Gili Air is the most easterly of the three islands that make up the Gili Islands. Gili Trawangan has become famous as a party island. Gili Meno caters primarily to couple’s that want space and some privacy while Gili Air caters for backpackers that want to dive or just chill out.
To get to the island you have to go by boat from Bali and all boats arrive at the centre of the south coast of the island close to the main tourist areas. During July and August the swell can mean you get wet during the crossing and cameras, laptops etc should be carried inside a waterproof bag. The boats stop a short distance from the shore and you will have to wade through the water to the beach. There are numerous boat operators that have boats completing the crossing from early in the morning until the late afternoon. Prices vary and haggling for the best price is recommended.
Walking the Island
There is a coastal path that runs around the perimeter of the island and should only take about 90 minutes to complete one circuit of the island although there are numerous restaurants and bars to get refreshments that may extend the time of your leisurely stroll. Inland there are several paths that criss-cross the island’s interior and although they may appear to be confusing they all eventually lead back to the coastal path.
Bicycling on Gili Air
There are several places that you can rent bicycles from on Gili Air from around Rp 30,000 to 50,000 each day. Some hotels offer bicycles as part of your stay. Some of the roads are in a poor condition and are nothing more than sandy tracks and you may find you are pushing the bike or carrying it more than you are actually riding.
Learn to Cook Indonesian Style
You can take some cooking classes to learn about Indonesian cooking as well as the local culture at Gili Cooking Classes at Gili Air Harbour. The cost is around Rp 275,000 for a 90-minute class and you eat all that you cook.
Learn to Dive
There are several dive operators on Gili Air and they offer dive courses or you can join a course for some fun diving. Gili Air is an ideal base to learn to dive or to advance your existing dive qualifications. You should shop around for the course you require as they offer PADI and SSI dive courses suitable for first-time divers up to expert divemaster levels.
Freediving is a form of diving where you hold your breath while diving below the surface. With an experienced instructor, you can easily learn the techniques needed to hold your breath while you descend to new depths on one breath and discover the beauty beneath the sea in the warm, clear water.
Snorkelling is also available from any of the island’s dive shops. They can arrange guided or unguided tours or you can hire the equipment from beach huts or hotels from as little as Rp 30,000.
There is a small surfing scene off the island and Playgili off the south coast breaks over some sharp coral and is only for experienced skilled surfers. Ozzy’s Surf Shop is the best place to go for information on where to surf and to rent a board.
Experiencing the local Night-life
There is usually at least one party each week during the peak season. This rotates from bar to bar and flyers are usually posted as to the location of the next one or you can ask the bar staff. The bar scene is much more low key than on the other Gili islands.