Though we went to Gili Air a while ago (for Nina’s birthday), we never wrote a blog post about it, but we felt like we should because it’s such a cute and beautiful island!
For your information, there are three Gili islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. Gili Trawangen (also called Gili T) is a party island and Gili Meno is a somewhat deserted island. So Gili Air is the perfect compromise: Quiet, yet still lively enough, as there are loads of restaurants and bars. It’s a perfect tropical getaway!
Things to Do
Snorkeling in the clear blue water surrounding the Gili islands is definitely a must! We had a ton of fun when we went for a half-day trip (which is more than enough, because snorkeling is actually quite exhausting!). We even managed to see a couple of turtles!
Watch the sunset
The sunset on Gili Air is one of the most breathtaking ones we have witnessed. Be sure to get a spot at Mowie’s, a bar on the beachfront, order a nice cocktail and just relax and watch the sun illuminate the sky in a glowing orange and pink hue, as it disappears into the sea.
Rent a bike and explore the little island
No cars or motorbikes are allowed on the Gili islands, just horse carriages, and bicycles! Make sure to rent one (we rented one at our hotel) and explore the island. Just be aware that there are some roads (on the western side of the isle for example) that are very sandy, so biking there is very hard. It’s also possible to rent bikes with broader wheels, which are better suited for this kind of sandy terrain.
Though we didn’t have the time to do a proper diving course, Gili Air is a popular spot to get your diving certificate/PADI. It’s actually quite cheap in comparison to other diving schools in South East Asia (e.g. in Thailand they are apparently quite expensive), and the water is pristine, teeming with a lot of marine life, such as turtles and Manta Rays.
Relax on the beautiful beaches of Gili Air
What better way to experience what Gili Air has to offer than to chill by the beach and swim in the breathtakingly clear blue waters?
Things to Eat
Here are a few restaurants that we tried during our short stay on Gili Air:
This was hands down one of the best brunches we ever had! We ordered an AMAZING Eggs Benedict, and having brunch next to the beautiful beach was pure perfection. This is also a great place for evening cocktails by the way!
Coffee: Coffee & Thyme
This cafe is located right next to the Ferry pier, so it’s great for a quick coffee after the ferry journey. They also serve breakfast, which is not too bad. Just a great place to chill for a while.
Lunch: Pachamama Organic Cafe
This cute little cafe serves delicious organic food. They have great burgers, drinks and even raw vegan chocolate balls (Andrea loved these!). It’s the perfect place to have a nice and pleasant lunch!
Dinner: Scratch Beach Club
This restaurant was a bit more fancy, but they had great food, great cocktails (happy hour!) and an amazing view on the beach and ocean.
Other restaurants that we heard are good but didn’t try:
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Akasia Villas, located in the northern part of the island. We had our own private dipping pool which was amazing! In the morning, two girls would come to cook breakfast for us, which felt rather luxurious. The breakfast was very simple though, so unless you get it for free with your booking, we wouldn’t recommend paying extra for it, as there are a couple of nice breakfast places on the island that serve better breakfast or brunch.
Having our own villa with private pool was definitely a luxurious feeling, and everything was very clean and nicely decorated. The staff was very friendly and also helped us with renting bikes and suggesting places to eat. It was a new hotel, so everything looked new and clean.
How to get there
You can hop on the ferry from Padang Bay in Bali, which will take you to Gili Air in around 2 hours. You can buy a return ticket in advance online and most companies offer a complimentary pick up service. The ferry first stops at Gili Trawangan, so be aware that you will have to wait there for a while before the ferry brings you to Gili Air.