Indonesia Travel

Day trip in Gili Islands: Sun, Sand, and Sea

gili islands day trip blog 2017 lombok indonesia

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!

More of Lombok: Sasak Sade: One of Lombok’s Colorful Traditional Villages

Day trip to Gili Islands

From our hotel 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.

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 water 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.

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.

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. To 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 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 Tour

Popular activities at Gili islands: What to do

  • Swimming
  • Snorkeling
  • Nightlife
  • Beach Bumming
  • Surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, wakeboarding, and other water sports
  • Diving
  • Biking
  • Visit the famous Gili swings

Gili Meno: Dive and visit the underwater sculptures

Accommodation choices:

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:

Gili Trawangan Accommodation, Gili Meno Accommodation, Gili Air Accommodation

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? 


 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.


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  • Sasak Sade: One of Lombok's colorful traditional village
    May 9, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    […] if you’re tired of the beaches in nearby Gili, head towards Sasak Sade for a different experience. One that will immerse you into the unique, […]

  • Carrot
    April 1, 2017 at 12:04 am

    Great place it is in Indonesia. Loved the photographs, would definitely plan it in my travel itinerary.

  • ann
    February 23, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    I only knew Bali in Indonesia and it’s good to read from your blog that there is also a Gili Islands. Now i have a lot of options to choose.

  • UK Visa Online
    February 15, 2017 at 10:45 am

    This is the really amazing destination for this year traveling, It will certainly beat backpacking trip. Btw, amazing shot of photos.

  • Teesh
    February 7, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    This place looks lovely! Seriously, that photo of the beach just seems so serene!

  • Northern Peru Travel
    February 6, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Wow!! beautiful photos, that place is amazing!!! 😀

  • Maartje
    February 4, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    The Gilis are amazingly beautiful and your photos show that 🙂 Great post!

  • Flo @ Yoga, Wine & Travel
    February 4, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    I’ve always wondered what the difference is between the different Gili islands so thanks for clearing that up! I’m really hoping to get to Indonesia soon and your photos are seriously wanderlust-invoking! P.S. I don’t love not being able to see the bottom either!

  • Chitrangi Sharma
    February 4, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Great post ! Specially the photographs are extremely beautiful. 🙂

  • Adam Kevin
    February 2, 2017 at 12:50 am

    This is truly a well researched and fabulously written guide that brings out all the beauty of this lovely place that I am now every enthusiastic about visiting- after reading Darlene’s guide. The pictures are spellbinding and I am sure lend themselves and exposes richly the beauty of these islands.