When it comes to travel in Indonesia, Bali and its popular sister islands have undoubtedly enjoyed the spotlight for quite some time now. Despite this unshared glory, the three Gili Islands have made a popular name for themselves on the map.
Gili Islands form an archipelago and are made up of three islands namely, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. All the three islands are known for their beaches, coral reefs and palm trees. But the popular and most visited island is Gili Trawangan.
The easiest way to reach the islands is from Lombok or Bali. The best way to get to the islands from Bali is by hopping on to a ferry boat. There are various boarding points depending on your location. If you are in the south of Bali, Serangan is the ideal point of departure. Similarly, if you are located anywhere in the northern or central region, Padang Bai and Ahmed are good boarding points. Situated at an approximate distance of 106 km from Bali, the islands are just a 30-60-minute ferry ride away. Typically, you can take a ferry easily to Gili Trawangan from there a smaller local boat will take you to the other two islands.
Travelling to the Gili Islands Bali is like landing on a tropical paradise. From sprawling jungles to cosy coves, there’s every ingredient to make these islands a heavenly retreat. In fact, their sun-kissed beaches and enchanting seascapes are rivalled in beauty by their very own green cover and natural scenery. All you have to do is hop on to a ferry or fast-boat from mainland Bali and await an experience unlike any other.
If you’re stuck at crossroads wondering about the many things to do in Gili Islands, fret no more!
Here’s a list of the things you can add to your Gili Island package.
Gili Trawangan is the largest and most popular island. Owing to its established infrastructure and relatively developed environment, the island witnesses a larger crowd of tourists and visitors all year round. While Gili Trawangan shares many common attractions with the other two islands, there are certain attractions that are unique to this island. Some of the things to do in Gili Trawangan include the following.
If you’re looking for an authentic Indonesian experience, one of the top Gili Trawangan attractions is a visit to the bustling night markets. As the chaotic crowd builds and the array of aromas wafts and fills the air, you will see a variety of food stalls come live in all their vigour. From authentic Indonesian cuisine to modern Asian gastronomy, there is a huge variety of specialities that will leave you spoilt for choice. If you make it on time, you may even catch a bite of some of the best dishes on the island.
The best way to explore the island and one of the top Gili Trawangan attractions is by cycling your way around. As motorised transport is strictly forbidden on the island, this means of transport is highly convenient as opposed to walking or horse riding. Apart from this, cycling is also an environmentally friendly way of getting around the island and is also a great way to unravel treasures in the nooks and crannies. While cycling around, you will come across breathtaking views of green paddy fields, verdant forests, sprawling hills, rustic cafes and much more. Just rent a bike for a couple of hours and unravel the best of Gili Trawangan Island through first-hand experience.
Gili Trawangan Island has made for itself a popular name in the list of lively party destinations in the Asian sub-continent. At the hour of dusk, the island transforms into a party haven of sorts, buzzing with overwhelming energy and lively fervour. There are plenty of bars and clubs to bring out the party animal in you. On the other hand, if you are not much of a dancer, there are many shacks and restaurants that will cater to your needs. Fuelled by exotic drinks, lip-smacking food and a vibrant party atmosphere, the party scene is thriving at the least and notorious at its best.
Imagine swinging over intrepid waters into sheer abysmal bliss. This imagination can become a reality in the Gili Islands. Home to the unique sea swings, Gili Trawangan draws scores of visitors for this unique creation. While the humble swing is no novel concept, swinging in the sea is a totally riveting experience. If you plan on bringing out the child in you, this is the best way to get started.
You can find some of the best beaches in the Gili Islands. For the placid traveller, the mellow vibe of Gili beaches is the ideal holiday setting. With dazzling white sand stretched across miles of unperturbed coastline, the beaches of Gili Islands are perfect for holidays spent basking under the sun. As the calm water glistens in the backdrop of clear blue skies, there is nothing more relaxing than spending a lazy afternoon on a hammock gently swaying amidst rustling palms. But if you want to enjoy a splash in the clear waters, the ocean is right there at your calling.
If you think the beaches are the highlight of Gili Trawangan Island, wait till you venture into the world below the pristine waters. The underwater life of all three Gili Islands is so surreal that divers and snorkelers find these exquisite waters the most welcoming. Bursting with colourful coral reefs and vivid seascapes, these waters are perfect for an underwater adventure with the marine life. For those visitors who do not have experience in snorkelling or diving, there are beginner classes offered from time to time.
Each of the three islands has spectacular yet diverse features that are unique to them. The best way to explore all of them keeping in mind the time restraint is by a boat. There’s something altogether magical in sailing amidst the pristine waters with gusts of cool air blowing across the ocean. If you’re travelling in a group, this is the most convenient way to take a quick trip around the islands and spend quality time with friends and family.
There’s no dearth of water sports in the Gili Islands. But the ideal way to enjoy the turquoise waters is to try your hand at paddle boating or kayaking. The waters are neither too shallow nor too rough, which makes it the perfect playground for even amateurs to give kayaking a go.
When in Gili Island Bali, no trip is complete without a glimpse of the breathtaking sunset at the shore. Every evening, when the sun descends across the horizon, the sky tantalises viewers with a dramatic play with colours. As the sun sets across the horizon, gear up for one of the most striking scenes you will have ever witnessed.
Beyond the shores of the Gili coastline lies a diverse treasure of tremendous landscapes. From verdant grasslands to dense tropical forests, there is much to explore. If you’re up for an adventure, a hike up the rugged hills is a great way to kickstart your adrenaline rush. Just strap on your trekking boots and head to the hills for a challenging yet fun-filled experience. As the trail is at a relatively low altitude, it is not as steep or tiring as other summits.
Another way to tour the islands is on a horseback. It may seem uncomfortable at first. But once you mount the horse and wade through the gentle breeze, there’s no going back. If you can’t gather the confidence to ride a horse all by yourself, there is always an option of horse carts or carriages.
After a tiring day in the sun, there is nothing more rejuvenating than a relaxing getaway at a spa. Thankfully, the Gili Islands boast of a plethora of excellent spas to choose from. While the quality varies from place to place, you will be guaranteed of a thoroughly refreshing experience. Simply head to one of the many spas where all your worries will seem far away and treat yourself to a long and comforting massage.
The Gili islands have often been overlooked for their comparatively smaller size. But don’t let the size deceive you. What appears to be rather undiscovered and unexplored is brimming with treasures of unparalleled beauty. Just head out to these islands that guarantee an adventure of a lifetime.
by Holxo Travel Specialist
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