Gili Islands: Hidden Paradise in Indonesia

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There is a new buzz going around the island community about a trio of islands in Indonesia that may be more beautiful than one can even imagine and offer a little something for everyone.  These three islands gaining more and more attention are located off the coast of Bali and are known as the Gili Islands.

The Gilis (are they are more commonly referred to) consist of Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, and Gili Menos.
All are small enough to walk around in a few hours, and these islands will inspire you with their white sand beaches and clear warm waters.  If you find yourself in their vicinity they are must-go attraction as their popularity is just now growing leaving ample deserted beach for you and your book to share.

In general, the Gili Islands are great for diving and opportunities for dive trips and dive certification classes are plentiful.  They also offer great snorkeling and you can partake in a glass-bottom boat snorkeling trip around the islands or just rent a snorkel and mask on the beach and head out into the open waters.

Another great thing about the islands is that there are no motor vehicles!  A much welcomed change especially for those coming from the busy streets of Ubud or Kuta on Bali. The peaceful silence of the roads are only broken by the clomp of the horse drawn carts used for transport around the islands. Bikes are also available to rent although the paths are a bit bumpy and the deep sand in some parts makes for quite the struggle.

Gili Trawangan (The Party Island)

Gili T (as it is referred to by the locals) has gained a reputation as the party island.  Popular with Australian tourists the island lives up to its rep and can offer you a good time both in and out of the bar.  The main street is decorated with beachfront accommodations, small restaurants, and endless dive shops.  If you want to have company on the beach with you and be able to party into the night then this is the island for you.

Gili Air (The Balanced Island)

Gili Air offers a lower key vibe than Gili T but still has restaurants available to keep your social life in check.  More popular are the mostly unoccupied white sand beaches.  It also is home to a yoga studio in case some spiritual serenity is what you are after.

Gili Menos (The Quiet island)


Gili Menos is where you come for solitude.  The least developed of the three islands, Gili Menos offers long strips of deserted white sand beaches for you to enjoy.  If you are accompanied by a partner this is also the perfect romantic getaway spot.

And if you can’t decide which island might suit you best, do not fret as island hopping is easily done with various companies offering transfers everyday from island to island.

How to Get There

You can take a fast boat from Bali to the Gili islands. Companies that operate these boats include Blue Water Express, Gili Cat Island Express, Gili Getaway, Gili Gili, and a handful of others. The cost is around 690,000 RP.

Creative Commons License photo credit: nattu

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About Author

Since a young age, Carrie has had a strange love for airports and the excitement they exude. Her first big international adventure was a trip to Japan with her brother during her senior year of high school. The trip ignited her sense of adventure and since then she has jumped at every opportunity to explore new lands. Carrie graduated with a B.S. in biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2010 and currently works in San Diego doing Autism research. In the Fall of 2011, she became a certified yoga instructor, the training further inspired her to explore this majestic world. So as the walls of the research laboratory began to feel especially confining, Carrie gave notice to leave her job and the comforts of her hometown. She has reinvigorated her passion for writing and hopes to incorporate it and her love for yoga in her upcoming travels to Bali, Thailand, and Taiwan this summer.

2 Comments

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