Gili Air holiday guide (2020)

Gili Air


Indonesia Gili Air Guide

Gili Air is a part of the fAmed trio of Gili islands, and it shares a lot in common with them. Even though it is the one closest to Lombok, which is a much larger island, Gili Air benefits from being overlooked by a lot of tourists, and that could be a blessing. You get all of the highly visible waters making up the coral reef to yourself, among other things. Bringing a magical vibe of a close-knit island community atmosphere to the natural feel of the area, Gili Air is an ideal location to be.

Gili Air starts the string of three North West Gilis, nearest to the Lombok mainland, ensuring it is not so far back on the development scale too. You can reach Gili Air from Lombok in less than 10 minutes by boat. The island is also very close to its sisters Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan, and within 1h by boat from Bali.

Although tourist development is fast catching up with this location, the unspoiled natural beauty of Gili Air is what draws most travelers and tourists into the fold. This island keeps a strong identity, even though it is visited by tourists trooping in from Lombok, too. Thus, it comes off as offering the perfect retreat to anyone who wants a quiet and romantic vacation. With a population of about 1800 people, Gili Air is the place to be for a close-knit community experience while on vacation. Circumnavigate the island by bicycle, ride through its interior coconut farm forests, or if you prefer beach-lounge life, cool ocean breezes and fresh seafood – Gili Air has all the alabaster sands you could wish for. Water clarity is superb, with reefs great for snorkeling and diving. Gili Air Wall has a 24-meter drop with lionfish, leaf scorpionfish, and seahorses to search for.

The choice of the best time to visit Gili Air is not only based on the weather but when you would not be faced by the influx of a lot of tourists too. That makes our pick between April and May or September and November. That might not sound like much, but it gives you some of the best windows to see what the area offers with little to no bustle and distractions. Alternatively, you can choose to visit between July and August or December and January, which is when the area sees its peak tourist activity.

The sort of experience you are looking for during the holidays will do a lot to inform the kind of accommodation that will suit you. Most of the accommodations are on the east and south sides of the island, but more are springing up in other areas too. For those who would love to see the daily life and busy activities of the water island, there is no better place than the southern part of the island. Housing most of the jetty and boat ports, a lot is undoubtedly going to happen here. The same is not valid for the east side, though. Here, we have some of the best beaches for swimming/snorkeling. If you would be spending quite some time there, nothing is stopping you from seeing all the areas.

Gili Air is surprisingly close to Lombok, which is, in turn, near Bali. By extension, those are two islands you can go hopping once you are on Gili Air. At the same time, you should not forget that the Gili Islands are made up of two other sister islands, which you can see – Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan. The same is true for the Nusa islands (Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan) and South Gilis (Gili Nanggu, Gili Gede, Gili Kedis, Gili Genting, Gili Asahan, Gili Sudak, Gili Layar), so make sure you see them all when you are on a trip here.

Gili Trawangan is the largest and most developed out of Gili trio, and it is also the life of the party here. Gili Trawangan is also perhaps the best place to learn how to dive in all of the islands safely, and you get much more done here too. That should be expected anyway, seeing the size that it brings to the table. Like the other two islands, Gili Trawangan also has a friendly vibe and an assortment of beaches to choose from. When it comes to that peace and quiet that you so desire, though, you might have to head back to Gili Air.

If you get to Gili Air first, you would think that it is the ideal location for a romantic escape. Well, until you see what Gili Meno has on offer. Being the smallest of all three islands in the Gili setup, it is also the quietest. However, that does not stop it from having the best beaches of the bunch, which counts for something. While Gili Air features a blend of the other two Gili islands, Gili Meno is just in a class of its own.

We love this comparison since it brings two different concepts to the table. Accessibility has never been an issue for any of the Nusa islands, and the same is valid with reaching Gili Air. The significant differences start appearing when it comes to exploration of the island. While you get to go all traditional with horse-drawn carts on Gili Air, you have to go with motorcycles on Nusa Ceningan. Likewise, we believe you will find a broader range of accommodations on Gili Air more preferable to the ones at Nusa Ceningan. The common ground between both locations is the excellent cuisine they bring to the table, quite literally.

Best islands to see from Gili Air

Gili Trawangan


Gili Meno






Nusa Penida


Nusa Lembongan


Nusa Ceningan


South Gilis