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Your Mini-Guide to Indonesia's Gili Islands

Your Mini-Guide to Indonesia's Gili Islands

Indonesia’s Gili islands comprise of three small islands individually called Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. They are all blessed with clear waters where you can see exotic marine species and idyllic beaches which are perfect for relaxing or partying on. Although they all share these characteristics, each island has its own identity. Often referred to as ‘The Turtle Capital of the World’ travelers can experience a huge range of activities when they visit all three islands.

Gili Trawangan


Sometimes called Gili T, this is the largest and most developed of the islands. It is known for its party atmosphere, but also it can be the perfect exotic getaway for a relaxing break. If you are visiting other islands in Indonesia, and there are many of them, you should consider taking a boat from Bali to the Gili Islands. You can catch a boat at Sanur Beach or Serangan Harbor, the trip from either point taking less than an hour. In fact, anyone staying that close to them should make the boat trip which in itself is a wonderful experience and the Gili Islands should not be missed.

Partying on Gili T tends to carry on into the early hours. After just a short time, the water sports instructors, market vendors, and bar owners will be open for business. The food is not expensive and is delicious, and as with all the Indonesian islands, you will meet some of the friendliest locals there is.

Gili Air


At one time, Gili Air was the main attraction of this small group of islands. These days, however, you will find Gili T bustling with tourists and backpackers and Gili Air with its population of locals. It has more authentic villages and traditional huts than the other two islands. It also has some very impressive natural features. The activities include watersports and aqua yoga. Wandering around the local villages you will find plenty of arts and crafts that the residents have made, none of which will cost you a fortune.

Gili Meno


Gigli Meno is the smallest and least developed of the three islands. It is a popular destination for romantic breaks and is often the chosen place for honeymooners. It is also ideal for wildlife spotting or conservationists as you can walk along the white sandy beaches for a long while and hardly see anyone else.

Gili Meno is where you will find the turtle sanctuary which has been so successful there is now a thriving population of sea turtles around the islands. They are friendly creatures who like to keep the divers company.

Sensible Packing


When you are headed to the Indonesian islands, you need to be sensible about what you pack. Take swimwear, light and breathable clothing, sunscreen, sun hats, sunglasses, and some flip-flops or sandals. A sarong can be very useful; you can use it on the beach to lie on while you sunbathe, and then wrap it around yourself when touring the villages. Both men and women wear sarongs in Indonesia because they are good for helping to keep you cool.

Local Transport


There are no motor vehicles in the Gili Islands, but when you consider that you can walk around the entire edge of the largest ones in less than two hours, there is not really a need for them. Most visitors either rent a bicycle or hail a horse and cart to get them around.

Whichever one of the Gigli islands you visit - and if you can manage all three that is wonderful - you will never forget the food, the clear seas, the wonderful beaches or the friendly locals. It will be a vacation of a lifetime.

This is a contribution from one of our contributing writers.


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