The closest island to Lombok, Gili Air is aptly named after the Indonesian word “air” meaning “water”. It is the only Gili island to have natural underground fresh water walls. Gili Air is gem of a spot that allows you to sample the best of both worlds of the Gili islands- it has the relaxing charm of Gili Meno and a bit of the night life of Gili Trawangan.It is the most locally populated island with 1700 residents and it’s not hard to see a special pride amongst the locals for the awe that their land inspires.
We were lucky enough to spend a few weeks on this paradise, which became our favourite island.
Here are 10 things I loved in Gili Air:
- Not doing too much
With 2 km diametre, Gili Air might seem boring after a few days in which you manage to explore it all. But in the end, I believe that this exactly the charm of the island, to manage to disconnect from your thoughts and from stress and reconnect with tranquility, nature and simplicity. As simple as the island might seem to be, as many things it has to offer, if you can enjoy the small things.
Among the activities that you can do in Gili Air, the most of them are connected with water sports: snorkeling, diving, SUP (stand up paddle), etc. But, except these, you can enjoy some remote and empty beaches, turqoise waters, sunsets, palm trees, yoga, relaxation.
- Enjoy the silence
The intense calm of the islands is due to the fact that there are no fuel motor vehicles there. You can only move on foot, with a bicycle, with an electric scooter or horse-drawn carriages, the so-called Cidomos.
Besides this, on the beach you will rarely hear music and most of the places closes around 23:00.
Gili Air was the place where we ate at least one meal on the beach every day. Gili Air has a great selection of restaurants including homemade Italian or Mediterranean food, Spanish tapas and exquisite cuisine options as well as a number of charming Warungs serving all the best local dishes. The prices are more than reasonable.
For example, for a vegetarian burger with French fries, we paid 3 euros.
On the beach bars you will find a lot of 1+1 cocktail offers, so you can pay for a cocktail only 2 euros.
- Best Snorkeling experience
I had one of the best snorkeling experience in Gili Air. What can be more beautiful than swimming in the ocean around colourful fishes, corals and turtles?
- Everyday sunset
One of the things which I like to do, is to watch the sunset. And because Gili Air is so small that in one hour you can circle it on foot, I had the chance to watch the sunset every evening. I love when the sun sinks in the sea and the sky between the palm trees becomes redder and redder. For sunsets, be sure to be on the north/west part of the island.
You can grab a drink or a fresh coconut and enjoy the atmosphere when the ocean retreats and the red ball of fire disappears behind the volcano of Bali. Photographers can go nuts here and get some really great pictures.
- Movies on the beach
In Gili Air we saw for the first time a movie on the beach. There are lots of bars on the island who organises movie nights, free of charge if you buy something to drink.
- Our own beach
Most of the accomodations and restaurants are concentrated on the south and south east part of the island. This thing attracts most of the tourists there. If you walk towards north or north-west, you have all the chances to discover beaches without tourists, beaches where you can be on yourself.
It’s been a while since I was thinking how to make divings. But I was afraid because I don’t like to swim if I can’t reach the bottom, it makes me feel unsafe. In Gili Air, I got rid of this fear with the very first diving course I had and in the end I became a certified diver.
- The People
Happiness is infectious on this island and its friendly inhabitants will never miss a chance to make you smile. From the fresh coconut juice seller to the singers that were coming every Sunday from Lombok to play on a terrace, we became friends with each person that we were spending more than 5 minutes with. And even if most of them do not speak English, they are very interested to meet you and to find out as many details as possible about your country.
- Gili Air is home
And when I say home, I mean exactly that feeling of tranquillity and happiness which we all have when we are home, with the dear ones. Even though I think that home is more a feeling than a place, for me, this time it meant a place from where it was hard to leave. But do you know which is the best part in having a home? You know that, wherever you are, you can always come back.
Which is your favourite island?