The Gili Islands are a group of three small islands located off the north-western shore of Bali’s neighbor, Lombok. Gili Island is highly popular among divers, dive centers are available on all three island, namely Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air, and the waters around them boast rich tropical marine biodiversity and has good visibility all year round. Collectively referred to as the ‘Gilis’.
Actually, its a part of Lombok, but have become a much-loved optional tour for visitors to Bali, with easy and regular transfer services available.
Gili Trawangan has a good mix with quiet and serene beaches on the northern and western sides, and a multitude of dining and partying hotspots at restaurants and lively bars on the south. Gili Meno serves as an ultimate choice for an escape; overall discreet with beautifully barren beaches and a local village ban on late partying in place.
Gili Air is easily Trawangan’s minuscule version, and usually completes one’s Gili island hopping experience.
There are 3 Islands, Where to stay in the Gili Islands?
You may be looking for great beach bars and a more lively nightlife party, or a totally opposite where you simply prefer a retreat on a quiet island, without the crowds. Anyhow to cover all three islands you need to spend more days. So below are the highlights of each island, you can easily decide which island is best for you to stay in your itinerary.
Travelling from Bali, the first Gili Island you’ll approach is Trawangan, and it’s the most popular island, due to its best range of facilities, larger land size and good mixture of styles and preferences for dining and hotels. Most of the diving operators are found here, and there are abundant choices in terms of PADI courses. The main southeastern coast with the boat harbour is packed with bars and restaurants, and budget guesthouses are not hard to find either. The finer resorts are located on the quieter sunset beach on its southeast.
People who like a good mix, from lively beach nightlife scenes to exotic and quiet beaches.
Gorgeous sunset and sunrise moments
Eclectic dining options and seafood galore.
The best range of facilities.
Its main beaches near the harbour can be a little busy, especially during the high season.
Gili Meno is the total opposite to Trawangan. It is the ultimate island escape. Meno suits best for honeymooners and couples looking for privacy, and absolute rest and relaxation. It’s also good for nature lovers. The local Meno village administration upholds a ban on late-night partying. Budget bungalow-style accommodation is found beside full-fledged luxury resorts along the pristine white coral sand coasts.
- People who prefer peace and quiet.
- Nature lovers, honeymooners and couples.
- Quietest beaches around.
- Close connection to local village life.
- The least infrastructure among the three Gilis.
- No shopping, no ATMs
Gili Air offers the best of both worlds and can be considered the smaller and even more refined version of Trawangan, with a good mix of restaurants, beach bars, diving centres and activities. The main south-eastern coast near the boat docks is naturally packed with all the variety of dining and nightlife choices, while the quieter northern beaches are great for the truer ‘escapists’. Air serves as a great alternative to Trawangan, and oftentimes is a concluding island hop for those travelling over all three islands. Its close proximity to Lombok also makes it a perfect stepping stone for those ferrying off for an even prolonged trip to Bali’s neighbouring island.
- People who want a base to discover all 3 Gili Islands, and perhaps Lombok.
- People looking for a beach break without the backpackers.
- Adequate number of dining and shopping options.
- Closest to Lombok