The Ultimate 3D2N Gili Guide

The Ultimate 3D2N Gili Guide

Renowned for their crystal-clear waters and white sand beaches, these islands are the perfect getaway just 2 hours by boat from Bali, or 20 minutes from Lombok!

The Gili islands just off the coast of Lombok need no introduction. Renowned for their crystal-clear waters and white sand beaches, these islands are the perfect getaway just 2 hours by boat from Bali, or 20 minutes from Lombok!

Day 1 

After a 2 hour ride on the fast boat from Padang Bai in Bali, we finally arrived at the jetty in Gili Trawangan. The boat stopped right on the beach and we climbed down the ladder onto the soft sand. We couldn’t believe our eyes, the silhouette of rugged mountains in the distance met with crystal clear waters in every imaginable shade of blue. We instantly understood the charm of this island paradise that drew visitors to its sandy shores all year round. 

Keeping true to its island ways, no motoric vehicles are allowed on the gilis. The only modes of transportation are getting around by foot, bicycle or Cidomo (a traditional horse-pulled carriage). As our villa was quite far from the jetty and we had quite a few luggage, we opted to ride the Cidomo which cost about IDR 150,000 for a one way trip.  

Our accommodation for this trip was Utara Villas ( Upon arrival, we were welcomed with much needed cold refreshments before checking in to our villa. Utara offers value for money 1 to 3 bedroom villas and we absolutely loved our stay here. The staff were hospitable and professional, the facilities were well maintained and the villas were absolutely beautiful! The villa’s bar area even has billiard tables and dart boards that can be used by the guests.

Famished, we rode the bicycles provided by our villa into the island center in search of lunch. We decided to try local Lombok cuisine at Warung Sasak. The spread was laid out in trays for us to pick and choose our combination of meats and vegetables to go along with the rice. Spice lovers should try Lombok’s signature Ayam Taliwang, which is young chicken cooked in a fragrant spicy sauce. Warung Oh is another establishment that was highly recommended for local Indonesian cuisine that may be worth checking out!

Image credit: Oh Warung Gili

We spent the rest of the afternoon cycling around the island, browsing through the myriad of cafes and shops that lined the streets. Some of our favorite spots were Kayu Café, The Banyan Tree and Coffee & Thyme!

As the sun set, the sky was filled with warm orange and pink hues that stretched across the horizon. As you stroll down the beach you will find the iconic seaside swings! If you are there during high tide, the swings will be partially submerged and makes for a unique photo opportunity!

Day 2 

Prior to the trip, I had booked a private snorkeling tour with Lombok Bagus. Mr Hadi, who runs the tour was very friendly and always prompt to meet our requests. The tour takes you to all the well-known spots including the underwater sculptures at Gili Meno and the Meno wall. The boat has a glass bottom panel that allows you to marvel at the seabed while the boat takes you to the various snorkeling locations.

Visibility underwater is generally clear but may be subject to weather conditions. Unfortunately, during our visit the currents were strong, and visibility was poor so we were not able to visit the shipwreck site. Nevertheless, we enjoyed seeing the vast array of corals and fish and the highlight of our snorkeling trip was the exhilarating experience of swimming up close to the gentle sea turtles! 

Since it was a private boat tour, you can also opt to stop at Gili Air or Gili Meno for lunch and to explore the neighboring islands. If you are not planning to book a tour ahead, fret not! There were many locals offering both group and private snorkeling trips. There is also a public island-hopping boat service that shuttles between the 3 Gilis. 

Image credit: Almarik Lombok

For a different view of the sunset, hike up Gili T’s hill on the southern end of the island to enjoy an unobstructed vantage point. The viewpoint is an easy 15-20 minute trek from the foot of the hill. On the way up, you pass a Hindu shrine and remnants of a Japanese bunker from the WWII era. Once you reach the top you will be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the island and the Rinjani mountain range in the distance!

Image credit: vilaombok

The fun doesn’t end when the sun sets, Gili Trawangan comes alive at night with its eclectic mix of beach clubs and bars with live music. Some resorts like Vila Ombak even have outdoor movie screenings! You can also have a romantic dinner by the beach or visit the night market for some street food, you will not be short of things to do with Gili T’s bustling nightlife.

Day 3 

The best part about staying on an island is that the beach is always just a stone’s throw away! Many beach clubs and resorts offer sun beds where you can relax and tan with no minimum purchase or entrance fees unlike the largely commercialized beach clubs in Bali. There are also many vendors renting stand up paddle boards, surfboards, kayaks and snorkeling equipment for you to explore the inviting waters with.

Before we knew it, it was time to leave this beach haven. If you love island getaways, be sure to plan a trip to the Gilis and be immersed in its beauty and laidback charm!

About Author

Jennifer Nathania
Jennifer Nathania

Jennifer believes in collecting memories rather than things, she hopes to eat and travel her way around the world and is always ready for her next adventure!


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