An easy getaway from the tourists and busy streets of Seminyak or Kuta, the Gili Islands offer a slower pace and an island vibe off the mainland of Lombok that feels a million miles away from Bali. While Gili Trawangan is the busiest and most built up of the three Gili Islands, it’s still the barefoot island you’re looking for, with no motor vehicles and local cows wandering around the middle of the island.
Location: Off the Northwest coast of Lombok, Indonesia.
Time Zone: Indonesian Central Time Zone UTC +8
Getting There: The best way to get to the Gili Islands is by catching a fast boat transfer from Serangan or Padang Bai to your chosen destination, either Gili Trawangan, Gili Air or Teluk Kode, Lombok. We chose to travel on the BlueWater Express, which are in my opinion the most reliable service available. You can book a seat directly through their website, and their direct prices are significantly cheaper than if you purchase through a travel agent. Their customer service team was so helpful and quick to respond to all of my questions and e-mails, they were absolutely fantastic! A return ticket is 1,500,000 Rp if you purchase through their website and includes free transfers from your hotel to the port. Definitely book your trip in advance, as boats are completely full every day and there are only a few departures each day.
Language: Indonesian, but most people working in the tourism and service industry speak English.
Climate: Bali and the Gili Islands are normally beautiful and sunny, with the average temperature sitting around 30℃ each day. The Gili Islands are normally a little bit drier than both Lombok and Bali, but they are also victim of a monsoon season from November – April which can see incredibly heavy and constant rain.
Getting Around: There are no motor vehicles of any kind on Gili Island, with transport options being either horse and cart or bicycle! The island is small enough that you can easily walk around the whole island if you have the time, but otherwise bikes are the perfect option to get around. Horse and cart came in handy when we were going to and from our accommodation with luggage, but the rest of the time bikes were great.
The Money Sitch: Currency is Indonesian Rupiah (Rp). I wouldn’t rely on finding any ATMs or credit card facilities on Gili Island. While there might be a couple of places, they are few and far between, and often they might not even be working. I would definitely recommend getting a bit of cash out on the mainland of Bali before travelling over to make sure you’re always covered. Sometimes hotels might offer facilities to withdraw cash, but again, I would never rely on it.
Internet Access: The hotels all have excellent high-speed wifi connections, and many of the bars and restaurants also offered wifi with a purchase, although it can be slow and unreliable.
The Main Streets: There is only one main street on Gili T and it weaves all the way around the island. Take the time to do the full loop, some of the most romantic restaurants can be found where the pavement stops and the sand roads begin. The main bars and restaurants are all pretty much located together, found around the marina where you catch the fast boats.
Best Time To Go: I would avoid the wet monsoon season between January and April, but apart from that, Gili T is a great destination at all times.
+ Grab a gelato from Egotiste after a delicious Nasi Goreng from New Rudy’s
+ Enjoy all the watersports you can, with snorkelling, paddleboarding and scuba diving all available from the beach shores
+ Hire a private boat to take you on a tour of all three of the Gili Islands, as well as to find the best snorkelling places
+ Island hop across to Gili Air or Gili Meno for an even quieter island experience
+ To end the day, make sure you join in the ping pong competition and play for your country!
Check out all out posts on the Gili Islands here. For more travel tips and to keep up to date with our adventures make sure you subscribe to our newsletter today!