guide to the gili islands   Blue waters, golden beaches, fascinating sea life and an incredible nightlife to boot. This is what awaits you on Lombok’s northwest Gili trio, or as we like to call them, the Goldilock islands. If you are visiting Indonesia, you would be crazy to miss out on the Gili Islands, Bali. No matter what your flavour for adventure may be, whether it is a day filled with adventure sports and a night filled with dancing, or a simple weekend of relaxing on a beach, you will be able to find an island that is “just right” for you. Sitting only a three to five hour boat ride away from mainland Bali, these paradise islands are the perfect island getaway for any adventurer, offering a huge number of amazing activities, delicious food and fascinating people. The best part is the islands are so incredibly affordable, there is an option for everybody no matter your budget. This Guide to the Gili islands will cover everything you need to know about your next trip to these beautiful islands, including how to get there, what to pack, where to stay and so much more! Get planning your next trip to paradise right now and come join us on the famous Gilis.  

Before you set off on your adventure to these paradise islands, make sure you have everything you need! Download our FREE printable packing list, with all of the items you will need to pack, as well as some other useful tips about the islands.

   
Gili T swing sunset
Sunset over paradise. The most iconic sunset in Indonesia at the Gili Trawangan swings.
   

The Definitive Guide to the Gili Islands, Bali

How to Get an Indonesian Visa

If you are travelling to Indonesia for less than 30 days, there is no need to worry about a visa. If you are one of the countries on the Visa on Arrival list, then you will automatically be granted 30 days access when you arrive in Indonesia. If you are planning to stay longer than one month, then you will need to buy for a Visa on Arrival Extension before you leave the airport. With this, you will then be able to extend your visa at a government building during your time in Indonesia. This process is relatively straight forward, so you can either do it for yourself or you can pay a Visa Agent to handle it for you. You can read more about how to extend your visa in Bali here.    

What is the Best Travel Insurance

As you would do when you are travelling any country, make sure you have travel insurance before travelling to Indonesia. We can recommend using World Nomads Travel Insurance for the best and cheapest coverage. Always make sure that you are covered for the activities you will want to take part in whilst you are away. Get your quote before you leave on your trip right here.    

What to Pack for the Gili Islands

As with the rest of Indonesia, the Gili Islands are blessed with year round, tropical weather, rarely dipping below 30oC and showering the islands with a refreshing, warm rain every day or so. For all intents and purposes, the weather on the Gili Islands is pretty much perfect. It also makes packing for your trip a LOT easier, as there is no need for big, bulky and heavy  clothing items. When packing for locations such as these, we try to stick with the Wash one, Wear one and Dry one principle. This means we aren’t carrying 10 extra pairs of socks that you will never even wear. For a full idea of what to pack, have a look this Summer Packing List for Men and Summer Packing List for Women.  
Crystal clear waters on Gili Meno.
Crystal clear waters on Gili Meno.
   

How to get from Bali to the Gili Islands

There are many options to get to the Gili Islands from Bali, all of which depend on your budget and how long you are visiting for. We experienced both flying and sailing on our trip to the Gili Islands, with a flight to Lombok from Bali, followed by a public ferry to Gili T. We then caught multiple public and private boats between the islands, before getting a speed boat from Gili Air to the Nusa Islands. Here is a simple run down of each of your options, whether you are going from Lombok or from Bali.    

Also Read – Living in Bali – All You Need to Know for One Month in Bali

   

Public Ferry from Bali to Gili Islands

If budget is what you are looking for, then the public ferry is your best option. It takes around five hours to get from Padang Bai in Bali to Bangsal in Lombok. Here you will disembark and wait for the next public ferry to take you over to your chosen Gili Island. In total this trip could take around eight hours, however it will cost you much less than the faster boat options. The public ferry from Padang Bai to Lombok will cost you roughly £2, and the public ferry from Lombok to Gili Trawangan roughly £1.  

Flying from Bali to Gili Islands

We can recommend flying to Lombok from Bali and spending a few days there before heading out to the islands. If you aren’t wanting to explore the island of Lombok itself, then you can simply get a taxi from the airport Senggigi or Bangsal harbour where you can catch a boat to the Gili Islands. The cheapest airline is Lion Air and it takes around 30 minutes. If you are flying, make sure to have your ticket printed before hand or you may not be allowed to board your flight. Once you get to Lombok, you can once again choose between a public boat (described above) or a speed boat (described below).  

Speed Boat from Bali to Gili Islands

This is the most convenient (and expensive) way to get to the Gili Islands and you can expect this trip to take around 4 hours. There are a few different speed boat options to get to and from the Gili Islands from Bali and from the Nusa Islands. Check out these companies below.   Check out the latest routes and prices for Gili Getaway here. Check out the latest routes and prices for Blue Water Express here.  Check out the latest routes and prices for Ocean Star Express here. Check out the latest routes and prices for Patagonia Xpress here. Check out the latest routes and prices for Scoot Fast Cruises here.   If you have booked a ferry, make sure you have your tickets printed, as some companies will not let you board without a paper copy. We have asked in hotels and doctor’s surgeries before, and they have both printed off the documents we required. Good to keep in mind if there is no print shop nearby.  

Gili Island Transfers – Island Hopping

Transferring between between the Gili Islands is really simple. There are ferry ports on all of the islands, which you will recognise this as the place that you arrived into the island. They will be the places with lots of people, bags and the place with lots of boats. Not too difficult to find. Public boats between the islands are normally around £1.80-£2.40. They leave once or twice a day and only leave when they are full of people, so are only really an option if you are not in a rush to get anywhere. Find out the times of departure the night before to avoid getting stranded and having to pay extra for a private transfer. If you are all out of luck with the public boat, hang around the ferry terminal and ask other people where they are off to. We did this when we just missed out ferry and managed to split the cost of a private transfer between the 6 of us, costing only £2.40 each.  
A busy public boat from Lombok to Gili T
The crowded floor of the Lombok to Gili T public boat.
   

Which Gili Island should You Visit?

There are 3 main Gili Islands off the north west coast of Lombok. Each of these islands are very unique, making it difficult to decide which one is the best to visit. The best part of this is that they are all so close to each other, it is very easy to get between. We therefore recommend trying to visit all three during your trip. Activities that the Gili islands are famous for, such as snorkelling and sunset spotting, can be done from any of the three islands. This means when it comes to choosing an island for your visit, it is simply a case of what vibe you suits you most: party island or desert island? The three islands can be broken down and compared with quite a simple metaphor: Goldilocks and the three islands. Gili Trawangan is not only the largest island, it is also the busiest, noisiest and most lively. It is famous for its part vibes and music continuing late into the night. If you are into your party scene then this is the island for you. Gili Meno is the complete opposite to Gili Trawangan. Being the least popular of the three Gili islands, Gili Meno is the least structurally developed and least touristy. Your time here will be the most authentically Indonesian out of the three Gili islands, however because of this you will struggle to find a lively, late night bar to relax in. Gili Air is the “just right” island of the three Gili islands. It is not too busy, yet not too quiet either. It is not complete with stone and brick buildings, yet it is not entirely built out of wood and bamboo. Gili Air has the perfect balance between late night entertain and a peaceful evening without blaring music.  
A drone shot of the Gili Air beaches
The blue waters of Gili Air are enough to make anyone fall in love.
   

Full Guide to Gili Trawangan

The island most known for its nightlife and sunsets, Gili Trawangan (also know as Gili T), is the largest of the 3 islands and therefore the most built up and popular island to visit. If you are wanting to explore the nightlife and the tours, the best area to stay in Gili Trawangan is on the sea front on the port side of the island. If you are looking for a more chilled out break, then the other side of the island may be quieter. Here you are more likely to find chill beaches, sunset swings and reggae bars to relax in the sun. We would recommend staying on Gili Trawangan for three nights, meaning you will have time to experience every aspect of Gili T life and still have time to relax. If you are not sure about how long to spend, we recommend booking two nights here and then extending further if you wish. There is so much accommodation on the islands, extending your stay should not be an issue. Read below to see options for the best accommodation on Gili Trawangan for any traveller.  

Before you set off on your adventure to these paradise islands, make sure you have everything you need! Download our FREE printable packing list, with all of the items you will need to pack, as well as some other useful tips about the islands.

 
Map of gili trawangan
All the best spots on Gili T.
   

Best Accommodation on Gili Trawangan

There is a huge range of accommodation on the Gili T island, from hostels and Lumpungs, to resorts of all levels of luxury.  The value for money is exceptional in Indonesia, so if you are wanting to experience high-end, lush and nominally out-of-budget accommodation, Indonesia is the place to do it! Luxury – One of the most beautiful accommodations on the island is Villa Ombak . Located on the port side of the island this place is easily accessible to the beach, ferry and plenty of bars and restaurants. You can book your stay at Villa Ombak here Mid-range – Uber Scuba offers cheap accommodation and the option of taking a variety of scuba diving courses during your stay. You can book your stay at Uber Scuba here. Budget – If you are willing to share a room with others, you accommodation will set you back around £5 per night for 2 people per night. Little Woodstock Homestay even has a pool! You can book you stay at Little Woodwork Homestay it here.   If hostels are more your scene then good news! Gili T is chock full of funky, cheap and some down-right mad hostel accommodation options. Browse all of the best hostels right here.

How to get around Gili Trawangan

Motorised vehicles are prohibited on the Gili Islands, so the easiest way to get around is by renting a bicycle. This will set you back around £2.70. If cycling isn’t your thing, it is perfectly easy to walk around the island at 3km long and 2km wide, it won’t take you long to get around by foot. There are also a huge number of over-worked and abused horses that ferry people around the islands. Although there are tasks that simply can’t be done without the use of these animals (ie. transporting goods, bricks and wood), giving lazy tourists a lift because they don’t want to walk is not one of them. During your stay in the Gili Islands, please refrain from using the horse and carriage system that is in place. Take the walk and admire the beautiful beaches.  
Picture of the horses of Gili T
The main strip of Gili T is full of these poor, over-worked horses.
   

Best Gili Trawangan Restaurants

There are many bars and restaurants lining the beach, accompanied by live music and entertainment throughout the evening. With a large selection of bars and restaurants on the island, from local warungs, to more built-up, expensive restaurants, you will have plenty of options. There is also a night market on near the harbour every evening serving food. You can get a good portion of Mie Goreng vegetarian (Indonesian noodles and vegetables) here for 80p. Bargain! If live music is your thing, you will not be disappointed on Gili T, the talent on the island is phenomenal! There are happy hours on throughout the evening and even when happy hour is over, you can’t go wrong with a cheap Bintang and some live music. Try out Sama Sama Reggae Bar and Irish Bar for some outstanding local talent. On our second trip to Gili T we made sure that we would be there on a Monday night to see a local guy, Rizal Alfero, perform. You can check out Rizal’s live music here. Some of the music can go on late so if you are an early nighter and early riser like us, we would recommend bringing ear plugs with you to drown out any faint noise of music.  

Things to do on Gili Trawangan

Coffee and Chill – If you are looking for a chill coffee shop in the day with WiFi and air con, we can recommend Coffee&Thyme. This had just opened when we arrived on Gili T and the staff (just like every other Indonesian we have met) were incredibly friendly and accommodating. There is a large selection of vegan options and all of the cakes are vegan friendly too.   Gili Trawangan Snorkelling Tour – There are plenty of stalls around the island offering snorkelling tours to swim with the turtles and to see the underwater statues. This is a fantastic experience, however be prepared for the crowds that come along with it. During the morning and afternoon hours the dives spots are swamped by up to 50 people, all swimming around on top of each other. This is especially bad at the Gili Meno Underwater Statues, where there are sometimes HUNDREDS of people there at the same time. If you are not an experienced swimmer in the sea, this tour is perfect for you. You will be given snorkel and mask, fins and even a life jacket if required. You will stop at 3 spots and another island for lunch before returning back. This tour will cost you about £5.50, plus lunch and water. If you are looking to do this snorkelling experience without a tour so you can avoid the busy periods, there are also plenty of places to rent a snorkel, mask and fins for £2.70. Read more about your Gili T Snorkel trip here.  
Snorkeling with Gili Air turtles
Swimming with one of the famous Gili Air turtles.
    Gili T Diving – Did you know that Gili Trawangan is one of the most famous diving destinations in the whole of Asia? As you walk along the main strip on the island you will see signs offering diving courses and sessions left right and centre! We didn’t have time to experience the famous Gili T diving on this trip, however our next trip will definitely involve some more underwater action.   Massages in Gili Trawangan –  There are many places around the coast of Gili T for a massage. You can go into a shop or you could choose to have one on the beach. You can expect to pay around £4 for an hours massage.   Gili T Sunset – The sunset from Gili T is one you don’t want to miss. There are swings situated out at sea for the perfect sunset instagram photo. If you choose to sit on the bean bags by the beach, be prepared to pay more than other bars on the island for a drink. If you have a towel or blanket with you and are looking to save a bit of money, we would recommend finding a quieter spot and buying a drink from one of the local shops. Read more about the Gili T sunset swings here.
  Gili T Nightlife – One area in which Gili T sets itself above the rest of the Gili’s is its incredible nightlife. Famous for being the party island of the Gili trio, Gili T has more bars, restaurants and nightclubs than the other islands do chickens! The music plays loud and late, perfect if you are a night owl and enjoy dancing. Even if you are not into club music, the live music scene on Gili T is simply amazing. Sama Sama Reggae Bar regularly puts on live shows, as does the Irish bar, Tirna Nog. Read more about the Gili T nightlife here.  
Gili t sunset
One of the best sunsets of your life awaits.
   

The Gili Trawangan Hospital

If you injure yourself during your trip to Gili Trawangan there are many 24 hour medical centres available along the port side of the island. If you are wanting to claim the cost of this back on your travel insurance, keep in mind that you may need a doctors note as proof of your appointment.  

ATMs on Gili Trawangan

There are plenty of ATM’s around Gili T so you should never be stuck for cash. Most places around Indonesia will either charge extra for card payments or they won’t accept them. If you are travelling from the UK and are stuck for the best bank account to use, check out the best bank accounts for travellers to avoid paying withdrawal fees and rubbish conversion rates whilst travelling.    

Full Guide to Gili Meno

Gili Meno tends to be described as the honeymoon island of the three Gili’s. It is the second largest of the three islands, although the quietest out of the three. We chose to stay on this island as it is the easiest and cheapest way to access the Gili Meno underwater statues. Gili Meno is a lot quieter and there appeared to be more local warungs than built up restaurants, and more home stays than resorts. We would recommend spending just one night on Gili Meno, however it should be relatively easy to extend your stay here if you change your mind.  

Before you set off on your adventure to these paradise islands, make sure you have everything you need! Download our FREE printable packing list, with all of the items you will need to pack, as well as some other useful tips about the islands.

 
Gili Meno map
All the best sights on Gili Meno.
   

Gili Meno Accommodation

Luxury – If you are looking for the perfect place to relax on your next trip to Gili Meno, United Colors of Gili offers you a hot tub and a swimming pool along with your free wifi and air conditioning. You can book your stay at United Colors of Gili here. Mid-range – II Bungalow will provide you with hot showers, wifi and air conditioning for a cheap price. It is also located close to the beach and a variety of restaurants. You can book your stay at II Bungalow here. Budget – Turtle Gili Meno Bungalows are the perfect budget get away to this beautiful island. With AC, a private terrace and even included breakfast, you will be living luxury on a budget. You can book your stay at Turtle Gili Meno Bungalows here.   If hostels are more your scene then good news! Gili Meno has a few hostels to choose from for a more social accommodation option. Browse all of the best hostels right here.  

How to get around Gili Meno

Motorised vehicles are prohibited on the Gili Islands, the easiest way to get around is by renting a bicycle. This will set you back around £2.70. If cycling isn’t your thing, it is perfectly easy to walk around the island as it is flat and will take around an hour and a half. There are also a huge number of over-worked and abused horses that ferry people around the islands. Although there are tasks that simply can’t be done without the use of these animals (ie. transporting goods, bricks and wood), giving lazy tourists a lift because they don’t want to walk is not one of them. During your stay in the Gili Islands, please refrain from using the horse and carriage system that is in place. Take the walk and admire the beautiful beaches.  
rent a bike on gili meno
The easiest and most fun way to get around Gili Meno is by bike.
   

Gili Meno Restaurants

Gili Meno doesn’t have as big a restaurant selection as Gili Trawangan, nonetheless there are still have plenty of places to choose from. Walk around the coastline and you will come across many warungs and some larger restaurants as well. Some of the best restaurants on the island are Little Bali Restaurant, Karma Beach and Ya Ya Warung.  

Gili Meno Things to do

Gili Meno Snorkelling – There are plenty of stalls around the island offering snorkelling tours to see swim with the turtles and to see the Gili Meno underwater statues. This is a fantastic experience, however, be prepared for the crowds that come along with it. This should cost you around £5.50. If you are not an experienced swimmer in the sea, this tour is perfect for you. You will be given snorkel and mask, fins and a life jacket if required. You will stop at 3 spots and another island for lunch before returning back. If you are looking to do this snorkelling experience without a tour so you can avoid the busy periods, there are also plenty of places to rent a snorkel, mask and fins for £2.70. We spent the night on Gili Meno to allow us to snorkel at the underwater statues at sunrise and sunset and avoid the crowds during the day. We rented the equipment from out accommodation and looked out for the large white sign on the beach, saying BASK, facing Gili T. There is a lot of coral on the beach here so it is quite uncomfortable to walk out, even with fins on. Eventually you will be able to swim out to the statues and they are around 20m offshore. If you choose to do this, you are doing so at your own risk, as there are no lifeguards around to help you. Take care! Read more about your Gili Meno Snorkel Trip here.  
Fish swim around the underwater statues
Wildlife reclaims the underwater statues.
  Gili Meno Diving – As mentioned above, there are many dive spots around the Gili Islands. On the port side of  Gili Meno, you will find some signs for diving, both courses and just day trips.   Gili Meno Sunset – For us, the best place to watch the sun go down was around the underwater statues. The colours of the sky reflecting on the water, lighting up the underwater marvel is simply stunning. We could have spent every night of our Gili trip here admiring its beauty. The beach on this side of the island is mainly comprised of broken coral, so it is not comfortable on the feet at all. We recommend renting fins or wearing shoes to get out to the statues.   Gili Meno Beaches – If you are wanting to relax on the beach in Gili Meno and go for a swim, the ferry port side of the island would be our preferred spot. The sand is soft, compared to the mountains of coral on the Gili T side of the island and the water is a gorgeous turquoise colour.  
Best Beaches in Gili Meno
Stunning beaches and blue water await on Gili Meno.
 

Hospital on Gili Meno

If you injure yourself during your time on Gili Meno, there is a 24 hour medical centre on the available along the port side of the island. If you are wanting to claim the cost of this back on your travel insurance, keep in mind that you may need a Doctors note as proof of your appointment.  

ATMs on Gili Meno

We didn’t come across very many ATM’s on Gili Meno, however the ones we did find were at the ferry port side of the island. We would recommend making sure you have plenty cash with you if you stay on Gili Meno, just in case the ATM machines are out of order. Most places around Indonesia will either charge extra for card payments or they won’t accept them. So extra cash is always helpful when travelling Bali and Indonesia. If you are travelling from the UK and are stuck for the best bank account to use, check out the best bank accounts for travellers to avoid paying withdrawal fees and rubbish conversion rates whilst travelling.    

Full Guide to Gili Air

The smallest of the Gili archipelagos is Gili Air, also known as the retiree island. Of course, these islands aren’t exclusive to the older travellers as there is still a unique buzz about the place. You may think that because this island is the smallest of the three that it would be the quietest. This definitely isn’t the case, however, as it seemed that Gili Air had the quaint feel of Gili Meno, but still had the nightlife of Gili Meno. This seemed to be the “Golidilocks island” for us, not too busy, not too quiet, just right! We would recommend staying here for two nights, however there are so many accommodation options that it should be relatively easy to extend your stay, if you change your mind.  

Before you set off on your adventure to these paradise islands, make sure you have everything you need! Download our FREE printable packing list, with all of the items you will need to pack, as well as some other useful tips about the islands.

 
Gili Air map
All the best sights on Gili Air.
   

Gili Air Accommodation

Luxury – Grand Sunset Gili Air is the perfect place to stay and watch the sunset. Just a 5m walk from the beach, this hotel is perfect for those wanting to relax with a beer on the beach, or swim with the turtles in the sea. Book your stay at the Grand Sunset Gili Air here. Mid-range – Want to stay in a jungle bungalow by the sea? Bagus Village offers private rooms overlooking the greenery just a 7 minute walk from the beach. You can book your stay at Bagus Village here. Budget – For a cheap place to stay, check out Mama Homestay in the centre of Gili Air. This was our favourite accommodation, with fantastic wifi, a private double room and even an incredible onsite mexican/balinese restaurant. You can book your stay at Mama Homestay trip here.   If hostels are more your scene then good news! Gili Air has a few hostels to choose from for a more social accommodation option. Browse all of the best hostels right here.  

How to get around Gili Air

Motorised vehicles are prohibited on the Gili Islands, the easiest way to get around is by renting a bicycle. This will set you back around £2.70. If cycling isn’t your thing, it is perfectly easy to walk around the island as it is flat and will take around one hour. There are also a huge number of over-worked and abused horses that ferry people around the islands. Although there are tasks that simply can’t be done without the use of these animals (ie. transporting goods, bricks and wood), giving lazy tourists a lift because they don’t want to walk is not one of them. During your stay in the Gili Islands, please refrain from using the horse and carriage system that is in place. Take the walk and admire the beautiful beaches.
beach road of gili air
Gili Air’s quaint sand roads.
   

Gili Air Restaurants

There are plenty of places to eat and drink on Gili Air, we can highly recommend checking out Warung Mexicana which does amazing tempe burritos and falafel burgers. It is also incredibly cheap! There are also loads of traditional warungs run by local families spread aroudn the island. We recommend using these for the more traditional Indonesian experience, and also to help support the local communities. For a drink, head round to the east side of the island and chill out on a lumpung with a cheap Bintang. You can even scrub up on your Indonesian language skills there, whilst you chat and share a laugh with the locals.  

Things to Do in Gili Air

Snorkelling on Gili Air – There are plenty of stalls around the island offering snorkelling tours to see swim with the turtles and to see the Gili Meno underwater statues. This is a fantastic experience, however, be prepared for the crowds that come along with it. This should cost you around £5.50. If you are not an experienced swimmer in the sea, this tour is perfect for you. You will be given snorkel and mask, fins and a life jacket if required. You will stop at 3 spots and another island for lunch before returning back. If you are looking to do this snorkelling experience without a tour so you can avoid the busy periods, there are also plenty of places to rent a snorkel, mask and fins for £2.70.  
A Gili Air turtle sitting on the sea floor
Wildlife of all shapes and sizes lies in wait.
  Go to the beach – The sand is soft all around the island, so why not make the most of the warm ocean and go for a swim in the sea.   Enjoy a movie on the beach – Walk along past the port with the sea on your left, and you will soon reach an old hotel that is being rebuilt. Here they offer a nightly movie under the stars, costing around £2.70 for the movie and a bean bag. The funds raised here are put towards rebuilding the islands infrastructure after the 2018 Lombok earthquake.   Beach Clean – Every Thursday, Two Fish Divers host a beach clean on Gili Air. Gloves, bags and litter pickers are provided and at the end you will be rewarded with a free Bintang! Saving the planet never felt so good!   Coffee and Chill – If you are looking for a chill coffee shop in the day with good WiFi, we can recommend Coffee&Thyme. We stopped in here before getting the ferry from Gili Air to Nusa Lembongan and the staff (just like every other Indonesian we have met) were been so friendly and accommodating and will let you know when it is time for you to go to your ferry. There is a large selection of vegan options and all of the cakes are vegan friendly too.  

Hospitals on Gili Air

If you injure yourself during your time on Gili Air, there are 24 hour medical centres available on the island. If you are wanting to claim the cost of this back on your travel insurance, keep in mind that you may need a Doctors note as proof of your appointment.  

ATMs on Gili Air

The majority of ATM’s we came across on Gili Air were on the ferry port side of the island. Due to the popularity of Gili Air, you should not have a problem finding an ATM on this island, however make sure you have some spare cash with you just in case. If you are travelling from the UK and are stuck for the best bank account to use, check out the best bank accounts for travellers to avoid paying withdrawal fees and rubbish conversion rates whilst travelling.  
Golden Gili Air beaches
The golden sands of Gili Air beaches.
   

Things to Consider for Your Gili Islands Trip

Call to Prayer – The religion on the Gili Islands is predominantly Muslim. Therefore, throughout the day there will be prayer calls from the mosques scattered around the islands. Depending on where you are on the island, these can be quite loud. If you don’t want to be woken up around 5am, bring earplugs with you. We would also advise that you visit these islands out-with the time of Ramadan, if possible, as it may be more difficult to find food and drink during daylight hours, as the locals will be fasting.   Horse and Carriage – There are no motorised vehicles on the Gili Islands, therefore the modes of transport are by foot, bicycle or horse and carriage. The house and carriages are required for a lot of manual lifting tasks that are simply impossible to perform by hand, for example supplying bricks and other building materials. However, they are also used for transporting tourists around the island, a task that is completely avoidable and unnecessary. Upon your visit to the Gilis, DO NOT USE THE HORSE AND CARRIAGES. Save these poor creatures the work and use your legs. It is good for you!   Sunscreen Cost – The cost of sunscreen in Bali and the Gili Islands is extortionate. If you are bringing hold-luggage, we would recommend that you bring extra with you to so you can avoid buying it when you are in Indonesia.   Accommodation Mix Ups – When you are booking your accommodation, make sure that you book it for the right island. This might sound silly, however when we searched for accommodation on Gili Meno, we assumed that our accommodation would be on that island. It wasn’t until we couldn’t find it on Gili Meno that we looked further into it and found out that the address was on Gili Air, but the location on the map was Gili T. Confusing I know, but because the islands are so close together, Google Maps sometimes struggles to differentiate between the different islands. It is also worth checking that your accommodation has recent reviews or you know someone that has been recently. We tried to find our accommodation on Gili T, which turned out to be non existent. We believe it may have collapsed during the earthquake of 2018. Thankfully this was a free cancellation on booking.com! If you are booking your accommodation through Airbnb and there is more than two of you, there could be a chance that the price you have paid on line is only for one room. This has happened to us and we have turned up to the accommodation and been asked to pay more. There are plenty of accommodations on the Gili Islands with signs outside offering walk in last minute deals, so if you do find yourself stranded, it will not take you long to find a bed for the night.   Showers on the Gili Islands – When travelling Bali and the Gili Islands, not all accommodation will provide a hot shower. Sometimes a cold shower can be very refreshing, after a hot day out in the sun, however when you are looking forward to washing your hair this is a big downer..   Snacks – If you think you will be buying snacks on the islands, we would recommend doing so on mainland and bringing them over with you. The prices you will pay at the convenience stores on the island are 150-200% of that on the mainland.   Drug Policies of Indonesia – It is likely that you will be offered mushrooms at least once on your Gili Islands trip. Especially on Gili T, dealers line the streets and shout to you as you walk past. It is extremely important that you DO NOT OBLIGE. Being caught with drugs in Indonesia can result in the death penalty. It may seem like there are no police on the island, however there are stories of police working undercover to catch people buying drugs, so you truly never know. It is also wise to make sure you don’t leave your drink unattended as it has been known for people to spike others drinks with a substance in eye drops bottles. It may seem like a paradise island, however caution should be taken just like anywhere else in the world. Bad people exist on every corner of the map.  
Gili Air sunset
The sun sets on another day in paradise.
   

Are the Gili Islands Safe? Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Indonesia lies in the centre of the Ring of Fire, meaning it can be prone to earthquakes. Unfortunately, in August 2018, Lombok and the Gili Islands were affected by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake. This destroyed the lives of many, with homes, cafes, restuarants, bars and even places of worship collapsing. The Gili Islands were closed to tourists for 4 months whilst the locals tried to rebuild their lives. Following on from this, the tourism has dropped significantly, which is believed to be due to the tourists fearing to go in case a natural disaster occurs again. From first hand experience, it was devastating to see how much this lack of tourism was affecting the locals. For some, the monthly wage is as low as £10, with tips from tourism being the only thing that helps them to feed their families. There is no current warning against travelling to Lombok or the Gili islands, so we would highly recommend you to visit there. As with any place of risk, it is important to regularly check for updates on the situation on the Gili Islands, as well as to make sure that you are prepared for the situation that something happens. Put together an evacuation plan with the rest of your party and make sure everyone knows what they are doing, ESPECIALLY if you are travelling with children.    

Before you set off on your adventure to these paradise islands, make sure you have everything you need! Download our FREE printable packing list, with all of the items you will need to pack, as well as some other useful tips about the islands.

  There you have it, your ultimate guide to the Gili Islands. If you have recently gone on a trip to Bali yourself, let us know your favourite sights and activities in the comments section below. Where was your favourite part of the Gili Isalnds? What activity will you remember the most? Is there any advice you wish you knew before you left? You can also check out our Bali Youtube series, jam packed with information and inspiration for your trip! Also remember that sharing is caring! Share this post with your family and friends, so they can get planning a trip of their own to this beautiful part of the world. If you found this guide useful, check out our other Indonesia content to plan the rest of your trip over here. Catch up with us on social media and tag us in your Bali photos and we will share them with our community of adventurers.     Read Now:     

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