The Gili Islands are a set of three small islands off of the northwest coast of Lombok that look like stepping stones. They are one of the most popular destinations in Indonesia for backpacker types for the fantastic beaches and diving.

From east to west, the three islands are: Gili Air, the closest to the mainland and most populous; Gili Meno, the smallest and quietest; and Gili Trawangan (Gili T), which is the party island. The islands general appeal mostly to budget travelers although a growing number of well-heeled visitors are holidaying here.

The best thing about the Gili Islands is the fantastic white sand beaches along with their laid back feel. There is no motorized transport and life is nice and slow. Beachside cafés are the norm, yet there are no real sights apart from the water, snorkeling and diving.

Visibility for divers is generally good and there is an abundance of sea creatures and corals here. Equipment can be hired from a number of dive operators on the islands.

Getting There & Away

Public boats run to the Gili Islands from Lombok at Senggigi and take between 1 and 2 hours while from Bangsal they take between 15 and 45 minutes. Buses run to Bangsal from Mataram in about 1 hour. You can also get direct to the Gili Islands from Bali by boat. Flights arrive daily in Mataram from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, the nearest major airport with connections to Jakarta.

Onward Travel