Which of Indonesia’s Gili Islands is right for you?

written by Julia Hammond

Indonesia’s Gili Islands are easily reached from Bali and Lombok. These three paradisiacal islands have sometimes been described as the Maldives of the East. Indeed, as more travellers discover their charms, the number of upscale resorts is rising accordingly. Let us tell you a little more about this beautiful corner of Asia.

Which island: Trawangan, Air or Meno?

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Gili Trawangan is the largest and most developed of the trio and consequently it has the greatest selection of upscale resorts to choose from. There are plenty of restaurants, many specialising in seafood. Vegans and vegetarians are well-catered for. Gili T is also the most social of the islands, with a smattering of bars to hang out and enjoy a cocktail.

Gili Meno often appeals to couples. Its exquisite beaches and glorious sunsets are certainly conducive to romance. Aside from making the most of the warm water, there’s not a great deal to do here other than relax, but that’s what holidays should be about. Gili Air is perfect if you’re looking to chill out, thanks to its laidback vibe.

Things to do: Land

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The beaches of the Gili Islands are some of the best in the region. Typically, they have soft white sand gently lapped by clear warm water. When you’re ready to venture beyond the beach, it’s easy to explore. Rent a bike, book a horseback riding tour or jump in one of the cidomo horse and carts to see a little more of the islands.  But the beauty of the Gili islands lies in their size. Even on Gili Trawangan, you can walk around its shore in a couple of hours, though you’ll probably take longer as you stop and chat. Many of the islands’ resorts can arrange cookery classes, organise a yoga session or book you in for a pampering spa treatment.

Things to do: Sea

The Gili Islands have a great reputation for diving. The best spots are off the islands’ north coast. There are numerous dive schools. So, whether you are an experienced scuba diver or a beginner looking to get your PADI certification for the first time, this is a good place to do so. Among the most interesting dive sites are the Bounty Wreck off Gili Trawangan, a sunken pier teeming with marine life, and an old tug boat called the Glenn Nusa off Gili Meno.

Expect to see turtles. Gili Meno is home to a turtle sanctuary which works hard to conserve and protect this threatened species. Snorkellers will be equally well catered for. Gili Meno is usually considered the best island of the three for this. Don’t miss the underwater statues, one of its most photographed sites. However, if you’re staying on Gili T you can easily organise a boat transfer or tour.

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If you’d like to discover the Gili Islands for yourself, why not get in touch with Mundana and let us walk you through your options.

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