Looking for the best things to do in Gili Air? Keep reading!
Gili Air is one of three islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air – called the Gili Islands. These three small islands are located off the coast of Lombok and are a 2-3 hour boat ride from Bali. They are known for their sandy beaches, coral reefs, and quiet untouched feel. Every island is different and has its own special charm.
- Gili Trawangan: The largest of the Gili Islands. This island is known as the party island and has become famous for its lively nightlife.
- Gili Meno: The smallest of the Gili Islands. This island is considered the sleepiest island, however, very beautiful and perfect for a laidback getaway.
- Gili Air: This is the in-between island. It is the laidback beachy vibes of Gili Meno and some of the liveliness of Gili Trawangan. It has some of the best beaches, a calm laidback vibe, and a handful of beachfront restaurants.
Overall Gili Air is the perfect medium for the party and nightlife of Gili Trawangan and the calm laidback vibe of Gili Meno makes it the ideal Gili Island to visit. Discover the 10 best things to do in Gili Air below!
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10 Best Things to do in Gili Air, Indonesia
Relax on the Beach
One of the top things to do in Gili Air is to spend a day relaxing on the beach. The entire island is lined with beaches which means endless options for enjoying the sun, sand, and water. It only takes 20 minutes to bike from one side of the island to the other so you can hop around finding your favorite spot with ease. The best way to enjoy a beach day is to walk or bike around the island and find the perfect place for you. Although the island is small will notice each side has a different vibe and experience.
My favorite place to enjoy the beach is the South West side of Gili Air. Finding a sunbed from Mowie’s Gili Air, Cheeky Monkey or similar is best as this side of Gili Air seems to be most lively and with the most beach space.
Going snorkeling is easily one of the best things to do in Gili Air. The three Gili Islands are home to some of the best and most unique snorkeling experiences in the world. Heading on a snorkeling tour from Gili Air to see the famous and lusted-after hotspots are bucket list experiences that are worth seeing.
The two main things to see on a snorkeling tour are Turtle Paradise and the Bask Nest underwater sculptures. Turtle Paradise is an area just off the shores of Gili Meno where sea turtles swim in abundance. Seeing them swim so freely in their natural habitat is wonderful! While the Bask Nest underwater sculptures are a set of 48 human-sized people intertwined in a circle. They are meant to represent the connection between humans and marine life.
Just beware the Bask Nest Underwater Sculptures get extremely busy after 10 AM and it becomes almost unenjoyable. Try to go on an early tour if you want to enjoy the sculptures without tons of other people around.
Bike / Walk Around the Island
Gili Air is a car-free island meaning no vehicles exist on it. The modes of transportation are horse, bikes and by foot – some locals also have motorbikes but these aren’t for rent. With few options available and no cars to tour the island the best way to get a feel for Gili Air is by walking or biking. Even though this is the only option it is also one of the best things to do in Gili Air.
Gili Air is full of surprises and by walking or biking around all the little streets you will discover the best hidden gems on the island! There is a road that goes around the entire island you can walk along or bike on. Just beware the road is just sand and in some places, it’s super soft and you will need to get off your bike to get through it.
To rent a bike ask your accommodation and they can set it up. Or there are plenty of tourist stands in the center of Gili Air eager to rent to you.
Take a Cooking Class
Learn from a local how to make all the best Indonesian dishes by taking a cooking class! This is one of the best things to do in Gili Air that will make your stay all the more special. The best cooking class to go to is Gili Cooking Classes located right at the main pier.
This cooking class offers different packages depending on how much you want to cook:
- Three Dishes: Rp 290.000, €17.50
- Four Dishes: Rp350.000, €21
- Six Dishes: Rp 395.000, €24
In the class, you will make some of the most popular and delicious Indonesian dishes such as Kelopon, Peanut sauce, fried tempeh, Fried noodles, Yellow chicken curry, Gado Gado, and Chicken Taliwang. Not only do you cook them and learn all the steps and get guidance from a fun local with plenty of energy but you also get to eat them!
You can also ask for vegan or vegetarian like I did!
Enjoy the Sunset from the Beach
The sunsets from the southwest beach in Gili Air are some of the most beautiful in the world. The sun sets directly into the ocean and the sky illuminates in an explosion of bright colors. There are plenty of sunset restaurants along the shores where you can sit and enjoy a drink and watch mother natures most spectacular show.
Enjoy the Restaurants
For a small island, Gili Air is packed with some pretty amazing restaurants. There are countless options all around serving all types of cuisine and styles of food. Most notably many health food restaurants with fresh dishes and plenty of fruits. But there are also great Indonesian restaurants, Italian and more. There are also many great places for drinks with a view.
Some of the best restaurants in Gili Air are:
- JUJU Zero Waste Store & Vegan Cafe
- Captain Coconuts Healthy Cafe and Accommodation
- Mowie’s Gili Air, Bar, and Bungalows
- Mama Pizza
Spend a day by the Pool
Most hotels and villas on Gili Air come with a lovely pool which is ideal for spending a lazy afternoon jumping in and out of. Indonesia is HOT and very humid which can make going out in the afternoon quite difficult. This is the perfect time to enjoy your pool and spend some time relaxing in the shade.
Day Trip to Sendang Gile Waterfall
Take a day trip from Gili Air to Lombok mainland to visit one of the most stunning waterfalls in the world – Sendang Gile Waterfall. This waterfall is located in the lush jungle of Lombok and is one of the most beautiful places to visit to enjoy the natural beauty of Lombok. It is also much less busy than the waterfalls in Bali so you can enjoy this gem without hundreds of other people!
Join a Yoga Class
Taking a yoga class is one of the best things to do in Gili Air to connect with yourself during your holiday. There are a few yoga studios on the island that offer classes throughout the day. One great option is Flowers and Fire Yoga Garden Gili Air.
Visit Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan
Don’t just stay on your island the whole time but visit the other two Gilis too! Take a day trip to Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan and enjoy the liveliness of Gili Trawangan and the tranquility of Gili Meno. This is also a great way to see what your travel style is and if you picked the right island for you!
Get a day trip by heading to one of the many tourist stands on the island and find the one that fits your budget and desires for the trip.
Where to Stay in Gili Air
Some of the top accomodations in Gili Air are:
- Villa Kayu – for private villas with your own pool and kitchen
- Captain Coconuts Healthy Cafe and Accomodation – for a calm, sustainable jungle oasis
- Mowie’s Gili Air, Bar and Bungalows – for close beach access and trendy bungalow stays
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