Lombok, Indonesia – Sitting on top of the fast boat from Bangsal Harbor, it was easy to see and understand why the Gili Islands are popular with travelers. White powdery sand, coconut trees, and waters with different shades of blue. It was paradise right in front of our eyes. After being landlocked for our first few days of Trip of Wonders, we were all excited to finally hit Indonesian waters for a day trip to Gili Islands!
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Day trip to Gili Islands
From the Golden Tulip in Mataram, our tour bus took us to the harbor, passing by towns and finally a glimpse of Lombok’s coastline.
Feeling a bit braver this time, I followed some of my Trip of Wonders batchmates on top of the fast boat. The strong winds and salt water on our faces and hair were a small price to pay for the beauty that was right in front of us when we docked.
#TripofWonders Day 5: Gili Trawangan, Lombok Gili T used to be popular for backpackers as a party place. But now the island has undergone a transformation and has a more chill vibe. Explore the island by foot, or by renting a bike or horse cart. There are lots of dive operators to choose from too. And would you look at that water! It had different shades of blue in real life! And the water was so clear, with the sand so fine and white! Have you been to Gili T? 😊 Model: @charlene22 #WonderfulIndonesia @indtravel
It reminded me of the beaches of El Nido where I was just frolicking in a few weeks before this trip. The blue waters were like something out of a painting. From light to navy blue, signaling how deep those waters are. I have this irrational fear of sea waters where I cannot see what’s on the bottom. So seeing how clear the waters are near the dock really made my heart flutter!
After changing boats, getting some snorkeling gear and changing to our swimsuits, we boarded a smaller boat to take us island hopping around the Gili Islands.
Off the northern coast of Lombok lies three little islands perfect for beach lovers. According to one of our Indonesian friends, Gili actually means Island in the local language. So saying Gili Islands is actually redundant! 😀
Among the three, Gili T, as Gili Trawangan is famously known, is also the most popular (read: crowded). It is best known for being the “party” island, while Gili Meno is said to be more suitable for couples and families. Gili Air, meanwhile, is the one closest to the mainland and makes you feel like you’re a part of the local community.
Snorkeling and Island Hopping
Our glass-bottomed boat was perfect for island hopping. It gave us a peek of the underwater world that awaits us. Some of our boatmates saw a sea turtle but I was too late in turning my head. Maybe next time I’ll get to swim with one.
Reminiscing our time around the Gili Islands in Lombok, Indonesia. These waters are teeming with colorful sea life and corals—definitely something that looks better in person! WIN A 4D3N TRIP TO BALI: Take this simple quiz on #Wonderfulindonesia and win a vacation of your dreams! Find the quiz at: bit.ly/tripofwonders FOLLOW INDONESIA TRAVEL: FB: @Indonesia.Travel IG: @indtravel Twitter: @indtravel Stay tuned for our OAP Feature of Wonderful Indonesia. Cheers! #TripofWonders #AwesomeIndonesia
amazing underwater shot by Sheila Gomez
Although the corals were not as colorful, we still had fun snorkeling to our heart’s content. So much so that we didn’t see that our boat was already moving away. This had me going into a panic attack, making it harder for me to swim and breathe even with my snorkeling mask and life vest on. Very thankful for my boatmates who didn’t desert me and helped me to swim up to our boat. Until this day I still didn’t know why they moved away.
That little episode didn’t deter me from enjoying our next stop, Gili Air. We docked by sun loungers along the beach and enjoyed the crystal clear waters. Soon enough, it was time to go back to Gili T for late lunch.
After refueling in Hotel Villa Ombak for a hearty lunch, we opted to walk around and find a place to chill. The others took the “cidomo“ (horse-drawn carriage) and bikes to explore the rest of the island, including the famous swing.
Upon Rain’s recommendation, we took a spot in one of the resto bars along the main street and sipped our Bintang and cocktails in pillow cushions on the floor. We had a view of both the beach and the street and everything was once again calm in our world.
It was hard to leave the islands because certainly, a day trip is not enough in paradise. So I’m considering this as my appetizer to the Gili Islands and I’ll surely come back for the main course and the dessert! 🙂
Instagram photos from Trip of Wonders Southeast Asian Influencers
Quick Travel Guide to Gili Islands
Gili Islands Day Trip
How to get to Gili islands from Lombok and Bali:
Nearby international airports: Lombok International Airport (LOP) and Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS)
From Lombok: You can take a fast boat from the Bangsal Harbor. You can either wait for the regular public boat (Note: Go as early as you can to the port and be wary of the touts!) or charter your own.
From Bali: You can take a fast boat from Padang Bai or Serangan to take you to Gili Trawangan.
Gili Islands Day Trip Tours
Popular activities at Gili islands: What to do
- Beach Bumming
- Surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, wakeboarding and other water sports
There are a wide variety of accommodation options available on the three islands. From beach shacks to 5-star resorts and everything in between.
Check here for discounted rates at Gili Islands:
When to go to Gilis:
Peak season: July to September; December to January
Low season: February to April
Where else to go in Indonesia? Check out the rest here:
Have you been to Gili Islands? How was it?
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Disclosure: I was invited to join the Trip of Wonders in September 2016 for Wonderful Indonesia. Thank you to the Ministry of Tourism of Indonesia. Although this is a sponsored trip, all opinions and biases are my own.