By now, I bet you’ve already heard of how amazing the Gili islands are. So, to get down to the point, this isn’t a post to convince you why you might wanna consider taking a journey to the scuba diver and any beach lover’s Indonesian paradise. This is written to semi-help you to plan your trip. Quick, painless, and non-comprehensive– here’s an easy guide for first timers in Gili Islands. All the basic things you need to know all summed up in one super short post.
- The Gilis are no longer a part of Bali island, but instead belongs to Lombok.
- You can either fly into Denpasar (Bali)or Lombokto reach the Gilis. Lombok is definitely closer.
- From Denpasar, you’ll have to get to Padang Baito take a ferry that will take you to the Gilis.
- Alternatively, you can fly to Lombok from Denpasar to avoid the 2-hour trip to the port.
- Either way, it’ll take at least 3-4 hours if you’re coming from Denpasar.
The Ferry Guide
- If you’re gonna a be in Bali before going to the Gilis, don’t book your ferry tickets online. I could have found way cheaper roundtrip tickets, but we were coming from the airport and I didn’t wanna deal with the hassle of bargaining for a ride to the port so I booked a package deal that included pick up. It is way cheaper to find a tour agency around Bali especially if you’re great at haggling.
- Depending on the weather, it takes 1-2 hours to reach The Gilis from Padang Bai.
- I opted for the air conditioned “VIP” ferry which I did not regret. There are cheaper options but I needed the comfort.
- Luggages gets stacked on top of the ferry so expect it to get dirty and scratched.
- The Backpacker’s choice. Bars and parties are here. There are more choices of restaurants. The busiest of the three.
- I feel that it’s comparable cheaper here than Gili Air. Not sure about Gili Meno as we only made a super quick stop there.
- There are three ways to get around the island– by walking, bicycle, or a horse carriage.
- Bicycle rentals are all over the island, but our villa provided ours for free. Perhaps look into staying at places that offers free rentals if you want one less thing to worry about.
- I found it easier to bike around here as compared to Gili Air. The roads are more paved although there are certain areas that’s a little bit more challenging. Nothing a beginner can’t handle though. I say that confidently because this is where I actually learned how to ride a bike.
- The front side of the island (where the ferry lands) has more laid back and cheaper bars and restaurant. The other side of the island, which takes about 20-30 minutes by bicycle, has a fancier vibe. This is also where the fancier hotels are located– very strategic as this is where the sun sets.
- Speaking of sun sets, the instafamous Gili sunset swing shots are on that other side of the island. There are plenty more ocean swings all over the Gilis now, but Gili T’s famous Ombok Sunset is a classic.
- Snorkeling is great around Gili T. Turtles are everywhere. Beaches are nice too, but nothing really that has blown me away. Still, the water is clear and beautiful. The sand situation is a bit rocky.
- My favorite restaurant here happened to be a Thai restaurant (Thai Garden). Their Penang curry was pretty darn good.
- The baby of the Gilis. It’s the smallest and most quiet island. Perfect for couples and honeymooners looking for peace and isolation.
- Comparatively more expensive than Gili T.
- Same mode of transportation as Gili T.
- Biking around the island can be challenging in some parts. There are certain areas (lots of them) where we had to walk because of the sand. Perhaps it’s a good idea to invest in renting a bicycle designed for riding in the sand.
- There’s a good variety of restaurants and bars here as well.
- We especially loved The Chillout Restaurant and ate here every single night. They’re known for their pizza but I wasn’t that amazed. Their tuna burger, however, is highly recommended.
- We stayed at Slow Villas which was a nice luxury, yet affordable resort. (READ: Taking It Slow In Gili Air)
- Their spa, Slow Spa, is quite a name known around the island. If you’re looking for a great quality massage, I highly recommend it. Make sure you book asap as they get pretty full fast.
- There are snorkeling and diving tours offered everywhere, but we opted for a private snorkeling trip that we booked via our hotel. Snorkeling with Madiprovided us great private service and he took us to the best spots away from the tourists.
- When we were heading to Gili Air from Gili T, I saw a bunch of solo travelers making a stop here, so I’m guessing it’s quite friendly to the soloists.
- We only really got to experience Gili Meno during our snorkeling trip so I can’t say much, but of all stops we’ve made, the best snorkeling spots were actually here.
- I would suggest staying here if your itinerary is all about chasing corals.
- Snorkeling and diving tours are everywhere in the islands.
- Getting from one island to another is easy– you can either hire a private speed boat if you’re loaded, or go with the scheduled ferry.
- That said, it is possible to visit one island on a day trip.
- There also tours offered that will take you to Lombok Island.
- Magic mushrooms, indeed, are everywhere.
And there you go folks. Now go book that ticket and make it official!