Gili Air Island: A Paradise Retreat to Reset and Mingle

How to Get There: 2 hour ferry from Padang-Bai in Bali

Best Time to Visit: Ideal weather during June to early October, low crowds and deals during October to May

Things to Do: Yoga, Beach clubs, snorkel with turtles, spa days, and more

Fun Fact: Gili Air has the largest population of all the Gili Islands.

Having the second largest population among the three Gilis, Gili Air offers a lively Indonesian atmosphere with village life dominating the island. All the same, having a more laid-back social scene than Gili Trawangan, this island is still the best bet to peacefully enjoy water sports and a wide range of activities.

Discovering Gili Air Island

Located off the immediate northwest coast of Lombok, Indonesia, Gili Air is surrounded by beautiful white-sand beaches and vibrant coral reefs. The west side of the island includes the most heavenly sunset views with Mount Agung from Bali in the background. You can enjoy a drink or just unwind by the beach to end your day beautifully. 

Gili Air also offers the finest experience for those seeking community-driven trips. Because of their population, this island is deemed culturally and socially enticing for tourists. There are some community events you can join, such as local cooking classes, in places such as Waroeng Alam Damai and Warung Sunny, and also weekly beach cleanups organized by some marine communities in Gili Air. 

Of course, full moon parties or live music on the beach can be the go-to choices if you prefer the more leisurely social hub spot. Gili Lumbung Beachclub is one of the places where you can enjoy live music while seeing the sun setting.

Turtle Point Gili Air Island
Turtle Point: A Snorkeler’s Haven in Gili Air

If you claim yourself to be an aquaphile, don’t miss the chance to snorkel or dive in to see turtles in Gili Air as your bucket list. In the northeastern part of Gili Air—somewhere between Gili Air and Gili Meno, there are the turtle points, home to sea turtles where you can encounter snorkelling and diving. More than 170 Green Turtles and more than 50 Hawksbill Turtles swim around Gilis’ blooming coral gardens.

Turtle spots are generally difficult to find, but it doesn’t mean you can’t spot one. To get to see the turtles, you can opt for the snorkel tours and follow the tour guides. They will help point them out to you or even help stop the boat at one of 5 or 6 different points. But if you decide to do a self-guided tour, you might want to go to Sandy Beach and swim 200 meters  to see the couple of turtles. 

Snorkelling with sea turtles is the biggest allure for tourists but turtle conservation should also be a priority . Even though diving with turtles is something you need to tick off your bucket list when visiting Gili Air, you can also get involved in taking care of these beautiful creatures! Here are some protective and preventive acts you should take note of:

  • Avoid touching the turtles as it can make them sick. You can transmit bacteria onto their shell or skin.
  • Keep a good distance—at least two meters away—to give them space to breathe. Turtles breathe by swimming up to the surface and diving too close to them can cause them to drown out of distress and panic.
  • It’s better to swim during high tide. Swimming during low tide is not recommended as it would damage the corals.
Culinary Bliss on Gili Air Island
Culinary Bliss on Gili Air

Gili Air serves the best variety of culinary scenes to indulge in. For those craving a new adventure in local food, try Warung Sunny where you can enjoy Indonesian food including Balinese, Sumatran, and even Javanese dishes. If you want to take a break from spicy Indonesian food, Lockdown Kitchen Gili Air will save the day not only with burgers, dumplings, wraps, and pancakes but also vegetarian and vegan alternatives.

In the evening, grab dinner at the Gili Air Night Market during the high season. There are several stalls you can try, including zZz Warung, with its homey local food and a few Western dishes, and Scallywags if you crave fresh seafood. This is the best way to close your day beautifully in Gili Air Island.