Guide to travel to Gili Air

by Ale Werner
Riding a bike around Gili Air

Gili Air is one of the three islands of the popular archipelago located north of the island of Lombok, Indonesia. It is said to be the perfect balance between his two sisters, Gili Trawangan (the party girl) and Gili Meno (the quiet one). In this guide to travel to Gili Air we leave you relevant information about the island and its sites of interest; Where to sleep in Gili Air, where to eat, what to do in Gili Air and what to see here.

A little bit about Gili Air

Although it is the closest one to Lombok, Gili Air is the least visited of the famous Gilis. For this reason, the development of hotels and restaurants is also slower. However, many prefer to travel to Gili Air for the most genuine atmosphere of this island and its less invaded beaches. It is the most vegetated of the 3 islands, so at its center, you will find a kind of jungle.

You can access the map here.

What to do in Gili Air

As we told you, the island is quite small and quiet; so basically the attractions are resting in a palapa while you drink beer and look at the sea. Find next what to do in Gili Air during your trip to the island:

The Beaches

The beaches are undoubtedly cleaner and whiter than in Gili Trawangan. Since fewer people arrive here, it is possible to enjoy them calmly and bathe in its waters without being interrupted by anyone. Also, several bars have palapas and chairs that you can rent or use while consuming some food or a cold beer in the place. During your trip to Gili Air, the main thing you will do is enjoy the sea.

The most popular of the beaches are in the east; however, beaches surround the entire coast and you can choose where you want to swim while you walk around the island.

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Bike Ride

Bikes are not just a means of transport, it is also an activity that you can not miss when traveling to Gili Air. Some of the beaches can even be traveled by bicycle without getting stuck, but there are always parts of the path with white sand where you will need to walk a little bit.

Diving and snorkeling in the Gili

Snorkeling in Gili Air.

The beach on the east coast is very shallow, starting with sand on the coast and transforming to reef while you go deeper. Here you can practice snorkeling.

There is a fairly strong current a little offshore, so try to stay close to shore if you are swimming alone.

Dive centers rent snorkel equipment if you do not have your own.

Diving in Gili Air.

We are not going to lie, the best diving centers are in Gili Trawangan, but here you can also find 2 or 3 good centers or branches of the Gili Trawangan ones. You have to dive during your trip to the Gili Islands.

In any case, if you are only going to visit this island, the dive spots will be the same as if you will do from the other Gilis. Here is possible to see coral barriers, stingrays, turtles, sharks and much more.

Important information to plan your trip to Gili Air

Best time to travel and how to get to Gili Air.

Find more information in our post about the Gili Islands in Lombok here.

Why travel to Gili Air

Although there are diving centers to practice this sport, there are not as many as in Gili Trawangan. In general to this island travelers arrive looking for the relaxation of its uninhabited beaches and its quiet nightlife. It is an ideal place to enjoy as a couple or as a family.

Important information if you are visiting Gili Air.

Money and ATMs:

There is only one ATM on the island, close to the port on the east side. Make sure you carry enough money before arriving on the island, in case the ATM is out of service. Also, almost none accept credit cards.

Electricity:

It is common for electricity to be cut off during some hours of the day. However, this problem has been decreasing over the years thanks to new and more powerful generators.

  • Other important tips: always get in the boats with shorts and sandals because they usually land on the coast, not on a pier, and you will get wet.
  • Bikinis are forbidden in the villages, the same for men on walking bare-chested. This is because of their religion.
  • To know more about the Gili Islands enter here.
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How to travel Gili Air.

Walk through Gili Air:

You can walk all the round around the island in just over two hours. Go prepared with water and food in case you get hungry; There are some parts of the road where you will not find anything or anyone.

Bicycles in Gili Air:

For two or three dollars a day you can rent a bicycle; even many hostels/hotels have their own and can lend one to you. There are many parts of the road that have deep sand, so you will have to take it walking during parts of the ride.

In any case, we believe that it is the best way to get to know the island without getting tired.

Bike ride - travel to Gili Air

Recorriendo en bicicleta

Cimodos (horse cart):

They are only useful to get to and from your hotel/hostel if it is a bit distant and you are carrying large or heavy luggage. Negotiate the price before boarding the cart and handing over your luggage; if you don’t they will charge you what they want and will not let you go without paying.

Cimodo - Guía de viaje a Gili Air

Where to sleep in Gili Air

Despite being less developed in accommodation than the island of Gili Trawangan, it is also easier to find good accommodation in Gili Air at not so high prices. There is no specific area to find hotels or hostels, they are spread throughout the island.

A bungalow with double bed without air conditioning cost around 15 dollars, and with air conditioning 20 dollars (although not many places offer this alternative). Of course, there are also resorts with pool and spectacular rooms for 100 to 200 dollars a night in a double one.

In general, breakfasts are always included, even if it is a “banana pancake” with juice it’s always appreciated.

If you go in the high season and with a low budget, book a couple of weeks in advance as the economic and good alternatives are quickly fulled.

Where to eat when visiting Gili Air and nightlife.

Most of the restaurants are on the southeast side of the island where the largest number of people is concentrated. Keep in mind that after 22:00 hrs it is difficult to find open kitchens, so eat early. Even the beach bars close at around 23:00.

For this reason, the nightlife is not very lively. However, during the high season, there are a couple of parties on the beach that last until late at night, with fluoride paintings and “Goa style”. There is no specific date, you must be lucky and arrive those days.

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What to eat?

  • Fish barbecue: The specialty of the island and of Indonesia in general
  • Seafood: They are fresh and straight from the beach. Enjoy here this pleasure at low prices.
  • Nasi Goreng: Traditional Indonesian rice with egg and vegetables.

Shopping

The Gili Islands are not a good place to buy things. They are very far from the big cities so the prices are high.

Scams and dangers in Gili Air

Being very quiet and little traveled, the beaches and streets of Gili Air are quite safe. The town is also small and the people are more friendly than in Gili Trawangan, we think it’s because fewer tourists come here.

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