What to do on the Gili Islands

The Gili islands in Indonesia are the closest I’ve been to paradise! A quick ferry journey from Bali took me to Gili Trawangan, or Gili T for short. It is the biggest of the three islands, the others being Gili Air and Gili Meno. The downstairs of the ferry had regular seats, but when I went up to the roof I found blasting reggae music and sections where I could put down a towel and relax in the sun. I hastily grabbed my spot for the relaxing journey!

When travelling Indonesia, the Gili islands are not to be missed. Here are a few things you should check out when you’re there!


Our view when arriving to Gili Trawangan

  1. Bike around Gili Trawangan!

When arriving at Gili T, the first thing I noticed was that there were no vehicles on the island. In fact, none of the Gili islands had vehicles. Getting around required either walking, bicycling or donkey. The donkey taxis took people to their hotels on the other side of the island. Even with Gili T being the biggest of the three, it didn’t take longer than one to two hours to bike around the entire island.

  1. Snorkel for sea turtles

If you look up any photos of the islands you will notice the crystal clear waters. This makes Gili a great place to snorkel! There are lots of companies on the island that will rent you gear and take you out on a boat to the best locations. We saw huge sea turtles when I was there! It was definitely a magical moment!

  1. Check out one of Gili’s famous ocean swings

Gili is known for its famous ocean swings. There are two you can visit on Gili T for the sunset photo that everyone wants. The famous two-person swing is at Hotel Ombak. The other one is a single swing and a hammock at The Exile bar. I prefer The Exile bar because it’s more casual. You can grab a drink and enjoy! At the Hotel Ombak it is relaxed as well, but you might have some people irritated if you are there without being a guest at the hotel. The Exile bar is also closer to the main town on Gili T.


A view of the The Exile Bar ocean swing

  1. Go to the beer pong bar

Gili targets a young audience, especially Gili T. There are plenty of bars and night clubs at your disposal. My favourite was the beer pong bar! The tables are already set up and it is a great place to start your drinking before moving on somewhere else. Everyone loves a good beer pong tournament!              

A few more things to note before your visit!

Something to note about the Gili islands is that like the rest of Indonesia, the alcohol isn’t as cheap as other places in South East Asia. Indonesia has an import tax on their alcohol of 150%! Local wine or beer are the more affordable drinks you can purchase while you are there.

If you walk down the street in the evening you will notice multiple locals holding out big signs advertising that they have mushrooms. Now I am definitely no drug expert, but a woman I was with that evening, who had been to the island many times bought some. They are not dried mushrooms like the normal hallucinogenic ones. This woman knew exactly which man to buy them from. He worked behind a bar that was not advertising to the public like the others were. She explained that she didn’t trust the other people who were selling them on the street. These mushrooms gave her a happy high, where everything was bright and wonderful, no hallucinations. It might be something to note if you’re into that sort of partying.


Clear Waters of the Gili Islands

All in all Bali was a pretty incredible place, and I will definitely be visiting this paradise again!




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