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Difference between revisions of "Gili Islands"

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Indonesia : Nusa Tenggara : Lombok : Gili Islands
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[[Image:Gili_islands_lombok.jpg|thumb|right|300px|The three Gili Islands left to right: Trawangan, Meno, Air]]
 
[[Image:Gili_islands_lombok.jpg|thumb|right|300px|The three Gili Islands left to right: Trawangan, Meno, Air]]
  
Lombok's most popular tourist destination, the Gili Islands (or just the Gilis) came to the attention of the wider world as a backpacker mecca in the 1980s and 1990s.  This is still true to some extent, and the islands are still a fixture on the [[Banana Pancake Trail]]. But the times they are a changing, and there is now a rash of glamour options on the islands, especially so on Gili Trawangan. The islands are very relaxed and laid-back, with countless little beachside cafes still playing reggae and serving up questionable "energy" drinks, but also at the other end of the scale, elaborate seafood buffets, fresh salads and good quality western and Asian food. Best of all, there are no cars or motorbikes to disturb the peace.  
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Lombok's most popular tourist destination, the Gili Islands (or just the Gilis) came to the attention of the wider world as a backpacker mecca in the 1980s and 1990s.  This is still true to some extent, and the islands are still a fixture on the [[Banana Pancake Trail]]. But times are changing, and there is now an array of glamour options on the islands, especially so on Gili Trawangan. The islands are very relaxed and laid-back, with countless little beachside cafes, restaurants and bars serving a variety of tastes in local and international cuisine. Best of all, there are no cars or motorbikes to disturb the peace.  
  
There are increasing numbers of westerners living on the Gilis, and operating businesses ranging from dive companies to resorts. There is a strong environmental focus here as the reefs have been very damaged in the past. While once people came to dive, snorkel and party, a more upmarket tourist is showing up now. It is still all about the beach, there are many more options to wine and dine or hang out and meet new friends.   
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There are increasing numbers of westerners living on the Gilis, and operating businesses ranging from dive companies to resorts. There is a strong environmental focus as the reefs were damaged in the past. While previously most people came to dive, snorkel and party, now a wider spectrum of visitors including families and couples are enjoying the islands. The focus remains on the beach and in the sea.  There are also many options to wine and dine, visit a spa or hang out and meet new friends.   
  
 
Strictly speaking, the name "Gili Islands" is rather redundant as ''gili'' simply means "small island" in [[Sasak phrasebook|Sasak]], but the name has stuck and is universally used and understood in Lombok.
 
Strictly speaking, the name "Gili Islands" is rather redundant as ''gili'' simply means "small island" in [[Sasak phrasebook|Sasak]], but the name has stuck and is universally used and understood in Lombok.
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===By plane===
 
===By plane===
  
{{Cautionbox|'''Scheduled airline operations flying to and from Lombok have been moved from Selaparang International Airport ({{IATA|AMI}}) across to the new Lombok International Airport (BIL) {{ICAO|WADL}} in central southern Lombok near the city of Praya.
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Scheduled airline operations flying to and from Lombok have been moved from Selaparang International Airport ({{IATA|AMI}}) across to the new Lombok International Airport (BIL) {{ICAO|WADL}} in central southern Lombok near the city of Praya.
  
Lombok's new international airport Bandara Internasional Lombok (''BIL''), ({{IATA|LOP}}, {{ICAO|WADL}}) opened on 1 October 2011. The new airport in Praya has replaced operations at Selaparang International Airport in Mataram. Selaparang Airport was closed for airline operations on the evening of 30 September 2011.}}
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Lombok's new international airport Bandara Internasional Lombok (''BIL''), ({{IATA|LOP}}, {{ICAO|WADL}}) opened on 1 October 2011. The new airport in Praya has replaced operations at Selaparang International Airport in Mataram. Selaparang Airport was closed for airline operations on the evening of 30 September 2011.
  
There are no airports in the Gilis.  
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There are no airports in the Gilis. The nearest airport is on mainland [[Lombok]]. Flying to [[Bali]] and taking a boat to the Gilis is also a viable option. 
  
The nearest airport is on mainland [[Lombok]]. Flying to [[Bali]] and taking a boat to the Gilis is also a viable option.
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Alternatively, you can fly to Bali and connect onward with a domestic flight to the new international airport, 40km south of the old location at Mataram, which is a quick and cheap 25-30 min hop. The [[Lombok#By_plane|Bali-Lombok route]] is operated by Merpati Nusantara Airlines, Garuda, Wings (code shared with Lion Air), Trigana Air, Trans-Nusa and IAT (Indonesian Air Transport).
  
Alternatively, you can fly to Bali and connect onward with a domestic flight to Mataram, which is a quick and cheap 20-25 min hop. The [[Lombok#By_plane|Bali-Lombok route]] is operated by Merpati Nusantara Airlines, Garuda, Wings (code shared with Lion Air), Trigana Air, Trans-Nusa and IAT (Indonesian Air Transport).
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From elsewhere in Indonesia, [[Lombok#By_plane|Lombok International Airport]] is served by flights from [[Jakarta]], and [[Surabaya]] provided by Garuda, Citilink, Lion Air and Merpati. [[Sumbawa]] is serviced by Trans Nusa Air Services. International flights are available from [[Singapore]] with Silk Air and Tigerair, and from [[Kuala Lumpur]] in [[Malaysia]] with AirAsia.
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Please see the main Lombok [[Lombok|article]] for more details on the new international airport and connecting services to the Gili Islands
  
From elsewhere in Indonesia, [[Lombok#By_plane|Mataram]] is served by flights from [[Jakarta]], and [[Surabaya]] provided by Batavia Air, Garuda, Lion Air and Merpati. [[Sumbawa]] is serviced by Trans Nusa Air Services. International flights are available from [[Singapore]] with Silk Air and from [[Kuala Lumpur]] in [[Malaysia]] with Merpati airlines. In December 2011 Sky Aviation introduced scheduled services from Lombok direct to Flores.
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===By Ferry===
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* Used mainly by locals, freight and diehard backpackers, there is an hourly public ferry service from Padang Bai (East Bali) to Lembar Harbour (Southwest Lombok), running 24 hours a day. The crossing takes 4 - 6 Hours (plus sometimes considerable waiting around for loading and unloading). This is extremely cheap but the on-board conditions are very basic to say the least, and the journey is very slow. Tickets are available from the harbors and cost just IDR40.000 (<US$4) adult fare. After arriving in Lombok it will then take another 2hr transfer to get to the Gili Islands via road and local boat from Bangsal harbor. For more info, see the main Lombok page.
  
Please see the main Lombok [[Lombok|article]] for more details on the new international airport and connecting services to the Gili Islands
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* As of mid 2014, the 550-seater speed ferry catamaran '''Bounty Cruises''' has resumed its daily service to the Gili Islands via [[Nusa Lembongan]], originating from Benoa harbor in south Bali. This private ferry company started to operate in the late 90's but hit economic adversity following the Bali bombings, forcing them to reduce the route to daily Lembongan trips only. The vessel is by far the largest passenger service direct to the Gilis and offers modern entertainment, bar and bathroom facilities on board. Tickets can be purchased in Benoa from their office or online via the website or on Gilibookings. com
  
 
===By boat===
 
===By boat===
  
 
====From Bali====
 
====From Bali====
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Fast boat services are the quickest and most direct way to travel to the Gili Islands from Bali. There are now numerous direct boat services from [[Bali]] to the Gilis, all of which continue onto the main island of Lombok, and a few of which also pass by [[Nusa Lembongan]] en-route.  Established daily services depart from Benoa and Serangan Island in [[South Bali]] and from Padang Bai and Amed in East Bali. Benoa Harbour and Serangan are around 25 min by car, (dependent upon traffic) from the South Bali tourist hub. Padang Bai is a lot further by road.
  
There are now numerous direct boat services from [[Bali]] to the Gilis, all of which continue onto the main island of Lombok. Established daily services depart from Benoa and Serangan Island in [[South Bali]] and Padang Bai and Amed in East Bali. Benoa Harbour and Serangan are around 25 min by car, (dependent upon traffic) from the South Bali tourist hub. Padang Bai is a lot further by road. If one was to depart by car from South Bali at the same time, the trip to Padang Bai would take at least an hour longer in a vehicle on most days.
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=====Booking tickets=====
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You can contact the fast boat companies directly by phone or email, or book via one of the many local travel agents once you are in Bali. The only way to compare live seat availability and book e-tickets online is with '''Gilibookings''' for the most reputable fast boat services, or it's sister site '''Gilitickets''' for some of the cheaper tickets on budget operators. You can view all routes, timetables and pricing for many of the fast boat companies. Gilibookings prices range from $52 to $75 one way, $98 to $148 return and provides a range of island discounts to its customers that offset its higher pricing. Fast boats are generally around 30% cheaper on Gilitickets. Locally you will also find cheap offers (such as Rp 275,000 (<$30) from Trawangan to Padang Bai, excluding further transfer, or Rp 350,000 from Ubud to Senggigi/Gilis. including transfer to Padang Bai, or even cheaper in low season from Padang Bai to Gilis for 180,000), however the quality (and safety) of the boats used may vary wildly, so make sure you know what you're purchasing before booking.  
  
If you are traveling from south Bali resorts such as Kuta, Legian, Nusa Dua etc., it's more efficient to depart from South Bali departure ports such as Serangan or Benoa.  Padang Bai or Amed are better departure ports if you are staying in Central, East or North Bali locations such as Ubud, Candidasa, or the east coast dive areas around Amed and Tulamben or North Coast locations such as Lovina or Pemuteran.
 
  
No matter what port of departure you use, with the exception of those staying in Padang Bai or Amed, you will be required to use a vehicle transfer for one portion of your journey. The big consideration in choice of port of departure is time and distance by road and sea at sea, coupled with weather.
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A small selection of fast boat companies with a proven track record:
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* '''BlueWater Express''' the longest running fast boat operator to Gili Islands, starting in 2006. They depart from Serangan (South Bali) and Padang Bai (East Bali). A company with experience and a consistent track record. British owned.
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* '''Gili Cat''' The second company to offer fast boat routes to the Gili Islands. They sail from Padang Bai in Bali.
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* '''Scoot Cruise''' Offering services to Nusa Lembongan as well as the Gilis from Serangan, Bali. Australian owned.
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* '''Kuda Hitam''' Services from Amed on the east coast of Bali. This is the shortest route over sea from Bali to the Gilis and Lombok.
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* '''Gili Gili''' Routes from Serangan or Padang Bai to Gili Trawangan via Lombok and Gili Air. Indonesian owned.
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* '''Gili Getaway''' Daily crossings from Serangan. Australian owned and managed.
  
The road from south Bali up to Padang Bai may be congested causing numerous hold-ups, and can lead to long and tedious traffic jams. That route is also the main transport corridor for all heavy road traffic travelling from Bali to neighbouring Lombok and futher east.
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=====Crossing advice=====
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If you are travelling from southern Bali resorts such as Kuta, Legian, Nusa Dua etc., the closest ports are Serangan or Benoa. However, you can depart from Padang Bai if you want a shorter crossing, which is around an hour from south Bali by road (so total travel time will be approximately the same). Also depart from Padang Bai if you are staying in or around Ubud. Amed is only suitable if you are staying in or around Amed, Tulamben, Candidasa or North Coast locations such as Lovina or Pemuteran. 
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{{infobox|Fast Boat operational safety|If you have legitimate concerns about either the vessel being used, the operator, overloading, or the prevailing weather conditions then do not board the boat, immediately seek a refund of your fare and make alternative arrangements. During periods of extreme weather the boats will not operate, this only happens once or twice a year. [[Lombok#Get_in|Flights]] across the Lombok Strait provide an alternative at similar cost and travel time.
  
The distance by sea from Benoa/Serangan to Gili Trawangan/Lombok, is almost twice that of the distance from Padang Bai and is more than twice the distance from Amed. Amed is the closest departure point to the Gili Islands from Bali and travels to the same ports of arrival at Gili Trawangan and the Lombok mainland.
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The boats currently servicing all routes are smaller high speed craft with light duty hull construction and are driven by petrol fuelled outboard engines. Crew training, operational standards and safety equipment vary and some current services may be below the normal expectations of many foreign visitors.
 
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Passengers staying in South Bali and departing from Benoa/Serangan will spend almost twice the time at sea as passengers departing Padang Bai and and more than twice the time at sea as passengers departing from Amed - but much less time on the road.
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Gili Cat was the the second operator to start operating daily services in 2007, after poineer BlueWater Express initiated the fastboat route from Bali to Gili more than a year earlier. Gili Cat's official operating logs demonstrate an average time at sea, all conditions, all years, of 80 min. Time on the road, on the other hand, is usually a lot slower than the advertised "+/- one hour". BlueWater's time at sea, from south Bali, varies from 2 to 2.5 hr in standard conditions, with a road time to and from south Bali of 20-30 min.
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{{infobox|Fast Boat operational safety|If using any of the Gili Fast Boat services and you have legitimate concerns about either the vessel being used, the operator, overloading, or the prevailing weather conditions then do not board the boat, immediately seek a refund of your fare and make alternative arrangements for your trip. Consider your options and choice of provider and vessel used very carefully prior to booking. Especially during inclement weather the [[Lombok#Get_in|air services]] across the Lombok Strait may provide a more reliable, comfortable and safer journey.
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All the boats currently servicing all routes are smaller high speed craft with light duty hull construction. All are driven by petrol fuelled outboard engines. Crew training, operational standards and safety equipment are of a mixed standard and all current services may be well below the normal expectations of many foreign visitors when traversing open waters.
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}}
 
}}
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No matter what port of departure you use, with the exception of those staying in Padang Bai or Amed, you will need to use a vehicle transfer for one portion of your journey. Take the weather into consideration when planning your voyage, shorter routes could reduce discomfort for those prone to motion sickness. Fast boat services from Amed and Padang Bai take around half as long to reach the Gilis as the routes from southern Bali. As stated previously, a shorter crossing amounts to extra road time in Bali, unless you are staying in Amed or Padang Bai already.
  
When selecting a port of departure, therefore, it is worth keeping in mind whether you prefer sea travel or road travel, in addition to where you are departing from. Poor weather conditions will affect passenger comfort and the amount of time spent at sea, no matter what the port of departure. Current roadworks on the Padang Bai road, on the other hand, often cause delays in on this road. The greater the distance to be travelled at sea, the greater the effect of weather conditions on "real time" at sea.  
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As of 2012, there are significant differences in prices between operators on all the Gili Fast Boat routes. There are also differences in the standard of the vessels, their operation, crew experience and certfication. The worst offenders for safety standards currently all operate out of Padang Bai. It is advisable to look at more than just price. As competition has increased, so has misinformation about availability of seats or operating schedules. Check the veracity of information directly with your chosen operator if told by a tour desk a vessel is "full" or "bankrupt - not operating" or has "spontaneously combusted." Ensure your ticket states the specific vessel requested. Stated trip times are often misleading and do not reflect the reality of the voyage nor previously achieved average crossing times.
  
A previous provided a larger vessel with inboard diesel engines and higher operational safety standards however it was withdrawn from service, presumably as the higher operating costs could not be sustained when competing with the alternative providers using lighter duty lower cost vessels.
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=====By slow ferry (via Lombok)=====
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If you're ''really'' on a budget, or just feel uncomfortable to pay more than usual price of Bali-Lombok flight just for crossing 60 km wide Lombok strait on a small speedboat, and have some patience and time to spare, you can use slow ferry from Padang Bai to Lembar on Lombok (see the main [[Lombok]] article), then continue 60 km by land to Bangsal harbour. Unless departing from Padang Bai well after midnight (to arrive to Lembar next morning) or early in the morning, you'll need to make a stopover somewhere at Lombok, otherwise you'll be too late in Bangsal to catch a public boat. For return trip, depart early and you're likely to be at you destination on the same evening. In do-it-yourself style (public bemos for all the land segments, knowing all the right prices) it will cost under Rp 100,000 per person; package version from the travel agency, including minivan/car transfers, will cost (February 2013) from Rp 160,000 and up.
  
Anyone travelling with children or infants, prone to sea sickness, historically uncomfortable on boats, or with any health conditions, would be well advised to select the shortest possible sea crossing or use one of the many [[Lombok#Get_in|air services]] available from Bali to Lombok.
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====From Lombok====
  
A daily speedboat service called Amed Sea Fast Boat started to ply the Amed to Gili Trawangan route in 2010. There is also a daily fast boat service to Gili Trawangan from Nusa Lembongan, a small island off the south east coast of Bali.
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Options to get from Lombok to the Gilis are:
  
There are currently significant differences in prices between operators on all the Gili Fast Boat routes. There are also significant differences in the standard of the vessels, operating standards, operating experience and crew certfication. The worst offenders for safety standards currently all operate out of Padang Bai. Passengers would be well advised to look at more than just price. As competition has increased, so has misinformation about availability of seats or operating schedules. Passengers would be well advised to check the veracity of information direct with their chosen operator if told by a tour desk a vessel is "full" or "bankrupt - not operating" or has "spontaneously combusted." Passengers are also advised  to ensure their ticket states the specific vessel they have requested. Stated trip times are often highly misleading and do not reflect the reality of the voyage nor previously achieved average crossing times.
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* A shuttle bus or taxi to [[Bangsal]] harbour (1 hr from Mataram), and a public boat from there (15/30/45 min to Air/Meno/Trawangan)
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* A chartered boat from Bangsal harbour
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* A chartered boat from [[Senggigi]] (1-2 hr)
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* A Chartered speedboat from Teluk Nare (30 min).
  
If you have more time than money, you can use a tour service for around Rp 160,000 from Kuta/Ubud to take you from your hotel on Bail, drop you off at the vehicular/passenger ferry at Padang Bai, then pick you up at the port of Lembar in south western Lombok. You may switch vehicles a few times and will be eventually be dropped off at the beach landing area at [[Bangsal]] servicing the boats to the Gili's and put onto a small boat for the short sea crossing to the islands.  The whole trip may take up to 12 hr if things do not go smoothly. You may also be subjected to hard sells on booking unnecessary return tickets. At the last stop you may be befriended by those talking up stories of mosquito born illness who will later try to sell repellent and coils at absurd and extortionate prices. These products are reasonably priced on the Gilis and are also available at many roadside warungs and shops on mainland Lombok. Try to avoid entering into any arrangements to carry your bags to the boat, you may find the outcome both irritating and expensive. The best way to avoid this is to prevent anyone from interfering or touching your bag/s at any time.
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A local agent, Mr. Jamuhur, that has a pickup service in Lombok for transfers to all of the Gilis can be contacted at: rhombacktransferservice@gmail.com or mobile: +62 (0)85339715403.  For a quote just advise the number of passengers.
  
For keen travellers who do not hesitate to use local transportation it is good to work with a group of 3-4 people to share taxis or other transportation options. Do some prior research for awareness of the correct rates and fares, and know how to bargain. Ensure a taxi is always using the meter. It may be cheaper to do it all yourself via the slow ferry and transfer from the main island of [[Lombok]]. However, do be cautioned that public transport tends to be sparse to non-existent starting from late afternoon so there is little point setting out to either Bangsal or Teluk Nare if there are no services running across to the Gili islands when you get there. Going from Bali to Gilis, it's best to spend a night somewhere on Lombok (such as in [[Senggigi]]), in order to continue to [[Bangsal]] early next morning and avoid any hassle, delays, disappointment and/or rip-offs when crossing from there to Gilis. When going back, it's better to depart as early as possible - unless you prefer to spend a night in [[Padang Bai]] on arrival to Bali.
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The easiest way to get to the Gilis from Lombok's airport or [[Senggigi]] is to walk to the nearest travel agent, taxi desk or tour and book a package.
  
====From Lombok====
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The cheapest way is to take a bemo/taxi to Pemenang, walk or ''cidomo'' (Rp 5,000) to [[Bangsal]], and then take the ''Public'' boat (ferry) (Rp 10,000 to Gili Air) from there. However, this may involve long waits and dealing with particularly unpleasant hawkers, so some people figure it's not worth the hassle.
  
There are essentially two ways to get from Lombok to the Gilis: a shuttle bus or taxi to [[Bangsal]] (1 hr), and a public boat from there (15/30/45 min to Air/Meno/Trawangan) or direct privately chartered boats from [[Senggigi]] (1-2 hr) or Teluk Nare (30 min).
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'''See the [[Bangsal]] and [[Gili Islands#Regions|individual Gili articles]]''' for details of the official ''Koperasi Angkutan laut Karya Bahari'' services.
  
The easiest way to get to the Gilis from Lombok's airport or [[Senggigi]] is to walk to the nearest travel agent, taxi desk or tout and book a package.
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Another cheap option for those going from Senggigi is to book a package (shuttle car/van + boat to any of Gilis). Numerous travel agents on the main street of Senggigi offer this service for (January 2013) around Rp 75,000/pax - but some guesthouses can arrange this for as low as Rp 50,000, which is an excellent value if there are 1-2 of you. Beware, however, that some unscrupulous agents may try and cheat you - make sure the package includes the boat price (and that you won't have to pay extra no matter how many other passsengers, if any, will use the same service), what kind of the boat (should be a private boat, most likely from Teluk Nare, otherwise you're just paying extra for a shared taxi ride to Bangsal) will be used, and have the agent's/guesthouse's contacts and phone numbers handy to contact them if anything goes wrong.
  
The cheapest way is to take a bemo/taxi to Pemenang, walk or ''cidomo'' to [[Bangsal]], and then take the ''Public'' boat (ferry) from there. However, this may involve long waits and dealing with a truly unpleasant bunch of touts, so some people figure it's not worth the hassle.
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If you want to travel at your own pace, you can charter a boat directly from [[Senggigi]] to take you across.  Ask any travel agent or simply head to the beach behind the Santosa Hotel in central Senggigi or on the beach at Mangsit at the northern end of Senggigi. At Mangsit most of the charter boats are located between Qunci Villas and the Holiday Resort Lombok (ex ''Holiday Inn Resort''). On either beach you're guaranteed to be solicited by boat operators and guides. The [[Senggigi#Do|Senggigi article]] has more information on this. A charter of a regular outrigger (''perahu'') to any of the Gili Islands can cost as much Rp 500,000, but bargain hard.  Some of these boats are pretty basic so make sure you check the safety equipment for yourself, especially if you cannot swim. The better guides at Mangsit beach will provide life vests of their own if the chartered boat does not have them. If there are three or less of you, it is much faster and infinitely more comfortable to arrange a [[Gili Trawangan#Get in|speed boat pickup]] from Teluk Nare with one of the dive shops or your hotel on Gili Trawangan. A taxi to Teluk Nare from Senggigi will cost about Rp 60,000-75,000.
 
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'''See the [[Bangsal]] and [[Gili Islands#Regions|individual Gili articles]]''' for details of the official ''Koperasi Angkutan laut Karya Bahari'' services.
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If you want to travel at your own pace, you can charter a boat directly from [[Senggigi]] to take you across.  Ask any travel agent or simply head to the beach behind the Santosa Hotel in central Senggigi or on the beach at Mangsit at the northern end of Senggigi. At Mangsit most of the charter boats are located between Qunci Villas and the Holiday Resort Lombok (ex ''Holiday Inn Resort''). On either beach you're guaranteed to be solicited by boat operators and guides. The [[Senggigi#Do|Senggigi article]] has more information on this. A charter of a regular outrigger (''perahu'') to any of the Gili Islands can cost as much Rp 500,000, but bargain hard.  Some of these boats are pretty basic so make sure you check the safety equipment for yourself, especially if you cannot swim. The better guides at Mangsit beach will provide life vests of their own if the chartered boat does not have them. If there are three or less of you, it is much faster and infinitely more comfortable to arrange a [[Gili Trawangan#Get in|speed boat pickup]] from Teluk Nare with one of the dive shops or your hotel on Gili Trawangan. A taxi to Teluk Nare from Senggigi will cost about Rp 40,000-45,000.
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For organising your trip back to Bangsal, there is a public boat ticket office on each of the Gili Islands.  
 
For organising your trip back to Bangsal, there is a public boat ticket office on each of the Gili Islands.  
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[[Image:Cidomo_gili_island.jpg|thumb|300px|Cidomo]]
 
[[Image:Cidomo_gili_island.jpg|thumb|300px|Cidomo]]
  
In a rare display of foresight, all forms of motorized transport are banned from the islands: your only choice is '''horse-drawn carts''', known as ''cidomo'', which are used even to shuttle around diving gear. The price for visitors is Rp 20,000-30,000 per head for any trip, although it varies per island and per season. However, as the islands are only a few km in diameter, it's entirely possible to just walk instead.
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There is no motorised transport on the islands. Your options are horse-drawn carts, known as cidomo's, or bicycles, which are are available for rent all over the islands. The price for tourists is Rp 20,000-50,000 per head, depending on the length of the journey. To go all the way around the islands could cost up to Rp 150,000. However, as the islands are only a few km in diameter, it's entirely possible to just walk instead.
  
Bikes are also available for rent, but be prepared for as much walking as cycling as your tires spin-out in frequent stretches of sand.
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Travelling between the islands requires either catching the infrequent scheduled Koperasi '''Island hopping''' boats, or chartering one to take you across. To Lombok you can take one of the very cheap public boats that go back and forth at pretty random intervals(basically leaving whenever the boat is full), or again charter a vessel.
  
Travelling between the islands requires either catching the infrequent scheduled Koperasi ''Island hopping'' boats, or chartering one to take you across. You can buy tickets from the ticket offices on each island from where the boats depart. Booking through a travel agent just costs more, and you still need to change the reservation to an actual ticket at the very same counter.
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Tickets can be bought from the ticket offices on each island from where the boats depart. No need to pre-book, the approximate rates in Indonesian rupiah as of mid 2014 are as follows: Gili Trawangan to Lombok by Public boat is a mere 13,000idr (not much more than a dollar). A charter (with 30 capacity) will set you back roughly 400,000idr; still quite affordable, especially if you split the bill with a group of other travellers. Island hopping between the Gili's costs roughly 25,000idr.
  
The distances between the islands may seem swimmable, but do '''not''' attempt it &mdash; the currents are fierce and several foolish visitors have died trying.
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Booking through a travel agent usually just costs more, and you still need to change the reservation to an actual ticket at the very same counter. Some speedboat charters are available between Lombok and the islands, these do need booking shortly beforehand and usually can be arranged by your hotel locally.
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The distances between the islands may seem swimmable, but do '''not''' attempt it the currents are fierce and several visitors have died trying.
  
 
==See==
 
==See==
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There are no major sights on the islands, '''snorkelling and diving''' being the main draw. However, a few attractions are worth noting:
  
There are no A grade sights as such on the islands, but the '''snorkelling and diving''' all around is a major draw.
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*<see name="Gili Meno Bird Park" alt="" address="Gili Meno, Lombok, Indonesia" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">A bird sanctuary located in the centre of Gili Meno boasting exotic species in a beautifully landscaped environment. Macaws, flamingos, cockatoos, pelicans, eagles, parrots and more. Also home to a crocodile, some deer and a kangaroo.</see>
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*<see name="Turtle sanctuary" alt="" address="Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Green and loggerhead turtles are now common to the waters around the Gilis. To ensure the on-going survival of these creatures, sanctuaries have been set-up on both Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno. You can visit the sanctuaries, see the baby turtles in their pools and learn more about these fascinating creatures. There's also melantit kalambutit around.</see>
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*<see name="Sunset on the hill" alt="" address="Gili Trawangan" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Great sunset spot with panoramic views of the 3 Gilis and of Lombok and Bali beyond. A good place to take photographs.</see>
  
 
==Do==
 
==Do==
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There is reasonably good diving here, and the islands are globally known as a teaching center. An impressive array of sea creatures and plant life is to be seen, such as green and hawksbill turtles, manta rays (rarely), bumphead parrotfish, black-tip and white-tip reef sharks, and more. Visibility is commonly in the 15-30 m range.  However, due to the exposed position of the Gilis, currents can be quite strong and drift diving is the norm.
+
There is good diving around the islands, suitable for all levels, the islands being globally known as a proficient teaching center for beginners right up to instructor level. Technical diving courses are also available. An impressive array of marine life is present, such as green and hawksbill turtles, bumphead parrotfish, black-tip and white-tip reef sharks and more. There are also some great muckdiving sites for macro photographers, a Japanese wreck for deep diving and biorock artificial reefs which may interest environmental enthusiasts. Visibility is commonly in the 15-30m range.  Due to the exposed position of the Gilis, currents can be quite strong and drift diving is the norm. Some of the dive sites have unfortunately been damaged over the years due to a combination of human and environmental causes, especially from an increase in water temperatures from El Niño in 1998 and unsustainable local fishing practices. Since 2000, fishing has been regulated around the islands, allowing the reefs and fish population to slowly regenerate.
 +
 
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Most dive shops on the Gili Islands are members of the '''Gili Eco Trust''' [http://www.giliecotrust.com/], a non-profit organisation which originated as a co-operation between influential members of the local community and the dive shops on Gili Trawangan. Set up in 2000 and initiated by the owners of '''Manta Dive'''[http://www.manta-dive.com], the Gili Eco Trust aims to protect coral reefs surrounding the islands and provide environmental education. There is a one time only reef tax of Rp 50,000 payable by all divers and dive students. This is collected by the dive operator and helps fund the work of the trust. If you are interested in learning more about the trust, or volunteering to help, ask for Delphine at the '''Big Bubble'''[http://www.bigbubblediving.com/] dive shop on Gili Trawangan.  
  
Gili Trawangan has the most dive operators, but PADI and SSI licensed dive operators exist on all three islands. Equipment is kept in top shape, with excellent facilities and (mostly) western dive instructors. Divemasters are more commonly experienced locals. Dive and course prices are fixed by agreement between the dive operators on each island, so there is nothing financial to be gained by shopping around between the operators. A good approach is to settle down on your chosen island, get to know the dive shops, and chose to dive with the one with which you feel most comfortable.  
+
Gili Trawangan has the most dive operators, but PADI and SSI licensed dive operators exist on all three islands. Equipment is kept in top shape, with excellent facilities and (mostly) western dive instructors. Dive guides tend to be a mix of local and western divemasters. Dive and course prices are fixed by agreement between the dive operators on each island, so there is nothing financial to be gained by shopping around between the operators. A good approach is to settle down on your chosen island, get to know the dive shops, and choose to dive with the one with which you feel most comfortable.  
 
[[Image:Hadi-dsmlombok.jpg|thumb|right|200px|Dive Instructor]]
 
[[Image:Hadi-dsmlombok.jpg|thumb|right|200px|Dive Instructor]]
  
For those interested in learning to dive or advancing existing qualifications, several of the operators now offer both PADI ''and'' SSI options. Nitrox and other technical diving options are also offered by operators on Gili Trawangan especially.
+
For those interested in learning to dive or advancing existing qualifications, several of the operators now offer both PADI ''and'' SSI options. Both '''Blue Marlin Dive'''[http://www.bluemarlindive.com] and '''Trawangan Dive'''[http://www.trawangandive.com] offer TDI and IART Technical Diving and Closed-Circuit Rebreather (CCR) training including Trimix. Nitrox and other technical diving options are also offered by operators on Gili Trawangan.
 +
 
 +
 
  
All dive shops on the Gili Islands are members of the '''Gili Eco Trust''' [http://www.giliecotrust.com/], a non-profit organisation set up to protect coral reefs surrounding the islands and provide environmental education. There is a one time only reef tax of Rp 50,000 payable by all divers and dive students. This is collected by the dive operator and it is this reef tax that funds the work of the trust. If you are interested in learning more about the work of the trust, or volunteering to help, ask for Delphine at the Big Bubble dive shop on Gili Trawangan.
 
  
 
=====Dive prices, PADI &amp; SSI courses=====
 
=====Dive prices, PADI &amp; SSI courses=====
 +
Dive Prices on Gili Trawangan have recently changed from Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) to (USD)
  
 
Price guideline:
 
Price guideline:
 
+
* Fun dives $37 USD
* Fun dives Rp 370,000
+
* Scuba Review $59 USD
 
+
* Discover Scuba $65 USD
* Scuba Review Rp 590,000
+
* Advanced Open Water $295 USD
 
+
* Open Water $370 USD
* Discover Scuba Rp 650,000
+
* Rescue Diver $390 USD
 
+
* Emergency First Response $120 USD
* Advanced Open Water Rp 2,950,000
+
* Divemaster Course $835 USD
 
+
* Open Water Rp 3,700,000
+
 
+
* Rescue Diver Rp 3,900,000
+
 
+
* Emergency First Response Rp 1,200,000
+
 
+
* Divemaster Course Rp 8,350,000
+
  
 
All dive shops accept US dollars, Indonesian Rupiah and credit cards, except when the telephone lines are down (in this case, pay using internet banking).
 
All dive shops accept US dollars, Indonesian Rupiah and credit cards, except when the telephone lines are down (in this case, pay using internet banking).
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<!--All listings are now in the 3 individual Gili Islands articles. Do not place any here-->
 
<!--All listings are now in the 3 individual Gili Islands articles. Do not place any here-->
 +
 +
===Party boats===
 +
 +
* <do name="South Sea Nomads" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="+62 821 45804522" url="http://www.southseanomads.com" hours="" email="" fax="" price="" lat="" long="">This is the Gili islands only party boat, it operates Mon, Wed and Fri and more often in high season. Starts at 3PM and goes around the 3 Gili islands. They stop off at Gili Air for a swim and snorkel before watching the sunset over the water toward Bali. A yummy Thai dinner is is served on the way back to Gili Trawangan where the party continues on board.
 +
South Sea Nomads also offer budget overnight camping, diving and surf boat trips; Sekotong trip is 2 nights, 3 days island hopping the 14 island off the South West peninsula of Lombok. This trip is great for divers, experienced surfers who want to surf Desert Point and people who just want to island hop and snorkel. Their Moyo and Satonda trip is 5 nights and 6 days and gets off the beaten trail away from other tourists. Over the 6 days they visit waterfalls, a sunken volcano and crater lake, caves, deserted beaches and islands, beautiful reefs and a WW2 wreck. South Sea Nomads are located at both Gili Hostel and Manta Dive. </do>
 +
 +
===Freediving===
 +
There is now a dedicated [http://www.freedivegili.com/ freediving and apnea centre] on Gili Trawangan, where you can attend courses and workshops. Owned and run by the British freedive record holder Mike Board. For more information see [[Gili Trawangan]]. Freediving is also offered on Gili Meno and Gili Air at Gili Air/Meno Divers.
 +
 +
===Yoga===
 +
[http://www.giliyoga.com/yoga-classes/ Yoga classes] are available at a variety of locations on the islands. There are dedicated yoga centres on [[Gili Trawangan]] (Gili Yoga and [http://www.theyogaplacegili.com/ The Yoga Place]) and [[Gili Air]] (H2O Yoga & Meditation Center), see main article.
  
 
===Snorkelling===
 
===Snorkelling===
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===Surfing===
 
===Surfing===
 +
Although not renowned for its surfing reputation, the locals regularly surf off the south end of both Gili Trawnagan and Gili Air. Both are reef breaks, and on their day can be an outstanding wave.
 +
 +
===Boat Trips===
 +
There are a few companies based on Gili Trawangan that offer boat trips to the surrounding islands of Lombok, Sumbawa and to Komodo.
 +
'''
 +
Blue Water Cruises''' are based just north of the harbour and run trips around the 3 Gilis, to Lombok and Komodo.
  
In the local marine stakes, surfing is a distant third to diving and snorkelling. There are occasionally surf-able waves on the south side of Gili T, however these are few and far between.
+
'''Perama''' are based near the art market on the main beach road. They offer trips all around Indonesia as well as trips from Bali to the Gilis and Komodo.
  
 
===Relax===
 
===Relax===
 
+
One of the attractions of the islands is the ability to do nothing. With no cars on any of the islands and the lower tempo of Gili Air and Gili Meno, there are several bungalow-style accommodations with verandas that overlook gardens and/or the ocean. The styles of cafes and restaurants involves small open huts (called berugak) perfect for two to four people to claim for a good part of the day. The islands have beaches all the way around, however not all stretches are suitable for sunbathing or entering the water. Gili Meno has the nicest beaches of the three islands. All the islands have their best beaches on the east side with regard to snorkelling and accessibility, however these are also the busiest so you might be better off seeking a quieter location to relax. See individual Gili island pages for specific beach information.  
One of the attractions of the islands is the ability to do nothing. With no cars on any of the islands and the lower tempo of Gili Air and Gili Meno, there are several bungalow-style accommodations with verandas that overlook gardens of the ocean. The styles of cafes and restaurants involves small open huts perfect for two to four people to claim for a good part of the day. With a good book and your swimsuit, the day passes quickly when you leave your watch in your bag. The beaches are not exceptional. Gili Meno has the nicest beaches of the three islands. Gili Meno and Air have their best beaches on the west side of the islands. The south side tends to be windy and rough and the north and east have a lot of coral on the beaches, making the sand rough. On Gili Air, the only pleasant beach for swimming is really in front of the Chill-out cafe and Sunrise Resort on the main strip.
+
  
 
===Walk===
 
===Walk===
  
The perimeters of all three islands are conducive to a 90 min to 3 hr leisurely walk with no strenuous hills. Just follow the coastline, put on your sunscreen and it makes for a nice morning.
+
You can walk around the islands in 90 minutes. Just follow the coastline, take sunscreen and avoid doing so during the middle of the day.
  
 
==Buy==
 
==Buy==
  
There are 10 ATMs on Gili Trawangan, but that's it. Exchange rates offered by moneychangers are noticeably poorer than on the mainland.  Credit cards are accepted by some of the more upmarket places and all dive shops; some will also arrange credit card advances, but with hefty fees in the order of 7-10%.
+
There are upwards of 10 ATMs on Gili Trawangan, there's one ATM booth (with 2 ATMs of the same bank) on Gili Air (for European debit card users: it only features Cirrus, no Maestro! The major two credit cards work), but none so far on Gili Meno. Exchange rates offered by money changers are noticeably poorer than on the mainland.  Credit cards are accepted by some of the more upmarket places and all dive shops, but there will usually be a 3% charge. Some will also arrange credit card cash advances, but with hefty fees in the order of 7-10%.
  
'''Shopping''' opportunities are very limited.  There are plenty of kiosks offering tourist staples such as drinks, basic cosmetics, suntan lotion and such, but anything even remotely unusual is best brought with you.
+
'''Shopping''' opportunities are very limited.  There are plenty of kiosks offering tourist staples such as drinks, basic cosmetics, suntan lotion and such, but anything that might be required such as specific medication or items for children/baby's is best brought with you, or alternatively can easily be purchased on Lombok. All hotels and dive centers make regular trips to Lombok and are usually able to help out with any requests.
  
 
==Eat==
 
==Eat==
 
<!--All listings are now in the 3 individual Gili Islands articles. Do not place any here-->
 
<!--All listings are now in the 3 individual Gili Islands articles. Do not place any here-->
All the islands feature myriad restaurants and cafes concentrated on the beaches. The east sides of all the islands have the most activity. The majority are small cafes with decent food oriented toward tourists in small open huts. Featured food is usually barbecued fish or pizza from a wood-fired oven.
+
All the islands feature a myriad of restaurants and cafes concentrated on the beach fronts. The most activity is found on the east side of each island. There are an abundance of cafes and restaurants, both large and small, with the largest concentration on [[Gili Trawangan]]. As of late 2012, [[Gili Air]] has some new restaurants opening that offer western cuisine. [[Gili Meno]] remains limited to more basic food options like barbecued fish or pizza from a wood-fired oven.
  
Be careful with "fee and tax" especially in "luxury" restaurants, it can be written in very small font at the bottom of the menu and from 5 to 25% or more.
+
Be careful with "fee and tax" especially in "luxury" restaurants, most will charge 21% tax and service, however it can be written in very small font at the bottom of the menu and be from 5 to 25% or more.
 
<!--All listings are now in the 3 individual Gili Islands articles. Do not place any here-->
 
<!--All listings are now in the 3 individual Gili Islands articles. Do not place any here-->
  
 
==Drink==
 
==Drink==
 
<!--All listings are now in the 3 individual Gili Islands articles. Do not place any here-->
 
<!--All listings are now in the 3 individual Gili Islands articles. Do not place any here-->
Gili Trawangan has a huge reputation as a party island, and whilst the scene has calmed down somewhat in recent years, there are many bars and something is happening almost every night of the year.
+
Gili Trawangan had a huge reputation in the late 90's as a backpacker party island. This has now developed into a nightlife for all tastes. There are bars playing live music, bars with DJ's, as well as quieter beach front places dotted around the islands. There is a varied choice of venues every night of the year.
 +
 
 +
Be careful to not leave drinks unattended, as spiking incidents have been known to occur. Be aware that there have been fatal cases (including as recent as new year 2012/13) involving locally distilled spirits when drunk in large quantities, due to non-standardised production methods. If you suspect that what you've been served is not what you ordered, take it back.
 
<!--All listings are now in the 3 individual Gili Islands articles. Do not place any here-->
 
<!--All listings are now in the 3 individual Gili Islands articles. Do not place any here-->
  
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{{sleeppricerange|Under US$30|US$30-100|Over US$100}}
 
{{sleeppricerange|Under US$30|US$30-100|Over US$100}}
  
Demand often outstrips supply, so prices tend to be noticeably higher than on Bali or Lombok.  During the peak seasons (Jul-Aug, Dec-Jan), it pays to make advance reservations, as the best places are often fully booked. Arrive early for better chances of getting accommodation without a reservation. Late arrivers need to be prepared to spend a night on the beach (it's perfectly safe though).
+
Demand often outstrips supply, so prices tend to be noticeably higher than on Bali or Lombok.  During the peak seasons (Jul-Aug, Dec-Jan), it pays to make advance reservations, as the best places are often fully booked. Arrive early for better chances of getting accommodation without a reservation. Late arrivals need to be prepared to spend a night on the beach (it's perfectly safe though).
  
There are plenty of largely identical backpacker guesthouses on the islands.  The price ranges depending on the season and island. Figure on Rp 100,000+ for a basic room with fan only. Air conditioned rooms are more in the Rp 300,000-400,000+ range. Gili Trawangan especially, has a rapidly increasing range of high end accommodation with prices up to US$500 per night.  
+
There are plenty of largely identical backpacker guesthouses on the islands.  The price ranges depending on the season and island. Figure on Rp 100,000+ for a basic room with fan only. Air conditioned rooms are more in the Rp 300,000-400,000+ range. Gili Trawangan especially, has a rapidly increasing range of high end luxury accommodation with prices up to US$500 per night for a large private villa.  
  
Always try to negotiate for the best price, and be clear about whether or not the quoted price includes taxes and breakfast. Some hotels feature fresh water for showering and others use salt water. Much of the so-called fresh water still has a high saline content, so it is hard to feel really clean after a few days. Some of the higher end places on Gili Trawangan have reverse osmosis desalination systems, and provide top quality fresh water.
+
Always try to negotiate for the best price, and be clear about whether or not the quoted price includes taxes and breakfast. Most of the larger hotels and dive centres on Gili Trawangan feature fresh water for showering, while other smaller homestays may use salt water. On Gili Air it is best to check with the Hotel you plan to stay at, and on Gili Meno its mostly salinated.  
 
<!--All listings are now in the 3 individual Gili Islands articles. Do not place any here-->
 
<!--All listings are now in the 3 individual Gili Islands articles. Do not place any here-->
  
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{{ramadandates}}
 
{{ramadandates}}
  
The Gilis may feel like Bali at times but the locals are Muslim, and while they are used to the endless parade of westerners partying on their front lawn, it is good to show some respect.'' Never'' sunbathe nude or topless, cover up away from the beach (no bikinis), avoid excessive displays of affection in public, and treat early-morning prayer calls from the mosque as just part of the local character.
+
The Gilis may feel like Bali at times but the locals are Muslim, and while they are used to western style tourism, please remember to respect the island, its community and beliefs.'' Never'' sunbathe nude or topless, cover up away from the beach (no bikinis), avoid excessive displays of affection in public, and expect early-morning prayer calls from the mosques.
  
 
Little changes on the Gili Islands during the fasting month of Ramadan, as food is served during the day and bars stay open at night.  However, many dive shops cut down the diving schedule to cater for fasting locals, and out of respect you should also refrain from blatantly eating, drinking or smoking in public.
 
Little changes on the Gili Islands during the fasting month of Ramadan, as food is served during the day and bars stay open at night.  However, many dive shops cut down the diving schedule to cater for fasting locals, and out of respect you should also refrain from blatantly eating, drinking or smoking in public.
  
 
==Stay safe==
 
==Stay safe==
[[Image:GiliTrawangan TicketToHeaven.JPG|thumb|...or ticket to jail?]]
+
[[Image:GiliTrawangan TicketToHeaven.JPG|thumb|Example of a magic mushroom advertisement.]]
  
True to the hippie vibe, '''magic mushrooms''' are widely available and openly advertised, particularly on Gili Trawangan. Their legality is questionable, as are any physical and psychological effects.
+
As you would at home, lock doors at night and don't leave valuables out in the open.
  
Be very careful with locally produced booze, especially arak. It can contain methanol and has caused many cases of serious injury and even death among tourists and locals alike.  
+
Be very careful with locally produced alcohol, especially Arak. It can contain methanol and has caused cases of serious injury and even death (as recently as  new year 2012/13) among tourists and locals alike. If you suspect that what you've been served is not what you ordered, take it back. Sticking to western owned and managed bars will reduce risk.
 +
 
 +
When out in the bars, use discretion: do not leave your drinks unattended, as drink spiking has been reported on occasion. This goes for ''both'' sexes.
 +
 
 +
'''Magic mushrooms''' are widely available and openly advertised, particularly on Gili Trawangan. Their psychological effects may be heavy for some individuals.  
  
 
Various other '''drugs''' and intoxicants are readily available and sometimes flaunted (as is the case of mushrooms and 'power drinks' at parties), and you can expect to be offered everything from marijuana to methamphetamine. Keep in mind you are still in Indonesia, where drug usage and distribution penalties are extraordinarily harsh ranging from 20 years in a dilapidated prison to the '''death penalty'''. On Gili Trawangan, there have been a number of busts of high profile local characters resulting in serious prison sentences. On Gili Air, village leaders have been known to banish tourists from the island for drug usage and several signs posted around the island will remind you of their local laws.  
 
Various other '''drugs''' and intoxicants are readily available and sometimes flaunted (as is the case of mushrooms and 'power drinks' at parties), and you can expect to be offered everything from marijuana to methamphetamine. Keep in mind you are still in Indonesia, where drug usage and distribution penalties are extraordinarily harsh ranging from 20 years in a dilapidated prison to the '''death penalty'''. On Gili Trawangan, there have been a number of busts of high profile local characters resulting in serious prison sentences. On Gili Air, village leaders have been known to banish tourists from the island for drug usage and several signs posted around the island will remind you of their local laws.  
  
Small but annoying '''jellyfish''' are common in the waters around the Gilis during certain moon cycles, with July and August getting the brunt, so wearing a full-length wetsuit or surf skin in the water is advisable. The stings can be quite painful, but they're harmless and usually go away within an hour. The welt from bad multiple stings may last a day.
+
Small but annoying '''jellyfish'''/stingers are common in the waters around the Gilis during certain moon cycles, with July and August getting the brunt, so wearing a full-length wetsuit or surf skin in the water is advisable. The stings can be quite painful, but they're harmless and usually go away within an hour. The welt from bad multiple stings may last a day. Not so harmless are the less common bluebottle jellyfish that can be recognised by their long bright blue tentacles and surface floating clear bubble. These stings are extremely painful and can cause respiratory problems. If stung, tentacles must immediately be removed using covered hands and the area rinsed in sea water. The affected area should then be immersed in hot water (as hot as can be tolerated) for at least 20 minutes.  
  
There are '''massive spiders''' roughly the size of a grown man's hand scattered about the islands; while not venomous, their bites can result in a painful wound. Thankfully, avoiding them is relatively easy, don't tread through brush and avoid climbing random trees.
+
There are '''large spiders''' roughly the size of a grown man's hand scattered about the islands; while not venomous, their bites can result in a painful wound. Thankfully, avoiding them is relatively easy, don't tread through brush and avoid climbing random trees.
  
There are '''no police''' on any of the islands. Crime is largely limited to opportunistic petty theft, and all problems are usually settled by the local islands councils; if you face larger problems or need to make a police report for insurance purposes, you will need to head over the mainland to do it.
+
There are '''no visible police''' on any of the islands, however there are undercover agents regularly on the islands. There are also local security guards that patrol the islands (mainly Gili Trawangan). Crime is largely limited to opportunistic petty theft, and all problems are usually settled by the local island councils; if you face larger problems or need to make a police report for insurance purposes, you will need to head over the mainland to do it.
  
[edit from 2012 May] There is as minimum as 5 police units on Gili Trawangan. So - don't do nothing restricted, be smart :)
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[edit from 2012 May] There is as minimum of 5 police units on Gili Trawangan. So - don't do nothing restricted, be smart :)
  
 
==Stay healthy==
 
==Stay healthy==
 
+
All three islands have a small, simple '''clinic'''. For serious problems, visitors should get back to Lombok (or preferably Bali) as quickly as possible. The nearest hospital is in Mataram, Lombok.
All three islands have a small, simple '''clinic'''. For serious problems, visitors should get back to Lombok (or preferably Bali) as quickly as possible.
+
  
 
Tap '''water''' is very salty and not potable.  Bottled water is widely available and many cafes, dive shops, and stores will fill up bottles for Rp 3,000, reducing waste and costing less than a new bottle. The refill supplies can be a little erratic in availability at times; however, do not be concerned as drinking water is always available for sale on the Gili Islands.
 
Tap '''water''' is very salty and not potable.  Bottled water is widely available and many cafes, dive shops, and stores will fill up bottles for Rp 3,000, reducing waste and costing less than a new bottle. The refill supplies can be a little erratic in availability at times; however, do not be concerned as drinking water is always available for sale on the Gili Islands.
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There are many self-styled '''gigolos''' anxious to swoon foreign girls on Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. If you're female and on your own (even temporarily), you will be approached often. If you find yourself swept off your feet, condoms are available at most little stores.
 
There are many self-styled '''gigolos''' anxious to swoon foreign girls on Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. If you're female and on your own (even temporarily), you will be approached often. If you find yourself swept off your feet, condoms are available at most little stores.
  
Thanks to the islands' dryness, [[mosquitoes]] can be quite rare, but there have been a few cases of [[malaria]] and [[dengue]] reported, mostly during the rainy season. Mosquito repellent, mosquito nets and long sleeves at dusk are wise precautions. Please see [[Lombok#Stay safe|main Lombok article]] for notes on malaria, dengue fever (DHF), methyl alcohol adulteration of traditional local drinks such as arak, and other tips for your health and safety whilst on the Gili Islands.
+
[[Mosquito]] numbers vary throughout the year. There is no [[Malaria]] on the Gilis, however there is in Lombok. There have been cases of [[dengue]] reported, mostly during the rainy season. Mosquito repellent, mosquito nets and long sleeves at dusk are wise precautions.  
 +
 
 +
Please see [[Lombok#Stay safe|main Lombok article]] for notes on malaria, dengue fever (DHF), methyl alcohol adulteration of traditional local drinks such as arak, and other tips for your health and safety whilst on the Gili Islands.
  
 
==Cope==
 
==Cope==
  
The islands have no supplies of completely fresh water, although some is distinctly less brackish than others.  
+
Supplies of fresh water vary from resort to resort and island to island.
  
There is a'' very'' spotty electricity supply; it's not uncommon for power to be off for hours at a time on a daily basis, and the same goes for water as most is directly fed by electric pumps.  Many upmarket hotels, restaurants and dive shops have generators, and there are tentative plans for solar and wind power generation. It is worth checking with your chosen accommodation whether they have a generator.  
+
Electricity supply comes from generators o each of the islands; therefore it's not uncommon for power to be off for hours at a time on a daily basis, and the same goes for water as most is directly fed by electric pumps.  Many upmarket hotels, restaurants and dive shops have backup generators, and there are tentative plans for solar and wind power generation. It is worth checking with your chosen accommodation whether they have a backup generator. In a lot of cases, backup generators are saved for use at night.
  
Laundry can be arranged through most guesthouses, expect to pay by piece rather than by load. The cost can add up quick, you may want to consider hand-washing smaller items yourself, clothes dry very quickly in the equatorial sun.
+
Laundry can be arranged through most guesthouses, expect to pay by piece rather than by load. The cost can add up quick, you may want to consider hand-washing smaller items yourself, clothes dry very quickly in the equatorial sun, but very slowly during the humid rainy season.
  
 
====Hospitals====
 
====Hospitals====
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====Medical clinics====
 
====Medical clinics====
 
 
* <listing name="Klinik Risa" alt="Risa Centra Medika Hospital" address="Jl. Pejanggik No.115, Cakranegara" directions="just east of Mataram mall on the right hand side of the road" phone="+62 370 625 560" url="" hours="24 hr Emergency room (UGD)" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Full hospital facilities available on site, specialist consulting rooms and Dentist.</listing>
 
* <listing name="Klinik Risa" alt="Risa Centra Medika Hospital" address="Jl. Pejanggik No.115, Cakranegara" directions="just east of Mataram mall on the right hand side of the road" phone="+62 370 625 560" url="" hours="24 hr Emergency room (UGD)" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Full hospital facilities available on site, specialist consulting rooms and Dentist.</listing>
 
 
* <listing name="Puskesmas Tanjung" alt="Local health Clinic Tanjung township" directions="" address="Tanjung" phone="+62 370 623 010" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">This is a local municipal health clinic rather than an emergency centre.</listing>
 
* <listing name="Puskesmas Tanjung" alt="Local health Clinic Tanjung township" directions="" address="Tanjung" phone="+62 370 623 010" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">This is a local municipal health clinic rather than an emergency centre.</listing>
  
 
====Emergency service====
 
====Emergency service====
 
 
*'''Ambulance''' +62 370 622 254, +62 370 623 489<br>In emergency  '''dial - 118'''
 
*'''Ambulance''' +62 370 622 254, +62 370 623 489<br>In emergency  '''dial - 118'''
 
:''The reality is that unless within the confines of the main city of Mataram/Ampenan/Cakranegara an ambulance is normally too far away to provide prompt transport in the case of a true emergency. Most often a taxi, police vehicle or a private car is used to get someone requiring urgent medical attention to a hospital. The ambulances in Lombok are more often used in the role of assisted patient transport rather than for first responder/paramedic supported emergency assistance and transport. Obviously for the Gili islands a boat transfer to the mainland is required.''
 
:''The reality is that unless within the confines of the main city of Mataram/Ampenan/Cakranegara an ambulance is normally too far away to provide prompt transport in the case of a true emergency. Most often a taxi, police vehicle or a private car is used to get someone requiring urgent medical attention to a hospital. The ambulances in Lombok are more often used in the role of assisted patient transport rather than for first responder/paramedic supported emergency assistance and transport. Obviously for the Gili islands a boat transfer to the mainland is required.''
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====Phone====
 
====Phone====
  
Mobile phone towers ensure you're never out of touch. Telekomsel's Simpati SIM card has the strongest and most reliable coverage on the Gili islands.
+
Mobile phone towers ensure you're never out of touch. XL and Telkomsel's Simpati SIM card has the strongest and most reliable coverage on the Gili islands.
 
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====Internet====
 
====Internet====
 +
Internet cafes are quite widespread but connections are often very slow, prices can be Rp 300-400/minute). Free, slow Wi-Fi is often available to customers in restaurants and bars lining the beach on Gili Trawangan. Gili Divers and The Deck has got free Wi-Fi and this connection is very fast. Skype, book tickets or use internet banking without problems.
  
Internet cafes are quite widespread but connections are often very slow, prices can be Rp 300-400/minute). Free, slow Wi-Fi is often available to customers in restaurants and bars lining the beach on Gili Trawangan. Gili Divers and The Deck has got free Wi-Fi and this connection is very fast. Skype, book tickets or do bank stuff no problems.
+
Many visitors chose to use a USB modem stick with a Telkomsel ''Flash'' SIM card [http://www.telkomsel.com/product/telkomsel-flash] fitted to it. Reception is reasonable on all three Gili islands but 3G connections should not be anticipated. More likely a connection will fall back to the slower GPRS system. CDMA coverage is also available through the Telko ''Flexi'' network [http://www.telkom.co.id/products-services/personal/internet/telkomnet-flexi-up-to-64-kbps.html?lid=en]. USB modems and SIMs suitable for use on either the Telkomsel GSM/3G network, or the ''Flexi'' CDMA network are available from outlets on the Lombok maninland and in Bali.
 
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Many visitors chose to use a USB modem stick with a Telkomsel ''Flash'' SIM card [http://www.telkomsel.com/product/telkomsel-flash] fitted to it. Reception is reasonable on all three Gili islands but 3G connections should not be anticipated. More likely a connection will fall back to the slower GRPS system. CDMA coverage is also available through the Telko ''Flexi'' network [http://www.telkom.co.id/products-services/personal/internet/telkomnet-flexi-up-to-64-kbps.html?lid=en]. USB modems and SIMs suitable for use on either the Telkomsel GSM/3G network, or the ''Flexi'' CDMA network are available from outlets on the Lombok maninland and in Bali.
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Latest revision as of 14:33, 20 November 2014

The Gili Islands are located just off the northwest tip of Lombok, Indonesia.

Understand[edit]

The three Gili Islands left to right: Trawangan, Meno, Air

Lombok's most popular tourist destination, the Gili Islands (or just the Gilis) came to the attention of the wider world as a backpacker mecca in the 1980s and 1990s. This is still true to some extent, and the islands are still a fixture on the Banana Pancake Trail. But times are changing, and there is now an array of glamour options on the islands, especially so on Gili Trawangan. The islands are very relaxed and laid-back, with countless little beachside cafes, restaurants and bars serving a variety of tastes in local and international cuisine. Best of all, there are no cars or motorbikes to disturb the peace.

There are increasing numbers of westerners living on the Gilis, and operating businesses ranging from dive companies to resorts. There is a strong environmental focus as the reefs were damaged in the past. While previously most people came to dive, snorkel and party, now a wider spectrum of visitors including families and couples are enjoying the islands. The focus remains on the beach and in the sea. There are also many options to wine and dine, visit a spa or hang out and meet new friends.

Strictly speaking, the name "Gili Islands" is rather redundant as gili simply means "small island" in Sasak, but the name has stuck and is universally used and understood in Lombok.

There are also some other islands off Lombok called Gili Something, eg. Gili Nanggu and Gili Gede, but these are located to the southwest near Lembar, quite a distance from the "main" Gilis.

Climate[edit]

The Gilis are noticeably drier and hotter than Lombok, but evenings can still be cool and refreshing. The rainy season is roughly from November to April, but it rains much less than on Bali. The peak tourist seasons are July-August and December-January.

Islands[edit]

Map of the Gili Islands region
Gili Trawangan
The largest and most visited of the three islands. Known as the party island.
Gili Air
The closest of the three islands to Lombok, and the one with a well developed local community.
Gili Meno
Sandwiched between the other two better known islands, Gili Meno is very laid back indeed.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Scheduled airline operations flying to and from Lombok have been moved from Selaparang International Airport (IATA: AMI) across to the new Lombok International Airport (BIL) ICAO: WADL in central southern Lombok near the city of Praya.

Lombok's new international airport Bandara Internasional Lombok (BIL), (IATA: LOP, ICAO: WADL) opened on 1 October 2011. The new airport in Praya has replaced operations at Selaparang International Airport in Mataram. Selaparang Airport was closed for airline operations on the evening of 30 September 2011.

There are no airports in the Gilis. The nearest airport is on mainland Lombok. Flying to Bali and taking a boat to the Gilis is also a viable option.

Alternatively, you can fly to Bali and connect onward with a domestic flight to the new international airport, 40km south of the old location at Mataram, which is a quick and cheap 25-30 min hop. The Bali-Lombok route is operated by Merpati Nusantara Airlines, Garuda, Wings (code shared with Lion Air), Trigana Air, Trans-Nusa and IAT (Indonesian Air Transport).

From elsewhere in Indonesia, Lombok International Airport is served by flights from Jakarta, and Surabaya provided by Garuda, Citilink, Lion Air and Merpati. Sumbawa is serviced by Trans Nusa Air Services. International flights are available from Singapore with Silk Air and Tigerair, and from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia with AirAsia. Please see the main Lombok article for more details on the new international airport and connecting services to the Gili Islands

By Ferry[edit]

  • Used mainly by locals, freight and diehard backpackers, there is an hourly public ferry service from Padang Bai (East Bali) to Lembar Harbour (Southwest Lombok), running 24 hours a day. The crossing takes 4 - 6 Hours (plus sometimes considerable waiting around for loading and unloading). This is extremely cheap but the on-board conditions are very basic to say the least, and the journey is very slow. Tickets are available from the harbors and cost just IDR40.000 (<US$4) adult fare. After arriving in Lombok it will then take another 2hr transfer to get to the Gili Islands via road and local boat from Bangsal harbor. For more info, see the main Lombok page.
  • As of mid 2014, the 550-seater speed ferry catamaran Bounty Cruises has resumed its daily service to the Gili Islands via Nusa Lembongan, originating from Benoa harbor in south Bali. This private ferry company started to operate in the late 90's but hit economic adversity following the Bali bombings, forcing them to reduce the route to daily Lembongan trips only. The vessel is by far the largest passenger service direct to the Gilis and offers modern entertainment, bar and bathroom facilities on board. Tickets can be purchased in Benoa from their office or online via the website or on Gilibookings. com

By boat[edit]

From Bali[edit]

Fast boat services are the quickest and most direct way to travel to the Gili Islands from Bali. There are now numerous direct boat services from Bali to the Gilis, all of which continue onto the main island of Lombok, and a few of which also pass by Nusa Lembongan en-route. Established daily services depart from Benoa and Serangan Island in South Bali and from Padang Bai and Amed in East Bali. Benoa Harbour and Serangan are around 25 min by car, (dependent upon traffic) from the South Bali tourist hub. Padang Bai is a lot further by road.

Booking tickets[edit]

You can contact the fast boat companies directly by phone or email, or book via one of the many local travel agents once you are in Bali. The only way to compare live seat availability and book e-tickets online is with Gilibookings for the most reputable fast boat services, or it's sister site Gilitickets for some of the cheaper tickets on budget operators. You can view all routes, timetables and pricing for many of the fast boat companies. Gilibookings prices range from $52 to $75 one way, $98 to $148 return and provides a range of island discounts to its customers that offset its higher pricing. Fast boats are generally around 30% cheaper on Gilitickets. Locally you will also find cheap offers (such as Rp 275,000 (<$30) from Trawangan to Padang Bai, excluding further transfer, or Rp 350,000 from Ubud to Senggigi/Gilis. including transfer to Padang Bai, or even cheaper in low season from Padang Bai to Gilis for 180,000), however the quality (and safety) of the boats used may vary wildly, so make sure you know what you're purchasing before booking.


A small selection of fast boat companies with a proven track record:

  • BlueWater Express the longest running fast boat operator to Gili Islands, starting in 2006. They depart from Serangan (South Bali) and Padang Bai (East Bali). A company with experience and a consistent track record. British owned.
  • Gili Cat The second company to offer fast boat routes to the Gili Islands. They sail from Padang Bai in Bali.
  • Scoot Cruise Offering services to Nusa Lembongan as well as the Gilis from Serangan, Bali. Australian owned.
  • Kuda Hitam Services from Amed on the east coast of Bali. This is the shortest route over sea from Bali to the Gilis and Lombok.
  • Gili Gili Routes from Serangan or Padang Bai to Gili Trawangan via Lombok and Gili Air. Indonesian owned.
  • Gili Getaway Daily crossings from Serangan. Australian owned and managed.
Crossing advice[edit]

If you are travelling from southern Bali resorts such as Kuta, Legian, Nusa Dua etc., the closest ports are Serangan or Benoa. However, you can depart from Padang Bai if you want a shorter crossing, which is around an hour from south Bali by road (so total travel time will be approximately the same). Also depart from Padang Bai if you are staying in or around Ubud. Amed is only suitable if you are staying in or around Amed, Tulamben, Candidasa or North Coast locations such as Lovina or Pemuteran.

Fast Boat operational safety
If you have legitimate concerns about either the vessel being used, the operator, overloading, or the prevailing weather conditions then do not board the boat, immediately seek a refund of your fare and make alternative arrangements. During periods of extreme weather the boats will not operate, this only happens once or twice a year. Flights across the Lombok Strait provide an alternative at similar cost and travel time.

The boats currently servicing all routes are smaller high speed craft with light duty hull construction and are driven by petrol fuelled outboard engines. Crew training, operational standards and safety equipment vary and some current services may be below the normal expectations of many foreign visitors.

No matter what port of departure you use, with the exception of those staying in Padang Bai or Amed, you will need to use a vehicle transfer for one portion of your journey. Take the weather into consideration when planning your voyage, shorter routes could reduce discomfort for those prone to motion sickness. Fast boat services from Amed and Padang Bai take around half as long to reach the Gilis as the routes from southern Bali. As stated previously, a shorter crossing amounts to extra road time in Bali, unless you are staying in Amed or Padang Bai already.

As of 2012, there are significant differences in prices between operators on all the Gili Fast Boat routes. There are also differences in the standard of the vessels, their operation, crew experience and certfication. The worst offenders for safety standards currently all operate out of Padang Bai. It is advisable to look at more than just price. As competition has increased, so has misinformation about availability of seats or operating schedules. Check the veracity of information directly with your chosen operator if told by a tour desk a vessel is "full" or "bankrupt - not operating" or has "spontaneously combusted." Ensure your ticket states the specific vessel requested. Stated trip times are often misleading and do not reflect the reality of the voyage nor previously achieved average crossing times.

By slow ferry (via Lombok)[edit]

If you're really on a budget, or just feel uncomfortable to pay more than usual price of Bali-Lombok flight just for crossing 60 km wide Lombok strait on a small speedboat, and have some patience and time to spare, you can use slow ferry from Padang Bai to Lembar on Lombok (see the main Lombok article), then continue 60 km by land to Bangsal harbour. Unless departing from Padang Bai well after midnight (to arrive to Lembar next morning) or early in the morning, you'll need to make a stopover somewhere at Lombok, otherwise you'll be too late in Bangsal to catch a public boat. For return trip, depart early and you're likely to be at you destination on the same evening. In do-it-yourself style (public bemos for all the land segments, knowing all the right prices) it will cost under Rp 100,000 per person; package version from the travel agency, including minivan/car transfers, will cost (February 2013) from Rp 160,000 and up.

From Lombok[edit]

Options to get from Lombok to the Gilis are:

  • A shuttle bus or taxi to Bangsal harbour (1 hr from Mataram), and a public boat from there (15/30/45 min to Air/Meno/Trawangan)
  • A chartered boat from Bangsal harbour
  • A chartered boat from Senggigi (1-2 hr)
  • A Chartered speedboat from Teluk Nare (30 min).

A local agent, Mr. Jamuhur, that has a pickup service in Lombok for transfers to all of the Gilis can be contacted at: rhombacktransferservice@gmail.com or mobile: +62 (0)85339715403. For a quote just advise the number of passengers.

The easiest way to get to the Gilis from Lombok's airport or Senggigi is to walk to the nearest travel agent, taxi desk or tour and book a package.

The cheapest way is to take a bemo/taxi to Pemenang, walk or cidomo (Rp 5,000) to Bangsal, and then take the Public boat (ferry) (Rp 10,000 to Gili Air) from there. However, this may involve long waits and dealing with particularly unpleasant hawkers, so some people figure it's not worth the hassle.

See the Bangsal and individual Gili articles for details of the official Koperasi Angkutan laut Karya Bahari services.

Another cheap option for those going from Senggigi is to book a package (shuttle car/van + boat to any of Gilis). Numerous travel agents on the main street of Senggigi offer this service for (January 2013) around Rp 75,000/pax - but some guesthouses can arrange this for as low as Rp 50,000, which is an excellent value if there are 1-2 of you. Beware, however, that some unscrupulous agents may try and cheat you - make sure the package includes the boat price (and that you won't have to pay extra no matter how many other passsengers, if any, will use the same service), what kind of the boat (should be a private boat, most likely from Teluk Nare, otherwise you're just paying extra for a shared taxi ride to Bangsal) will be used, and have the agent's/guesthouse's contacts and phone numbers handy to contact them if anything goes wrong.

If you want to travel at your own pace, you can charter a boat directly from Senggigi to take you across. Ask any travel agent or simply head to the beach behind the Santosa Hotel in central Senggigi or on the beach at Mangsit at the northern end of Senggigi. At Mangsit most of the charter boats are located between Qunci Villas and the Holiday Resort Lombok (ex Holiday Inn Resort). On either beach you're guaranteed to be solicited by boat operators and guides. The Senggigi article has more information on this. A charter of a regular outrigger (perahu) to any of the Gili Islands can cost as much Rp 500,000, but bargain hard. Some of these boats are pretty basic so make sure you check the safety equipment for yourself, especially if you cannot swim. The better guides at Mangsit beach will provide life vests of their own if the chartered boat does not have them. If there are three or less of you, it is much faster and infinitely more comfortable to arrange a speed boat pickup from Teluk Nare with one of the dive shops or your hotel on Gili Trawangan. A taxi to Teluk Nare from Senggigi will cost about Rp 60,000-75,000.

For organising your trip back to Bangsal, there is a public boat ticket office on each of the Gili Islands.

Note that the sea is calmest in the morning and all transport stops running in the late afternoon, and 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.

Get around[edit]

Cidomo

There is no motorised transport on the islands. Your options are horse-drawn carts, known as cidomo's, or bicycles, which are are available for rent all over the islands. The price for tourists is Rp 20,000-50,000 per head, depending on the length of the journey. To go all the way around the islands could cost up to Rp 150,000. However, as the islands are only a few km in diameter, it's entirely possible to just walk instead.

Travelling between the islands requires either catching the infrequent scheduled Koperasi Island hopping boats, or chartering one to take you across. To Lombok you can take one of the very cheap public boats that go back and forth at pretty random intervals(basically leaving whenever the boat is full), or again charter a vessel.

Tickets can be bought from the ticket offices on each island from where the boats depart. No need to pre-book, the approximate rates in Indonesian rupiah as of mid 2014 are as follows: Gili Trawangan to Lombok by Public boat is a mere 13,000idr (not much more than a dollar). A charter (with 30 capacity) will set you back roughly 400,000idr; still quite affordable, especially if you split the bill with a group of other travellers. Island hopping between the Gili's costs roughly 25,000idr.

Booking through a travel agent usually just costs more, and you still need to change the reservation to an actual ticket at the very same counter. Some speedboat charters are available between Lombok and the islands, these do need booking shortly beforehand and usually can be arranged by your hotel locally.

The distances between the islands may seem swimmable, but do not attempt it — the currents are fierce and several visitors have died trying.

See[edit][add listing]

There are no major sights on the islands, snorkelling and diving being the main draw. However, a few attractions are worth noting:

  • Gili Meno Bird Park, Gili Meno, Lombok, Indonesia. A bird sanctuary located in the centre of Gili Meno boasting exotic species in a beautifully landscaped environment. Macaws, flamingos, cockatoos, pelicans, eagles, parrots and more. Also home to a crocodile, some deer and a kangaroo.  edit
  • Turtle sanctuary, Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno. Green and loggerhead turtles are now common to the waters around the Gilis. To ensure the on-going survival of these creatures, sanctuaries have been set-up on both Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno. You can visit the sanctuaries, see the baby turtles in their pools and learn more about these fascinating creatures. There's also melantit kalambutit around.  edit
  • Sunset on the hill, Gili Trawangan. Great sunset spot with panoramic views of the 3 Gilis and of Lombok and Bali beyond. A good place to take photographs.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Scuba diving[edit]

There is good diving around the islands, suitable for all levels, the islands being globally known as a proficient teaching center for beginners right up to instructor level. Technical diving courses are also available. An impressive array of marine life is present, such as green and hawksbill turtles, bumphead parrotfish, black-tip and white-tip reef sharks and more. There are also some great muckdiving sites for macro photographers, a Japanese wreck for deep diving and biorock artificial reefs which may interest environmental enthusiasts. Visibility is commonly in the 15-30m range. Due to the exposed position of the Gilis, currents can be quite strong and drift diving is the norm. Some of the dive sites have unfortunately been damaged over the years due to a combination of human and environmental causes, especially from an increase in water temperatures from El Niño in 1998 and unsustainable local fishing practices. Since 2000, fishing has been regulated around the islands, allowing the reefs and fish population to slowly regenerate.

Most dive shops on the Gili Islands are members of the Gili Eco Trust [1], a non-profit organisation which originated as a co-operation between influential members of the local community and the dive shops on Gili Trawangan. Set up in 2000 and initiated by the owners of Manta Dive[2], the Gili Eco Trust aims to protect coral reefs surrounding the islands and provide environmental education. There is a one time only reef tax of Rp 50,000 payable by all divers and dive students. This is collected by the dive operator and helps fund the work of the trust. If you are interested in learning more about the trust, or volunteering to help, ask for Delphine at the Big Bubble[3] dive shop on Gili Trawangan.

Gili Trawangan has the most dive operators, but PADI and SSI licensed dive operators exist on all three islands. Equipment is kept in top shape, with excellent facilities and (mostly) western dive instructors. Dive guides tend to be a mix of local and western divemasters. Dive and course prices are fixed by agreement between the dive operators on each island, so there is nothing financial to be gained by shopping around between the operators. A good approach is to settle down on your chosen island, get to know the dive shops, and choose to dive with the one with which you feel most comfortable.

Dive Instructor

For those interested in learning to dive or advancing existing qualifications, several of the operators now offer both PADI and SSI options. Both Blue Marlin Dive[4] and Trawangan Dive[5] offer TDI and IART Technical Diving and Closed-Circuit Rebreather (CCR) training including Trimix. Nitrox and other technical diving options are also offered by operators on Gili Trawangan.



Dive prices, PADI & SSI courses[edit]

Dive Prices on Gili Trawangan have recently changed from Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) to (USD)

Price guideline:

  • Fun dives $37 USD
  • Scuba Review $59 USD
  • Discover Scuba $65 USD
  • Advanced Open Water $295 USD
  • Open Water $370 USD
  • Rescue Diver $390 USD
  • Emergency First Response $120 USD
  • Divemaster Course $835 USD

All dive shops accept US dollars, Indonesian Rupiah and credit cards, except when the telephone lines are down (in this case, pay using internet banking).

Dive Sites[edit]

Dive Sites
Dive sites surrounding the 3 Gili islands
  • Basket Coral
  • Sponge Coral
  • Deep Sponge Coral
  • Coral Fan Garden
  • Shark Point
  • Sunset
  • Manta Point
  • Biorock
  • Meno Wall
  • Meno Slope
  • Turtle Point
  • Biorock
  • Bounty Wreck
  • Air Wall
  • Mikro Reef
  • Boomies
  • Takat Malang
  • Frogfish Point
  • Air Slope


Party boats[edit]

  • South Sea Nomads, +62 821 45804522, [6]. This is the Gili islands only party boat, it operates Mon, Wed and Fri and more often in high season. Starts at 3PM and goes around the 3 Gili islands. They stop off at Gili Air for a swim and snorkel before watching the sunset over the water toward Bali. A yummy Thai dinner is is served on the way back to Gili Trawangan where the party continues on board. South Sea Nomads also offer budget overnight camping, diving and surf boat trips; Sekotong trip is 2 nights, 3 days island hopping the 14 island off the South West peninsula of Lombok. This trip is great for divers, experienced surfers who want to surf Desert Point and people who just want to island hop and snorkel. Their Moyo and Satonda trip is 5 nights and 6 days and gets off the beaten trail away from other tourists. Over the 6 days they visit waterfalls, a sunken volcano and crater lake, caves, deserted beaches and islands, beautiful reefs and a WW2 wreck. South Sea Nomads are located at both Gili Hostel and Manta Dive.  edit

Freediving[edit]

There is now a dedicated freediving and apnea centre on Gili Trawangan, where you can attend courses and workshops. Owned and run by the British freedive record holder Mike Board. For more information see Gili Trawangan. Freediving is also offered on Gili Meno and Gili Air at Gili Air/Meno Divers.

Yoga[edit]

Yoga classes are available at a variety of locations on the islands. There are dedicated yoga centres on Gili Trawangan (Gili Yoga and The Yoga Place) and Gili Air (H2O Yoga & Meditation Center), see main article.

Snorkelling[edit]

You can rent masks and fins off the beach, or contact any of the numerous dive shops to arrange snorkelling at choice spots nearby. A daily snorkelling programme usually involves a 10AM departure and 4PM return, and includes three or four spots around the three islands and a 2 hr lunch break. The cost ranges from Rp 60,000 to 150,000 depending on the shop and your negotiating skills. The quoted price normally includes the mask and snorkel but Rp 10,000 (or more) may be charged for the fins. Lunch is typically not included.

It's possible to snorkel off some of the beaches, but pay attention to the currents, which can be strong even near the shore. Wear flippers even if you're a strong swimmer, or you'll spend most of your energy fighting the currents.

Surfing[edit]

Although not renowned for its surfing reputation, the locals regularly surf off the south end of both Gili Trawnagan and Gili Air. Both are reef breaks, and on their day can be an outstanding wave.

Boat Trips[edit]

There are a few companies based on Gili Trawangan that offer boat trips to the surrounding islands of Lombok, Sumbawa and to Komodo. Blue Water Cruises are based just north of the harbour and run trips around the 3 Gilis, to Lombok and Komodo.

Perama are based near the art market on the main beach road. They offer trips all around Indonesia as well as trips from Bali to the Gilis and Komodo.

Relax[edit]

One of the attractions of the islands is the ability to do nothing. With no cars on any of the islands and the lower tempo of Gili Air and Gili Meno, there are several bungalow-style accommodations with verandas that overlook gardens and/or the ocean. The styles of cafes and restaurants involves small open huts (called berugak) perfect for two to four people to claim for a good part of the day. The islands have beaches all the way around, however not all stretches are suitable for sunbathing or entering the water. Gili Meno has the nicest beaches of the three islands. All the islands have their best beaches on the east side with regard to snorkelling and accessibility, however these are also the busiest so you might be better off seeking a quieter location to relax. See individual Gili island pages for specific beach information.

Walk[edit]

You can walk around the islands in 90 minutes. Just follow the coastline, take sunscreen and avoid doing so during the middle of the day.

Buy[edit][add listing]

There are upwards of 10 ATMs on Gili Trawangan, there's one ATM booth (with 2 ATMs of the same bank) on Gili Air (for European debit card users: it only features Cirrus, no Maestro! The major two credit cards work), but none so far on Gili Meno. Exchange rates offered by money changers are noticeably poorer than on the mainland. Credit cards are accepted by some of the more upmarket places and all dive shops, but there will usually be a 3% charge. Some will also arrange credit card cash advances, but with hefty fees in the order of 7-10%.

Shopping opportunities are very limited. There are plenty of kiosks offering tourist staples such as drinks, basic cosmetics, suntan lotion and such, but anything that might be required such as specific medication or items for children/baby's is best brought with you, or alternatively can easily be purchased on Lombok. All hotels and dive centers make regular trips to Lombok and are usually able to help out with any requests.

Eat[edit][add listing]

All the islands feature a myriad of restaurants and cafes concentrated on the beach fronts. The most activity is found on the east side of each island. There are an abundance of cafes and restaurants, both large and small, with the largest concentration on Gili Trawangan. As of late 2012, Gili Air has some new restaurants opening that offer western cuisine. Gili Meno remains limited to more basic food options like barbecued fish or pizza from a wood-fired oven.

Be careful with "fee and tax" especially in "luxury" restaurants, most will charge 21% tax and service, however it can be written in very small font at the bottom of the menu and be from 5 to 25% or more.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Gili Trawangan had a huge reputation in the late 90's as a backpacker party island. This has now developed into a nightlife for all tastes. There are bars playing live music, bars with DJ's, as well as quieter beach front places dotted around the islands. There is a varied choice of venues every night of the year.

Be careful to not leave drinks unattended, as spiking incidents have been known to occur. Be aware that there have been fatal cases (including as recent as new year 2012/13) involving locally distilled spirits when drunk in large quantities, due to non-standardised production methods. If you suspect that what you've been served is not what you ordered, take it back.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under US$30
Mid-range US$30-100
Splurge Over US$100

Demand often outstrips supply, so prices tend to be noticeably higher than on Bali or Lombok. During the peak seasons (Jul-Aug, Dec-Jan), it pays to make advance reservations, as the best places are often fully booked. Arrive early for better chances of getting accommodation without a reservation. Late arrivals need to be prepared to spend a night on the beach (it's perfectly safe though).

There are plenty of largely identical backpacker guesthouses on the islands. The price ranges depending on the season and island. Figure on Rp 100,000+ for a basic room with fan only. Air conditioned rooms are more in the Rp 300,000-400,000+ range. Gili Trawangan especially, has a rapidly increasing range of high end luxury accommodation with prices up to US$500 per night for a large private villa.

Always try to negotiate for the best price, and be clear about whether or not the quoted price includes taxes and breakfast. Most of the larger hotels and dive centres on Gili Trawangan feature fresh water for showering, while other smaller homestays may use salt water. On Gili Air it is best to check with the Hotel you plan to stay at, and on Gili Meno its mostly salinated.

Respect[edit]

Ramadan dates

  • 28 Jun–27 Jul 2014 (1435 AH)
  • 18 Jun–16 Jul 2015 (1436 AH)
  • 6 Jun–5 July 2016 (1437 AH)

Exact dates depend on local astronomical observations and vary from one country to another.
Ramadan ends with the Eid ul-Fitr festival extendign over several days.


The Gilis may feel like Bali at times but the locals are Muslim, and while they are used to western style tourism, please remember to respect the island, its community and beliefs. Never sunbathe nude or topless, cover up away from the beach (no bikinis), avoid excessive displays of affection in public, and expect early-morning prayer calls from the mosques.

Little changes on the Gili Islands during the fasting month of Ramadan, as food is served during the day and bars stay open at night. However, many dive shops cut down the diving schedule to cater for fasting locals, and out of respect you should also refrain from blatantly eating, drinking or smoking in public.

Stay safe[edit]

Example of a magic mushroom advertisement.

As you would at home, lock doors at night and don't leave valuables out in the open.

Be very careful with locally produced alcohol, especially Arak. It can contain methanol and has caused cases of serious injury and even death (as recently as new year 2012/13) among tourists and locals alike. If you suspect that what you've been served is not what you ordered, take it back. Sticking to western owned and managed bars will reduce risk.

When out in the bars, use discretion: do not leave your drinks unattended, as drink spiking has been reported on occasion. This goes for both sexes.

Magic mushrooms are widely available and openly advertised, particularly on Gili Trawangan. Their psychological effects may be heavy for some individuals.

Various other drugs and intoxicants are readily available and sometimes flaunted (as is the case of mushrooms and 'power drinks' at parties), and you can expect to be offered everything from marijuana to methamphetamine. Keep in mind you are still in Indonesia, where drug usage and distribution penalties are extraordinarily harsh ranging from 20 years in a dilapidated prison to the death penalty. On Gili Trawangan, there have been a number of busts of high profile local characters resulting in serious prison sentences. On Gili Air, village leaders have been known to banish tourists from the island for drug usage and several signs posted around the island will remind you of their local laws.

Small but annoying jellyfish/stingers are common in the waters around the Gilis during certain moon cycles, with July and August getting the brunt, so wearing a full-length wetsuit or surf skin in the water is advisable. The stings can be quite painful, but they're harmless and usually go away within an hour. The welt from bad multiple stings may last a day. Not so harmless are the less common bluebottle jellyfish that can be recognised by their long bright blue tentacles and surface floating clear bubble. These stings are extremely painful and can cause respiratory problems. If stung, tentacles must immediately be removed using covered hands and the area rinsed in sea water. The affected area should then be immersed in hot water (as hot as can be tolerated) for at least 20 minutes.

There are large spiders roughly the size of a grown man's hand scattered about the islands; while not venomous, their bites can result in a painful wound. Thankfully, avoiding them is relatively easy, don't tread through brush and avoid climbing random trees.

There are no visible police on any of the islands, however there are undercover agents regularly on the islands. There are also local security guards that patrol the islands (mainly Gili Trawangan). Crime is largely limited to opportunistic petty theft, and all problems are usually settled by the local island councils; if you face larger problems or need to make a police report for insurance purposes, you will need to head over the mainland to do it.

[edit from 2012 May] There is as minimum of 5 police units on Gili Trawangan. So - don't do nothing restricted, be smart :)

Stay healthy[edit]

All three islands have a small, simple clinic. For serious problems, visitors should get back to Lombok (or preferably Bali) as quickly as possible. The nearest hospital is in Mataram, Lombok.

Tap water is very salty and not potable. Bottled water is widely available and many cafes, dive shops, and stores will fill up bottles for Rp 3,000, reducing waste and costing less than a new bottle. The refill supplies can be a little erratic in availability at times; however, do not be concerned as drinking water is always available for sale on the Gili Islands.

There are many self-styled gigolos anxious to swoon foreign girls on Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. If you're female and on your own (even temporarily), you will be approached often. If you find yourself swept off your feet, condoms are available at most little stores.

Mosquito numbers vary throughout the year. There is no Malaria on the Gilis, however there is in Lombok. There have been cases of dengue reported, mostly during the rainy season. Mosquito repellent, mosquito nets and long sleeves at dusk are wise precautions.

Please see main Lombok article for notes on malaria, dengue fever (DHF), methyl alcohol adulteration of traditional local drinks such as arak, and other tips for your health and safety whilst on the Gili Islands.

Cope[edit]

Supplies of fresh water vary from resort to resort and island to island.

Electricity supply comes from generators o each of the islands; therefore it's not uncommon for power to be off for hours at a time on a daily basis, and the same goes for water as most is directly fed by electric pumps. Many upmarket hotels, restaurants and dive shops have backup generators, and there are tentative plans for solar and wind power generation. It is worth checking with your chosen accommodation whether they have a backup generator. In a lot of cases, backup generators are saved for use at night.

Laundry can be arranged through most guesthouses, expect to pay by piece rather than by load. The cost can add up quick, you may want to consider hand-washing smaller items yourself, clothes dry very quickly in the equatorial sun, but very slowly during the humid rainy season.

Hospitals[edit]

Several hospitals are located on the nearby mainland in city of Mataram including the islands principal public hospital Rumah Sakit Umun and also the Risa Hospital in Cakranegara near Mataram mall.

  • Please see the Lombok main article for a list of medical facilities available in Mataram.

Medical clinics[edit]

  • Klinik Risa (Risa Centra Medika Hospital), Jl. Pejanggik No.115, Cakranegara (just east of Mataram mall on the right hand side of the road), +62 370 625 560. 24 hr Emergency room (UGD). Full hospital facilities available on site, specialist consulting rooms and Dentist.  edit
  • Puskesmas Tanjung (Local health Clinic Tanjung township), Tanjung, +62 370 623 010. This is a local municipal health clinic rather than an emergency centre.  edit

Emergency service[edit]

  • Ambulance +62 370 622 254, +62 370 623 489
    In emergency dial - 118
The reality is that unless within the confines of the main city of Mataram/Ampenan/Cakranegara an ambulance is normally too far away to provide prompt transport in the case of a true emergency. Most often a taxi, police vehicle or a private car is used to get someone requiring urgent medical attention to a hospital. The ambulances in Lombok are more often used in the role of assisted patient transport rather than for first responder/paramedic supported emergency assistance and transport. Obviously for the Gili islands a boat transfer to the mainland is required.

Contact[edit]

Phone[edit]

Mobile phone towers ensure you're never out of touch. XL and Telkomsel's Simpati SIM card has the strongest and most reliable coverage on the Gili islands.

Internet[edit]

Internet cafes are quite widespread but connections are often very slow, prices can be Rp 300-400/minute). Free, slow Wi-Fi is often available to customers in restaurants and bars lining the beach on Gili Trawangan. Gili Divers and The Deck has got free Wi-Fi and this connection is very fast. Skype, book tickets or use internet banking without problems.

Many visitors chose to use a USB modem stick with a Telkomsel Flash SIM card [7] fitted to it. Reception is reasonable on all three Gili islands but 3G connections should not be anticipated. More likely a connection will fall back to the slower GPRS system. CDMA coverage is also available through the Telko Flexi network [8]. USB modems and SIMs suitable for use on either the Telkomsel GSM/3G network, or the Flexi CDMA network are available from outlets on the Lombok maninland and in Bali.

Post[edit]

There is no post office on the Gilis, but William's Bookshop, right behind the Art Market on Gili Trawangan, sells stamps and can mail out your postcards.

Get out[edit]



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