Gili Air

Travel Guide Lesser Sunda Islands Lombok Gili Islands Gili Air

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Introduction

Gili Air Beach

Gili Air Beach

© missindo

Gili Air is the island closest to the mainland of Lombok. It's not as developed as Gili Trawangan, but you'll still find good hotels here, and a variety of restaurants. Most of these are located on the south east side of the island, where you'll also find the best beaches. The diving here is fantastic, and the sunrise over Gunung Rinjani on Lombok is amazing.

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Sights and Activities

Diving, snorkelling, walking and surfing.

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Getting There

By Boat

The sea is calmest in the morning and all transport stops running in the late-afternoon, well before dark. During periods of southerly winds and in July and August especially, the swell can be a bit hairy and you are very likely to get wet on the crossing. It is advisable to place laptops, cameras and handphones in waterproof bags for the crossing. You will need to wade through shallow sea when disembarking, so wear either appropriate footwear, or none at all.

From Bali
Nearly all fast boat operators stop at Gili Air, among which:

Amed Sea Express offers a twice daily high-speed schedule to Gili Air from Amed on the East coast of Bali. Boats depart Amed at 10AM and 3:30PM with arrivals on Gili Air at 11:30am and 5:00pm. Prices are Rp 600.000 (one-way) and Rp 1,100.000 (return) and tickets can be booked online.

Gili Getaway (formerly Island getaway) reputed to be among the best in terms of safety and service standards. Also offers trips to Gili Gede. Operating out of Serangan, Bali.

Blue Water Express from Serangan and Padang Bai in Bali to Gili Air daily. Exceptional standards.

Kuda Hitam and Gili Gili fastboats both also stop at Gili Air. Note however that Kuda Hitam originates in the north-east of Bali (Amed), which is only appropriate for travellers staying in that area.

Gili Gili departing from Padang Bai (east Bali).

To check live seat availability on a variety of trusted carriers (including many of the above) and book boat tickets online, use the well established Gilibookings website.

From Lombok
Public boats depart from Bangsal between 8:00am-5:00pm but often no later than 4:00pm and are fewer in number than go to Gili Trawangan. The voyage takes about 30 min and the official price is Rp 12,000. Sometimes these services only depart when there are enough people, normally a minimum of 15 is enough. If numbers are insufficient you may have to endure a wait at Bangsal. The official maximum is 20 people but sometimes the boat is overloaded by the time it is ready to depart. The best time to be sure of a crossing to Gili Air is 2:00pm-3:30pm in the afternoon however this can vary, especially with weather or passenger loads.

Buy your tickets direct from the official Koperasi Angkutan Laut Karya Bahari office. In Bangsal this is located inside the main building near the door at the eastern corner. The Koperasi operate the Public Boat, the Shuttle boat, the Island Hopping boat and also offer (official) Charter boats.

There is a ticket office on Gili Air to buy your ticket back to Bangsal, it is located adjacent to the arrival and departure point.

From Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno
To move from one island to another the formal procedure is to take the Public boat (ferry) to Bangsal and then a further similar ferry to the required island departing from Bangsal. To return the reverse is required. This can be confusing and co-ordinating the timing with the connecting boat departing from Bangsal may be either difficult or elusive. There is also a limited official inter-island Island Hopping service provided.

Ferry operators may sometimes enter into informal arrangements with passengers to journey inter-island. In this situation a passenger boards a boat that is meant to go directly to Bangsal from one of the three Gili islands but instead it detours and sets down on the beach at another island whilst en-route. The prices are a movable feast but people will normally pay a price of around Rp 25,000. Inter-island access on the public boats in this manner is dependent upon timing, weather, loading, payment and the inclination of the crew to facilitate an inter-island journey and such arrangements are not officially sanctioned. The standard procedure is to travel to Bangsal and make a separate trip to the different island or to use the very limited official service. The price for a single journey Public Boat ferry journey from Gili Trawangan is Rp 10,000 and Gili Meno to Bangsal is Rp 9,000. The price for the subsequent Public boat to Gili Air from Bangsal is Rp 10,000, this assuming the required connection was made at Bangsal.

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Getting Around

Walking is the best option as you can wander around the whole of Gili Air in about 90 minutes.

Bicycles are widely available for rent for Rp 30,000-50,000 per day. Some hotels might give you one as part of your accommodation package.

There are fewer horse carts (cidomos) here than on Gili Trawangan, but they are still not hard to find. If you are planning an early morning departure and have heavy bags, it is wise to ask your hotel the day before to book a cidomo for you. Short trips will cost about Rp 30,000 per person.

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Eat

Starting at the jetty and working your way north on the east side of the island up to Hotel Gili Air, there are lots of decent places to eat. Since there is no fresh water on the island, purified shipped water is the norm, which does not mean that salads are 100% safe, but the food is generally not problematic. Many restaurants propose delicious grilled fish, freshly caught from the ocean. Choose the fish from their display stand and discuss the price. Local cooking style normally tends to overcook the fish, so it is a good idea to specify your cooking taste.

For budget travellers, there are several warungs in the village, just go inland from the harbor. Nasi campur spesial (with chicken) is Rp 10,000, as well as soto ayam. There's also a place selling bakso and (sometimes) martabak a bit further inland, almost in the middle of island. Rp 10,000 for bakso, opens in the late afternoon.

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Drink

Gili Air usually has one party a week rotating at different bars during the peak season only. Locals and restaurant owners will usually mention them to you, and sometimes flyers are posted around. The party scene on Gili Air is much more low-key, and not nearly as rowdy as the wild all-nighters on Gili Trawangan.

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Sleep

For those who want really cheap accommodation (Rp 50,000-100,000), the good option is to walk by the road going inland from the harbor/boat ticket office to the village. There are several homestay-type accommodation options there. In low season, the price can often be bargained down.

Gili Air budget hotels tend to bear a striking resemblance to one another and most are on the east side of the island. There is not a wide range in quality or appeal, although a few stand out.

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This is version 5. Last edited at 10:40 on Jan 12, 18 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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