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If you haven’t read our guide to Gili Islands, it’s time for you to check it out.


We were there ourselves, and there are just so many incredible things to do in Gili Islands.

Also read: 

20 extraordinary things to do in Lombok you never knew existed

10 unique Lombok hotels that will convince you to travel there

The complete guide to the Gili islands – the Maldives of Lombok

It’s a beautiful place with untouched beauty all around. And apart from that, there are also 3 different islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air) that you may visit for different things to do.

Read on and find out all the 14 incredible reasons you most definitely should make your way down to Gili Islands!

1. Instagram-worthy spots all around – Swing and hammock in the ocean @ The Exile Gili Trawangan

Whether it’s a rustically framed swing, or a hammock in the ocean – The Exile has it all! Check this off your bucket list on your next trip to the Gili Islands!


Photo Via Tiniihitakara

At The Exile, you can also be assured of photos oozing rustic charm, with thatched roof bungalows in the background, bicycles and dramatic pieces of driftwood to pose with!


Photo Via Moore Travelling The World

The Exile is a small inn just 25 minutes from the harbor. You can go by bike or by horse cart (both of which present interesting photo opportunities).

Everywhere you go in Gili Islands, the waters are so blue, they make the perfect backdrop for photos.


Photo via TripCanvas

(Fun fact: Did you know that blue-toned photos on Instagram tend to be more appealing – and get more likes too!)

The Exile

Address: Jalan Raya Trawangan, Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Barat 83352, Indonesia
Contact: +62877-6593-5031

Official Site

2. Set sail on a glass-bottomed kayak at this lagoon-access resort – Gili Air Lagoon Resort

If you’re looking to make your experience on Gili Air a special one, Gili Air Lagoon Resort fits the bill perfectly.


Photo via Courtsjoe

This resort’s compound is uniquely shaped like a circle, with little wooden cabins surrounding a clear blue lagoon. Those who are not fans of saltwater will love jumping into the cool pool right from your room.


Photo via milenafoxx

You’ll even be able to get up close to the sea on the resort’s special glass-bottomed kayaks. It’s exactly as its name describes, the kayak has a clear glass bottom so you can peer through and conveniently explore the ocean from above!


Photo via giliairlagoon

You won’t even have to get yourself completely wet – unless you’re terrible at rowing, but we have more faith in you than that.


Photo via dayuprita

Gili Air Lagoon Resort

From USD $115 per night

Location: Gili Air, 83125 Gili Air, Indonesia
Contact: +62 817-0368-8999
Official site

Check Rate on Agoda Check rate on 

3. Amazing places to dine and laze

Taking the laidback vibes of Bali a notch higher, there are several restaurants around Gili Islands – that provide the ultimate location to dine and laze to the stunning view of the crystal clear ocean.

3-a) Chillax by the bonfire – Casa Vintage Store

Casa Vintage Store is a really unique space that can’t be found anywhere else. Located on a back street near II Pirata, it doubles as a shop selling vintage apparel, and a bar.


Photo via pupamadera, idajoni

It’s home to a lovely bonfire every evening, and is also a perfect place to watch the sunset.


Photo Via Thetravels

Here’s your chance to be footloose and fancy-free with a quirky dance around the bonfire – it’s the perfect backdrop for one of those amazingly candid Instagram shots too!


Photo Via Fahrimardha , Jorgiejetson

Casa Vintage Store

Getting there: Casa Vintage Store can be found in front of Cafe Kecil, about 50m away from the harbour at Gili Trawangan.
Contact: +6281917243808
Opening hours: Daily from 9am to 10pm

3-b) Island dining at it’s best – Naty’s Restaurant

Naty’s Restaurant is one of those carefree and uniquely designed places where you’ll enjoy dining with a view of the ocean.


Photo Via TripCanvas

An example of its unique design: the semi-private cosy dining nooks that almost resemble a bird cage! Indulge in plenty of finger food, Western/Asian favourites, and cocktails, of course – and lastly, have a go on the swing!


Photo Via Pus Pita Sari , Anindyavirnita

Naty’s Restaurant

Address: South Beach, Gili Trawangan Lombok Island, Indonesia (In front of Scallywags Resort)
Contact: +62 819 17432086

3-c) Bamboo house right on the beach – Pearl Beach Lounge

The restaurant is made almost entirely out of bamboo, and is situated right on the beach.


Photo Via Echysyarief

It’s slightly pricier than other establishments around, but definitely worth it with its combination of comfort, stunning views, and good food (such as the Roasted Yellowfin Tuna, and Wagyu Beef Burger).

Pearl Beach Lounge

Address: Gili Trawangan Island, Gili Trawangan – Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
Contact: +62 370 6194884
Opening hours: 8am to 11pm

3-d) Luxury beach club on a deserted island – Karma Beach Gili Meno

Karma Beach Gili Meno gives you that same comfort in a beach club setting where you can sit back and enjoy your meal in utmost delight.


In the evening, jazz music starts to play as the sun sets and bathes the area in warm golden glow. (Try the grilled reef fish and Mediterranean breakfast if you do stop by!

Karma Beach Gili Meno

Address: West Nusa Tenggara 83354, Indonesia
Contact: +62 370642340
Opening hours: 8am to 11pm

Official Site

4. It’s like a movie set from Finding Nemo! – Snorkel directly from the island

If you don’t fancy diving, or if you’re a bad swimmer, then try snorkeling. Off the north-eastern coast of Gili Trawangan is where you’ll find one of the best spots for snorkeling!


Photo Via Lena Shanghai

There are many sea creatures here and sightings of turtles are frequently reported. It’s quite like a scene out of Finding Nemo with the clear blue waters, and colourful fish just swimming along.


Photo Via Ghonchehtabam

Also, if you’re too lazy to make the journey to the north-eastern coast of Trawangan, you’ll be happy to know that you can simply snorkel along any of the main stretches of beach. Regardless, you’re still bound to have a great experience!


Photo Via Indrapermanafdt

Tip: You can actually ask around on the streets, and hire someone to bring you snorkeling straight from the island!

5. Have an interesting sea creature discovery – Explore the Seabed

Another really interesting thing we did in Gili Air and Trawangan, you can actually explore the seabed.


Photo Via TripCanvas

We fully enjoyed a couple of blissfully simple hours picking our way through the seabed and discovering various interesting things.


Photo Via TripCanvas

There are many interesting things you can find on the seabed! Such as sea urchins, sea cucumbers, starfish, corals and more.


Photo Via TripCanvas

Two things to note, do wear your shoes, as you wouldn’t want to accidentally step on sharp shells or poisonous sea urchins. Safety first!


Photo Via TripCanvas

Next, do not pick anything off the seabed. Leave it untouched so others may enjoy it too.

6. Ride on a ‘seahorse’ – Go horse-riding in the sea

Oh those mermaid fantasies… Now we can all ride ‘seahorses’ in Gili Islands! That is, horse-riding in the sea.


Photo Via Potraitragil

It’s quite a magical experience, and you’ll feel almost at one with nature.

Riding on a horse with the sea below you, the horizon before you and the bluest skies above – you won’t want this beautiful moment to end.

Horse Riding in the sea

How to: Along Gili Trawangan, as you walk along the coast from the west to the east, you’ll find these horses available for riding in the sea.

7. An experience that’s hard to come by, and a fantastic place to meet people too – Gili Meno Eco Hostel

Gili Meno Eco Hostel is a very good reason to visit Gili Islands, simply because of the experiences you’ll find here, that’s hard to come by. 

a. Experience sleeping in a hammock under the stars and by the ocean, tent, dorm bungalow or more.


Photo Via Travelmehome

b. Meet like-minded folk, and make new friends in this cosy community.


Photo Via Gili Meno Eco Hostel  

c. Enjoy chilling around the different hangout spots within the premises.


Photo Via Bendikespenes

With its slogan “Built by travellers for travellers”, this creative eco hostel in Gili Meno is really incredible with its thoughtful facilities. Firstly, the accommodation available is suitable for anyone, and we mean anyone.

If you’re able to splash out on a beachfront penthouse, they have it.


Photo Via Teganstravels

If not, they even offer hammocks, tents, and dorm bungalows for those of us with tighter budgets (or a greater taste for adventure).


Photo Via Debras Journey

Here you will find lovely bamboo showers, a beach lounge, tree house, the Shanti Shanti Beach Bar, and much more.

It truly is one of the best places to meet new people, especially if you choose to stay in the dorm bungalows, join the communal dinners, and chill at the usual hangout spots within.

Before long, you’ll be making lifelong friends with your fellow Gili Meno Eco Hostel mates, and exchanging hilarious stories and life experiences with each other – over drinks and the amazing atmosphere.


Photo Via Modstcris

Gili Meno Eco Hostel

Rate: From $7 (for basic hammocks), From $13 (for dorm beds)
Address: The Eastern Beach, Gili Meno island Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Barat, Indonesia
Contact: +62 87862492062
Email: [email protected]

Check Rate on Website Official Site

8. Learn diving for free – Have a 10-minute diving lesson

Did you know? You can also learn diving for free in Gili Islands! Well, for 10 minutes at least, and in a pool so it’s definitely a safe environment for you to learn diving for the first time!

Diving is one of the most popular activities at Gilis Islands, and it’s suitable even for beginner divers! Why so? Water conditions are usually good with gentle currents and good visibility.


Photo via chelhay

This means diving is relatively easy (good water conditions, no need to push against strong currents), and you’ll be able to enjoy a clear and vividly spectacular underwater view.

The best time to dive is from May to September, when the wet season ends. The Gilis also boast of many amazing diving spots that range from leisurely to challenging – so there’s something for everyone.

While we are on Gili Air, we found quite a few dive schools offering free 10-minute diving lesson. Just ask around and you will be able to find it!

9. Up for a good party? – Go on a party boat at Trawangan

We all know that Gili T is known for its parties and nightlife, but did you know that you can attend a boat party as well?


Photo Via Drunken Monkeyz

The island is the only one amongst the Gilis that offers this unique party boat experience!


Photo Via Graciajuliaf

Simply book tickets online from Jiggy Boat Party!

Otherwise, you can also try hanging out near Blue Marlin Dive Centre at night, if you don’t want to pay for a boat party.


Photo Via Adha.R33

According to previous visitors, you might be able to find a rep to get you on for free! :p

Jiggy boat party

Rate: Approximately $26 per pax

Check Rate on Website

10. There’s something for everyone – Island hopping at Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air

In case you’re looking for something more specific, the islands each cater for different people.

At Gili Trawangan, chill party seekers come here to enjoy the great nightlife. There are many beach bars with live bands that will provide the perfect soundtrack for your night. You can even have novel experiences like watching movies in a ‘cinema’ straw hut!


Gili Trawangan

At Gili Meno on the other hand, you will find untouched beaches and indulge in pure island life. This is also where you will live the resort life at the expensive luxurious resorts that can be found here. (Don’t miss a visit to the famous salt lake here too!)


Gili Meno (Photo via ugo.monticone)

At Gili Air, you get a mixture of everything – Gili Air strikes the perfect balance with a hip lifestyle and rustic atmosphere rolled into one. This is where you can get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the beach. (In our humble opinion, Gili Air has better, and more untouched seabeds!)


Gili Air (Photo via Fashion Surprises)

11. Meet new people and exchange travel stories – Tir Na Nog Bar, Sama Sama Reggae Bar

When travelling, one of the best things to do is to meet new people, and exchange travel stories.

Wondering where to go to do just that?

Head to Tir Na Nog Bar on Wednesdays for the famous Wednesday Night parties! Founded in 2000, Tir Na Nog (also known as the Irish Pub) is the place to be for a night of drinks and meeting new people if you’re up for it.


Photo Via Firzaikhsan , Dwikupits

Ladies’ Night is every Sunday with 50% off selected cocktails, and they even have a sports bar where you’ll be able to catch sporting events screened live!

Sama Sama Reggae Bar is accordingly, the “best night bar on Gili Trawangan”. There’s good live music with a surprisingly fantastic band, no entrance fees, and friendly people all around.


Photo Via Sama Sama Kreatif

Tir Na Nog Bar

Address: Jalan Gili Trawangan, Gili Trawangan, West Nusa Tenggara 83352, Indonesia
Contact: +62 370 639463

Official Site

Sama Sama Reggae Bar

Address: Gili Trawangan, Gili Indah, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
Contact: +62 370 6121106

Official Site

12. Watch traditional martial arts in action – Presean Tournament (Stick Fight)

Like every other place around the world, Gili Islands has its own culture and traditions.

One in particular is the traditional martial art, Presean (Stick Fight), a tournament between fighters that are randomly selected.

Photo Via Dtrip.Us

Fighting with a stick and leather shield, tourists can also join in, but only if you’re prepared to take a few hits. While this traditional sport can be a bit rough (blood might spill), it is quite an eye-opener!

Presean Tournament

Getting there: Visit Trawangan’s marketplace around Pasar Seni on Sunday afternoon to catch a glimpse of the fight in action.

13. Soar underwater with your (sub)wings – Subwing Adventuring

Remember the days when we used to marvel about being able to fly in an aeroplane? Looks like taking to the skies isn’t as fascinating anymore – you can now fly underwater with the latest Subwing!


It’s a super new sport that’s not only unique, but also a fantastically magical way to explore the beautiful reefs.

It’s something like snorkeling but not quite the same. Instead of putting on your snorkeling gear and jumping in for a swim, you put on your snorkeling gear, jump in, and hold onto the subwing board.

A boat connected to the subwing board will pull you through the ocean, so you get to marvel at all there is to see!

Subwing Gili Islands

Address: Gili Air, Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Barat 83352, Indonesia
Contact: +6281803621154
Price:$25 per pax (for 2 to 2 and a half hour Subwing trip, each person gets pulled twice for 25 minutes)

Official Site

14. Find lost treasure undersea – Bounty Wreck Dive

This is not a boat wreck, it’s a sunken pier under the sea!


Photo via: southseanomads

The Bounty used to be a pontoon once used by the Bounty Resort on Gili Meno, so whatever’s on the pier sunk together!

The Bounty Pier fell into shallow water along the coast of Gili Meno, making it accessible to all level of divers. There’s also a coral ridge extending from 20m to 12m for you to explore near the wreck.


Photo via: Randi-Ang,mpzproductions

The Gili islands (Gili Air, Gili Meno, Gili Trawangan) are known as one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world! There are other interesting dives around Gili Islands such as the Japanese WWII Wreck.

Do check them out!

Bounty Wreck Dive

Address: Trawangan Dive Resort, Gili Trawangan Main Beach Road, Lombok, Indonesia
Contact no.: +62 (0) 370 6149 220
Recommended guides:
Opening hours: 9am – 2.30pm, night dives upon request
Price/Entrance fees: IDR490,000 (USD$36) per dive inclusive of all equipment and dive guide, additional charge of IDR50,000 (USD$3.80) per diver to the Gili Eco Trust

This feature of Bounty Wreck Dive was contributed by Apple Chua

With these 14 super fun things to do around Gili Islands, you definitely need to start planning a trip down! It’s perfect for a short getaway, or even a gap year if you’d like to experience the pure island life for a bit.

Let us know if we’ve missed anything out!

PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you!
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