The Gili Islands are three idyllic atolls where the sand is still powdery white, the water a clear sparkling turquoise, and the sunsets over Bali’s Agung in the west simply spectacular. All islands are surrounded by picture perfect beaches, shimmering clear waters teeming with marine life, offer spectacular view of majestic volcanoes in Bali and Lombok and host lively beach parties well into the early hours.
Gili Trawangan Island: Imagine all the things you would do on a perfect tropical holiday - walks along white sandy beaches, swimming in crystal clear waters, seaside BBQs, poolside cocktails, dancing by moonlight at crazy beach parties…. Now imagine that all this could be found on one ideal island…That island is Gili Trawangan!
Gili Air: it is the most overlooked of the three Gili islands in terms of development. However, that is all set to change as the market here is geared very much towards the budget traveller and tropical island explorer. A lot of visitors actually prefer the grass roots atmosphere of Gili Air and the feeling of really being part of a close knit local community.
Gili Meno: Set in the middle of the three islets lies the real Robinson Crusoe experience of the Gilis with some of the best beaches to be found. Gili Meno is the smallest of the three islands and by far the most peacefull and under created. Most visitors are attracted to Gili Meno for the lure of total escapism and it is therefore very popular with honeymooning couples and adventurous castaway types.
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Equatorial climate with monsoon type weather. The rainy wet season lasts from about November to April and the dry season from May to October. The temperature hardly ever drops below 25 degrees while the water temperature remains constantly around 28 degrees. The rainy season is characterized by sudden, momentary downpour after which the fine weather comes back again.
The quickest and easiest way of getting to the Gili Islands from Bali is with the new Fast Boat service, established in early 2006. This has rapidly become the most popular way of getting from Benoa Harbour to the Gili Islands, providing a convenient air-conditioned direct transfer to the Gili beaches.
Other Direct Fast Boat Service available is The Gili Cat (Island Xpress), depart every day from Padang Bay to Gili Trawangan.
There are many daily flights from Jakarta - direct or via Surabaya - stop over. If you arrive at night, you may need to stay over in Mataram or Senggigi before crossing over to the Gilis.
Around the three Gili Islands are more than 15 different dive spots and there are new reefs being explored all the time. Some of the spots are more for advanced divers, but most are suitable for beginners.
Shark Point: Suitable for all levels. An incredible site for viewing larger marine life on the north side of Gili Trawangan. This is probably the most popular site because of the sheer variety of life seen here on a single dive (Reef sharks, cuttlefish, stingrays, tons of turtles…).
Manta Point: Suitable for all levels. A gently sloping reef on the south side of Gili Trawangan with a good variety of hard and soft corals, interspersed with bombies and large table corals which shelter the fish.
Halik: Suitable for all levels. A fine site to multi level dive, the selection of soft coral in the deeper section gives way to hard corals as you ascend and in the shallows there are always several turtles totally unfazed by the presence of divers.
Deep Turbos: Suitable for Advanced Divers. A great deep dive just off the east of Gili Trawangan with spectacular topography. At 30m this site has a sandy bottom between large sea mounds.
Hanns: Suitable for all levels. This site is just off the east of Gili Air and it provides a great opportunity for macro photographers or those who wish to witness some of the smaller, stranger creatures found here.
Simons Reef: Suitable for Advanced Divers. A great deep dive that offers a variety of corals not seen on the other dive sites. At 30m this site has a sandy bottom between large sea mounds.
Stingray: Suitable for all levels. A gentle slope just off the east of Gili Trawangan that gets its name from the huge rays that can be seen here.
Wreck: Nitrox Certification required, experienced divers only. The wreck is a Japanese Patrol boat from World War II, it's about 20 meters long and is sitting upright on a sandy bottom at 45meters.
Meno Wall: Suitable for all levels. Just off the west of Gili Meno and home to a plethora of crustaceans and a great spot for night diving. The wall runs from 5m down to 16m and a second wall runs a little deeper.
Tunang Wall: Advanced Certification Required. Home to a plethora of crustaceans and a great spot for night diving. The wall runs from 5m down to 16m and a second wall runs a little deeper.
Tunang Slope: Suitable for all levels. This deep dive drifts along the top of a wall that starts at 30m. Although a shorter dive the coral formations here are spectacular., and ever so often large pelagic fish will cruise by in the blue.
Air Wall in the West of Gili Air: it's a very astounding wall that, due to the soft coral cover, shines yellow-orange depending on the position of the sun. The highlight of this wall is a coral block at 22m in which leaf fishes (scorpion fish) found their "home".
Coral Fan Garden & Basket Coral Garden: Also popular for morning dives are the two dive spots in the North of Gili Trawangan, Coral Fan Garden and Basket Coral Garden. The first few meters you have the feeling of being in an aquarium.
Frogfish Point: A huge coral block from 5m - 18m welcomes you - there are a lot of sandy areas, where the garden eels let off steam and corals are overgrown with anemones and their clownfish.
Malang Reef: Underwater canyons create the landscape here with a plateau starting at 10m and dropping down to 40m. Here you can see “everything”. Mantas, blue spotted stingrays, scorpion fish, lionfish, and white tips have been encountered here as well as spiny lobsters.
On Gili Trawangan the best snorkelling is around the north end of the island from Dream Village around to Karma Kayak, on Gili Air try the area in front of Scallywags Beach Club. Numerous local boats are available for rent to take you out to snorkelling spots further from the beach.
Modest but effective fishing boats are available for charter on Gili Trawangan, and the fishing is pretty good aaround the islands. Thankfully the waters aaround the Gilis are free of jet-skis, but parasailing, water-skiing, wake-boarding, and other water sports equipment is available at Hotel Vila Ombak.
Karma Kayak on the north side of Gili Trawangan offers Sea Kayaks for rent, as well as guided trips around the islands tailored to suit customers fitness levels and experience.
There is a good surf break off the southern tip of Gili Trawangan, which remains consistent throughout the year. Boards are available for rent on the island. For a more challenging break, a trip down to Desert point on the Seketong Peninsula (South Lombok) is worthwhile. This is a world-class break when the conditions are right.
Glass Bottom Boats
Great for kids who may be a little too small to snorkel, and a good way to view the marine life aaround the Gilis without getting wet.
You can find an excellent golf course on mainland Lombok, just 20 minutes from Trawangan by boat.
Stud Stables on the south of Trawangan has some fine horses to rent; this is a great way to experience the island.
You can’t go very far on any of the Gilis! A walk aaround any of the islands takes about 2 hours at a leisurely pace. A more serious, and very popular treck is up Mt Rinjani in Lombok. This takes anything from two to four days, and can be easily arranged from Gili Trawangan.
Don’t fancy walking all the way around the island? The local pony-cart, known as “cidomo” are available for rent. Kids love it - it takes about 40 minutes depending on how kind your driver is to the pony.
Gili Trawangan has always known for being the ‘Party Island’ of the Gilis and there are numerous restaurants and bars open until 2pm along the main strip and the beach, however most kitchens close around 11pm.There are regular party nights with DJ’s spinning the latest hip hop, dance and house hits, they are rotated so there is just one party a night which can stay open till 4am.
Gili Air doesn’t have the full on party vibe of big brother Gili Trawangan but it still has enough entertainment to keep the average traveller smiling. In high season expect to stumble across the occasional psychedelic fluro Goa style’ beach party with raging techno beats that sometimes don’t stop for the best part of two full days!
There is very little pubs to be found on Gili Meno. Outside of meeting people staying at your guest house, your best chance for socializing is to walk up on a coast bonfire party. Most people looking for a party grab the one-hour boat over to Gili Trawangan.
Effective Jan 26, 2010, visitors holding valid passports from certain countries (Please check with your nearest Indonesian diplomatic mission or Tourism Indonesia office to know eligible countries) can now only obtain a 30-days visa on arrival (VOA).
The official entry requirements for the issuance of this 30-days visa-on arrival:
Passport must be from one of the countries listed above (Please check with your nearest Indonesian diplomatic mission or Tourism Indonesia office to know eligible countries).
Passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 (six) months from the expected date of departure from Indonesia.
Payment of US$25 must be paid at the gateway.
Onward or return tickets are compulsory.
Visitors must enter and exit through one of the 15 airports or 21 seaports officially approved as an "international gateway" by the Indonesian Immigration department.
Please make sure that you have one entire blank page for the placement of your visa. If there is no page available, you run the risk of being turned away from Indonesia.
The visa on arrival facility will only be available at the following international gateways:
Airports: Medan, Pekanbaru, Padang, Soekarno-Hatta (Jakarta), Halim Perdana Kusuma (Jakarta), Surabaya, Bali, Manado, Yogyakarta, Solo, Mataram (Lombok), Balikpapan, Makassar, Kupang.
Seaports: Batam, Tanjung Uban (Bintan), Belawan (Medan), Sibolga (Sumatra), Dumai, Teluk Bayar (Padang, Sumatra), Padang Bai (Bali), Jayapura (Papua), Padang (Sumatra), Bitung (North Sulawesi), Tanjung Balaikarimun, Tanjung Mas (Semarang), Kupang, Pare Pare (South Sulawesi), Makassar (South Sulawesi).
For further information, please check with your nearest Indonesian diplomatic mission or Tourism Indonesia office.