Regarding tourist paradise in Indonesia, surely people will remind of Bali or Lombok islands because they are so famous. But there are also “hidden” paradise that only a few people know. Have you heard of the Gili archipelago located next to the Lombok island? Tourism in the Gili Islands does not develop “as fierce” as Bali or Lombok. In return, this makes the wild and peaceful beauty of the Gili Islands. Nature here is extremely beautiful, gentle people and prices are “soft” than the big islands. This is truly a tourist paradise for those who want to “escape from the world”.
1. Gili & Lombok location
Lombok is located to the east of Bali and is less known than other floating islands. This place does not have many outstanding activities at night but in return, the beaches here possess a very unique beauty that no other place has.
The Gili Islands is an archipelago that belongs to Lombok island administratively. Gili Islands consists of three small islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air, located in the northwestern part of Lombok Island, Indonesia. Among them:
Gili Trawangan (aka Gili T) is the largest island with the most entertainment and entertainment services.
Gili Meno (also known as Gili M) is the youngest, has the smallest area in the “family” of the Gili Islands. Gili Meno is like Robinson Island because the island is really deserted.
Finally, Gili Air, the island has the second largest area in the archipelago and also has many resorts and entertainment.
2. The best time to visit Lombok & Gili
July, August, September, and December: These months have nice weather, but because it is the peak season, you need to book flights and accommodation early.
3. How to get to Lombok and Gili?
Lombok has an international airport with flights from cities in Indonesia every day. In addition, the number of direct international flights to Lombok is also increasing.
From Bali, you can also take a train to Lombok. From Padangbai will take more than 1 hour, from Nusa Lembongan, will take about 2 hours. Of course, you can also take a boat from the Gili Islands and only takes half an hour to reach Lombok.
To get to Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air islands, the first thing you have to do is take a flight to Bali or Lombok island. Because the Gili Islands are located near Lombok, the most convenient way is to fly to Lombok and then take a train to Gili.
From Bali to Gili Islands: from Bali, you have to go to Lombok and then to the Gili Islands. There are several ways to go from Bali to Lombok:
Plane: this is the fastest transportation between Bali and Lombok. Flight time is only 30 minutes and many domestic airlines of Indonesia operate this route.
High-speed trains: high-speed trains traveling from Bali to Lombok will take about 1 hour 30 minutes. Departure from Amed or Padang Bai (I recommend going from Amed because of the shortest way). Pacha Express is a reputable and safe carrier, departing from Amed. From Padang Bai, you can book tickets from Blue Water Express.
In addition, there are private yachts and helicopters from the island of Bali to Lombok.
From Lombok Island to the Gili Islands: from Lombok Island, there is only one way to get to the Gili Islands by boat.
Depart at 8 am and 16:30.
Location: Bangsal harbor, Lombok.
Ticket price: IDR 10,000 (~ 17,000 VND).
Running time: 2 hours
Alternatively, you can rent a private boat to get to Gili Island, but these private businesses are not sure what safety standards are.
4. How to move between the three islands Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air
From Lombok you will arrive at Gili T, then small boats will take you to other islands. Buy tickets and get on board at the harbor on each island. The ticket price is only from 1.5 EUR.
Renting a boat of 10 people traveling between islands will reach 250,000 IDR Because the islands are very close to each other, the travel time between each island is only about 10 minutes. If you go from Gili Trawangan to Gili Air it will take 20 minutes.
5. Certain things to do in Lombok and Gili
Near Mataram is a seaside resort in Senggigi. This is a popular destination in Lombok but for us, this place is not really beautiful compared to the rest of Bali. Therefore, if you need to relax for a few days, you can come to Senggigi, but if to explore the cultural features and enjoy beauty, we think Senggigi is not really the right place.
Kuta in Lombok is definitely not comparable with Bali’s Kuta in terms of excitement. Lombok is quieter and more fun. You will find here many beautiful beaches, unspoiled and very suitable for practicing surfing.
If you start to get bored with the beaches, you can go to the mainland to Gunung Rinjani National Park. Gunung Rinjani is the second-highest volcano in Indonesia that contains many interesting things. It is also a favorite destination for wildlife lovers and has the desire to learn about natural ecosystems as well as traditional craft villages. However, Rinjani is not a place you can conquer within hours like Bromo, in fact, tours take about 3 days / 2 nights to conquer this mountain with challenging climbing journeys. But in return, you will be satisfied after conquering the peak.
Tired of the islands in Lombok? Then come to the mainland to visit Tetebatu – the village located at the foot of Gunung Rinjani characterized by cool climate, beautiful scenery, and great sightseeing promenade.
Trips along the coast
The beautiful coastline of Lombok is where you can wander on a scooter to discover beautiful frames, impressive cliffs, and pristine beaches like never before found by humans.
Scuba diving on Gili Trawangan Island
The sea in the Gili Islands is blue and clear as a pearl. So it is a waste of heaven to come here without participating in scuba diving or snorkeling activities. Across the Gili Islands, there are many diving sites suitable for everyone.
The most beautiful diving sites are located in the northwestern part of Gili Trawangan Island, the seawater here is extremely clear. Here you can snorkel (snorkeling) watching the sea creatures. If you’re lucky you will meet fish like Finding Nemo. If you’re quite lazy to the north of the island to snorkel, you can still dive on the beaches of Gili Trawangan Island.
Diving to see artifacts on Gili Meno Island
Bounty Wreck is a famous diving spot on the island of Gili Meno, where you will discover many interesting things. With a depth of 12-20 m, Bounty Wreck is suitable for beginner divers to advanced scuba divers.
At Bounty Wreck, you will not only admire the beautiful sea creatures but the special thing here is the undersea artifacts such as boats, motorbikes … Discovering the seabed at Bounty Wreck is not only an exciting and unique experience that guarantees you the cool shots here.
Check-in at magical swings and hammock
The most famous image on Gili Island is the hammocks and swings in the middle of the clear blue sea, looking extremely peaceful. Most people who visit the Gili Islands have this legendary photo check-in.
At different times of the day, there will be different pictures. During the day when the sky is clear, you will see the sky and the sea are clean and clear. And at sunset, the sky on Gili Island reddened, creating a breathtakingly beautiful scene.
Places to find this magical swing: The Exile, Ombak Sunset Resort, Pandawa Resort, Gili Trawangan Island.
Horse riding at sea
Horse riding along the coast is one of the interesting activities not to be missed on Gili Trawangan Island. You can ride horses and morning or afternoon, but the best time is sunrise and sunset.
If you’ve never experienced riding, don’t worry, these horses have been trained and will have a guide to accompany you. At Gili Trawangan beach, near Ombak Sunset Resort you’ll find rental services and horse-riding guides. Two reputable services on the island are Sunset Stables and Stud Stables.
Bike around the island
With an area not too large you can explore the islands by motorbike. Otherwise, bicycles are also a good choice but also environmentally friendly. On the island, there is no shortage of super nice roads, flanked by tall coconut trees for you to walk around. When cycling around, you’ll discover many great places or bars.
Life on Gili Island is not boring because there are always many activities. If you have free time, you can take part in yoga classes at sea, both relax and improve your health.