Three Days of Tropical Vacation in the Gili Islands
I didn’t have any idea at first about the Gili Islands when my friend told me about this place when we were planning for our route in Indonesia. Honestly, I only knew a little about the country, and that was Bali, Yogyakarta and Jakarta. So when I heard about the Gili Islands, I checked it online and I got instantly stunned with its wonder.
The Gili Islands are an archipelago of three small islands such as Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. It is located off the northwest coast of Lombok. These islands are popular destination for tourists looking for a remote island experience.
The Gili Islands were our first destination from our weeklong trip. But since we wanted to visit as much as many places in the country, we only allotted three days for these popular islands. The three days were unforgettable for our group. We had so much fun. We enjoyed our vacation. Indeed, it was the island vacation that we wanted to happen. It was easy, laid-back and fun.
Fast Boat from Bali to Gili Air via Marina Srikandi
The Gili Islands are easily accessible direct from Bali with the fast boat service. There are several companies offering ferry services daily from Bali to Gili Islands and vice versa. Most of these services depart from Padang Bai, which is 44 kilometers away from Denpasar. But there’s also another harbor, which is closer from the city, that operates same ferry services, and that is Serangan.
We opted to take the fast boat from Serangan. We rode a Marina Srikandi fast boat because it was the cheapest and fastest ferry ride that I’ve found online. Booking a fast boat ride with Marina Srikandi through online only cost $23 (IDR 300,000) per person one-way. The ferry schedule is daily at 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM. Since 8:00 AM was our touch down in Bali, we chose the afternoon schedule.
We arrived at the port few hours early. We waited at the waiting area located inside a restaurant.
The boat was on time. We started to board few minutes before 1:00 PM. Boarding was smooth and easy. Everything was actually convenient. I got dozed off as soon as we got into our seats. Well, I slept almost the entire time of our sea travel. I was only able to wake up when we were already approaching the Gili Islands. It was two hours sea travel until we finally arrived our destination, Gili Air.
Beach Bumming in Gili Air
Imagine having beers and tropical drinks with a wonderful view of the beach in front of you that was our life when we were in Gili Air. Although our hotel was located in the middle of the island, we spent most of our time by the beach.
We had our first meal in one of the restaurants located in the seashore, we capped off our night in one of the bars located on the other side of the island with a view of the beach and the mainland of Lombok and we spent our morning lounging by the beach and enjoying our drinks. And of course before we left the island, we had a chance to take a dip in the ocean and enjoyed the beach.
Gili Air is a laid-back island. The pace of life here is slow and endearing. I love the place. And it was perfect that this island was our first stop because it has the peaceful and serene vibe that we sought. We had a lazy time. We didn’t have any actual schedule to follow. We didn’t do any other activities in the island but to just laze around and enjoy the slow-paced life that the island has.
I like Gili Air. Aside from the ambiance, it was also in Gili Air where I tasted the best Nasi Goreng I had in Indonesia. It was in a warung warung near the port.
Glimpse of Gili Meno
It was during our boat ride from Gili Air to Gili Trawangan when we were able to see Gili Meno. The public boat actually dropped by the island to drop off and pick up some passengers. We didn’t alight. We just looked at the island from our seats. And having a glimpse of how it looks like, I can tell that Gili Meno is also a nice island. It has unspoilt quality that it retained. The beach was captivating. The water was clear. It was just too bad that our time was constrained that we didn’t able to visit this island. I guess I should just prioritize this place the next time that I’ll be in the Gili Islands.
Sunset and Parties in Gili Trawangan
Gili Trawangan is the largest and most visited of the three islands. It is known as the party place among the three. We went there on our second day and spent a night. We stayed at Hotel Ombak Sunset, which is located on the western side of the island.
Staying at Hotel Ombak Sunset gave us a peaceful kind of vacation while in the island since it’s a quite a distance from the center. The hotel is also the perfect spot to see the sunset. This is also where we found the famous Datu Swing, which is one of the things that I desired to have a picture with when I searched about the Gili Islands.
We spent our day in the resort but when the night came, we went to the center to party. We had some beers and enjoyed the nightlife in Gili Trawangan. We enjoyed it so much that it was already 3:00 AM when we were able to get back to our resort.
If I were to choose which one I liked the most among the three, then I would say it is Gili Trawangan. It’s a party island but the island also has a part to spend a laid-back vacation.
Getting around the Gili Islands – Public Boat and Transportation
There are boat companies offering inter-island journeys if you wish to visit the Gili Islands. There are charter boats providing boat service to get to one island from another. Normally, these boats are permitted to carry a maximum of 12 persons. One-way fare per person is from $15 (IDR 190,000) while a return fare is from $25 (IDR 350,000).
But there’s also a cheaper way to get around the islands, which is by public boat. The boat service is daily and comes in schedule. One-way fare per person costs $3 (IDR 40,000).
Arriving in the island, there are no motorized vehicles that could take you to your accommodation. If you want to get around and go to places, the choices are by foot, by bike and by horse cart. Bike rental rate for 24 hours starts from $5 (IDR 60,000). Horse cart ride that could fit two persons costs $8 (IDR 100,000). The horse cart ride eaten up a lot of our budget while we were in Gili Islands. It was already late when we realized that it was better to rent a bicycle.
Our three days in the Gili Islands is a short period to totally experience everything. We didn’t able to visit Gili Meno but surely, this place will be on top of my list when I get back to this part of Indonesia. But despite of the limited time that we had, we surely still enjoyed our vacation. We were delighted to experience the wonder, ambiance and life of spending a vacation on these beautiful islands in Indonesia. We were pleased to experience the nice beaches and islands that made this trip truly an unforgettable one.