Gili Islands Lombok

Swimming with the fishes and more at Lombok’s Gili Islands

I’ve always wanted to explore the Gili Islands, Bali’s more laid back sister popular for its marine life. The Gilis consists of three islands: Gili Trawangan, the party island and the biggest of the three, Gili Meno in the middle, and Gili Air, its name derived from the Bahasa for water because it is the only one with underground fresh water. It’s located northwest of Lombok. Cars and motorcycles are prohibited via a local ordinance and the main transportation around these islands are either bikes or the horse drawn cidomo.

The variety fish was just overwhelming and I was just speechless!! (photo courtesy of Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap of EazyTraveler)

The variety of fishes was just overwhelming and I was just speechless!! (photo courtesy of Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap of EazyTraveler)

Actually, its a misnomer as Gili is Sasak (the dominant tribe in Lombok) for small islands thus it can be confusing as islets around Lombok have Gili included in its name. But for the purposes of this post, and which we visited, we will focus on these three.

Although you can explore Gili Trawangan like hike up to the hill viewpoint, bike around the island, party or head to the Datu Swing, the main highlight of a Gili trip is diving and snorkeling. Surrounded by lush coral gardens, its a must to explore the rich marine life around these three. We first dropped anchor off Gili Meno where the water is deeper. The glass bottomed boat wasn’t really much of help as the glass itself wasn’t as clear as expected but why limit yourself sitting dry when you can just go under water and have a better experience with turtles, corals and fish?

I’m not a swimmer and going deeper than my 5’11” height can already be scary to me, we were provided with life jackets, snorkeling gear and flippers that you can really enjoy the activity. But alas, although there was a turtle sighting, the location we swam around wasn’t as good as expected. It was only when some of our companions were dropped at Gili Air and we went snorkeling again, just a few meters from the shore of this islet that I actually enjoyed it. With pieces of bread, there WERE several species of fish, big and small that swam around, fed from our hands and just came near. I was overwhelmed with the experience, with the different colors and forms! From the boat, you can actually see the fish go close to the surface to grab a piece of bread but it’s better to see it underwater where the action is.

Arranging for a dive or snorkel or any other activity in these three islands is easy. Either you check with your hotel for packaged activities or visit one of the many stalls around that offers these activities.

Our glass bottomed boat. Not really that interesting as the glass was not as clear as expected, but we did snorkel within this area off Gili Meno

Our glass bottomed boat. Not really that interesting as the glass was not as clear as expected, but we did snorkel within this area off Gili Meno

View of Gili Trawangan with Gunung Agung, the highest volcanic mountain in Bali, in the background

View of Gili Trawangan with Gunung Agung, the highest volcanic mountain in Bali, in the background

Gili Meno with Gunung Rinjani in the background

Gili Meno with Gunung Rinjani in the background

Gili Islands Lombok

Late afternoon at the beachfront of Gili Trawangan with Lombok island in the background

Dusk at the beachfront of Gili Trawangan where we had dinner at Scallywags Restaurant

Dusk at the beachfront of Gili Trawangan where we had dinner at Scallywags Restaurant

A beautiful morning scene off Gili Trawangan with a view of Gunung Rinjani in Lombok

A beautiful morning scene off Gili Trawangan with a view of Gunung Rinjani in Lombok

Clockwise from top right: paddleboarding in Gili Air, Scallywags Beach Resort in Gili Air, Fast boat plying the waters from Gili Trawangan; View of Gili Trawangan from our glass bottomed boat

Clockwise from top right: paddleboarding in Gili Air, Scallywags Beach Resort in Gili Air, Fast boat plying the waters from Gili Trawangan; View of Gili Trawangan from our glass bottomed boat

Scallywags Beach Resort in Gili Air where we had lunch

Scallywags Beach Resort in Gili Air where we had lunch

Snorkelling at the waters off Gili Meno

Snorkelling at the waters off Gili Meno

Seafood and kebab served at Scallywags Restaurant at the beachfront of Gili Trawangan

Seafood and kebab served at Scallywags Restaurant at the beachfront of Gili Trawangan

My very spacious room at Villa Ombak

My very spacious room at Vila Ombak

Where to stay

There are several resorts in Gili Trawangan but one of the relaxing and where we were billeted was Vila Ombak, a beachfront resort. I love the spacious rooms, the al fresco toilet and bath area and the well landscaped garden with different types of accommodation spread out within the property. Stays are inclusive of buffet breakfast at Ombak Joglo Restaurant just across and by the beach.

Vila Ombak in Gili Trawangan
Gili Trawangan Island
Kabupaten Lombok Utara (KLU)
Lombok, Indonesia (83355)
+62 370 6142336
+62 370 6142337
PO Box 2010
[email protected]
http://www.vilaombak.com/

The fast boat from Teluk Kodek in Lombok to Gili Trawangan

The fast boat from Teluk Kodek in Lombok to Gili Trawangan

Getting there

There are two ways to get to the Gili Islands but you don’t have any choice but to ride a boat. If coming from Lombok, you can ride the fast boats in Teluk Kodek which is just around 10-15 minutes away to Gili Trawangan. Small but efficient and will get you there in now time. There is also a slow boat option. Aside from Gili Trawangan, you can also head to Gili Air from here.

The second option is if your coming from Bali, you have these ports to chose from: Serangan, Padangbai and Sanur Nusa Lembongan. Do take note that trips can be 1.5-3 hours from these ports but will eventually depend on the sea condition. Our transit from Gili Trawangan to Bali early in the morning was quite rough. If you are prone to seasickness or afraid of such conditions, it’s better to fly to Lombok International Airport, head to Teluk Kodek and take the 10 minute fast boat.

This trip made possible through the Wonderful Indonesia program of the Ministry of Tourism. Check out the official website, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But don’t forget to Like my Langyaw Media Facebook page for updates.

For stories during my WONDERFUL INDONESIA trip, click on the TRIP OF WONDERS tag.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

One Comment

  1. Estan Cabigas (@EstanCabigas)
    September 11, 2016 @ 1:39

    Beautiful #Gili Islands #tripofwonders #wonderfulindonesia @indtravel

    https://t.co/KYUCjYirN5 https://t.co/fjTjRgA9L4

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