After spending the Christmas holidays in Ubud, we decided to head for the Gili Islands, which are part of Lombok. There are three islands, and we decided to go to Gili Air, known for its quiet atmosphere (unlike Gili Trawangan, known for the party). We really wanted to know this little piece of paradise!
How to get from Bali to the Gili Islands
As we were with our family, we took things more calmly and a bit less backpacker-ish than usual. A car took us from Ubud to Amed, where we spent one night, and the next day we were taken to the “port” of Amed (note the quotes) to get on a speedboat in the direction of Gili Air.
The price of the car for 4 people was 500,000 IDR (35 €) and then 500,000 IDR per person for the round trip to Gili Air. We hired the boat tickets with the company Pacha Express and everything went very well. The boat moves quite a bit so a here’s a little tip for you: if you get dizzy on boat, think of taking a pill before you board!
A stopover in Amed
We didn’t want to do the whole trip in a single day, we decided to leave Ubud in the afternoon (because in the morning we enjoyed the hotel and its spa) and it took us a couple of hours to get to the small town of Amed. Unfortunately the weather did not accompany us so we enjoyed our hotel before we went to sleep.
We chose the Anda Amed Resort hotel, with its swimming pool (of course!). The rooms are beautiful and the staff very friendly.
We went down to the pebble beach but there is not much else to do in the city apart from scuba diving.
On our way to the Gili Islands
The next day our driver was waiting for us at 8.30am to take us to the “port”. We checked in with our passports (don’t forget them!) and embarked with no major setback. The boat has about 30 seats and is quite comfortable. We were given water to drink. The ride was good although it moved a bit. In 1 hour and a half we arrived on Gili Air (the boat makes a stop at Gili Trawangan first).
Already in Gili Air we saw the color of turquoise water on the beach, it is beautiful! And with all the colorful boats we felt like leaving the bags and throwing ourselves into the water!
To get to the hotel we hired a small horse cart, as there is no motor vehicle on the island! It is really nice.
Where to sleep on Gili Air
We chose the Senang Senang Villa which only has a few rooms (5 rooms and a villa with private pool). It consists of several small private villas with a swimming pool in the center. The place is simply perfect, 5 minutes from the beach, and the staff is very friendly! We really liked this hotel and the friendliness of the workers.
The price is 60 € per night and breakfast is included. In fact, talking about breakfast, we were given a menu but did not know we had to choose! So they, very nicely, brought us the fried eggs, the pancakes, the French style toast, the fruits, the yogurt, etc. It was really very kind of them but we could not eat everything!
What to do on the Gili Islands
We mainly took our time to relax and enjoy the beach, which is beautiful!
We spent an entire morning snorkeling (there are tubes for rent all over the island). We went into the world of Nemo and his friends, it was lovely.
If you go a little further into the sea you can also see giant turtles in the water, it is impressive. There are many excursions available to see turtles, the boats take you to snorkel for a whole day or half a day. We stayed on the island and snorkelled along the coast. It was a good idea because we actually saw hundreds of fish and corals of a thousand colors.
Bathing in the turquoise waters! Yes, it is inevitable, the water is beautiful. However, wear shoes that protect your feet because not everything is sand, there are many shells and rocks that can hurt your feet.
The hotel lent us some bikes to explore the island. Going around Gili Air costs us about 30 minutes (yes, it is tiny!) But there are places where you will have difficulty moving forward, because in some areas the sand is very soft and the bikes get stuck!
To see a beautiful sunset, you can go to the Gili Smile Bar, where there is a beautiful view (but a little wind).
In addition to the sea activities there is also a yoga school and a meditation center. The island is so small that it is very easy to find out about the activities of each day.
Where to eat in Gili Air
We definitely recommend the Star bar and bungalow where we spent an entire morning bathing and then ate. It was delicious! We suggest your Nasi Goreng with seafood, a real treat.
Villa casa mio which is a hotel but with a restaurant directly on the beach.
Eazy Gili Waroeng a small restaurant in the center of the island (no view of the beach), but delicious! The fruit juices are fresh and very tasty, just like the dishes!
Just a small tip: the service in the restaurants is really slow! Minimum 30 minutes to get the dishes out, so do not wait till you’re hungry to go to a restaurant. If not, you could wait yourself to starvation!
We loved spending a few days in Gili Air, it was really relaxing. The atmosphere is very cool and relaxed, it’s easy to be seduced by Gili Air!