If you’re heading to Bali, you have to give yourself a few days at least on the Gili Islands. There are 3 Gili Islands; Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno. We stayed on Gili Trawangan or ‘Gili T’.
To get here you have to get a boat from Bali. You can get a slow boat or a fast boat. It is worth paying the extra if you can afford it to get the fast boat because not only does it save time but the small boats can be quite rocky and old. The boats go from loads of places in Bali. You can book your tickets online with www.gilibooking.com where prices range from $20-$49 one way or www.gilitickets.com which is slightly cheaper. The boats tend to leave early in the morning so make sure if you’re booking in advance you leave yourself enough time to get to the port.
When you get to the island, you will see that there are no cars, just bikes and horses to get around. You can easily get a horse and carriage or tuk tuk to get to your hotel. There are two sides of the island. The side where the boat docks is the more lively and busier side but if you go around the opposite side it has higher quality hotels and is quieter.
Booking accommodation early is recommended here. The island is small and the nice accommodation books out. We had one night in a not so nice B and B! For the rest of the time we stayed in Gili Divers. It was right on the beach, had its own pool and was very clean and safe. From here we were able to organise dive trips and snorkelling trips. If you’re a beginner diver or experienced, Gili Divers can take you diving and it is definitely worth it because the water is so clear here. Tir na nOg Hostel is a cheaper option for accommodation that seemed to be popular while we were there. They have rooms and villas available.
While you’re here, boat trips to see the other islands are a great thing to do too. You can snorkel, dive, paddle board or else go on a party boat. Hotels will arrange these or there are offices around the town that organise trips. Have a look around and get the best price. We booked our trips with Gili Divers, where we were staying.
Some of the sunsets and sunrises that I saw in Gili T were the nicest i have ever seen. Make sure that you get up early to catch a sunrise. For sunset, we rented bikes and cycled to the other side of the island to catch the sunset. There are loads of nice restaurants on the beach where you can sit and take it all in. Here’s a list of the best restaurants.
Gili T also has the famous swing in the water. This is on the far side of the island and there are now a number of them there. You can get a horse to take you there or cycle there and spend the day at the beach. It is a great photo op. We were lucky it wasn’t busy when we were there so we got to chill on the swing for a while, sometimes there can be lots of people waiting to get their photo.
Cooking courses are on offer on the island too. If you’re a foodie or just want to experience something new, it is a great thing to do. Even if you never cook the food again, it is an enjoyable evening and you get to eat everything you make. Check out Gili Cooking School.
There are a number of bars on the island. Every night a different bar is the late bar so that they’re all not competing and there is always one busy place. The island is quite small after all. There are bars that are on the beach view nice views or that have beer pong tables so it caters to all needs.
- Just like in Bali, be careful with the water. The water here isn’t safe to drink and can cause Bali Belly. Even when brushing your teeth I would advise using bottled water. We met an English man that lived there and he recommended drinking a shot of undiluted cordial every morning to prevent Bali Belly. We didn’t try it but if you’re worried about getting sick it’s worth a shot!
- Book your accommodation early! The island is small.
- Again, just like in Bali, choose the imported vodka rather than local. It’s all cheap anyway and the extra money is worth it to avoid ethanol poisoning.
- Check out my Bali post. Both trips can be done together.
Top Tip Traveller 🙂