Every year these three perfect islands – Gili Trawangan (Gili T), Gili Air and Gili Meno – attract tens of thousands of visitors to its shores. It’s laid back charm lures travellers in, promising utmost tranquillity, pristine waters and excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities.
We recently went on a treasure hunt to discover new villas in the Gili islands and while we were at it, we took down some notes and thought we’d share with you some fast facts that you might (or might not) know about the Gili islands. Hope it helps!
Gili Island Fast Facts
Fast Boat Services
There are numerous fast boat services that are available for your pick. The ride from Padang Bai in Bali to the Gili islands averages 80 minutes, but can extend to two hours in heavy seas. You can also fly into Lombok and do a transfer to the Gili islands which will be much faster.
We’d recommend you choose a reputable company like Semara Boat Services who care about passenger comfort versus the ‘pack and profit’ model. They also do return transfers which means a pick up from your hotel and drop off.
We’d also encourage you to check the weather conditions before heading out as the Lombok Strait is home to one of the deepest bodies of waters and waves can extend up to 5 metres during bad weather!
Since 2009, methanol poisoning has been in the spotlight and there has been a considerable number of deaths in Bali and even Gili islands because of this. Avoid bars that serve ‘arak’ or other local spirits – sometimes named ‘Arak Attack’ or even ‘Jungle Juice’.
Imported alcohol is heavily taxed in Indonesia, so be wary when you’re served a copious amount of Welcome Drinks, 2 for 1 cocktails. Stick to beer and you’re in the clear!
All three islands depend on generators for power, and blackouts might be a reoccurring problem. While some places have their own emergency generators, we’d suggest that you come prepared with a flashlight… or in this day and age, your iPhone.
Ironically, while the Gili islands is surrounded by water, fresh water is a rare commodity and it is shipped from the mainland daily. Some accommodation places might provide salt water showers, so do use bottled water to rinse off!
A few years ago, this would have been a rarity. However, ATM machines are now available on Gili Trawangan and Air. Credit cards are largely accepted, however, there are money changers around should you need them (although their rates are much lower than on Lombok!)
Medical and health services on the islands are limited. There is a 24-hour clinic at Villa Ombak at Gili Trawangan and a small local clinic on Gili Meno and Air.
The staff at the dive shop are equipped with emergency first aid training, but if it is anything serious it is best to get to the mainland as fast as possible.
We’ll buy you coffee if you spot a motor vehicle at the Gili islands! The main mode of transportation is bicycle and if you’re staying at one of our villas you can rent it for free. Otherwise, renting a bike can cost up to RP 50,000 per day.
For those on holiday and not looking to lift a finger at all, then jump on the back of a CIDOMO – horse carts. Short distances will cost you RP 40,000 and a round-island tour 125,000. But let us warn you – there are no proper roads at the Gili islands!
Mosquitos tend to be an issue during rainy season – throughout Bali and even the Gili islands. We’d recommend taking along some repellent and even better if it comes with a level of Deet.
Are you ready to take on the Gili Islands? Speak to us about some accommodation options.
Image Credits –
ATM Image – Ayo Bali