Many travelers from across the world search the globe for their perfect piece of unspoilt paradise. Today’s world of commercialism and globalization makes their search ever more frustrating, but not entirely futile. Laying in the blue waters off the Northwest coast of Lombok are the 3 Gilis.Learn everything you need to know about the beautifuñ Island of Gili Air before going on vacation.Here is Gili air Travel Guide.
Closest to the coast of Lombok is Gili Air, immediately to the West is Gili Meno its, slightly smaller, little brother. To the West of Gili Meno is big brother Gili Trawangan. Gili Air, somehow, seems perfect. Travelers can circumnavigate the island on foot in about two and a half hours along its white sandy beaches, fringed with palms and groves.
Gili Air has shied away from the music, parties and hedonism which can be found on Gili Trawangan. However, it exudes natural beauty which enthralls, on land and below its tranquil waters. Gili Air has, however, taken a pinch of modernity to aid the traveler in their exploration of this true paradise. At Gili Air Harbor, on the East side of the island, there is now an ATM!
Guide to the Paradise Island of Gili Air
Getting to Gili Air
If exploring all three of the Gilis, getting to Air is simple. The island hopper boats are continually traversing the waters frequently and cheaply. The power boats, themselves an exhilarating ride, link Air with Meno in just 5 minutes and Gili Trawangan is just a 10-minute breath taking journey.
Most visitors arrive on the island from the mainland of Lombok, and in lesser numbers from Bali. From Teluk Nare Harbour on Lombok, it is just 10-minutes away by fast boat to Gili Air. Travelers coming from Bali can book departures to the Gilis from Padang Bai and Serangan. Taking a fast boat link, 2.5 hours should be allowed for the journey.
Swim and Dive on Gili Air?
Perhaps with one exception, that being a small area to the Southwest of the island, the calm, blue waters that surround Gili Air are a magnetic draw. Even the most reluctant of water babies are unable to resist venturing into the cooling, tranquil, waters for a swim or just a refreshing wallow. The waters on the Eastern side of the island are particularly welcoming to swimmers with the shallow water giving way to coral reefs.
From a gentle swim or a refreshing wallow, there is an irresistible step up, a desire to explore below the glassy, watery surface to see what lurks below. Snorkeling is a wonderful introduction to the world beneath the waves. The clear waters of Gili Air are perfect for snorkelers, experienced or not.
Equipment hire is plentiful and cheap, as is tutoring, guidance and advice, from the many local dive center operators. As simple as snorkeling of the beach opens up a new world, a world of tropical marine life that enchants and amazes. Guides can escort divers to the best off shore sites to fully appreciate the stunning world that exists below waters around Gili Air.
Experienced scuba divers won’t be disappointed, Haan’s Reef and the Gili Air Wall are superb dive locations and great for marine photography. Gaze upon and photograph some of the strangest of marine creatures, such as the Flying Gunard, many varieties of pipefish and the most peculiar looking Frogfish. Also to be seen are Lionfish, Leaf Scorpion fish, and from time to time Seahorses venture into Air’s waters.
Away from the Water’s Edge
Gili Air’s waters may be its main draw, but on terra firma, Gili Air still has a charm and fascination all of its own. Just watching the locals, fishermen and traders, gives an insight into the unique simplicity of the islanders lives. For an enlightening stroll or trek, venture inland through the palms and groves. The varied flora and fauna guarantees a feeling of peaceful pleasure to those that enjoy being at one with the natural world, and for those that have not yet fully experienced tropical tranquility.
When the Sun Goes Down.
Visitors should not expect the full on hedonism to be found on Gili Trawangan. At the Legend Bar, they host the full and black moon beach parties, Wednesdays are also party nights with house and reggae music. But techno music and light strobes are definitely not the norm on the island. There are however plenty of peaceful bars to while away the twilight hours, Zipps and Star Bar are two very popular venues.
There are of course many restaurants for an enjoyable feast as the sun goes down. Most restaurants are situated along the beaches. There is a tendency for simplicity, but with excellent fare. Gili Air Santay is locally renowned for its excellent, globally inspired menu of comestibles, its offerings of Thai food are particularly recommended.
For simple offerings, head to Mirage Coffee Bar at the Northern end of the island. Sunset drinks, delicious homemade sandwiches, and if you wake early, an English breakfast! At the Coconut Cottages, the Frangipani Restaurant excels with their Sasak Rice Table, which needs to be ordered in advance. This, along with an extensive Western menu make it a popular place to dine.
Staying on Gili Air
Beach side, or nestled in the palms and groves, Air has accommodation to suit all budgets. From simple beach huts to air conditioned villas and bungalows, places to stay are plentiful. Families are well catered for at Sejuk Cottages, here the Sasak style accommodation is well appointed and maintained.
Villa Karang offers bungalows aimed the mid-range market, some with beach views. It has its own pool and excellent restaurant, lovely atmosphere and friendly staff. Hotel Gili Air is another popular, chalet style location with a swimming pool and beach restaurant. They have an excellent reputation for their service and cuisine, they are also very popular with Italian tourists.
A tropical paradise, an experience and an adventure, it is Gili Air. The middle brother of the three Gilis, the one that strikes the holiday experience balance. You don’t just holiday on Gili Air, you live with it, on holiday and long after.