If you’re looking to spend some time away from the crazy crowds and expensive cocktail bars in Bali, we suggest you head to the Gili Islands, just a short 2 hour boat ride from Bali. The tropical Islands consist of three idyllic atolls Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air each with glossier sands than the other.
Why visit? Have a look:
We’re not bragging. The best sunset we’ve ever witnessed in our humble 27 years of existence was from the beaches of Gili Trawangan. The scene is as follows: Grab a cocktail and pick a spot on the beach. Gather your favorite people, a camera (of course) and just take it all in. The sunsets here are surreal taking you to a magical place where the sun sets behind the calm waters breaking in to an array of orange hues.
Tip: Aston Sunset Beach Resort at Gili T (the cool people call it this) is the place to be.
Yes, you heard right, no cars! These islands pride themselves on having absolutely no motorized transport therefore the main mode of getting around is by a horse drawn carriage locally knows as ‘cidomos’. Further, you can quite easily walk or cycle your way all around the island at any time of the day.
Tip: The cidomos are generally found around the harbor and make sure to haggle for a good price before getting in one.
Snorkeling and Diving:
Some excellent snorkeling opportunities can be found along the Gili Trawangan harbor but for a spectacular sight head to the dive site between Gili Meno and Gili Air to witness the sea turtles play in their natural habitat. Dive schools and shops can be found on Gili Trawangan from where you can be guided and taken out by boat to begin your dive. FYI the waters are crystal clear and you can spend the entire day snorkeling or frolicking in the warm waters of the islands.
Budget friendly yet exclusive:
The Gili Islands offer a range of accommodations but since you’re heading there with your girlfriends we suggest a resort or villa style accommodation with cottages or bungalows to give you an outdoorsy island feel. The options available on Gili T are more and somewhat luxurious as compared to its sister islands of Gili Air and Gili Meno which have simpler accommodation styles. You can also hire a boat to take you on day trips to either of these islands.
The Gili Islands are unspoiled and undisturbed by modern influence therefore providing the perfect private getaway at an affordable price.
The locals belonging to Gili Islands are the kindest, most humble beings we’ve come across. The hospitality and friendliness is what makes you want to permanently settle here. The islanders are cheerful and ever ready to guide you on trips to other islands and make an effort to go the extra mile for tourists that visit their island.
Eat Party Rave Repeat:
Gili T is considered as the party island as it is the only one with some sort of night life. On this island you can find restaurants, bars and late night parties held thrice a week. The island also hosts a full moon party which in our opinion is pretty tamed and perfect when you’re looking to enjoy the vibe with your friends. Rudy’s pub on the island is great for drinks whilst taking in the sunset after which you can head to Tir Na Nog, the Irish Pub for more drinks. Another great place to be is Paradise Sunset Bar which allows you to enjoy a few beers around a bon fire and witness the fire show they often put up.
Planktons and magic mushrooms…..Say what?
While you’re walking along the sandy shores of Gili T at night, you’ll witness the bioluminescent planktons. This occurs when a type of planktonic algae has high densities of excess nutrients making them glow when disturbed by motion. This sight makes you question whether your eyes are playing tricks on you given the number of cocktails you’ve just demolished, none the less you’re witnessing a beautiful phenomenon.
As you pub hop on the island, you’ll be sure to see boards with signs that read “Magic Mushroom Shakes available here”. Be sure to try these (at your own risk)! While they taste funny at first, it’s sure to take you on an illuminated trip. Combine this with a plankton viewing sight and you’re certain to have a bright happy night.
The Gili Islands, originally discovered by backpackers in the mid-eighties, has grown immensely popular with tourists and those looking to get away from the bustle of the more popular Asian islands. While they may be safe and crime is nearly unheard of, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and valuables at all times. The regular rules of safety will always apply, more so when you’re traveling with your girlies.
Location – Gili Islands, Northwest of Lombok, Indonesia
Famous for/as: Sunsets, magic mushrooms and cocktails.
Route: Speedboat from Bali (approx. 2.5 hours)
Best Season: July – August / December – January