The large archipelago of Indonesia is just filled with wonders. Near Lombok Strait, for example, is a group of atolls that has been widely called the Gilli Islands. What makes each of them is interesting is what they offer to travelers; anyone can expect a different kind of experience. These are the islands of Trawangan, Meno, and Air.
This is by far the largest of the three, and it’s also the most visited and most well-known. If you want to have a quick getaway without missing too much of the modern facilities, this is where you ought to go. The resorts are opulent and stunning, ranging from beachside hotels to relaxing villas that give you immediately access to the beach and its powdery white sands. It even has its own golf course!
The atoll has also positioned itself as a family-friendly destination with its accommodation having dedicated sections for the kids. It also offers one of the best sunrise and sunset views in the country. Of course, water activities will never run out once you’re in the island. There are plenty of dive shops, most of them offering affordable diving courses so you can already get your certification. You can also easily charter fishing boats that can take you to the other nearby islands and even the rest of Gili paradise.
Nevertheless, because of its location and what it offers, this can easily get crowded. If you don’t enjoy being around a lot of people, check out what the other two islands have.
The atoll is located in between Trawangan and Air. It is roughly 15 to 20 minutes away from Trawangan. As the smallest island—it measures no more than 3 kilometers in length—it doesn’t offer a lot of the facilities that you see in the first island. But then again, that’s what makes it so enticing for real backpackers, honeymooners, and basically anyone who wants to run away from modernity just for a while. There are no trendy restaurants here, but you’re assured of nice fresh seafood straight from the grill. You can’t find grand luxurious villas, though you can relax in a hammock, underneath the moonlit night while perhaps you sing along with your guitar. Come daytime, you can explore the beautiful sea with goggles and snorkels on. You may head to the Meno Wall as well where turtles roam freely.
The farthest among the three is Gili Air, although this one is closest to Lombok Island. It’s a mixture between Trawangan and Meno: it is already gaining a lot of attention that explains the demand for it, much like the first, and yet it still offers the natural, quiet island feel you get when you’re in Meno.
Aside from snorkeling and diving, surfing, including kite surfing, is a very popular activity. However, because the surfing breaks are not as similar as to those in most parts of the world, the activity is best left to the more experienced.
The Gili Islands are able to maintain their naturalness by disallowing motor transport, so the best way to explore them is to hire a bike or walk.