The Gili Islands are made up of three coral islands, just off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia. The Islands; Gili Trawangan, Meno and Air are easily accessible by boat from Bali and Lombok and boast clear turquoise waters, white sands and no motorised vehicles offering you space for relaxation and a wide range of activities also on offer.
I’ve just spent six weeks on the biggest Island, ‘Gili T’ often referred to as the ‘Party Island’ thanks to its growing strip of restaurants and bars and ample accommodation options to suit all budgets. But this nickname can be somewhat misleading - you don’t have to be 21 looking for a booze cruise to enjoy what this picturesque island has to offer.
Here are my suggestions for a perfect day in paradise...
Wake with the sun
The sunsets are infamous on the Gili Islands, but why not join the exclusive few who wake to watch the equally majestic sunrise? Head down to the beach and spend a few moments looking out to sea and watching the sun rise above the mountains of Lombok.
Meditate, be mindful and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you in quiet stillness before the rest of the island wakes up.
Enjoy an amazing breakfast
Head to Kayu Café for breakfast, you’ll find it just past the market square. It has a broad range of healthy, delicious breakfasts and excellent coffee on offer; my recommendation is to try the smoothie bowl. Although beware, you might become as addicted as I did!
Swim with the fish
Get a snorkel on! Either take a day trip touring the three island or simply hire a snorkel and step out into the clear turquoise shore. You can take a public day tour for as little as $7 USD, but be prepared for your boat to be filled to the brim with other tourists. Otherwise, you can choose to take a private tour for around $70 USD.
There are plenty of dive schools on the island should you wish to go a little deeper, but either way, the opportunity to swim with turtles is not to be missed.
Cycle round and through the island
Hire a bike and cycle round the island to find your favourite spot. You may even discover a fantastic new place for lunch. You’ll be surprised how busy one side is to the other and by going around the whole island, you can enjoy what each side has to offer.
Make sure you venture into the centre of the island too – it's so peaceful and has a feeling of authentic, Indonesian island life.
Practise Yoga in Gili Yoga’s peaceful studio set back from the busy main strip. Take part in daily Vinyasa flow classes or join one of their themed workshops or evening classes. The teachers are amongst the best I’ve come across and are well worth a visit. They also offer free-dive courses taking you 20 meters deep on one breath, over two days (for those daring enough!).
Watch the sunset
Ombak Sunset Hotel is where you’ll find the original ocean swing, setting the trend for other hotels and restaurants to follow suit. Sit back on one of the beach front beanbags, sip a cocktail and enjoy the most beautiful sunsets – heaven.
Try to choose from all the amazing options for dinner
You're spoilt for choice for food options on the island. With the smell barbequing fresh fish and meats filling the streets at night; Indonesian buffets and foods from all over the world are readily available to suit all budgets. My recommendation is head to the Street Food Market in the main square by the harbour, especially if you are a solo traveller.
The small market square comes alive at night. You can get a plate full of Indonesian street food for less than $2 and add freshly BBQ’d skewers of meats and fresh seafood for an extra dollar. The food is delicious and you'll never eat alone. Join locals, travellers, families and wanderlusters from all over the world who are there to feast, meet and soak up some Indonesian spirit.
Appreciate the stars
Finish up your perfect day by walking along the beach in the moonlight. Sit for a moment and reflect on the beauty that surrounds you. The sky will undoubtedly be littered with stars and it won’t be difficult to remember you are exactly where you need to be.
How to Spend the Perfect Day On Gili Trawangan, Indonesia by @horizonretreats #giliislands
Other Things to do
- Watch a movie at on the beach at Hotel Vila Ombak – the first ever hotel to be built on the Island. Movies played daily and they offer the best selection of movies on the Island and it comes with free popcorn ($4)
- Horse riding with Stud Riding School where you’ll find happy well looked after horses ($25-$55)
- Sweet and Spicy Cookery School – learn some skills for yourself ($20)
- Gili Golf! Set back from the main street offering a fun 18 hole mini golf course. Fun for families and adults alike (I love mini-golf!)
- Enjoy a massage. There are plenty of spa’s and hotels offering massage and other spa treatments and some for as little as $7 for an hour massage.
Side note: If you get a horse and cart, I’d urge you to be responsible. Be mindful you aren’t overloading the cart; just get two if you’re a big family/group with lots of luggage. Do a brief check of your horse to make sure it is healthy and happy before embarking on your journey. A good sign is no ribs showing, no head to the ground with tiredness, no open wounds or sores.
Have you been to Gili T? Have you got any other tips to add to create the most perfect day there? If not, I hope this beautiful island is officially on your bucket list 🙂
Image source: pixabay.com