The Gili Islands: Overview

by Nick on October 30, 2006

by Nick | October 30th, 2006  

The Gili Islands are located of of Lombok‘s NW coast. Basically they are 3 sand islands, (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, Gili Air) with no rivers, streams or lakes, hence no fresh water. The Gili islands have peace a and quiet, no cars, white sand beaches, snorkeling, diving and some good hotels.


There is a variety of reasons why people go there. These include:

Taking it easy
Getting a tan
Water sports
Partying
Drug taking
Romantic getaway

The busiest of the 3 islands is Gili Trawangan, which is also the largest, Gili Air is the second most developed and also the closest to mainland Lombok. Gili Meno is the quietest, with no nightlife and sporadic accommodation.

Before I visited Gili Trawangn in 2004, people had told me it was ‘party central’ with drug taking, boozing and general ‘do what you like’ atmosphere. I didn’t find it to be that way at all. The scuba diving crowd is very different from the surfing crowd, and there is nothing like Paddy’s, or Bounty (thank God!) in Gili Trawangan. Instead you will find beach bars, restaurants, movie night and a great Irish pub, the Tir na nog, complete with bales and DVD’s and large interior pub.

The Gili islands are different, culturally than Muslim Lombok. The population is sparse and the locals are used to westerners enjoying water sports. When I was there I never saw any cops and I think crime is quite low. The locals I did meet were polite and more reserved than Balinese.

Cheap Asses:
You can probably get away with 100,000rp a day, for accommodation and food if you are on a budget, assuming you don’t drink.

Romance:
Ladies, the locals guys in the Gili’s are not as forward as the ones Kuta Beach Bali, but they are around, particularly on the 2 quieter islands. Sit under a beachside bale and you’ll make friends.

Guys, there are no available women in the Gili’s, its ‘bring your own lunch’. There are available women in Senggigi, on the west coast of Lombok, so if you’re planning a week of relaxation, you might stop off there first and see who’s friendly.

A holiday in Bali can easily include a trip to the Gili’s. Boat operators Blue Water Safaris, located in Benoa harbor Bali, along the Bypass to Sanur, will get you to the Gili’s in 2 hours for 690,000rp one way. This includes hotel pick up, and drop off in the island of your choice. Hell, you be thinking they some crazy ass angel!

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