With so many attractions and activities on offer throughout the Gili Islands, you may want to consider your itinerary while enjoying a tropical beverage while reclining on a beach chair enjoying the view of the crystal clear waters and surrounding islands.
From relaxing on the white sand beaches or getting a local massage to sea and land based action and adventure activities, these islands and waters really do have everything to suit everyone.
Just a small sample of some of the activities you can experience while on the Gili Islands are:
| Snorkelling / Swimming|
Sea turtle sanctuary and hatchery
Sea kayak around the islands
Cruise on a glass bottom boat
Ride Cidomo – small horse drawn carriages
Party boat cruises
Local day and night Markets
Learn to cook Sasak style
Cruise between the Gili Islands
Sunset beach bar crawl
Fishing and deep sea fishing
Walk or cycle around the island
Abundant marine life
Okay, there are two types of diving here. Scuba diving is when you go underwater using a self-contained breathing apparatus called scuba. With that equipment safely strapped behind your back like a rucksack, your hands and legs are free to help you to swim underwater, exploring the marine life.
Although the diving schools are on all three islands, Gili Trawangan has got more of them. No wonder, since it is the biggest island of the three.
It is true that you can go surfing anywhere, as long as there is a beach and the waves are strong and high enough for it. The surfing spots can mostly be found in the northwest of Gili Trawangan, although you can also find them in Gili Meno and Gili Air.
The difference between snorkeling and scuba diving is that you do not need to go so deep in underwater when it comes to snorkeling. This is why it is also known as skin diving. Just like scuba diving, you can also rent the equipment from the diving schools around, especially in Gili Trawangan.
Again, in Gili Trawangan and Gili Air, you can find plenty of resorts and bungalows with their own swimming pools. This way, you can cure your boredom with swimming in the sea. Since Gili Meno is the smallest and the quietest, you can still swim in the sea and pretend that it is your own private beach.
Tired of just swimming? Try paddling or paddle boarding. You can exercise and build your biceps by paddling, while at the same time visiting all three Gili Islands. Just rent a canoe or a kayak for one or two people, so you can go paddling or sea kayaking instead.
Make sure that your partner/friend sharing that canoe or kayak is up for it. This can also help you with building a better partnership with them.
There are many things to do while you are in Gili Islands. All you have to do is find out before challenging yourself to give it at least a try.
If you feel that you do not have enough chances to walk a lot in the big city, then this is your chance. Walking around the island is the healthy way to get yourself back in shape again. If you stay longer, you might start developing a new more vigorous habit once you are back home.
Riding a bicycle
This is also one of the most common things to do in Gili Islands when you want to get around. There are plenty of rental places for bicycles around, especially if you stay in Gili Trawangan. Unlike walking, you get to cover longer distances on every trip.
Want to cover more grounds? Let’s ride a horse. Of course, you cannot ride one your own far away from Stud Horse Riding Adventures or Sunset Stables. (By the way, those two are the places to rent horses for a ride along the beach.) Although you cannot really get around the island by riding a horse like old-fashioned cowboys in western movies, at least this is still a fun activity while you are in Gili Islands.
Riding on a horse-drawn carriage called ‘cidomo’
Most Indonesians living in Java are more familiar with the term ‘delman’. Here in Gili Islands, this transportation is called ‘cidomo’. You can book one to take you around the islands, whether you are in Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, or Gili Air. If this is your very first trip, make sure you haggle the prices in order to save more money for other activities.
Cruising between the Gili Islands
While you are here, why should you only stop by on one island? There are surely many things to do in Gili Trawangan, but that does not mean Gili Meno and Gili Air are not worth visiting. To do that, you can go cruising between the Gili Islands, either by a speedboat, a regular boat, or a cruise ship.
Pub-hopping and partying
As mentioned earlier, Gili Trawangan has more tourism activities to do. Want to go out drinking and to have a party all night long? There are bars and pubs you can check out here, from “Blue Marling”, “Tir Na Nog” (or also known as The Irish Pub), “Rudy’s”, and “Sama-sama Bar”. You will also hear a lot of reggae music being played in Sama-sama Bar.
Visiting and shopping in the local day and night markets
Forget the usual malls that you go to back home. This is your chance to experience shopping in the local day and night markets. The market square in front of the boat pier sells affordable foods you can eat. There are fresh fish, seafood, rice, and noodle dishes. You can even try the grilled red snapper, although you might want to pay a bit extra for that, as in Rp100.000,00. Still, it is worth it.
Learning to cook with Sasak style
While you are in Gili Trawangan, you can add another skill that will be useful in the kitchen when you are back home. Why don’t you try learning to cook with Sasak style? You can go to Sweet and Spicy Gili Cooking School for that. You will not just have a culinary adventure there, but can also bring it home with you.
If you know the locals who can cook, who knows? They may not mind teaching you how to cook some local cuisines for free.
Believe it or not, this is also one of the many things to do in Gili Trawangan. Check out Gili Golf (http://giligolf.com/) for more information. Not only playing golf, but you can also have fun jumping on trampolines.
Actually, there are more things to do in Gili Trawangan, depending on how you would like it. Since motorized vehicles are not allowed on the lands (on all islands), you can ride a bicycle, walk, or ride a horse-drawn carriage they call ‘cidomo’. It is much healthier and less polluted that way.
Enjoying the sunset beach bar crawl
What does this mean? You get to eat and relax at the beach. Choose one of the bars or restaurants that have sun-protected lounges or giant cushions, or even bean bags on the beach. Then order some fruit juice and delicious foods like fried rice (nasi goreng) before you sit, eat, and enjoy the scenery around you.
It is even better if you can get a chance to see the sunset.
Doing yoga and meditation
Although you can do yoga and meditation in the city by going to one of the existing gymnasiums, doing them in Gili Islands, especially in GiliTrawangan, has its own sensation. Just check out The Yoga Place. They have three different sessions every day: sunrise, afternoon, and sunset. There are healthy foods and drinks like more vegetables (especially salad) and fresh coconuts. Let’s detoxify.
Getting Indonesian massages, spa treatments, and fish pedicures
There are plenty of massage parlors and spas in Gili Islands. Depending on your preferences, you may take your pick. One of the challenges that you may not always find in the big city is…fish pedicures. Just dip your feet into the water full of little black fish. Let them nibble your feet because they consume your dry skin.
This may sound scary to some, but no worries. You might feel ticklish on the feet, but after that…your feet will be much smoother once the outer layer of dry skin comes off.
It does not matter whether you want to cruise between the Gili Islands or just want to experience party boat cruises. You can relax on the boat, standing on the dock as you watch the sunset with your drink in your hand. Where else would you rather be than there?
Once you are done with water sports and getting around the islands, these things to do in Gili Islands are worth a try. Rejuvenate yourself before returning to your real world after the holiday, with work and all.
Jamming in live music performances in bars and cafes
Feeling a little bit musical? Check out Sama-sama, one of the bars in GiliTrawangan. They play a lot of reggae music every day and night. During the day, jam sessions take place, and even visitors are welcomed to participate. If you are in GiliMeno, go to Sasak Island Cafe for the same thing.
Surely, everyone will be having fun with this, but it will be a plus point if you really have a good singing point, know the songs, and can play the musical instrument too.
Watching “Stick Fight”
What is it? In Sasak language, a stick fight is called “presean”. It is when two players are selected randomly to fight against each other. One will be given a stick while the other is holding a shield. During the fight, the “beleganjur” players will be playing music in the background. It takes place on Sunday in the marketplace.
Surely, tourists are welcomed to join. However, do not take it personally if you get a few hits and wounded a bit. Despite the slight brutality, it is actually a popular traditional sport. It is much better than school brawls since all the fighters get along outside the fight zone and still maintain a sense of “sportsmanship”.
Watching movies at the open-air cinema
Now, this is another source of entertainment that you should not miss while you are on GiliTrawangan. Since it is indeed in the open air, you do not need to purchase some tickets. Consider this a completely different experience than the cinemas in the buildings you have been to.
Getting a tattoo…or perhaps more
In GiliTrawangan, you can visit a tiny tattoo parlor on the way from the marketplace. If you want something more traditional, go to Noa, who uses bamboo to get yourself tattooed. Is one enough or would you like more? It is up to you.
Surely, you will never get bored with Gili. If one holiday is not enough, you can always come back again.