By Natasha Smit | Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Dream away on Gili Air

Beautiful white sandy beaches, palm trees, clear blue water, coral reef in every colour and a friendly local community that is willing to do everything to make your stay pleasant. Nice and cosy restaurants, located right next to the beach with good local as well as Western food.

Gili Air is probably the prettiest island of the Gili’s. It has the best beaches with pure white sand. The coral reef at Gili Air is amazing, which makes it a great place for snorkelling and diving. You won’t get bored at this tropical island. Just by looking at the beautiful scenery you can entertain yourself for a whole day.

Snorkelling and diving

The best thing to do at Gili Air is snorkelling or diving. So book that boat trip and explore the different coral reefs that are situated around the island. Haan’s Reef and Secret Reef are located just outside of the island in the north and they are both perfect for snorkelling. We hired a stand-up-paddle board and we explored Haan’s reef by ourselves. Jalabran, my friend from France, couldn’t even swim, but with the help of a life vest and the board he could join us. He had never done snorkelling before and he had the time of his life.

,,Thank you for taking me snorkelling,’’ he said, right after we got back on the beach. In the beginning he was a bit scared and stayed on the stand-up-paddle board. But after a few encouragements he got over his nerves and he swam around with his life vest on. For somebody who is half Moroccan-half French and hardly has any experience in swimming, this was an amazing experience. ,,You made my day,’’ he said. ,,It was amazing to see all those fish swimming under me. And that coral reef. I have never seen that before. The ocean here is so blue (maybe turquoise is a better word, red) and that reef looks so alive. It was great to see all thosefish swimming around the seaweed.’’

,,It was amazing to see all that fish swimming under me. And that coral reef. I have never seen that before. The ocean here is so blue (turquoise is maybe a better word, red) and that reef looks so alive. It was great to see all that fish swimming around the seaweed.’’
Gili Air Horse Carriage

Gili Air Horse Carriage

No cars or motorcycles

The island of Gili Air is quite small and that makes it easy to go around. There are no cars or motorcycles, so the only sounds that you will hear are from horses, bicycles and the boats that are going back and forth between Lombok, Bali and the Gili islands. It is easy to rent a bike, but you can also walk around the island in just one hour to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Go to the western side of the island and find that beautiful hammock that is hanging above the sea. You have to make a picture there! And if that spot is taken, go to the swing and enjoy the view over there. While you are playing with your feet in the water, you have a beautiful sight over the beach and you can watch the other tourists that are passing by in their bikini’s and swimming trunks. It doesn’t matter if you are single, a couple or with your family, in this beautiful scenery you will never get bored.

,,I like Gili Air because it is nice and relaxed,’’ a Dutch girl called Marijke says.

 

,,I have been on Gili Air for three days and for me those days were the most relaxing days of my stay in Indonesia. To drink a cocktail on the beach, go snorkelling or to play some cards, while listening to Bob Marley at the Legend Bar. That’s all it takes to have a good holiday right?’’

,,Are you looking for an oasis of rest, reggae bars, swings in the water and do you want to sunbathe on a crazy white beach?,’’ she says, ,,than Gili Air is what you want.” There are more bars and restaurants than on Gili Meno and you can also party there at night. But it is not as crazy as on Gili Trawangan.’’

Local population

Gili Air has the largest local population of the three Gili islands and you will see a lot more local shops, warungs and other Indonesian places when you walk around the island. Unlike Gili Trawangan, many people on Gili Air make their living from other sources than tourism. Inland, the local farmers work in the coconut groves and along the coast you will find hard-working fishermen.

On the eastside of Gili Air you will find a lot of coral reef. You can put on your mask and go snorkelling right off the beach. On that side, with an extraordinary view over the rugged coast of Lombok, you will find the majority of restaurants, hotels and other places to stay.

Hotel tips for Gili Air

Mola2 Resort

This is one of the better, more luxurious resorts of the island. It exists of wooden bungalows, a swimming pool and a restaurant with a view over the ocean. It is close to the harbour and located right next to the ocean. From the resort you can do many water activities, such as diving, snorkelling and sea kayaking.

Restaurants and bars at Gili Air

Gili Air has a lot of nice, luxurious and local restaurants. It is lovely to sit under an umbrella (to escape the warm sun) to enjoy your meal. A classical Gili meal consists of freshly caught seafood that is prepared on the barbecue, which is placed right on the beach.

Apart from fish, you can also find classical Indonesian and even Western food. There are a few Italian and French restaurants, that have found their way to Gili Air.

Lucky’s bar

It’s a nice restaurant where you can eat on the beach. With a view over the ocean you can enjoy their tasty chicken skewers and great cocktails.

Warung Gili

In this Indonesian restaurant you will find the best local food. The restaurant is a bit hard to find, but if you manage, you will love the local nasi goreng or gado gado. Warung Gili is about a minute’s walk from the harbour, next to the Scallywags Mango retreat.

Scallywags

Scallywags is a lovely restaurant, with a stunning view over the local beach and the island of Lombok. It is a bit expensive, but the good quality of food is worth it.   

Diving centers

Scallywag Dive Boat

Scallywag Dive Boat

Manta dive Gili Air

A relaxed but safe diving centre with its headquarters on Gili Trawangan. If you are a beginner you can learn to dive in the pool before you jump in the ocean.

Oceans 5

You can find this diving centre right next to the harbour. The owners of the diving centre are Dutch, but their instructors speak Dutch, English, French, Italian and German.

Natasha Smit
Natasha Smit
Natasha Smit (35) is an enthusiastic traveler and surfer. She loves surfing and she teaches surfing in Holland, France, Portugal and Morocco. Together with her surfboard she travels around the world to chase the best waves and visit the most beautiful places. She also loves nature and everything that is made by mother nature. Since she was a child she is a big fan of animals, plants, oceans and mountains. Smit is born in Amsterdam, but she lives in Scheveningen, a small town in Holland, near the ocean.
Natasha Smit
Natasha Smit
Natasha Smit (35) is an enthusiastic traveler and surfer. She loves surfing and she teaches surfing in Holland, France, Portugal and Morocco. Together with her surfboard she travels around the world to chase the best waves and visit the most beautiful places. She also loves nature and everything that is made by mother nature. Since she was a child she is a big fan of animals, plants, oceans and mountains. Smit is born in Amsterdam, but she lives in Scheveningen, a small town in Holland, near the ocean.