10 x Things To Do in Gili Air
Unique about the Gili Islands is that that are no cars on the island. It is so small that within 30 minutes you can explore the entire island by bicycle. The local transport is a bike, electric bikes or horse taxis. In general, it is not recommended to take a horse taxi since it is commonly known they are not treated well.
1. Local Cooking Class Gili Air
Indonesian cuisine is a vibrant and delicious mix of colors and flavors. Learn about the ingredients and what is served by following a Gili cooking class. Prepare your own meal and sambal at Waroeng Alam Damai; this wonderful man offers his cooking class entirely for free! Pay for your food and give him a tip for being such a wonderful person :).
Note: Cooking classes are usually given before lunchtime.
2. Snorkel at the sculptures
Explore the underwater world of the Gili Islands. Just of the coast of Gili Meno, are sculptures in the water meant as a diving site and home to countless fish. Once you put your goggles underwater, you will discover an entirely new world. More about the Gili underwater sculptures.
Gili Meno is a short 15-minute boat trip from Gili Air. We highly recommend this as it was our absolute favorite thing to do on Gili Air.
3. Live music on the beach
Grab one of the beanbags at Gili Lumbung Beachclub, enjoy live music and see the sun setting into the ocean with the backdrop of the Volcano on Bali.
4. Join a beach cleanup
Unfortunately, we all need to make sure paradise stays paradise. Clean-ups are needed all over the world and luckily companies like TrashHero organize these weeklies! It is a great way to meet people and cleaning takes one or two hours in the morning or afternoon. Read on how to reduce plastic and travel plastic-free!
5. Bike around the island
One of the best things to do in Gili Air is to rent a bike and explore the island. Follow the beachside and find all the nice beach clubs or bike through the center of the island and see a bit of the local life, coconut farms, and the best restaurants.
Bike rentals are located near the boat pier or at your hotel.
6. Swing at the beach
Have a swing at one of the many swings around Gili Air. They are owned by the beach clubs but don’t worry; It is free to swing. This pink swing is located at PinkCoco.
The swings are there for your perfect travel photo on Instagram. Different from Gili Trawangan, these swings have no lines to get a photo. During sunset, the swings turn out extra magical!
7. Best spa on the Gili Islands
The Slow Spa on Gili Air slows you down even more. The stunning bamboo spa offers a wide selection of treatments and is incredibly popular with tourists and expats who are working on the Gili Islands. Slow Spa is part of Slow Villas but accessible for all visitors.
8. Snorkel with turtles on the Gilis
Gili Air is well-known for its super clear turquoise water to snorkel and dive in. The entire northern part of the island is home to sea turtles. So the chance to spot a turtle is high. Do not swim during low tide, the corals will be too close. You could easily damage the corals or yourself.
9. Sunset on the west side
The best sunsets are on the west side of Gili Air. During a cloudless day, you could even have Mount Agung from Bali in the backdrop.
Maneuver like a Manta Ray through the underwater world while a boat is pulling you through the water. Subwing-ing’ is an awesome thing to do on Gili Air for all those thrill-seekers.
Restaurants in Gili Air
Although it is such a small island, it owns some delicious restaurants of both local and international kitchens.
- Warung Sunny (incredible local food)
- Camila (best sushi)
- Warung Alam Damai (delicious local food)
- Gili bliss (smoothie bowls)
- The Mexican Kitchen (yummy Mexican)
- Pachamama (best vegan options)
- Classico Italiano (best coffee)
- Coffee & Thyme
Fast Boat to the Gili Islands
From Bali, take the fast boat to Gili Islands. Depending on the boat company, boats run from the harbors of Serangan, Sanur, Padang Bai, or Amed. Expect to pay anywhere between 400,000 and 900,000 IDR for a return ticket to Bali. The price depends on the company, luxury, and season.
The boat to Gili Air takes 2.5 hours with the fast boat. The drop-off point is the pier in the south part Gili Air (see map).
We have visited the Gili Islands multiple times, both with a rough sea. We recommend you to spend a little more money on quality and sail with Blue Water Express.
You don’t have to book a return date at your Gili boat company. Confirm your return from Gili Air at their office on the island one day in advance.
Best time to visit Gili Air
The weather is at its best between July and August and December and January. The rain season is officially between November and April but the showers are nothing compared to those on Bali.