Imagine riding your bike along white sand beaches, with clear turquoise waters, listening to reggae music from a bar in the background.

That’s life on the Gili Islands. Just a speedboat ride away from Bali and you’ll arrive at this little piece of paradise off Lombok’s shore.

Known for incredible snorkel experiences, horseback rides on the beach, and picturesque sunsets, it’s every island lover's dream destination!

Are the Gili Islands Worth Visiting?

The Gili Islands have a completely different atmosphere and setting than what you will find staying anywhere in Bali, which is exactly what makes visiting them so worthwhile.

I was hesitant at first to make the trip, but I couldn’t believe what I would’ve missed out on! The water is bluer, the sand is whiter, and everything feels more like a true tropical paradise.

Travelling between islands is quick and easy, with just a short 15-minute boat ride separating each of them. All three of the Gili Islands offer a totally different experience, which makes them suitable for everyone.

Best Time to Visit Gili Islands

The best time of year to visit the Gili Islands would be sometime between May and October, during the dry season.

I would say early May or late October is ideal because these months aren’t as busy as June and July, and you should still get nice weather conditions.

How to Get From Bali to Gili Islands

The best way to get from Bali to the Gili Islands is by taking a fast boat, which should take about 2 hours from Padang Bai and cost around IDR 450,000 or about $30 USD one way.

There are other ports to depart from in Bali including Amed and Searangan, however, Padang Bai is the fastest and most popular route to take.

Make sure you're definitely taking the fast boat over, especially if you're prone to seasickness– there are slow ferries offered as well, but the trip takes much longer and you'll feel every wave!

There are a lot of different boat operators to choose from and it can feel a bit overwhelming knowing who you should book with– but don’t stress!

The most reliable operators to choose from would be Gili Gili Fast Boat, Eka Jaya, or Blue Water Express. I’d recommend booking ferry tickets about a week in advance as the more reputable companies can fill up pretty quickly.

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Another option is to the company you book with if they offer transportation services from your villa to the harbour. Things can get hectic at these ports, and arriving with someone who knows what boat you need to be on and when is the best way to do it.

I felt pretty lost when I arrived in Padang Bai, but my driver guided me all the way from getting my ticket till I boarded the boat, so I didn’t have to worry about a thing! It may cost extra money, but I guarantee the time and hassle it saves you is well worth it.

How Many Days to Stay in the Gili Islands?

If you're making a trip over to the Gili Islands, you'll want to stay at least 2 nights. My original plan was to stay for 2 nights, but I ended up extending it to 3 because I loved it that much!

I think 3 nights is the perfect amount of time to get to explore the island, do some water activities, and then of course relax and unwind.

Gili T, Gili Air, and Gili Meno offer many similar activities, so this short itinerary can be applied to wherever you choose to stay!

Gili Islands 3-Day Itinerary

Day 1

On the first day, after you check into your accommodation, explore the island! The best way to do this is by bike, which is available to hire all over the island and offered at most hotels.

You can bike all around Gili T, which is the biggest island, in about 1-1.5 hours.

There are no cars or scooters allowed so you'll find walking, biking, or horse carriages are the only means of transportation. It's part of what adds to Gili's charm, you're far away from the hum of any motorbikes or traffic on Bali!

Day 2

Then, spend the next day participating in the island's most popular activity– snorkelling! It’s known as the best thing to do in the Gilis for a reason.

Most of the snorkel tours on the islands follow a similar itinerary, and it’s easiest to book one through your accommodation once you arrive. Usually, you'll get to stop at beautiful coral reefs with sea turtles and see underwater statues!

It's unlike anywhere I've ever snorkelled and is a must-do on your trip. End the day taking in one of Gili's famous sunsets at a restaurant, on a swing, or by horse.

Day 3

The last day is excellent to spend relaxing.

At this point, you’ll feel at home on the island and have seen enough of the area to kick back and relax at your favourite spot. I really enjoyed renting one of the stand-up paddle boards and cruising around the calm waters!

Which Gili Island Should I Stay On?

Each of the 3 Gili islands offers similar activities but they all have a pretty different atmosphere.

There’s an island for everyone, and knowing which Gili island is best suited for you is important to know when planning a trip!

However, you can’t really go wrong when choosing where to stay in the Gili Islands.

Gili Trawangan

Gili T is the biggest island, the most popular island, and is known for a good party.

This is where you’ll want to stay if you are looking for some nightlife and to meet other young travellers. There’s a bit more of a buzz to this island with its vibrant main strip than the other two.

It’s also one of the cheapest and safest places to learn to dive in the world!

Gili Air

Gili Air is a good middle ground between the other two islands.

It has enough going on to keep you busy, but at the same time has a much more relaxed environment than Gili T.

It’s the perfect destination to go to if you’re looking for a yoga retreat, hippy vibe, or just want to be around less of a party atmosphere.

Gili Meno

If you’re wondering which Gili Island is best for a honeymoon, Gili Meno is the one. This island is actually often referred to as the honeymoon island!

It’s where you’ll find the quietest, most peaceful environment to escape reality for a bit. It’s also the best Gili Island for snorkelling, however, most tours will stop here for the underwater statues as well!

So you don’t have to stay in Gili Meno to experience its beautiful waters.

Now that you have a better idea of which island you want to stay on, it’s time to pick your accommodation!

The Gili Islands offer many options to choose from, catering everything from luxury stays to a tight budget.

Gili T Accommodation

Best Luxury Hotels on Gili T

Vila Ombak

This luxury stay was inspired by Lombok’s architecture, featuring beautiful modern villas overlooking Mount Rinjani.

Some of the highlights of this stay are the swim-up pool bar, onsite spa, and tour desk to help you plan all of your Gili adventures!

This hotel is happy to offer airport transfers or boat charters upon request.

Vila Ombak

If you’re looking for one of the best 5-star hotels in Gili Trawangan, Pearl of Trawangan makes the list. The rooms are bright and vibrant with each including a flat-screen TV, kettle, and fridge.

There’s also a 24-hour front desk available to help you with anything you may need from laundry to transport!

The resort is located beachfront and only a short walking distance from all the restaurants, bars, and nightlife that lives here.

Pearl of Trawangan

Kuno Villas is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for somewhere that’ll meet your dietary requirements and feel like you’re on a little retreat.

Along with offering beautiful private villas, they also offer breakfast served daily with gluten-free and vegan options, as well as daily yoga classes.

These villas are a bit further from the harbour, but bike hire onsite is free!

Kuno Villas

Best Mid-Range Hotels on Gili T

Aston Sunset Beach Resort

One of the best Gili Island resorts is the Aston Sunset Beach Resort. Sunset Point is only 100m away to take in one of the island’s best attractions!

They even offer a delicious buffet breakfast and free movie viewings on the beach. Great choice for everything, including families with children.

ASTON Sunset Beach Resort

This beautiful resort features bright white rooms with rustic wooden furnishings.

An onsite spa and a restaurant is offering delicious Western or Indonesian cuisines of your choice.

They make things even more convenient for you by also offering laundry and babysitting services right at the resort!

Gili Amor Resort

The Beach House Resort’s name is very fitting as it’s one of the best beach hotels in the Gili Islands!

This resort lies directly on one of Gili T’s stunning white sand beaches, with the restaurant onsite serving seafood barbeque specialities.

The Beach House is known for its laid-back atmosphere, great pools, and even better cocktails.

The Beach House Resort

Best Budget Hotels on Gili T

Gili Teak Beach Front Resort

Located on the quieter side of Gili Trawangan, lies this peaceful beachfront resort. You’ll have the best setting for watching the sunset and it’s only a short bike ride away from the main strip.

Rooms are designed as cosy wooden bungalows with exceptional outdoor bathrooms. It’s the details of this resort that makes this stay so special!

Manta Dive Gili Trawangan Resort

This is one of the more unique places to stay in Gili Islands, as it actually has a dive center onsite!

This hotel is located right in the heart of everything, only minutes away from beaches, snorkelling, bars, and restaurants. Rooms are large and spacious, and the staff is one of the friendliest on the island!

Gili Air Accommodation

Best Luxury Hotels on Gili Air

Slow Gili Air

If you’re looking for one of the best hotels in the Gili Islands, Slow Gili Air is exceptional.

Villas are filled with calming tones, natural lighting, and open up right to the outdoor pool.

It feels very secluded and private, but still within walking distance to the beach. Make sure to request a floating breakfast here, it is amazing!

Slow Gili Air

Sunrise Resort is the perfect beach getaway! It’s a true paradise here with beachy room decor, bamboo daybeds, and hammocks for an afternoon of relaxation.

Guests love the location as the resort is right on the beach for an amazing sunrise view and only a 10-minute walk from the port.

Sunrise Resort

Best Mid-Range Hotels on Gili Air

Mowies on the Beach

If you want to stay somewhere you’ll be treated like family, then head to Mowies on the Beach!

It’s great value for money and is located on one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. They have delicious food and smoothies and provide mosquito nets for every bed.

Mowies on the Beach

The Koho Air Hotel is a calm, clean oasis to stay in for your trip to Gili Air.

It’s very central to everything nearby including the harbour, restaurants, shops, and dive shop. They have comfortable lounge chairs along a beautiful pool, and bikes available to rent at the property.

The Koho Air Hotel

Best Affordable Hotels on Gili Air

Villa Coco Republic

One of the best things about staying in one of Coco Republic’s adorable bungalows is the incredible sunrise right outside your window.

It’s a bit further from the main strip but located right on a quiet beach for snorkelling. The rooms are clean and cosy, with really effective air conditioning!

Villa Coco Republic

L’Archipel is one of the more affordable accommodation options on the island offering lovely island-styled rooms within walking distance from the beach.

The restaurant onsite caters to everyone, serving everything from Indonesian to Italian dishes! The design of this hotel is beautiful and the friendly staff is there to help make your trip seamless.

L'Archipel Gili Air

Gili Meno Accommodation

Best Luxury Hotels on Gili Meno

Meno House

This is a great stay for couples who are on their honeymoon or are looking for a quiet, calm escape. Snorkelling is available just steps outside the resort, where you are almost guaranteed to spot a sea turtle!

There's a beautiful infinity pool on site with comfortable lounge chairs, and a restaurant with some of the best food on the island.

Meno House

Located right on Gili Meno beach, about 25 minutes from the harbour, you'll find this stunning resort with all you need for a relaxing stay.

Staff will be happy to provide everything from snorkel gear to kayaks, bikes, or even mosquito spray. If you're looking for a restful holiday with amazing sunsets right out your door, this is where you want to be.


Best Mid-Range Hotels on Gili Meno

Gili Meno Escape

Upon arriving at Gili Meno Escape you'll be offered a welcome drink, and escorted to your own beautifully designed private bungalow.

They offer a delicious breakfast here and are happy to cater to vegan or vegetarian requests. The bungalows are located in the middle of the island, but bikes are available to hire to get you there in no time!

Gili Meno Escape

Just a two-minute walk from the beach lies this eco-resort, which uses solar energy for its electricity! Guest rooms offer a sun terrace, a refrigerator, air conditioning, and free toiletries.

One of the best features of this hotel is in addition to the pool onsite, there is also a private jacuzzi that can be found in each of the hotel rooms.

United Colors of Gili

Best Budget Hotels on Gili Meno

Le Pirate Gili Meno

Everything about Le Pirate is charming and visually appealing as soon as you walk in! There’s a great atmosphere at this Gili Island accommodation which offers quaint, bright beach huts for your stay.

All the details are accounted for here, and they even offer free popcorn with movie nights right on the beach!

Le Pirate Gili Meno

Located on the sunset side of the island are these exceptionally clean, family-owned bungalows. Just steps outside you’ll find a beautiful coral reef to snorkel at, and the staff will be happy to set you up with snorkel gear.

You can expect tasty, traditional Indonesian meals served at the restaurant to enjoy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at an affordable price.

Two Brothers Bungalows

There are so many options when it comes to where to stay in the Gili Islands, and each offers something a little different.

From vibrant nightlife to a place where you will find ultimate relaxation and romance, you really can’t go wrong.

There is a reason for everyone to make a trip to the Gili’s!

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