one of the most magical experiences. With the abundance of seaturtles and so many other sea creatures you will be sure to encounter something new on every dive."
Gili T is an island with plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes, ready to entertain you until the sun comes up. Nightlife isn’t only concentrated in one area but widely available across the island, although the western side is quieter. You’ll find live acts and EDM or Reggae sounds blowing through the speakers at most places and if you don’t feel like dancing, join one of the pub crawls.
"Close your eyes, feel the sun on your skin, hear the sounds of the waves breaking on the shore and the birds sing. Feel the warm sand between your toes, take a deep breath in and slowly breath out again."
6. Did you know the Gilis are non-motorised islands? Go to Stud stable on Gili Trawangan and enjoy a horse ride at your own pace and level of experience.
Instead of taking a scooter or car (the islands don't allow motorised vehicles), the locals move around and transport their goods by bike or by horse cart (called cidomos). No wonder there are many horses present on the Gilis. The horses at Stud are taken excellent care of, and the establishment also helps run a program to improve the wellbeing of the local work horses on the island.
"Imagine yourself riding across the sandy beaches, on one side a line of palm trees and the sun setting in the turquoise waters on the other...This is what horseriding in the Gilis feels like."
7. The best Gili market is located at the Art Market area on Gili Trawangan, right across from the main jetty. During the day it's a cute little art market but from 7 pm, the smell of barbecue meat & fish fills the area.
After a relaxing day at the beach, head over to one of the little boutique shops that are present on each of the three islands to get yourself the perfect island wear. Besides clothing, the shops offer many handcrafted souvenirs, ranging from gorgeous jewellery to the finest locally made accessories made of wood and coconut shells. Don’t forget to treat yourself to some wonderful natural oils to relive the island’s smells and relaxation when you're back home. In the evenings, the open-air stalls at the Gili T night market offer a wide range of local food with freshly caught fish, corn and sliced vegetables, all for a very good price. This makes it a firm favourite dining spot amongst backpackers, budget travellers and others looking for a local food experience. Don’t leave before dessert! Several stalls specialise in all that’s sweet; cakes, sweet potato fritters, chocolate pancakes or banana delights. Most shopping can be done on Gili T, so when you’re staying on one of the other islands, hop on the local boat or a pre-book a speed boat and let it take you there on your own time.
"Ready for some authentic street food? Head out to the Gili Trawangan night market. This is as local as your dinner can get."
8. No idea what a subwing is? Well then it's time to find out! Book your subwing adventure with Subwing Gili and learn how to glide through the water like a dolphin while taking in your surroundings.
Departing from all three of the Gili Islands, this awesome activity takes you around the Gili Islands while holding onto a subwing behind the boat. Simply move the wings of the board to move through the water and cover a huge area in a short amount of time. It's like snorkeling but then way cooler!
9. Would you like to challenge yourself mentally and physically? Learn how to freedive on Gili Trawangan or Gili Air. Start a freedive course and learn how to dive deep into the waters without any breathing equipment. Talk about a challenge!
Freediving is becoming more popular by the day and allows people to dive deeper by using nothing but their own breath. Start by learning the necesarry breathing techniques and if you like it, you might even do a freediving course!
"Starting a FreeDive course will make you realise how important your health is and what you can achieve with your mind only. Plus, it's such a sustainable way to enjoy the ocean and the beautiful marine life in it!"
These ten activities are only a handful of all the possibilities offered on the Gilis, but should get you started to say the least! Back to top
About the author
Hi everyone, my name is Kirsten and I'm the
writer behind this blog post. With this blog I'd
like to share my experience with fellow travelers.
If you would like to add to any of my posts or
for questions, feel free to contact me on:
More about the Gili's in our Travel Tips
Check out our Gili Islands Activities