Home » The Ultimate Gili Islands Bali Guide

The Ultimate Gili Islands Bali Guide

The beautiful Gili Islands are a must-see on any visit to Bali, and fortunately, they’re an easy add-on to any length Bali trip.

Days on the Gili islands can be spent soaking up the rays, snorkelling, and cycling. With no traffic and no large hotels, it’s an easy-going slice of paradise. This guide aims to detail everything you might need to know about a visit to these islands, but feel free to ask any further questions below! 🙂

Gili Islands Bali Guide

Location and How to Get to the Gili Islands

The Gili islands are made up of three island: The largest is Gili Trawangan, and two smaller less inhabitated islands, Gili Air and Gili Meno. They are located off the coast of Lombok, but are just as easily accessible from Bali.

The fast boat to the Gili Islands goes from a few ports on the Eastern side of Bali, including Padang Bai, Sanur, Benoa and Amed.

There are two options – the more expensive speedboat or the cheaper public ferry – I would definitely recommend the first. The speedboat takes about 2.5 hours and is a perfect time to top up the tan!

Tickets can cost about IDR 250,000 (£13) for a return journey. Most tickets include pick-up and drop off in Bali too.

Gili Islands Bali Guide
Gili Islands Bali Guide
Gili Islands Bali Guide

How to choose which Gili Island to visit

Gili Trawangan (or commonly known as Gili T) is definitely the most lively, with many bars and fun nightlife to get stuck into. It’s easily the most popular with backpackers.

Gili Air and Gili Meno are the calmer and more quieter of the three islands, with a more honeymoon/romantic feel about them.

None of the islands have cars or really even roads, more like dirt tracks circling the perimeter of each island.

Although they are firmly on most backpackers’ itineraries to Bali, they have actually managed to hold on to their natural charm. They also really lack any huge developments or giant hotels, so it looks promising that it might stay this way too!

Gili Islands Bali Guide
Gili Islands Bali Guide

Top Things to See and Do

Beach time

Nothing beats a day or two of kicking back on the beaches here and looking out onto the azure waters.

Gili Islands Bali Guide

Snorkel or Scuba dive

A lot of people come to the Gili Islands to gain their PADI diving qualification,  but if you fancy a day of snorkelling and spotting turtles, almost every travel agency you see will be able to organise this for you.

Gili Islands Bali Guide

Explore the islands by bike

The perfect way to explore and who knows, you might find your own secluded paradise beach!

Gili Islands Bali Guide

Enjoy local bars and nightlife

As I mentioned, Gili T is definitely the most lively of the islands and you’ll have no problem finding where the party’s at (you’ll hear it..).

Gili Islands Bali Guide

Catch a sunset

You can’t beat an Indonesian sunset and the islands know they offer something a little bit special. At different beaches dotted around you’ll find swings and hammocks, all vying for your photo taking attention!

Gili Islands Bali Guide

Eating Out

All three islands offer small local eateries, but undoubtedly the best food and experience can be found in the popular local night markets. Starting up around 6pm, you can really feast like Kings for less than £2.

Gili Islands Bali Guide

Where to Stay in the Gilis

There’s quite a lot of accommodation options across the three islands, many of which you can just rock up to as they don’t take prior reservations.

We stayed at the Aaliku Bungalows, which were an excellent choice and fairly typical of the villa accommodation on Gili Trawangan.

Check rates at Aaliku Bungalow on Booking.com and compare all accommodation on Gili Trawangan here.

Gili Islands Bali Guide

Other useful information

All three islands have ATMs but it’s wise to bring cash over with you from Bali, just in case they run out.

There are no cars, and it’s very enjoyable to get around by bike or walking. Gili T, the largest of the three, is no less than a 3 mile walk around the island. Just to give you an idea how small they are..

You will however see horse-pulled carts. I personally wouldn’t use these but each person can make their own decision on this. It is the only form of ‘public transport’ on the island.

Gili Islands Bali Guide

Ultimate Gili Islands Bali Guide

So here’s my guide on the beautiful Gili Islands, a great place to chill and relax for a few days in your Bali/Lombok itinerary.

I hope this post has been useful for anyone visiting Bali and the Gili Islands!

Feel free to ask any further questions regarding the Gili Islands in the comments section below. If you’re looking for further guides in Bali, please check out my other blog posts here and check out my review of Kalapa Resort & Spa in Bali here.

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Gili Islands Bali Guide


  1. July 20, 2018 / 3:25 pm

    These pictures are absolutely stunning. Bali has been on my list for so long. Can’t wait to visit is someday.

  2. Jessica Courtney
    July 23, 2018 / 1:00 am

    This is my kind of place! I just love love love the beach! Looks like a great time!

  3. July 23, 2018 / 5:48 pm

    I had never heard of these islands but they look and sound absolutely perfect for a vacation! I love the pictures you took!

  4. July 23, 2018 / 10:36 pm

    These Gili Islands on the way to Bali sound perfect! If you’re already headed to Bali, you’d have to give this place some time. Love how mellow and beautiful it all is.

  5. Elizabeth O
    July 24, 2018 / 9:10 am

    Bali is truly gorgeous but the Gili Islands look like complete paradise. It looks like the perfect place to just relax and enjoy some peaceful time to yourself

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