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Die Gili-Inseln in Indoniesien, Bild: Wonderful Nature / shutterstock

The Gili Islands in Indonesia

Azure blue waters, pristine sandy beaches and romantic bays: The Gili Islands in Indonesia are a dreamlike holiday paradise. Located in the Bali Sea, the various islands offer something for every tourist. Divers and fans of water sports in particular get their money’s worth here, the islands are known for the many sea turtles. In addition, several dolphins, fish, reef sharks and whales can be discovered on the seabed. The island triplet is located on the northwest coast of Lombok. The people here live from tourism, fishing and coconut cultivation. They also run street food kitchens and offer fantastic Indonesian cuisine for little money. The main travel months are the summer months of July and August as well as December and January.

How to get to the Gili Islands

It feels like the Gili Islands are at the other end of the world. From Europe, the airports in Bali and Lombok are first available to choose from, before continuing by boat. From several ports in Bali, speedboats take about two hours to Gili Trawangan. The most famous are Benoa Harbour, Sanur, Armed and Padangbai. There are also fast boats from Lombok from Bagsal Harbour in the direction of the Gili Islands. The public speedboats depart at 11 am. There are boats to all three islands. Basically, it is cheaper to use the official boats, as the boats are more reliable and are regularly technically checked. By the way, cars are forbidden on all three islands, which slows down life on Gili even more. In addition to bicycles, people also move around here with horses, because the roads are often not developed.

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The three Indonesian dream islands in Lake Bali

The Gili Islands consist of Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. The most famous island is Gili Trawangan, also called Gili T, which is also the best developed for a relaxing holiday. The island triplet in Lake Bali is still one of the insider tips, but already has a decent fan base among divers.

Snorkeling and diving on Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan
Gili Trawangan is the largest of the Gili Islands with about 15 m², Image: MawardiBahar / shutterstock

Gili Trawangan is considered a diver’s paradise and an ideal destination for water sports fans. For divers, the infrastructure is perfect thanks to many diving schools. Swimming fans can expect crystal-clear water and fantastic sandy beaches as well as swings in the sea. Especially in the north of the island there are great places for swimming and snorkeling. The island is especially popular with young visitors, because the nightlife has a lot to offer. In the island’s diving centers as well as several bars, parties take place every evening in summer. Since the island can be circumnavigated on foot in two hours, the distances from bar to bar are not far. The selection of restaurants has also grown in recent years. In addition to traditional local restaurants, there is now also a good range of European food. Gili T has been developed for tourism in recent years. In the east of the island there are modern bungalows and hotels, but also hostels for globetrotters and travelers on a tight budget. If you want to see particularly beautiful sunsets, you can also rent bungalows in the southwest.

The romantic island of Gili Meno

Gili Meno, Indonesia
Gili Meno, Image: umikem / shutterstock

Beautiful sunsets, fantastically empty beaches and above all peace and quiet are offered by the island of Gili Meno. It is the smallest of the Gili Islands in Indonesia. Because it is so quiet and idyllic, it is an absolute dream destination, especially for newlywed couples. The island is not developed for tourism. There are a few restaurants in the east and there are fewer hotel resorts and accommodations. The west side of the island seems a bit deserted, but at the same time it is a great place to relax for people who want to unwind. At the same time, Gili Meno offers many beautiful dive sites. These include Meno Wall and Bounty, two sunken piers. For equipment and valuable tips, there are three diving schools on site. Gili Meno is also a good destination for a day from the other two islands.

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A mix of idyll and bar culture: Gili Air

The third island, Gili Air, is a good mix of Gili T. and Gili Meno. There is a similarly good infrastructure for holidaymakers on the island as on Gilli T, i.e. modern bungalows as well as a variety of restaurants and cafés. Gili Air offers the best view of the Lombok Mountains. In the east, not only this fantastic view awaits visitors, but also many beach bars. Gili Air also offers good opportunity for divers in the east of Gili Air. The coral reef off the east coast is perhaps even the most beautiful dive site of the three Gili Islands. In the west, on the other hand, tourists will find fantastic sandy beaches that are almost untouched. Gili Air is an authentic mix between the other two islands.