It's been a few years since our last travel diary blogpost on Gili Trawangan (our Gli Islands vlog here just bring back the best memories!) and Gili Meno, so it is about time to share the latest on the Gili Islands!
With Bali bouncing back and tourism back to peaking, we went on a little island escape to visit the three main Gili Islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno. To explore what's still there, what's new and how the islands - good to know we added all the info to our Bali Travel Guide and a special edition Islands Guide that's launching soon!
Slowly 'pelan pelan' the islands are recovering, not only from the pandemic and no tourism but also the heavy earthquake a year before. Lots of local businesses have not survived or rebuild, something you will notice when wandering around the islands. But also lots have and feel hopeful with their radiating smiles that travelers around the world are finding their way back to the always so magical Gili islands.
So many questions we received if it was already worth visiting the Gili Islands, if there were people and of places were still open. Is it worth it? Yes absolutely!
It's these island life we fall in love with over and over again, and each time we visit the islands we feel so refreshed, thanks to slowing down the pace, no traffic, less on wifi and just simply walking barefoot all day. Spending the days simple, cruising around the island by bicycle, soaking up endless palm tree views, snorkeling with turtles in the crystal clear blue waters, long sunset walks at the white sandy beaches and enjoying local food.
Follow along for everything you need to know when you're traveling to The Gili Islands now - and read about our latest explorations.
// How to get there?
We arranged our fast boat tickets with Toko Travel. A local owned tour operator that arranges everything for you! From booking your boat tickets to all the transfers to and from the harbour.
We departed 9am from Padang Bai harbour with Eka Jaya Fast Boat, one of the bigger boats and fastest way to get to the Gili Islands.
First stop: Gili Air and it took us around 2 hours (the exact time will depend on the swell) to get there. The boat made a stop-over at Gili Trawangan to drop off passengers and after continued to Gili Air.
Want to travel between the islands? You can easily take a public boat to hop from one island to another (around 10 minutes and only costs around 3 euros).
// How to get around?
By foot or bicycle! There are no cars and scooters allowed on the island. You can rent your bikes at the harbor when you arrive or at your stay.
// Which island to choose: Gili Trawangan, Air or Meno?
We traveled to all three islands again and stayed two nights at each island. Enough time to explore and go around to find what's happening, what's new and what we'd love to share with you! If you're traveling to the Gili Islands and don't have enough time to visit them all, choose the one that suits your travel wishes the best.
Gili Trawangan is known as the “party’ island :) Think music, drinking and backpack travelers. On the West and North part of the island you’ll experience a more quiet vibe and the most magical sunsets. Snorkeling is amazing here, go early morning if you wanna see turtles.
Gili Air is the middle island and a lot more serene. There is a laidback vibe, with cozy late night bonfires, sipping coconuts at the beach while watching the sunset and soaking up the sun all day long.
And lastly the smallest one, and secretly always our favorite: Gili Meno. The smallest, serene and for couples traveling: probably the one we'd say is the most romantic. Nothing but sun soaking, relaxing, swimming and soaking up the good slow island life.
// 3 x Places to Stay on The Gili Islands
There are plenty of stays at all three islands and for every budget. From resorts to private villas to glamping and hostels. We found some new hidden gems, all slices of paradise and loved staying here so much!
We traveled around and stayed at all three islands during this little salty escape. Follow along and see which new places we tried, tested and loved.
All our current favorites are already carefully curated in our Bali Travel Guide. You can get it here!
1. Captain Coconuts - Gili Air
This family owned eco hotel is solar powered and perfectly located in the South part of Gili air only minutes away from the beach. Tiny cozy houses surrounding a stunning pool, palm trees everywhere you look and delicious breakfast at their restaurant! Family friendly? Yes! They have one villa, perfect for families and a little playground in the garden area. Love.
2: La Cocoteraie Ecolodge - Gili Trawangan
At Gili Trawangan we went glamping at this tropical paradise. We were welcomed by the most lovely staff explaining us all about the island. The resort consist out of 6 tents surrounded by green lush. Jungle vibes everywhere, sky full of palm trees and floating breakfast. Island life to the fullest!
3: Meno House - Gili Meno
We fell in love and found a peace of paradise and didn't want to leave! The smallscale villa resort consists of six compact luxury villas, with the most amazing outdoor shower (we like), a stunning pool to jump in and a private beach out front. We woke up to the sound of the ocean and walked out barefoot to dip in. We could also snorkle with turtles just out front! High on islandlife.
// 15 x TIPS GILI ISLANDS
If you're planning a trip to The Gili Islands here are 15 things we know you'll love!
We loved our time at the Gili’s and hope to inspire you with our photo diary and tips to go there too. Shop our Bali Travel Guide to find all our tips for Bali & The Gili Islands!