Gili Air was my favorite of the Gili Islands, it is no understatement when I say this place is paradise. This is the smallest of the three Gili’s, surrounded by perfect turquoise waters and white sand beaches lined with palm trees. The only mode of transport here are horses and carts, it’s the most peaceful of the three islands but with enough going on to entertain yourself.
The number one thing to do is snorkeling or diving, in fact Gili Air offers some of the best snorkeling in Indonesia, with awesome coral and colorful fish along with an incredible chance to watch sea turtles! It’s a small slice of paradise and very easy to spend a week or more just relaxing on the many peaceful beaches surrounding the island.
When you arrive you’ll be dropped at the jetty on the south of the island, the farthest you’ll have to walk (or if you feel lazy grab a horse and cart) is about 25 minutes to get to your accommodation, I did tell you this island was small! There is a huge selection of accommodation ranging from hostels to luxury resorts, if you want to splash out there’s some really nice beach bungalows on the south of the island, where most of the action is. However the abundance of cheap accommodation is in the centre of the island, here is where I stayed:
Hello Lumbung Homestay
A collection of 3 beach style bungalows, situated in the middle of the island about a 10 minute walk in any direction to get to a beach these bungalows are beautiful. Thatched roofs, nice air conditioned rooms and a beautiful outdoor shower. Breakfast is included and is a selection of either pancakes or an omelette, fresh fruit, tea or coffee and all this for $18 a night. It’s definitely the cheapest bungalow on Gili Air and the best for the price; location is ideal as you can head in any direction for the beaches. Even the wifi is decent in the bungalow… which for an island of this size is an absolute miracle!
Where is everything on Gili Air?
I cannot begin to emphasize how small this island is, each side of the island has it’s own unique style, and as the island is so tiny, if you look on the map everything is easy to find.
South – you’ll find the majority of hotels, restaurants and dive shops. The jetty is here so there’s a lot of boats around but as you walk further away from the jetty you’ve got really nice white sand beaches with restaurants lining them.
North and East – There is less on this side of the island, this is where you find peaceful beaches, small cocktail bars and in the East you’ll find the famous Gili Air swings perfect for those photo opportunities!
West – These beaches are perfect for going snorkeling: shallow waters, and fewer boats around and this is where I found the best spots to watch the Sea Turtles. I think the lack of boats, means the turtles are a little less shy and I spent at least half an hour watching one feeding on the coral, it was an incredible site!
As you might be able to tell I LOVE Gili air, the place is calm and peaceful, there’s plenty of budget accommodation and cheap(ish) restaurants to eat in. You can go on island tours and even get your PADI here but for me it was the ideal place to spend a few days straight chilling on the beach and snorkeling with the Sea Turtles!