Just off the northwest coast of Lombok Indonesia lies three teeny tiny islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, & Gili Air. So which one should you visit? I heard a lot of he said she said but I wanted to know the real difference between all of them so I decided to visited all three!
Let’s start off with Gili Trawangan.
Gili T is well-known as “the party” island. While it may be true that Gili T has a lit ass bar scene, that is not it’s only characteristic. This is geographically the most west island which means it has an unobstructed view of KILLER SUNSETS!!! Although it is the largest of the three islands at just over five square miles, it is still small enough that you can bike around the entire island in less than one hour. It is the most popular and most developed. You will see tons of bars, restaurants, and shops; mostly on the south side and the west side. The water is a gorgeous clear blue as it is on both of the other two islands as well.
I stayed at La Boheme Hostel and absolutely loved it! For a whooping $12/night, I basically had a private penthouse suite in one of my favorite hostels.
Moving on to the middle island, Gili Meno.
This is the smallest of the three islands and is known as “The Honeymoon Island.” Most people skip this island. “Don’t go there,” he said. “It’s too quiet. There’s nothing to do there,” he said. Sure it’s quiet; but isn’t that what most people want anyway? To get away from other tourists? To have a beautiful secluded white sand beach all to themselves? This was an incredible island, I absolutely loved Gili Meno! Maybe it was the dope ass treehouse (Gili Meno Eco Hostel) that I stayed at for $8/night.
Or maybe it was the sandy white sand beach I had all to myself.
Or maybe it was the people I met during my time on the island.
Perhaps a mix of all three, who knows? What I do know is that Gili Meno will always hold a special place in my heart and I will definitely be back again.
Now last but most certainly not least, Gili Air.
Ahhhh, Gili Air. I visited this island last of the three and it turned out to be my FAVORITE! They say Gili Air is a mix between the chaos of Gili T and the seclusion of Gili Meno. I’d have to agree. I stayed at Begadang Backpackers hostel for $11.25/night. During my stay in Gili Air, I walked around the island almost everyday. There is one main loop on the outer most road and all of the restaurants and bars are right off that road. Most of the workers work everyday; Sunday to Sunday 7am to 7pm, sometimes even later. There are not that many tourists on island so you can imagine they’ve seen my face pass by time and time again. The people of Gili Air are friendly, curious and not afraid to approach you. They will ask you what your name is and where are you from. They truly want to get to know more about you as a person; not just try and sell you something. They ask, “where are you going?” I say, “I’m going to go dive!” Two hours later I pass by again and they say, “Hello again! How was your dive?” On my last day as I was walking towards the pier with my backpack, almost every local I passed by greeted me, “Bye Melody! See you next time!” Next time was right, as it most certainly was not my last.
If you have the time to visit each, I’d recommend to visit all three. Two nights on each island is enough to get a taste. It is less than $3 for a quick 15 minute boat ride between the islands. Definitely worth it to get your own perspective of each. They are same same but different in its own way. All three with extremely friendly locals, no cars or motor vehicles, and the safest communities I’ve ever stayed in. The main difference between them is simply how developed each are: Gili T being the most developed, Gili Air comes second, and Gili Meno as the least. Have you been to the Gili islands? Which one was your favorite and why?