Are you looking for the perfect Southeast Asian island getaway? Look no further than the Gili Islands! Located off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia, these three small islands offer something for everyone.
Whether you’re a beach bum seeking sun and sand or an adventure seeker looking to explore coral reefs and hidden coves, there’s a Gili Island that will suit your needs. But which one should you choose? Let’s take a look at which Gili Island is the best to visit.
But first, let’s get our bearings straight when it comes to the location of the Gili islands.
Where are the Gili islands?
This is a tricky question since the word “Gili” actually means “island” in Sasak-the native language used on Lombok. It can be a bit confusing because many islands surround Lombok and are named Gili.
So which Gili islands are we talking about? To make it easier, when referring to the Gili Islands, most people mean the three small islands which lie off the northwest coast of Lombok.
These include Gili Trawangan (the largest and most developed), Gili Meno (the smallest and quietest), and Gili Air (a happy medium of the other two).
How many total Gili islands are there?
I haven’t been able to find a concrete answer to the total number of Gili islands located around Lombok. The most commonly accepted number of named Gili islands is 35 but again this number is hard to pin down.
Which is the main Gili island?
Of the three most popular Gili islands, Gili Trawangan is the most developed. It has become the most famous Gili destination for backpackers and holidaymakers alike as it boasts beautiful beaches, great snorkeling spots, plenty of restaurants and bars, and accommodations to suit all budgets.
How to get to the Gili islands from Bali
There is not an airport on any of the Gili islands but there is a helipad located on Gili Trawangan if that’s how you fly! Really, the only way to get to the Gili islands is by boat.
From Bali, you can take a fast boat which usually departs from either Serangan, Padangbai, Amed, or Sanur ports in Bali and takes around 2-2.5 hours to get to the Gili islands. The cost for a round trip fast boat ticket from Bali is around 550k Rupiah or about 35 USD.
The slower option which is cheaper (about half the cost of the fast boat) but takes longer involves taking a public ferry that departs from Padangbai and will take around 4 – 5 hours.
Which Gili island has the best beach?
After exploring the last few days on all three of Gili islands I can say that they all have amazingly beautiful beaches with white sand and aqua-blue waters. But, if I were just going to the Gili islands for beaches I would 100% go to Gili Meno.
The beaches on Meno are like paradise on earth. The sand is soft and white and the water is crystal clear which makes for an idyllic setting.
Many of the beaches are secluded which adds to the charm and gives you ample opportunity for privacy. Since the water clarity is excellent you can easily snorkel right from the beach which is great for beginner and experienced snorkelers alike.
Are the Gili islands cheap to visit?
The Gili islands as a whole are very inexpensive when compared to other tropical island living destinations. Depending on which Gili Island you visit, most meals can be had for around USD 5 or less and a basic room will cost anywhere between $12 – 25 USD a night.
Snorkeling excursions will run you about $12 – 15 USD per person for a 4-hour group tour and about $35 USD for a private boat experience.
For transportation, since there are no motorized vehicles allowed on the Gili’s and the islands themselves are so small you can easily just rent bicycles for about $5 USD per day to get around.
Which Gili island is the quietest?
Hands down the quietest of the three Gili islands is Gili Meno. With its abundant open beaches, secluded coves, and blissful atmosphere it is the perfect destination for those looking to escape crowded tourist spots.
Meno has a few basic restaurants which serve local fare so you won’t find much in terms of nightlife on this island. But if you are looking for some R&R or a romantic getaway this is the perfect spot.
Best Gili island for a honeymoon
Again the award goes to Gili Meno! This peaceful island offers many private and romantic spots which makes it the ideal destination for a honeymoon.
Meno has some romantic beachfront accommodations which are perfect for couples looking to spend quality time together. The crystal clear waters, beautiful sunsets, and secluded nature of this island make it a great place to escape from everyday life and enjoy some quality time with your special someone.
Which Gili island is best for party?
This one is easy – Gili Trawangan! This is the largest and most developed of the three which means it is home to some wild nightlife. There are plenty of beachfront bars which offer a great atmosphere for partying into the night.
The vibe on this island is definitely lively which makes it perfect for travelers looking to let loose or just party until the sun comes up. In addition to partying, there are also plenty of other activities which make it a great destination for those looking for a complete island experience.
Best Gili island for couples
This is a close one. Gili Meno is definitely the best for honeymooners but it does lack the nightlife which I am ok with. But, if you’re looking for a romantic getaway with a night scene then Gili Air will be your perfect match.
The atmosphere on Air is more laid back which makes it perfect for couples looking to explore the island during the day and get a little wild at night. The beaches are beautiful with plenty of beachside bars which make it great for chilling out and watching the sunset.
Overall, all three Gili islands offer something unique which makes all of them great destinations. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a party island or something in between you’ll find it Gili.
Which Gili island is best for families?
Since Gili Trawangan and Gili Air can get a little rowdy at night, Gili Meno would be the best for families. It is much more laid back which allows you to spend quality time together without worrying about late-night noise which can disturb little ones.
The island itself also offers plenty of activities that are perfect for children such as snorkeling, fishing, and exploring the many beaches which offer stunning views of the surrounding islands.
Meno is also home to some fun beach clubs which offer tasty food and great entertainment which make it a great family spot.
Best Gili island for snorkeling
I feel like I’m starting to sound like a broken record but Gili Meno strikes again! This island has some of the best snorkeling spots which offer a great view of tropical fish, coral, and other marine life. Not to mention the crystal clear waters which make it perfect for swimming and just taking in the beauty of this island.
The famous underwater statues which are found off the shores of Meno also make it a great spot for snorkeling and exploring which makes it truly unique.
Which Gili island has the best food?
All three islands offer up some great eats but in terms of options, Gili Trawangan takes the cake. Speaking of cake, Jali Kitchen on Gili T serves up the best carrot cake I think I have ever had!
In addition to Jali Kitchen, there are plenty of other local restaurants which offer up delicious seafood dishes which are spiced with the traditional ingredients that are found on the islands. And for the full Gili experience don’t forget the local Gili night markets located in the main strips of town.
Not only will you find amazing local restaurants but the international food choices on Trawangan are second to none which makes it the most food diverse of the three.
Is scuba diving cheap on Gili islands?
Yes, scuba diving is relatively inexpensive which makes it accessible to everyone. The Gili Islands offer some of the best dive sites in Indonesia which make them a great destination for anyone looking for a low-cost option to explore the underwater world.
The dive centers which are found on all three islands usually offer about the same pricing. So depending on the type of dive (and there are lots to choose from) you can expect to pay anywhere from $35 – 50 USD.
Overall, scuba diving on the Gili Islands is for sure worth it and can be done on a budget. So if you’re looking for an affordable way to explore the underwater world, these islands are definitely the place to go!
Can you swim from Gili T to Gili Meno?
Yes, it is possible to swim from Gili Trawangan to Gili Meno which is about 2.5 kilometers away. Depending on the conditions it can take anywhere from 1-2 hours which is why it’s recommended that you only do this if you are an experienced open-water swimmer and have a buddy with you for safety.
Which is better Gili Islands or Nusa Penida?
Ooo! This is a good question and it really depends on what you’re looking for. The Gili Islands are known for their crystal clear waters which make them perfect for snorkeling and other water activities. Plus, they offer plenty of nightlife which makes it a great place to party with friends.
On the other hand, Nusa Penida is much more rugged making it perfect for those looking for an adventure as it offers plenty of trails that lead to stunning views. Like mind-blowing! Plus, the waters around Nusa Penida are known for their abundant marine life which makes it a great spot for scuba diving and other water activities.
Wrapping Up: Which Gili Island is the Best
In conclusion, which Gili island is best for you really depends on what type of experience you are looking for. Whether it’s snorkeling in crystal clear waters, partying with friends, or embarking on an adventure filled with stunning views and abundant marine life – each island has something unique to offer which makes them all special in their own way. No matter which one you choose, a visit to the Gili Islands will surely be a trip for the memory books!