Gili means a small island in the native Sasak language, all the small islands off the coast of Lombok are called Gili. Gili Islands generally refers to the islands off the northwest coast of Lombok. There are three islands that are prefect for snorkeling and scuba diving; Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. These three islands are also perfect for water sports or just relaxing. No cars, no motorbikes on the island and also no ATM machines! Make sure you take enough cash for your trip.
Well, local people on the Gili Islands are pretty nice. Some guys roaming the beach selling pearl necklaces, coral jewelry and all sorts. However, these guys are mostly harmless and don’t hassle you like in Jakarta or other parts of Indonesia (in my experience). The biggest difference between the islands is the nightlife. Gili Trawangan has alot of bars and late night restaurants, beside, the most peaceful of the islands is Gili Meno with no night life to speak of so no loud music that are waking you up with their yelling and singing.
Gili Islands have great dive and snorkeling locations, all have PADI dive centres for dive trips and PADI dive course in each of the Island! What a great place to learn dive! Do not worry to think or organize your own snorkel or dive trip in Gili’s. There are signs everywhere advertising and pointing you to the offices to book a trip. A snorkel trip around the islands will cost only $7 per person. You can hire a boat and driver to you take you around the islands for around $35 for half a day.
HOW TO GET HERE
The main point to get to the Gili Islands is Bangsal, 25km north of Senggigi in Lombok. There are 3 public ferries each day going to the Gili Islands for $1 per person. The public ferries leave at 9am, 2pm and 5pm. The ferry takes about 30 minutes. There is also a shuttle ferry which leaves Bangsal Habour in Lombok at 12 noon and costs $ 2 per person. After reach ‘Pelabuhan Bangsal’ (it is a Harbour actually), you’ll need to bargain to hire a car. Cost is around $14 to get from Bangsal Harbour to Senggigi/Mataram.
There are also increasing number of boats from Bali going directly to Gili Trawangan. Gili Fast Boats can arrange pick up from your hotel in Bali, taken to the ferry port and then taken by ferry to any of the islands. The ferry trip takes around 2 hours. Price is US$75 one way. www.gili-fastboat.com
Gili Cat Island Express have a boat leaving Padang Bai in Bali going via Teluk Koda harbour in Lombok and the on to Gili Trawangan leaving Bali at 9.00am though you need to be at Padang Bai harbour by 8.30am. Trip time to Gili Trawangan is 2hrs. Prices is 660,000Rp one way for adults and 495,000Rp for children. The price includes pickup from Sanur, Kuta, Seminyak and Ubud areas. Gili Cat have an office in Sanur. www.gilicat.com
Eka Jaya Fast Boats leave Bali at Padang Bai and go directly to Gili Trawangan for 660,000Rp (US$66) or return fair for 1,200,000Rp (US$120) crossing time is around 1 hour. They also can pick you up from various locations in Bali including Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur, Jimbaran, Nusa Dua, Denpasar and Ubud. www.ekajayafastboat.com
There are shuttle boats traveling between the 3 Gili islands so it’s very easy to go do a day trip to one of the other islands. The boat schedule is:
- Gili Trawangan to Gili Meno Departs 9.30am and 3.30pm
- Gili Meno to Gili Air Departs 9.50am and 4.20pm
- Gili Air to Gili Meno Departs 8.30am and 3pm.
- Gili Meno to Gili Trawangan Departs 8.50am and 3.20pm.