Gili air, meaning “little island of water” in Indonesian, is a blend of its neighbours. Gili Air has similar facilities to Gili Trawangan, including some of the same restaurants, accommodation and diving schools, but the mellow vibe is more akin to that found on Gili Meno. There are no motorised vehicles or asphalt roads to be found on the island, and bicycle is the preferred method of travel for tourists. You can get to Gili Air via one of the island-hopping boats found on Gili T. If you’re coming from Lombok, boats leave from Bangsal at irregular times throughout the day.
The local population on Gili Air barely pushes a thousand residents, most of whom are sailors from Sulawesi. The majority of local inhabitants here make their living by fishing and harvesting coconuts from the island-wide plantations. Gili Air is not as developed as Gili Trawangan, and most of the action is to be found on the main strip on the east coast of the island.
WHAT TO DO
Gili Air Wall is a popular dive site off the west coast of the island. Here you’ll spot an abundance of multicoloured, soft corals as well as harbour scorpion fish, glassfish, turtles and even pygmy seahorses taking refuge amongst the sea fans. More experienced divers will enjoy the white tip reef sharks and larger fish that are found in deeper waters. Another spot worthy of mention is Hahn’s Reef: brimming with unusual sea critters, it’s also a highly popular training site for beginners.
Soak Up the Sun
One of the best things to do on the island is lounging and lazing on the stunning and often empty beaches. Spend the day working on your tan, reading, and just taking the time to really switch off and disconnect from the outside world. Gili Air is the only Gili island that offers interrupted views of Lombok’s mountainous coast, and you can rest assured that there won’t be any hawkers there to disturb your serenity.
Enjoy The Sunset and Sunrise
Gili Air has some of the best sunsets and sunrises around. The northwestern area is best for catching the sunset, and when the sky is clear, you can take in the breathtaking sight of Bali’s Mount Batur in the distance. Sunsets are best enjoyed on the south of the island, seated at one of the many no-frills beach bars and cafes.
GILI AIR ACCOMMODATION & DINING
There’s a good range of accommodation on Gili Air, so those pining for a luxurious abode will find it here. A variety of mid-range and budget-friendly hotels and homestays are also available on the island. Gili Air accommodation fills up quickly in peak season, so it’s recommended that you book in advance.