This place couldn't be more idyllic. With no motorised vehichles being allowed onto the island - the air is fresh and instead of the droning sound of hundreds of moped exhausts, all you can hear are the waves drifting up the shore, the occasional cycle bike bell and pony hooves trotting on the sand. The island is super small measuring about 5km all the way round the edge - I used to run it some mornings, but it is interesting to just walk all the way round to see all parts of the island to.
>>> Cycle bikes (very cheap to rent)
>>> Pony and 'cart'
>>> Your own two feet. (This island is very small, if you've got feet - use them!)
>>> Lemongrass - The best food on the island in my opinion - and the cheapest!
>>> Coffee & Thyme and Sunrise Cafe - for a decent coffee
>>> Dive with Manta Dive School
>>> Rent a cycle bike
>>> Sunrise and Sunset Sup Boarding
>>> Yoga on the beach
>>> Take mosquito repellent!
The first thing you will realise is there are THREE gili islands. Gili Meno - a honey mooners paradise, Gili Trawangan (or Gili T) the full moon party drink stuff out of sand buckets island, and then Gili Air - the more 'chilled vibe' island for snorkelling, diving, yoga and general ZEN. Cycle bikes are very cheap to hire / rent and you pay on a day rate - this is really helpful and prevents you spending heaps of money on the horse and carts around the island. Also in some spots there aren't many horses ready and available all the time. Alternatively, if you're in no rush for a yoga class or to meet anyone and are just stone cold chilling - walk about on your own two feet! I only had a short amount of time in and around Bali and therefore only visited Gili Air Island as it seemed like the one that would be the most 'my scene.
Lemongrass is a little family run restaurant just up the road directly opposite the harbour. The flavours of their food is incredible all using old family secret recipes! You have to try the Lemongrass chicken - its banging! It is also the cheapest place I found during my stay on Gili Air. You will find prices of food are generally higher along the sea front and higher than the prices you get in Bali, because its a small island and you have no other options so they will do that! If they run out of bananas, they run out of bananas until next week when a boat comes - catch my drift?
As you will realise from ALL my other blogs, I search out good coffee everywhere I go. Coffee and Thyme and Sunrise Cafe had the best of the dreamy morning goodness.
Snorkelling the reefs around the island is a must - it really is incredible. The water is so clear and full of under water life. When we were snorkelling one morning on the reef off the shore of where Sandy Beach Bungalows is - (the north side of the island) two hawksbill turtles were popping up for air and it was magical!
Scuba Diving is great around Gili Air too. Manta Dive are an ace relaxed dive school to go with, they are proper chilled out instructors who just love to explore the ocean. We saw several giant green turtles scuba diving with them.
There is a place near the harbour that is a free diving school who hire out SUP boards on a hourly rate. This is a real nice thing to do for sunset before going for dinner when the sea is calm.
There is a great place for beach front yoga near Manta Dive on the sea front side - it has lots of classes for different styles and levels and isn't too expensive. Great setting if you are in search for some ZEN.
I stayed at Sandy Beach Bungalows on Gili Air. Their breakkies were algiht, they had a pool to cool down in and the bathrooms in the bungalows were lush! They also had really good mosquito nets on the beds, good wifi and an ace snorkelling spot right out the front of it. You will find there is an array of different types of accommodation of varied prices and a lot of it isn't online, so you can only book in on arrival.