Best Things to Do on the Gili Islands: 12 Incredible Gili Islands Activities

by Emil Backup
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Are you looking to discover the coolest Gili Islands attractions? Here are some of the coolest and most exciting things to do in the Gili Islands, Indonesia. These incredible activities will leave you with memories for a lifetime!

Are you dreaming of a tropical paradise where turquoise waters meet white sandy beaches? There’s no better destination to visit than the Gili Islands, Indonesia’s hidden gem. These three small islands, nestled between Bali and Lombok, offer a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and cultural exploration. If you’re wondering what to do in the Gili Islands, you’ve found the right guide!

Known for their vibrant marine life, the Gili Islands are a diver’s paradise, boasting some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. But that’s just the beginning. From enjoying fresh seafood by the beach to dancing the night away in beachfront bars, the Gili islands offer incredible things to do for every traveler. The absence of motorized vehicles adds to the serenity, which makes the Gili Islands a true escape from the modern world.

Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast looking to explore the underwater world, a couple seeking a romantic getaway, or a solo traveler wanting to escape the hustle and bustle, the Gili Islands are your go-to destination. With a laid-back vibe and a rich cultural heritage, these islands are more than just a pretty face.

Get ready to grab your snorkel and explore the wonders of the Gili Islands. Your tropical paradise awaits!

Here’s everything you need to know about the best places to visit in the Gili Islands.

The best things to do on Gili Islands right now
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Best Things to Do on the Gili Islands, Indonesia: 12 Must-Visit Destinations in the Gili Islands

Are you ready to discover all the best activities in the Gili Islands? As noted above, there’s a large selection of things to do in the Gili Islands for all travelers to enjoy. Keep reading to discover all the coolest attractions in this incredible part of Indonesia.

Are you looking to enjoy thrilling watersports and adventurous activities? Or would you prefer to relax on white-sand beaches alongside sea turtles? Whatever you’re planning, the Gili Islands can accommodate your needs. Here are all the best things to do on the Gili Islands that you should know about:

1. Snorkeling and Diving with Sea Turtles

Snorkeling and diving with graceful sea turtles, an unforgettable encounter on the Gili Islands.
Snorkeling and diving with graceful sea turtles, an unforgettable encounter on the Gili Islands.

One of the most thrilling things to do on the Gili Islands is to embark on an underwater adventure! The Gili Islands are renowned for their crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life. Dive into the deep blue and explore the stunning coral reefs that are home to a variety of colorful fish, rays, and, most notably, sea turtles.

Several dive shops offer guided tours for both beginners and experienced divers, making it accessible to everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or trying it for the first time, the underwater world of the Gili Islands will leave you mesmerized.

Snorkeling is also a popular option, with equipment available for rent at many beachfront locations. It’s a more relaxed way to enjoy the marine life and spot sea turtles. This makes it a perfect Gili Island activity for families or those who prefer to stay closer to the surface.

Encountering these gentle giants is a magical experience and one of the best places to go on the Gili Islands for marine enthusiasts. Don’t miss the chance to swim alongside these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. It’s an unforgettable experience that will be a highlight of your trip!

2. Cycling Around the Islands

Walking through paradise: Cycling around the islands reveals the best things to do on the Gili Islands.
Walking through paradise: Cycling around the islands reveals the best things to do on the Gili Islands.

For those seeking a unique way to explore, cycling is one of the coolest things to do in Gili Air, Trawangan, and Meno. The absence of motorized vehicles on the islands creates a peaceful environment perfect for a leisurely bike ride.

Start your journey on Gili Trawangan. This is where you can rent a bike and follow the coastal path that circles the island. Enjoy the fresh sea breeze as you pass by palm-fringed beaches, local villages, and beachfront cafes. Don’t forget to stop for a refreshing coconut or snap a photo with the iconic ocean swings!

On Gili Meno, the smallest of the three islands, cycling allows you to explore hidden gems and secluded beaches at your own pace. It’s a romantic and tranquil experience that couples will love.

Gili Air offers a blend of local culture and natural beauty. Cycle through coconut groves, interact with friendly locals, and discover spots off the beaten path.

If you’re looking for a fun way to see the islands, cycling offers a unique perspective. As such, it’s one of the best places in the Gili Islands to truly connect with the land and its people.

3. Sunset Watching at Sunset Point, Gili Trawangan

If a picture-perfect sunset is on your bucket list, then Sunset Point on Gili Trawangan is the place to be. As one of the coolest Gili Islands things to do, watching the sun dip into the ocean at this prime location is a memory you’ll cherish forever.

Located on the west side of the island, Sunset Point offers an unobstructed view of the sun as it descends into the ocean, painting the sky with vibrant hues of orange, pink, and gold. The gentle sound of waves and the silhouette of traditional fishing boats add to the enchanting atmosphere.

Many beachfront bars and restaurants near Sunset Point offer comfortable seating, delicious cocktails, and live music. This creates a lively yet relaxed ambiance. It’s a popular spot for both locals and tourists, so arriving early to grab a prime spot is recommended.

Whether you choose to enjoy the view with a tropical drink in hand or simply sit on the sandy beach, the sunset at Sunset Point is a mesmerizing experience and one of the best places on the Gili Islands to unwind and reflect on the beauty of island life.

Don’t miss this daily spectacle that captures the essence of the Gili Islands’ charm and tranquility. Out of all the countries I have visited, Gili Trawangan produced the most incredible sunsets which I remember to this day.

Sunset watching at Sunset Point, one of the best things to do on the Gili Islands, where the horizon ignites with breathtaking colors
Sunset watching at Sunset Point, one of the best things to do on the Gili Islands, where the horizon ignites with breathtaking colors.

4. Island Hopping

Exploring all three islands is one of the most exciting activities on the Gili Islands. Though it’s easier than you might think! Each island has its unique charm and attractions, and hopping between them allows you to experience the best of what they have to offer.

Gili Trawangan is the largest and liveliest of the three, known for its vibrant nightlife, beach parties, and water sports. Spend a day enjoying the buzz, and don’t miss the chance to dance under the stars at one of the beachfront clubs.

Gili Meno, on the other hand, is the epitome of tranquility. It’s the perfect place to visit in the Gili Islands for couples seeking a romantic escape or anyone looking to unwind in a serene setting. The saltwater lake and turtle sanctuary are must-visit spots.

Gili Air strikes a balance between the two, offering a blend of relaxation and entertainment. Enjoy the local culture, dine at delicious restaurants, and explore the underwater statues near the harbor.

Regular boat services make island hopping convenient and affordable. Whether you choose to spend a day on each island or mix and match as you please, this is one of the Gili Islands’ activities that offers a diverse and enriching experience.

Embrace the island life, discover hidden gems, and create memories that last a lifetime. Island hopping in the Gili Islands is an adventure that captures the essence of this tropical paradise.

Island dreams come true: Embark on a journey of discovery through enchanting island hopping,
Island dreams come true: Embark on a journey of discovery through enchanting island hopping,

5. Explore the Underwater Statues in Gili Meno

This is one of the coolest things to do in the Gili Islands, hands down. Exploring the underwater statues at BASK Nest in Gili Meno is a unique experience that combines art and nature. These statues, located just off the coast of Gili Meno, form an artificial reef that attracts a variety of marine life.

Created by artist Jason deCaires Taylor, the statues depict human figures in various poses, creating a surreal underwater gallery. Snorkelers and divers can get up close to these sculptures, which are now home to colorful corals, fish, and other sea creatures.

The statues are easily accessible from the shore. This makes it a popular spot for both experienced divers and those new to snorkeling. Dive shops on the island offer guided tours, or you can rent equipment and explore on your own.

If you’re curious about this unique underwater world, the statues at BASK Nest provide a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s not just about the visuals; it’s about the harmony between human creativity and nature’s beauty.

Don’t miss this opportunity to explore one of the most unique places in the Gili Islands. It’s a visual feast that offers a new perspective on marine conservation and the relationship between art and the environment.

Exploring the underwater statues in Gili Meno, among the best things to do on the Gili Islands.
Exploring the underwater statues in Gili Meno, among the best things to do on the Gili Islands.

6. Relaxing on the White Sandy Beaches

When pondering where to visit in the Gili Islands for a day of relaxation and sunbathing, the white sandy beaches are an obvious choice. Each island offers its unique beach spots and spending a day (or more) lounging by the turquoise waters is a must-do activity.

On Gili Trawangan, the beaches on the northern and western sides are quieter and perfect for those seeking solitude. Enjoy a good book, take a refreshing dip, or simply soak up the sun.

Gili Meno is known for its pristine beaches, and the eastern side offers some of the most beautiful spots. It’s a romantic setting for couples or a peaceful retreat for solo travelers.

Gili Air combines the best of both worlds, with lively beach bars on the western side and tranquil spots on the eastern side. Whether you want to socialize or unwind, Gili Air’s beaches have something for everyone.

Many beachfront establishments offer comfortable sunbeds, umbrellas, and refreshments, making it easy to spend the whole day by the sea. It’s easily one of the best places on the Gili Islands to embrace the laid-back island vibe and reconnect with nature.

The soft sand, gentle waves, and swaying palm trees create a picture-perfect setting that embodies the tropical paradise of the Gili Islands. Don’t forget your sunscreen, sunglasses, and a sense of blissful contentment!

Relaxing on the pristine white sandy beaches, a tranquil escape on the Gili Islands.
Relaxing on the pristine white sandy beaches, a tranquil escape on the Gili Islands.

7. Horseback Riding Along the Beach

One of the most romantic things to do in Gili Trawangan and Gili Air is horseback riding along the beach. This unique activity offers a chance to explore the islands’ stunning shorelines in a way that’s both thrilling and serene.

Several stables on Gili Trawangan and Gili Air offer guided horseback rides, catering to riders of all experience levels. Whether you’re an experienced equestrian or trying it for the first time, trained guides will ensure a safe and memorable ride.

Imagine the sensation of galloping along the shoreline with the wind in your hair, the gentle sound of waves, and the soft sand beneath the hooves. It’s an experience that captures the essence of freedom and connection with nature.

For those concerned about animal welfare, many stables prioritize the well-being of the horses and follow ethical practices. Choosing a reputable stable ensures a responsible and enjoyable experience.

Whether you’re embarking on a sunrise ride, galloping into the sunset, or exploring the shoreline at a leisurely pace, horseback riding on the beach promises a journey filled with romance, adventure, and beauty. Without a doubt, this is one of the coolest things to do on the Gili Islands.

Horseback riding along the beach, a poetic adventure on the Gili Islands that captures the essence of island life.
Horseback riding along the beach, a poetic adventure on the Gili Islands that captures the essence of island life.

8. Visit the Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary

If you’re passionate about wildlife and conservation, visiting the Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary is one of the best places to go on the Gili Islands. This sanctuary plays a vital role in protecting and preserving the endangered sea turtles that inhabit the surrounding waters.

Run by dedicated volunteers, the sanctuary rescues injured turtles and protects eggs until they hatch. Visitors can witness the baby turtles in their early stages of life. They can also learn about the efforts to ensure their survival.

The sanctuary also offers a unique opportunity to participate in a turtle release program. Under the guidance of experienced staff, you can release a baby turtle into the sea, contributing to the conservation of this magnificent species.

Visiting the Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary is not only an educational experience but also an inspiring one. It’s a chance to connect with nature, understand the importance of conservation, and make a positive impact.

As such, the Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary is one of the best Gili Islands places to visit that offers a meaningful and heartwarming experience, as well as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to release a baby turtle into the sea.

Visit the Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary, one of the best things to do on the Gili Islands, where conservation meets wonder in the world of these magnificent creatures.
Visit the Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary, one of the best things to do on the Gili Islands, where conservation meets wonder in the world of these magnificent creatures.

9. Explore the Night Markets and Local Cuisine

Calling all foodies! When it comes to Gili Islands things to do after the sun goes down, exploring the night markets and indulging in local cuisine is a must. The islands offer a rich culinary experience that reflects the blend of Indonesian, Western, and Asian influences.

Gili Trawangan’s night market is a bustling hub of activity, filled with stalls offering freshly grilled seafood, traditional Indonesian dishes, and international favorites. From succulent satay skewers to flavorful curries, the options are endless and cater to all taste preferences.

Gili Air also hosts a lively night market, where you can enjoy local delicacies and mingle with fellow travelers and locals. Don’t miss the chance to try Gado-Gado, a traditional Indonesian salad, or indulge in a refreshing coconut ice cream.

Many beachfront restaurants offer romantic candlelit dinners, complete with the soothing sound of waves and a view of the starlit sky. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply enjoying the island vibes, dining by the beach is one of the coolest things to do in Gili Air and the other islands.

The Gili Islands’ culinary scene is a feast for the senses, offering flavors, aromas, and experiences that are as diverse and vibrant as the islands themselves. Don’t forget to try a freshly cooked Nasi Goreng!

Explore the vibrant night markets and savor local flavors on the Gili Islands.
Explore the vibrant night markets and savor local flavors on the Gili Islands.

10. Yoga and Wellness Retreats

For those seeking rest and relaxation, participating in a yoga and wellness retreat is one of the best activities on the Gili Islands to nurture mind, body, and soul. The Gili Islands have become a popular destination for wellness tourism, offering a variety of retreats and classes to suit all levels.

Gili Trawangan is home to several renowned yoga studios that offer daily classes, workshops, and immersive retreats. If you’re a seasoned yogi or a beginner, the island’s tranquil setting provides the perfect backdrop for deepening your practice.

Gili Meno and Gili Air also offer yoga and wellness options, with a focus on holistic healing and mindfulness. From beachfront yoga sessions to traditional Balinese healing treatments, these islands provide a sanctuary for those looking to reconnect with themselves.

Many retreats include healthy meals, meditation sessions, and opportunities to explore the natural beauty of the islands. It’s a holistic experience that goes beyond the yoga mat, embracing the essence of island living.

If you’re looking for a transformative experience that nourishes the body, calms the mind, and uplifts the spirit, the Gili Islands’ yoga and wellness retreats are the place to be. It’s not just a vacation. It’s a journey towards self-discovery and well-being. This makes it one of the places in the Gili Islands to visit for personal growth.

Immerse yourself in rejuvenating yoga and wellness retreats on the Gili Islands,
Immerse yourself in rejuvenating yoga and wellness retreats on the Gili Islands,

11. Water Sports and Adventure Activities

The Gili Islands are a haven for thrill-seekers, offering a diverse range of water sports and adventure activities. From the adrenaline rush of jet skiing or the peaceful exploration of kayaking, these islands provide the perfect setting for aquatic excitement. It’s one of the coolest Gili Islands things to do, catering to adventurers of all skill levels.

Gili Trawangan is known for its wide range of water sports. This includes stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, and parasailing. Imagine gliding across the water on a paddleboard or soaring above the waves with a parasailing adventure. It’s a rush like no other!

On Gili Meno, kayaking is a popular way to explore the coastline and nearby mangroves. Paddle at your own pace, enjoy the tranquility, and connect with the natural beauty of the island.

Gili Air offers a mix of thrilling activities such as jet skiing, wakeboarding, and banana boat rides. Whether you’re seeking high-speed excitement or a fun group activity, Gili Air has it all.

From high-energy thrills to leisurely explorations, water sports and adventure attractions on the Gili Islands are some of the coolest activities on the Gili Islands for fun and excitement. Dive in and discover a world of adventure that awaits you!

Dive into an ocean playground with invigorating water sports and adventure activities on the Gili Islands.
Dive into an ocean playground with invigorating water sports and adventure activities on the Gili Islands.

12. Hiking and Exploring the Inland Areas

Despite popular opinion, the Gili Islands are not just about beaches and water activities. The inland areas beckon with their own unique charm. If you’re wondering what to do in the Gili Islands that’s off the beaten path, hiking and exploring the interior landscapes offer a refreshing adventure.

Gili Trawangan boasts hiking trails leading to stunning viewpoints, providing breathtaking vistas of the surrounding sea and islands. The trek to the island’s highest point is a must-do, with panoramic views that are well worth the effort.

On Gili Meno, the saltwater lake and nearby mangroves are a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. It’s a serene exploration that showcases the island’s diverse ecosystem.

Gili Air invites you to wander through coconut groves, visit traditional villages, and engage with the local community. It’s one of the best places in the Gili Islands to experience authentic island life.

If you’re a seasoned hiker or just enjoy a leisurely walk, the Gili Islands’ inland areas provide a different perspective and a connection to nature. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a journey that’s one of the most exciting activities on the Gili Islands.

Enriching journey of hiking and exploring the lush inland areas of the Gili Islands.
Enriching journey of hiking and exploring the lush inland areas of the Gili Islands.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Best Things to Do on the Gili Islands:

Looking to strengthen your knowledge about the coolest Gili Islands places to visit? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about the best activities on the Gili Islands.

What do you do on Gili Islands?

The Gili Islands are a popular destination known for their serene beauty and vibrant underwater world. Here’s what you can do on these idyllic islands:

  1. Snorkeling and diving: The Gili Islands are renowned for their clear waters and abundant marine life. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or trying snorkeling for the first time, exploring the underwater world is a must. You might even spot sea turtles, colorful fish, and beautiful coral reefs.
  2. Beach relaxation: With soft white sand and crystal-clear waters, the beaches on the Gili Islands are perfect for relaxation. You can sunbathe, enjoy a beachfront massage, or simply watch the world go by with a tropical drink in hand.
  3. Island hopping: Since the three main islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air) are close to each other, it’s easy to explore all of them. Each island has its unique vibe.
  4. Biking: Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the islands, so bicycles are a popular way to get around. You can rent a bike and explore the islands at your own pace, enjoying the scenic views and local culture.
  5. Sunset watching: The sunsets on the Gili Islands are legendary. Find a nice spot on the beach near one of the iconic swing sets.
  6. Water sports: Beyond snorkeling and diving, the islands offer opportunities for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and more.
  7. Nightlife: Gili Trawangan, in particular, is known for its lively nightlife. From beachfront bars to nightclubs, there’s something for everyone looking to enjoy music and dance.
  8. Yoga and wellness: Many visitors come to the Gili Islands for rejuvenation. You’ll find various wellness retreats and yoga classes to help you unwind and reconnect with yourself.

In all, the Gili Islands offer a blend of relaxation and adventure. Opportunities are endless, including engaging with nature, local culture, and yourself.

Are the Gili Islands worth visiting?

Absolutely! The Gili Islands are a tropical paradise offering a diverse range of experiences for all types of travelers. From stunning white sandy beaches and vibrant marine life to exciting water sports and tranquil yoga retreats, there are things to do in the Gili Islands for everyone. The islands’ unique charm, friendly locals, and laid-back vibe make them a must-visit destination. If you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a blend of both, the Gili Islands provide a memorable and enriching experience that’s well worth the trip.

How many days should you spend on the Gili Islands?

The number of days to spend on the Gili Islands depends on what you want to see and do. A short stay of 3-4 days allows you to explore the main attractions and enjoy some beach time. However, if you want to fully immerse yourself in the island’s diverse offerings, a stay of a week or more is recommended. This gives you ample time to explore each island, participate in various activities, and truly soak in the island life. The Gili Islands’ beauty and charm often lead visitors to extend their stay. So, consider leaving some flexibility in your schedule!

Indulge in the art of island enjoying on the Gili Islands.
Indulge in the art of island enjoying on the Gili Islands.

What is the best time to visit the Gili Islands?

The Gili Islands are a year-round destination, but the dry season from May to October is considered the best time to visit. During these months, the weather is generally sunny and dry, making it ideal for outdoor activities and beach relaxation. The wet season, from November to April, sees more rainfall but still offers warm temperatures and fewer crowds. If you’re a diving enthusiast, the visibility is excellent year-round, and different seasons bring different marine life encounters.

What is so special in Gili Islands?

The Gili Islands, off the coast of Lombok in Indonesia, hold a special allure for many travelers. Here’s why it’s so special:

  1. Unspoiled beauty: The islands are renowned for their pristine beaches with powdery white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters. The natural beauty of the islands is relatively unspoiled. It provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
  2. Vibrant marine life: The coral reefs surrounding the islands are teeming with colorful fish, sea turtles, and other marine creatures. Whether snorkeling or diving, visitors have the opportunity to explore this underwater wonderland, making it a paradise for marine enthusiasts.
  3. No motorized vehicles: One unique aspect of the Gili Islands is the absence of motorized vehicles. Transportation is limited to bicycles and horse-drawn carts, known as cidomos. This not only contributes to the peaceful atmosphere but also makes the islands more environmentally friendly.
  4. Diverse activities: Despite their small size, the islands offer a wide range of activities. This includes everything from water sports and diving to yoga retreats and cooking classes. This diversity ensures that there’s something for every type of traveler, whether seeking adventure or relaxation.
  5. Distinctive atmosphere on each island: Each of the three main islands has its own character. Gili Trawangan is known for its lively nightlife and social scene. Gili Meno for its romantic and secluded vibe. And Gili Air for a blend of both, offering a local feel with a touch of sophistication.

Are the Gili Islands expensive?

The Gili Islands offer a range of options to suit different budgets. Accommodation varies from budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses to luxurious resorts. Dining options also cater to various price points, with local warungs offering affordable meals and upscale restaurants serving international cuisine. Activities like snorkeling, diving, and island hopping can be tailored to fit your budget as well. Overall, the Gili Islands can be an affordable destination with careful planning. But they also offer high-end experiences for those looking to splurge. It’s a destination that accommodates both budget travelers and luxury seekers.

Concluding Your Gili Islands Adventure

The Gili Islands provide a tropical escape that offers something for every traveler. From the vibrant underwater world and thrilling water sports to the serene yoga retreats and captivating local culture, the possibilities are endless. It’s a place where you can find adventure, relaxation, and everything in between.

Whether you’re exploring the coolest Gili Islands things to do or seeking out the unique places in the Gili Islands, this trio of islands will not disappoint. The blend of natural beauty, diverse activities, and warm hospitality makes it one of the best places in Indonesia for a memorable vacation.

If you’re wondering where to go on the Gili Islands, the answer is simple: everywhere! Each island has its unique charm and attractions, and the joy of discovery awaits around every corner. From the lively atmosphere of Gili Trawangan to the romantic seclusion of Gili Meno and the balanced harmony of Gili Air, the Gili Islands are a treasure trove of experiences.

The Gili Islands await, ready to fill your heart with memories and enrich your soul with their tropical magic.

Top things to do on Gili Islands for all types of travelers.
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