The locals of Lombok will tell you that you can not consider yourself having set your foot on Lombok, Indonesia if you have never gone to the Gili Islands of Lombok. The word ‘Gili’ is in the Sasak local language which means ‘small islands’. The Gili Islands consists of three small islands named Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Terawangan (or also spelled Trawangan).
The Gili islands was the backpacker mecca in the beginning but today there are glamorous options available. The Gili Air is the closest to the mainlaind of the island Lombok, in the province of Nusa Tenggara Barat. It has the largest local population of all three islands. The Gili Meno is the smallest and also the quietest. Here you will be able to find simple places to stay. Gili Terawangan is the most developed and have been backpackers favourite destination in South East Asia since the beginning.
The Gili islands are very relaxed and laid back. You can find many little beachsite cafes playing reggae and serving up banana pancakes. Many of the cafes are also serving a variety of dishes, from seafood buffet, fresh salads and excellent Asian and western food. You can find many simple hotels and Losmen’s (hotel-like budget accommodations) which provides three meals a day.
All of the three islands have white sandy beaches, coral reefs and crystal clear water. The white sand is far better than anywhere in Bali or Lombok itself.
More and more westerners are now living on Gili islands, running businesses such as dive companies and also resorts. In the beginning people come here to dive, snorkel and party but nowadays more upmarket tourists show up to wine and dine and hang out.
To reach the Gili island, it is fastest to fly from Denpasar in Bali to Mataram in Lombok and from there book a package at the nearest travel agent. It will take you a flat rate of about Rp.75,000 – Rp100,000. Or you could also go to Senggigi and charter your own private boat to the islands.
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