Why You Need to Visit the Gili Islands on your Bali Holiday

Three tiny islands, off the coast of Lombok, the Gilis are postcard paradise- turquoise water, white sand, swaying hammocks, leafy palms.

Each island, with their own individual beauty and charm, the Gilis have become an incredibly popular destination.

  • Gili Trawangan: Often dubbed ‘Gili T’, has some of the best partyingi n this part of the world. There are plenty of hotels, resourts, beach bars, making it the most developed of all three islands
  • Gili Air: If chill beach vibes and remote relaxation are what you’re after, Gili Air is the place for you
  • Gili Meno: The smallest of the islands, Gili Meno may only be 2km long and 1 km wide, but it’s arguably the most peaceful of all three islands

Devastated by the 2018 earthquakes, the Gilis were still in recovery mode when we visited. We weren’t sure just how much would be rebuilt and were surprised by how far along reconstruction on all three islands seemed to be (summer 2019).

The three days we spent exploring the Gilis was sheer perfection- days spent swimming in warm, clear waters and nights whiled away watching the sun sink below the horizon, waiting for the nightly beach bonfires to begin.

With the Gilis being easy to access from Bali, there’s no better time to plan a trip to these three tiny islands off the coast of Lombok.

5 Reasons You Must Visit the Gili Islands on your Bali Holiday

Pristine water, perfect for swimming and snorkelling

The beaches may vary on the Gili Islands (some are made of coral, some are softer sand), but one thing they all have in common is beautiful, warm waters.

Bring swim shoes to ease the burden on your feet, and you’ll be good to enjoy. These beaches are the stuff holiday dreams are made of, which makes them perfect to visit on any holiday to heaven on earth (Bali).

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World class diving

The Gilis are an excellent place to do an open water course, or your advanced or master dive certificates. Gili Divers on Gili T is highly regarded as the best shop to do so at.

We thought about earning our PADI certs while in the Gilis, but ultimately opted to spend our days relaxing. However, I’ve heard tale from friends who have of stunning environments to learn in- bright coral, endless tropical fish, and even underwater statues or shipwrecks to explore.

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Relaxed vibes, total off the gridness

Saying the Gilis are chill would be the ultimate understatement. Getting on island time feels natural, within only a day, we noticed we’d stopped checking the time on our phones, or even discussing what ‘was next’ in the day.

Instead, we put our phones to the side, and just focused on enjoying each other’s company. Sure didn’t hurt we were in such a laid back, beautiful environment.

Towns small enough to explore on foot

No cars are allowed on the Gilis, instead, everyone walks or bikes. This return to simpler transit makes you feel like you’ve also returned to simpler times.

There’s something magical in staying somewhere where walking is the predominant form of transportation.

There’s plenty to do and see on the Gilis, but no so much that you’ll feel stressed about not having enough time. Leisurely exploration means it’s feasible to walk the islands one end to the other (if you so desire), or just walk to the beach- it’s nice to know that’s always an option because you’re never too far from the ocean in the Gilis.

Rockin’ parties, bustling night markets, chill cafes and beach bonfires- something for everyone

Those who say there’s a Gili island for everyone are right- whether you’re interested in a more lively scene on Gili T, or a ‘just you and nature’ vibe on Gili Meno, there’s an island and activities for whatever you’re after.

And the best bit?

You’ll be surrounded by the most beautiful beach scenes imaginable while you do whatever you fancy.

Inspired to plan a trip to the Gili Islands?
Don’t miss my ultimate guide to spending three days exploring the best of what the Gilis have to offer.

Have you ever been to the Gili Islands? Would you head over to the islands for beach time on a trip to Bali? 

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