Gili Islands with Kids: The Ultimate Guide for Your Family-Friendly Fun in the Tropics

The Gili Islands, a captivating archipelago located off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia, have long been a go-to destination for travellers craving for a serene atmosphere in the beautiful islands. But what about families with kids? Are the Gilis a good fit for a vacation with children? The answer is a big yes!

This guide will help you explore everything you need to know about visiting the Gili Islands with kids. Get to know how to choose the best island for your family-friendly fun trip and what activities you can do to bond with your kids. 

Things to Know: Choosing the Right Gili Island for Your Family

For honeymooners and travellers without kids, the three Gili Islands are no doubt offering a wide range of amenities to enjoy a meaningful trip. For those travelling with kids, choosing the right Gili is recommended to ensure that your experience with family does not go to waste. 

The Gili Islands trio—Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, and Gili Meno—cater to various preferences. You might want to learn more in this quick guide to find the ideal family island getaway: 

  • Gili Trawangan might boast a captivating nightlife scene which is considered not ideal for families, but is the most developed island that also serves various exciting activities suiting family trips with teenage kids. 
  • Gili Meno, though being the most secluded among the three Gilis, possesses the most beautiful marine life and wildlife nature. Here you can plan to explore the wildlife, snorkel, or even just relax on the beaches. 
  • Gili Air is widely known as the most family-friendly island for its peaceful atmosphere and calm waters. This island has the largest population of all the Gili Islands, thus serving you with a community-led trip where you get to do various community events.

Alternatively, you might want to consider these additional factors to know which island is family friendly: 

  • Ages of your children: This might be the first and foremost factor you have to consider. For families with very young children, Gili Air’s gentle waves and shallow waters might be preferable. If you bring teenagers with you, Gili Trawangan will spark their interest and curiosity with its wide variety of activities and water sports, such as stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking. 
  • Interests: Every family has their own personal interests and preferences when it comes to planning their trip activities. If your family enjoys snorkelling or diving, the coral reefs surrounding Gili Meno are known to be particularly stunning, not to mention the famous Gili Meno Statues.  Gili Air can be the perfect Gili for introducing marine activism for your kids as there are plenty of community events relating to marine life conservation here, such as beach cleanups and coral restoration projects. If your kids wish to have a more leisurely watersports experience, Gili Trawangan is the best bet for your family trip. 
  • Accommodation: The three Gilis offer a variety of family-friendly accommodations, from budget-friendly bungalows to luxurious resorts with kids’ clubs. There are lots of private villa options as well if you don’t want to be as mindful of whether your kids could bother other guests and have the pool and other facilities all to yourself.

Also, since the Gili Islands are free from motorised vehicles, walking is the main way to get around. This would be fine for the active family, but those with limited mobility should choose accommodation near the harbour to minimise walking distances. Renting a bike can be an option for your mobility around the islands.

Fun and Family-Friendly Activities to Do on the Gili Islands
  1. Snorkelling and diving – Having a family trip in the Gilis is the best opportunity to see turtles while snorkelling and diving. If you’re wondering whether it is safe for the children, it definitely is! Snorkelling in Gili Meno is safe and easy, perfect for young explorers. See vibrant reefs, swim alongside turtles, and create lasting memories. Another alternative is that you can take a snorkel and dive course with instructors. Manta Dive is one of the top-rated dive centres that you can go to, especially if you decide to take your kids snorkelling and diving in Gili T. Your kids can enjoy these activities safely under the direct care of experienced instructors. 
  2. Biking – Rent bikes and explore the island at your own pace. These charming islands are small enough to navigate easily by bike. It would make it a fun and eco-friendly way to get around and explore hidden coves, quaint villages, and local shops. Create unforgettable memories with your family as you explore this paradise.
  3. Exploring wildlife – You can also leisurely enjoy a saltwater lake withexotic birds flying around a mangrove forest. You can bring your family  to Kawasan Ekowisata Mangrove at Gili Meno. You can enjoy a chance to spot tropical birds and wildlife such as migratory cattle egrets, blue kingfishers, and eagles that casually fly around the lake and forest area. 
  4. Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) and kayaking – Bond with your family on a stand-up paddleboarding adventure in Gili Air’s serene waters. It’s a safe and scenic way to learn this thrilling activity together! You can also book a paddleboarding and kayaking tour or just rent in Gili Trawangan through a watersport centre such as Paddle Gili. 
  5. Cooking classes – Learn how to prepare traditional Indonesian and Sasak dishes with your children. This is a fun and educational experience that allows you to bond over a shared activity and gain an appreciation for local cuisine. Immerse yourselves in the Lombok culinary culture and create lasting memories by learning from experienced chefs. Gili Air boasts the diverse options of cooking classes, in places such as Waroeng Alam Damai and Warung Sunny. 
  6. Surf lessons on Gili Air – While Gili Air is known for its calm waters, there are still waves suitable for beginners, especially children. There are also several surf schools and rental shops providing lessons and equipment. Learn more about a comprehensive guide to surfing on Gili Air before you take the kids surfing Gili Air’s waves.