20 Amazing Things to Do on the Gili Islands in 2024

This trio of tiny islands near Bali is a slice of paradise that seems almost too good to be true. With no cars and no motorbikes, the Gili Islands offer a serene escape unlike any other. Imagine turquoise waters, vibrant coral reefs, and a laid-back vibe that promises relaxation and adventure in equal measure.

Having lived and travelled extensively in Indonesia, I’ve experienced first-hand the magic of these islands and am thrilled to share some insider tips and the best things to do on the Gili islands that will make your trip unforgettable.

๐Ÿ“– RELATED READ: Which Gili Island is best for you – 5 Tips on How to Choose Which Gili Island is your perfect match

๐Ÿ“– RELATED READ: How to Get to Gili Islands from Bali Easily โ€“ with Proโ€™s and Cons & Travel Tips

Beach and Water Activities Galore

Snorkel with the Turtles

Snorkelling in the Gili Islands is akin to stepping into a living, breathing aquarium. Around Gili Trawangan, the aptly named Turtle Heaven offers snorkelers the serene company of majestic sea turtles gliding through sparkling waters, while the underwater sculptures at Gili Meno’s Bio-Rock famous BASK sculptures provide an ethereal backdrop to schools of colourful fish.

Over at Gili Air, the Coral Garden teems with life, offering a kaleidoscope of corals and creatures in shallow waters perfect for beginners.

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Each snorkelling site around these three Gili islands presents its own unique tapestry of marine biodiversity, promising clear waters, abundant sea life, and the kind of peaceful immersion that speaks directly to the soul. Whether you’re floating above undulating corals or swimming alongside gentle turtles, snorkelling here is not to be missed. Hands down this is one of my favourite things to do on the gilis islands – literally on any of them!

Get Diving

Fancy going deeper? The Gilis are also a fantastic place to get your PADI certification. Diving here is nothing short of magical, with several renowned and reputable companies like Manta Dive Gili Trawangan and Blue Marine Dive on Gili Air leading the way into the aquatic wonderland. From the vibrant coral gardens of Turtle Heaven to the mysterious depths of Shark Point, divers can expect to swim alongside a dazzling array of marine life including turtles, reef sharks, and a kaleidoscope of tropical fish.

The crystal-clear waters and excellent visibility make every dive an unforgettable adventure, suitable for both beginners and seasoned divers alike.

5 Hour Breakfast and Snorkelling or Sunset and Snorkelling Catamaran Cruise

Enjoy the gentle sway of waves and the promise of adventure with this 5-Hour Breakfast and Snorkeling Catamaran Cruise, to elevate your morning.

Imagine setting sail as the sun paints the sky, bound for a day trip filled with underwater marvels around the three iconic snorkelling sites of the Gili Islands. Your first stop? The mystical underwater statues near Gili Meno, where art meets marine life. Next, drift over to Turtle City, where you’ll get up close with graceful sea turtles in their natural habitat. With the final enchanting destination is the Secret Garden off Gili Air’s coast, a snorkeler’s paradise teeming with colourful coral gardens.

top pick

Utopia Catamaran Gili islands Snorkelling tour

โญโญโญโญโญ

5-Hour Breakfast and Snorkeling Catamaran Cruise

5 Star Rated | Viator Badge of Excellence | 48 Reviews

๐Ÿคฟ All-Inclusive 18m Catamaran

๐Ÿคฟ Snorkelling spots: Turtle City, Secret Garden and BASK underwater statues

๐Ÿคฟ Breakfast and Buffet lunch with refreshments

BOOK IT ๐Ÿšข

Onboard, indulge in a sumptuous full buffet breakfast, complemented by a selection of hot and cold beverages. Bask in the sun on deck and simply relax as you cruise from one breathtaking location to another. The experienced snorkel guides are on hand to ensure you witness the best of the Gili Islands’ marine life, making every moment underwater memorable.

After exploring the underwater wonders, you’re invited to enjoy a hearty full buffet lunch and some leisure time to relax on the boat or take one last dip in the ocean before making your way back to shore. With snorkelling gear and towels provided, all you need to pack is your swimsuit and a sense of adventure.

Ready for an unforgettable start to your day? โžก๏ธBOOK 5-Hour All-Inclusive Breakfast & Snorkeling Cruise on the Utopia Catamaran. Or, if you’re feeling more nocturnal, why not end your day in style with their Sunset and Snorkeling Tour package with 5-Hour Catamaran Cruise? Whichever you choose, an unparalleled experience awaits.

Enjoy the Sun and Sand

Beach days are an essential part of the Gili islands experience. The white sand beaches here are perfect for lounging and soaking up the sun. Imagine lounging on the sun-kissed shores of Gili Trawangan at Sunset Beach, offering a tranquil retreat from the world. Over on Gili Meno, the pristine sands of Turtle Beach provide a serene haven for relaxation, inviting you to unwind to the gentle rhythm of the waves.

Fancy a SUP or Kayak?

For those looking to balance exploration with a bit of fitness, stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking off the shores of Gili Meno or Gili T provides a tranquil yet invigorating way to glide over the crystal-clear waters, capturing unique perspectives of the marine life below and one of the different things to do on the Gili islands.

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Surfs up

For the more adventurous souls, Surf’s up at Gili Trawangan, where the gentle waves offer a safe and welcoming introduction to the world of surfing, making it an ideal spot for beginners eager to catch their first wave.

With a variety of surf schools dotting its coast, booking a lesson here is as easy as the island breeze, ensuring every aspiring surfer can confidently stand up and ride towards their next great adventure.

โžก๏ธ BOOK A SURF LESSON ON GILI TRAWANGAN ๐Ÿ„โ€โ™‚๏ธ

Beach Clubbing

Lounging at beach clubs is at the heart of the things to do on the Gili islands. On Gili Trawangan, PinkCoco sets the stage for the ultimate beach day with its vibrant pink umbrellas and laid-back lounge vibes, offering a picture-perfect backdrop for sipping cocktails and soaking in the sun. Not far away, Pearl Beach Lounge enchants visitors with its elegant setting and serene sea views, providing a peaceful haven for those looking to escape the hustle and bask in tranquillity.

Venture to Gili Meno and discover Le Pirate Beach Club, where simplicity meets style. This chic spot offers an array of cozy beach huts and a refreshing pool, all wrapped up in a minimalist, nautical themeโ€”perfect for adventurers seeking a tranquil retreat amidst the island’s natural beauty.

Over on Gili Air, Mowie’s Bar promises an unforgettable island experience with its rustic charm and unbeatable oceanfront location. It’s the ideal spot for ending your day with a stunning sunset view, accompanied by delicious food and a laid-back atmosphere.

Each of these beach clubs across the Gili Islands showcases its unique charm, from PinkCoco’s Instagram-ready scenes to Le Pirate’s minimalist allure, ensuring that every visitor finds their slice of paradise. Whether you’re lounging on the soft sands of Gili Trawangan, unwinding in the quietude of Gili Meno, or catching the sunset hues at Gili Air, these beach clubs are quintessential stops on your island itinerary.

Island Hopping

Each island has its own personality.

๐Ÿ๏ธ Gili Trawangan: Known as the ‘party island,’ Gili Trawangan buzzes with vibrant nightlife and a lively social scene, making it perfect for travelers looking to mix relaxation with entertainment. It’s the ideal choice for those who love to blend their beach days with nights out and cultural interactions.

๐Ÿข Gili Meno: The serene escape of the trio, Gili Meno offers tranquil beaches and an intimate atmosphere, ideal for couples and solitude-seekers. This island is your go-to for peaceful relaxation amidst natural beauty, with excellent snorkeling opportunities in crystal clear waters.

๐Ÿ–๏ธ Gili Air: Balancing tranquility with a hint of nightlife, Gili Air attracts both families and solo travelers with its friendly vibe and diverse activities. It’s best for those looking for a chill island experience with the option to partake in local culture and community.

Island hopping in the Gilis is a fabulous idea because each island offers a unique vibe and experiences, from partying on Gili Trawangan, unwinding on Gili Meno, to blending in with the local lifestyle on Gili Air. Exploring all three allows you to fully experience the spectrum of tranquility, adventure, and culture that these islands beautifully offer.

Explore on Two Wheels

One of my favourite things to do on Gili Trawangan is rent a bicycle and leisurely explore the islands. It’s a fantastic way to discover hidden beaches and cosy cafes. In this serene paradise, the absence of motorized vehicles isn’t just a noveltyโ€”it’ allows you to explore at your own pace. Bicycles are readily available for rent from your accommodation or the numerous rental shops sprinkled across the island, making it effortless to set off on a two-wheeled quest.

Pedal along the picturesque coastline, stop for a refreshing swim at secluded beaches or park your bike to discover hidden gems like the tranquil Gili Trawangan night market, where local delicacies await.

TRAVLIST TIP: So this might not be everyone’s favourite things to do on Gili islands because I know not everyone can ride a bicycle, there were a few bike rentals that offered tandem bikes so that might be a consideration for some friends and couples.

Sunset Views and Nightlife

Are you a Sucker for a Sunset?

top pick

Utopia Catamaran sunset and snorkelling cruise from Gili Trawanagan

โญโญโญโญโญ

5-Hour SUNSET and Snorkeling Catamaran Cruise

5 Star Rated | Viator Badge of Excellence | 43 Reviews

๐Ÿคฟ All-Inclusive 18m Catamaran

๐Ÿคฟ Snorkelling spots: Turtle City, Secret Garden and BASK underwater statues

๐Ÿคฟ Buffet dinner with refreshments

BOOK IT ๐Ÿšข

The sunsets on the Gili Islands are an absolute spectacle and a must-see. On Gili Trawangan, the sunset swings at Ombak Sunset Beach offer an iconic spot to watch the day end with a splash of colours across the sky, I’d also highly recommend Pinkcoco Beach Club and their epic bright fushia bean bags and DJ sets – definitely one of my favourite things to do in Gili Trawangan

While Gili Meno’s west coast promises a serene ambience, perfect for those seeking tranquillity. Over on Gili Air, the laid-back vibe of Mowie’s Bar presents the ideal backdrop for sipping a cold drink as the horizon glows.

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The sunsets on the Gili Islands are legendary. If you’re not keen to be in a bar/ restaurant, Find a comfy spot on the beach, perhaps on one of the iconic swings, and watch the sky light up in hues of pink, orange, and purple.

Pumped up for a Party on Gili T

Well established as one of the best things to do on Gili T – Gili Trawangan offers a nightlife and party scene that’s as vibrant as its sunsets. It’s the place to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere in the evenings. head to places like Sama Sama Reggae Bar, Ombak Bar, Tir Na Nog or Jungle nightclub where live music fills the air.

For those looking to amp up the fun, the Jiggy Boat Party is an absolute must-do on your Gili T itinerary. Spanning five exhilarating hours, this party cruise sets sail at 2 p.m. and returns just as the sun dips below the horizon at 7 p.m., offering a breathtaking sunset view unlike any other from the crystal-clear waters around the Gili Islands. You’ll be treated to stunning vistas of all three islands, enjoy complimentary shots, have the chance to take a refreshing dip, and groove to beats spun by a live DJ for the trip’s duration.

Setting sail every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday (or twice a week outside of peak season), the Jiggy Boat Party promises an unforgettable addition to your island adventures. This is definitely one of the top things to do Gili Trawangan.

Swing into the Gram Sunset Shot

The iconic swings of the Gili Islands have the backdrop for the most enchanting Instagram sunset shots, capturing the essence of an island paradise with every click.

On Gili Trawangan, find your perfect swing at Ombak Sunset, while Gili Meno’s swings are beautifully positioned by Karma Reef, offering a quieter, more intimate setting.

Over on Gili Air, the swings at Mowie’s Bar await, ready to frame your sunset moment against a breathtaking panorama. These whimsical swings are a must-do for capturing and sharing the magical end-of-day hues that blanket the sky and sea – this truly is the best of the Gili islands

Immerse in the Culture

Cook like a Local

One of the most enriching and flavorful experiences you can enjoy on the Gili Islands is immersing yourself in the local culture through an Indonesian cooking class. Picture yourself in a vibrant kitchen setting, surrounded by the tantalizing aromas of spices and herbs unique to Indonesian cuisine. With the guidance of friendly and skilled local chefs, you’ll learn how to blend these exotic flavours to create mouthwatering dishes that tell the story of the island’s culinary heritage. From sizzling satays to sumptuous curries, each recipe you concoct will bring you closer to the heart of Indonesia.

Ready to spice up your Gili Islands visit? Don’t miss out on this authentic culinary voyage – BOOK BELOW to claim your seat to your Indonesian cooking class today and savour the true taste of the islands!

โžก๏ธ BOOK A SWEET & SPICY INDONESIAN COOKING CLASS ๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿณ

Turn up the Turtle Conservation

Located just off the jetty’s end on Gili Meno, this completely local set up non professionally funded sanctuary is dedicated to protecting the precious sea turtle populations that grace these waters.

The sanctuary’s efforts focus on ensuring that each hatchling gets a fighting chance at survival as they are released at about 12 months old.

By visiting, you’re not only gaining a deeper understanding of the island’s ecosystem but also supporting a vital initiative that makes a real difference in the preservation of marine life. Around 10 years ago, there were actually any turtles around these islands so the system clearly is flourishing.

I highly recommend making a donation to this amazing local sanctuary. This is one of the best things to do on Gili Meno that makes a difference.

Spa and Serenity

After all the adventures, a spa day is well-deserved. From blissful massages to revitalizing wellness treatments, these sanctuaries of serenity are perfect for unwinding after a day of island adventures.

The Rose Spa on Gili Trawangan is a slice of paradise where tranquillity reigns supreme. Indulge in their signature Rose Petal Massage, where the gentle scent of roses complements the soothing touch of skilled therapists, promising a state of deep relaxation.

On Gili Air, Slow Spa offers a holistic retreat inspired by the slow living movement. Their comprehensive wellness treatments, especially the Balinese Massage, are designed to harmonize the body and soul, setting the stage for a refreshed and rejuvenated self.

Also on Gili Air, PinkCoco Spa stands out for its vibrant approach to relaxation. The PinkCoco Ritual, combining a traditional massage with a refreshing facial, leaves you glowing and utterly relaxed, embodying the vibrant spirit of the island. Ultimately this was one of my favourite things to do on Gili Air.

Back in Gili Trawangan, You Spa presents a haven where modern techniques meet traditional Indonesian therapies. The Bamboo Massage, a unique experience using bamboo sticks, is perfect for easing tension and stimulating energy flow throughout the body.

Each of these cherished spots on the Gili Islands offers a moment of solitude or a shared experience of wellness with your loved one, these spas are your gateway to relaxed bliss.

Dining Options Galore

The Gili Islands, though modest in size, offer a dazzling array of culinary delights that promise an unforgettable gastronomic adventure.

At the heart of this experience is the renowned Night Seafood Market on Gili Trawangan, where the day’s freshest catch turns into sumptuous feasts right before your eyes. Imagine rows of stalls, each illuminated under the night sky, offering everything from grilled snapper to tantalizing lobster, all seasoned with local spices and flavours that sing to your soul.

Alongside, the quaint warungs dotting the islands serve traditional Indonesian dishes like Nasi Goreng and Sate Lilit, offering a taste of the archipelago’s rich culinary heritage in every bite.

But the culinary exploration doesn’t stop there. For those who cherish the simple pleasure of a meal cooked over open flames, the islands’ BBQ restaurants beckon. This is one of the MUST things to do in the Gili Islands.

On Gili Air and on Gili Trawangan, Scallywags Organic Seafood Bar & Grill marries the rustic charm of beachside dining with tantalizing grilling, ensuring every morsel from the sea is perfectly charred to perfection. Meanwhile, Gili Meno’s Mojo Beach Bar & Cafe offers an intimate setting where the barbecue is not just a meal but a celebration of island life.

For the adventurous and picky eaters alike, the Gili Islands cater to every palate. Gili Trawangan’s Pituq Cafรฉ offers a haven for vegans with its innovative plant-based menu, turning local ingredients into dishes that dazzle the senses. Danima Restaurant on Gili Meno specializes in Italian cuisine, offering a comforting taste of home with a twist of island flavour. Over on Gili Air, Mowie’s Bar not only serves delectable food but promises an ambiance where every meal is accompanied by breathtaking sunsets.

Each island, with its distinct character, hosts a trove of dining options that invite you to indulge in both the familiar and the exotic. From the bustling night markets to serene beachfront eateries, the Gili Islands are a testament to Indonesia’s vast culinary landscape, offering something truly special for every traveller.

Trek to Gili T Viewpoint

A bit of a hidden gem on the list of things to do on the Gili islands – A trek to the Gili Trawangan Viewpoint is an experience not to be missed, offering panoramic views of the azure waters and neighbouring islands that truly take your breath away. The word ‘hike’ might be a bit strong for These Gili island activities. More like a short walk uphill. Located on the southern part of the island, this easy and accessible hike leads you to one of the most picturesque spots on Gili Trawangan, where the beauty of the archipelago unfolds before your eyes.

Gili Meno Fresh Water Lake

Nestled in the heart of Gili Meno, the island’s freshwater lake presents a serene escape, offering a peaceful contrast to the bustling beachside. This hidden gem, surrounded by lush greenery and teeming with local wildlife, is a must-visit for those seeking a moment of tranquillity and a glimpse into the untouched natural beauty of the island – definitely one of the lesser-known things to do on the Gili Islands.

Wake Up to the Ocean

Staying at a ocean-facing hotel is one of the best things to do on the Gili Islands. This is a curated list of sea-view hotels across the Gili Islands, Indonesia where the dazzling ocean views are guaranteed to be a highlight of your stay:

GILI TRAWANGAN

โญ Pearl of Trawangan – Experience the epitome of island luxury with a stay at Pearl of Trawangan. Their sea-view rooms offer unobstructed views of the turquoise waters, promising a serene wake-up call with the soothing sounds of the waves.

โญ Ombak Sunset Villas – This iconic hotel blends traditional Lombok architecture with modern amenities. Choose a sea view room for a private terrace that looks out over the vast, sparkling ocean, offering the perfect backdrop for a tropical getaway.

GILI MENO

โญ Gili Meno Mojo Beach Resort – Located on the sunset side of Gili Meno, this resort offers stunning sea-view bungalows that face directly onto the white sandy beach and crystal-clear waters. Itโ€™s an ideal spot for those seeking tranquillity alongside mesmerizing views.

GILI AIR

โญ Sunrise Resort – Situated on the eastern shore of Gili Air, Sunrise Resort offers guests the unique opportunity to greet the day with breathtaking sunrises over Lombok Strait. The sea-view rooms provide an intimate connection with the ocean’s beauty, right from your bed.

These are some of the best hotels in the Gili islands with each of these hotels being chosen for their exceptional views and commitment to providing guests with a memorable stay. Whether you’re watching the sunrise on Gili Air, enjoying the tranquil vibes of Gili Meno, or soaking up the lively atmosphere on Gili Trawangan, these accommodations promise a picturesque and personal experience of Indonesia’s stunning natural beauty.

Sunset Horse Riding

Gallop along the pristine beaches of the Gili Islands with an ethically guided horseback ride, where every step brings you closer to the island’s natural splendour.

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of local animal welfare organizations, you can rest assured that these majestic creatures are treated with the utmost care and respect. This commitment to ethical treatment ensures that your adventure is not only memorable but also conscientiously harmonious with the island’s ethos. Ready to saddle up for an unforgettable experience?

โžก๏ธ BOOK HORSE RIDE ON THE GILI ISLANDS ๐ŸŽ

Essential Tips for Visiting the Gili Islands, Indonesia

  1. Pack Light and Eco-Friendly – The Gili Islands are all about sustainable living, with no cars or motorbikes to whisk you away. Pack light to easily hop between islands and include eco-friendly products like reef-safe sunscreen and reusable water bottles to keep the islands pristine.
  2. Bike Around – The best way to explore the Gilis is by bicycle. Itโ€™s not only eco-friendly but also allows you to discover hidden gems at your own pace. Each island offers bicycle rentals, making it easy to start your two-wheeled adventure.
  3. Early Bird Gets the Best Snorkeling – To experience the underwater magic without the crowds, head out for a snorkel early in the morning. The Gili Islands boast incredible marine life, and sites like Turtle Point and the underwater statues are best enjoyed in the serene early hours.
  4. Indulge in Local Delights – The culinary scene on the Gilis is a delightful blend of local and international cuisines. Don’t miss out on trying freshly caught seafood grilled right on the beach, and be sure to visit the night markets for authentic Sasak dishes.
  5. Respect the Sea Turtles – The Gilis are famous for their sea turtle populations. While snorkeling or swimming, remember these are wild animals. Maintain a respectful distance and never touch or chase them. Supporting local conservation efforts can also make a big difference.
  6. Hydrate and Protect Yourself from the Sun – With the tropical climate, staying hydrated and sun-protected is crucial. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and reapply sunscreen regularly, especially after swimming.
  7. Connect with the Local Culture – Beyond the beaches and underwater wonders, the Gilis have a rich cultural tapestry. Engage with local artisans, attend a traditional cooking class, or simply chat with the friendly locals to enrich your experience. This is one of the best things to do in Gili islands.

Conclusion

The Gili Islands are a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re snorkelling with turtles, cycling through palm-fringed lanes, or simply enjoying the slow island life, the Gilis promise memories that will last a lifetime. Ready for your adventure? Pack your bags, and show me how you experience paradise

Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in the article have affiliate links, what this means is, if you click a link and make a purchase I may earn some money to buy a coffee (whoohoo!). Thanks for the support, I’d love to keep making this content freely available to all. As always opinions and thoughts remain my own.

Things to do on the Gili Islands FAQ

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