After spending 3 days on each of the Gili Islands (Air, Meno and Trawangan), I thought it would be useful to have a little recap. The weather whilst on all 3 islands was incredible, we had perfect snorkelling conditions, amazing sunbathing days and relaxing pool days on each island. BUT each island does offer something different and I definitely have a favourite and least favourite.
All 3 islands have ATM’s so you don’t have to carry a lot of cash on you like the Cambodian islands, Kong Rong and Koh Rong Samloem. They also all offer low budget, moderately priced and luxury accommodation so your spoilt for choice.
Gili Air, closest to Lombok was our starting point and a great introduction to the islands. Be aware that none of the islands have vehicles, you may find a couple of electric scooters but not for tourist use. The mode of transport is either bicycle or horse and cart. We didn’t use either just chose to use our legs as the islands are all so tiny.
We stayed at Begadang Hostel on Gili Air, which was in a perfect location, but took a 15 minute hot walk from the harbour to get to. Don’t worry though, as soon as you arrive you can jump in the giant mushroom shaped pool! Gili Air had an amazing vibe, chilled out, very quiet with mainly travellers dotted around the small island. The beaches were a mix of sand and broken coral but were incredibly beautiful. They were also very clean and litter free, which is also an added bonus. You can read my blog about Gili Air food HERE.
Our next stop along was Gili Meno, the smallest of the islands and apparently the most over looked. We had lunch on Gili Meno as part of our snorkelling trip which you can read about HERE or watch HERE. With turtles living just off the islands coast and some impressive underwater statues, it’s a must do snorkelling/ diving location. The local ferry is only IDR35,000 between islands and usually runs twice daily. Or you can take the fast boat which runs every hour and costs IDR85,000.
The island is breathtaking, with white soft sand on its eastern side and many “honeymoon style” bungalows looking over the water. Meno is the quietest and also my personal favourite. The food was amazing and our hostel was extremely quirky lol. The Rabbit Treehouse is on another planet and worth the stay, you can read about it HERE. Worth the look just for the ball pit haha.
The final Island was Gili Trawangan, probably the most famous and the largest of the 3 islands. Before I continue, don’t get me wrong it is an absolutely beautiful place and I know many people come over from Bali and really enjoy it. BUT I wasn’t a huge fan, definitely my least favourite of the 3 islands and if I was making the journey to come back to this area I wouldn’t visit again.
Our stay at Gili White Bamboo Resort was amazing and was definitely the best accommodation we’d had on any island. Also our valentines meal at Santi Lounge was incredible, which you can read about HERE. But for me the island is so touristy it hurts. It’s busy (and we went in low season), the island has a lot of litter/ pollution, the beaches are also littered and rocky/ coraly underfoot, which makes for a painful experience. It is getting quite developed so doesn’t have the tropical island feel anymore either which is sad.
Worst part for me though is it is definitely a party island. The main road is full of clubs and bars with promoters spilling out. Like I said, if I was coming here to party then I would have a different opinion, but to come through as a chilled travelling couple looking for a relaxing time, it is not the island to come to. If we were coming again, the extra 10 minute boat trip to Gili Meno would be a must!