The archipelago of Indonesia is the largest cluster of islands in the world. It is comprised of innumerable small islands each offering a unique experience to the travelers. Out all these, there is a small trinity of islands called the Gili Islands. Gili Islands comprise of the three small coral islands namely – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air.
Situated on the north-west of Lombok, these three islands are clearly segregated for different necessities of the travelers. Be it a water sports enthusiast or honeymooner or merely someone who wants to just sit and be one with the rhythm of nature, everyone will get a perfect nook for himself in one of these Gili Islands. Hence, before you head towards Gili, you should have an idea about what exactly you are looking for. Let us explore the three islands and find out their signature strength that appeals to the myriads of travelers from all over the world.
1. Gili Trawangan
A mecca for party lovers, Gili Trawangan is the most evolved tourist destination among all the three Gili Islands. It has a very vibrant culture, offers the widest range of lodging options to suits the budget and sensibility of tourists from every walk of the society, the safest diving zones and a plethora of diving schools to choose from and awesome restaurants and food joints offering oriental cuisine. The all-encompassing offer that Gili Trawangan makes to the tourist have made it evolve to be one of the major crowd pullers in the whole of the Indonesian archipelago.
Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, and Water Sports
Gili Trawangan is heavily populated with diving schools that promise excellent underwater experience. At almost every turn of the road, you will find a diving school. Take your pick and learn to pace your way down to the base of the sea. Gili Trawangan is best known for its scuba diving and snorkeling experiences. Mapping the depth of the ocean when you reach the vibrant world under the water, it is like the ultimate achievement. Gili Trawangan is also famous for surfing, kayaking and parasailing.
Food & Wine
The best of the oriental food can be enjoyed at Gili Trawangan. Especially the night market offers the freshest and delectable local cuisine at unbelievable rates. Also, make sure you don’t miss the Booze Cruize that offers ultimate experience for party lovers amid the sea.
The Sun & The Sand
The magnanimous beach of Gili Trawangan, the feel of the sun on your face and the powdery sands under your feet with the expanse of the blue lying right in front of you could account for some of the most cherished moments of your life. Count the waves and feel the tranquility within yourself. Make sure to experience the sunrise and the sunset. You could also bike around the beach to get the local vibes.
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2. Gili Meno
One of the most sought-after romantic getaways of all times includes Gigli Meno. It is home to some of the best beaches in the archipelago and the top mind for every honeymooner. No wonder love meets your eyes wherever you see in Gili Meno be it on the beach or the thatched-roof huts lined up on the beach.
The island is not crowded at all giving enough privacy for couples. There are a handful of restaurants and the lodging option is also limited to some secluded resorts and bungalows. Some of the notable tourist spots at Gili Meno include the Bird Park, Turtle Sanctuary and the safest diving sites even for a novice – the Meno Wall. You could consider touring the cities adjacent to the shore to explore the local favors in food and oriental art and culture.
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3. Gili Air
Gili Air comes with the best features of both Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno. The offers the light, sound and all the beats for a party lover and at the same time, it offers cool and tranquil beaches, mind sweeping views for people who are looking for rest and relaxation. This island has a very versatile vibe with very lively beach music, a very cool and chilled out nightlife, a full moon party is a monthly staple, bars and restaurants lined up on the beach offering local cuisine and exotic liquor the list continues.
The diver and snorkelers also find the waters to be very welcoming. Particularly the coral reefs make up for the most amazing snorkeling experience ever. The cool and easy going way of life at Gili Air kind of become a part of you and stay with you for a long time even after you have left the place. The undeterred view of the sea, the sun and the sand, the sound of the waves can be the most soothing and soul-cleansing experience that you can ever ask for in any of the Gili Islands.
How To Reach Gili Islands
You need to reach Bali before you embark upon your journey to any of the Gili Islands. There are plenty of options from Bali to Gili Islands that include the budget-friendly public ferries to the helicopters to even private charters.
Fast boats are available from Padang Bai, Amed, and Lombok. They ply early morning. The public ferries ply at an interval of one hour throughout the day but are very slow. Compared to the fast boats which take 45 minutes to one and a half hour depending on the route you choose, public ferries take a good 5 hours on one side.
Private charters are a tad bit expensive but it caters to an upmarket crowd that wants to experience a more suave traveling experience and discovers more islands on their way.
Just like the private charters, some tourists like to take private helicopters to reach the Gili Islands. It takes 45 minutes to reach and offers the best aerial view of the archipelago. These helicopters are available only on Fridays and Sundays and ferry between Bali and Trawangan.
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