Gili Air Travel Guide

Gili Air Travel Guide

Of the three Gili Islands, Gili Air is the one with the largest local population and it brings you the closest to the daily motions of island life. Unlike Gili Trawangan, many people here make their living apart from things other than tourism. Inland, the local farmers work in the coconut groves and out along the coast you will find hard-working fishermen in their boats.

Gili Air Introduction

Gili Air has the best beaches of all the Gili Islands. The stretch of sand is wider and even whiter than on the other islands.

On the eastern side of Gili Air, you can access the reef and snorkel straight off the beach. The east coast, facing the green rugged coast of Lombok, is also where you can find the majority of restaurants and places to stay.

On Gili Air, it is easy to find a drink or a place to eat, but on most days of the week, places close by midnight, so any search for nightlife will often be in vain.  In the high season, it is possible to stumble across a party in one of the bars or perhaps, even a “full moon” party down at the beach.

Gili Air Photo Gallery

Maps

On the map of Gili Air below, we have marked all the places mentioned in this guide. Click on one of the dots on the map to read a description of the location.

Things to do on Gili Air

Scuba diving

There are more than twenty dive sites around the Gili islands and all are within easy reach of Gili Air. Read our handy guide to diving in the Gili Islands, for more information.

Every year, more and more dive operators seem to appear on Gili air. Below some of the more reputable ones on the island.

Gili Air divers

A very professional dive company, which also has a center on Gili Meno. Whether you are a first timer wanting to get your dive certificate or you are a seasoned diver looking for a couple of fun-dives Gili Air Divers is a good choice.
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Oceans 5

This relative new dive center is located right on the beach at the harbor on Gili Air. Ocean 5 is owned by a Dutch couple, but instructors speak five languages – Dutch, English, French, Italian and German.
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Manta dive Gili Air

Fun and laid back, without slacking on the security, dive shop that also has a popular center on Gili Trawangan. Beginners can start diving in the Manta dive pool before venturing into the deeper and more colorful waters around the Gilis.
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Snorkeling

The perfect way to spend a day on Gili Air is with a mask and fin, as you spend the days swimming in the clear waters, with quizzical sea turtles and thousands of colorful fish.

A reef stretches all the way along the east coast and here you can snorkel straight of the beach. There are smaller sections of reef on the North Coast, west of Mirage; and also on the South Coast, just west of where the boats come in.

Numerous places around Gili Air rent out snorkeling equipment.

Kite surfing

The conditions are perfect for kite surfing off Gili Air’s north coast. Spending the day speeding across Gili Air’ waters guarantees a good natural sleep at night.

Gili Air kite surf

Gili Air Kite Surf provides kite surfing lessons for both beginners and more experienced kite surfers. Apart from kite surfing, Gili Air Kite Surf offers wakeboarding, stand-up paddle, hobie cat and sailing lessons, so if you get restless from lying on the beach Gili Air Kite Surf is a good place to go. You find them in the central part of the island.
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Walking and Cycling

A classic pastime on Gili Air is a leisurely walk around the island that can be completed in approximately an hour and a half. Another fun option, al thought the soft sand can make it tough, is to explore Gili Air by bicycle. Bikes can usually be acquired at the place you are staying. In case not, try at Wiwin café which rent out bicycles.

A walk inland, down the small streets of the village is also highly recommended, as you observe daily life unfold on Gili Air.

Yoga and meditation

Once you combine Gili Air with yoga and meditation, it seems impossible to discover a more peaceful destination.

H2O yoga and meditation

H2O yoga and meditation offers daily meditation and yoga classes; or you can choose from one of their range of massages. Choose between an Indian head massage, a foot massage, aromatherapy or several other treatments.
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Surfing

Directly off Gili Air’s southern tip, there is a right-hand break called Playgili. It is fairly inconsistent, however, so if you come to Gili Air with the sole purpose of surfing, you could end up being disappointed. Your best chance of catching some great waves is in the dry season, from May to October.

Playgili is not for inexperienced surfers as the break run over some sharp coral.

Ozzy’s shop

Surf boards to rent, along with basic conviniences, are available at Ozzy’s shop.

Dining on Gili Air

Dining on Gili Air is just as laid back as everything else on the island. A classic Gili meal consists of freshly caught seafood that is prepared on the barbecue at one of the small restaurants, right on the beach.

Another option is to walk into the village and take your dinner right there under the stars; as the palm trees sway in the gentle breeze at one of the family-run ‘warungs’.

Apart from seafood, there are also restaurants serving other classic Indonesian and Western cuisine. Even more surprising, are a couple of authentic Italian restaurants operated by Italians themselves, on Gili Air. These delightful restaurants are well worth a visit for those wanting the home-cooked comfort of authentic Italian pizza or pasta.

Our favorite restaurants on Gili Air

Below we have highlighted some of the preferred restaurants on Gili Air, which we feel are a cut above the rest.

Warung Gili

Warung Gili is a small family-run restaurant. It can be a little difficult to find, but when you do, you’ll be served the best local food on the island, at very reasonable prices.

This lovely eatery is located about a minute’s walk inland from the harbor, right next to the Scallywags Mango retreat. There are signs leading to the Mango retreat, but the easiest way to find Warung Gili it is to ask for directions from one of the friendly locals.

Scallywags

To refer to Scallywags as a gourmet restaurant, would be a slight over-exaggeration, but Scallywags is definitely a little more ambitious than most restaurants to be found on Gili Air. A stunning location, right on the beach, it offers beautiful views of Lombok that are among the best on the island. Expect to pay a little more than at the average Gili Air restaurant, but Scallywags has that little extra making it worth it. There is wifi, should you need it to connect to the outside world.

Chill Out Bar

It’s a cozy place, with friendly staff and a delicious barbecue in the evenings. If you are not in the mood for grilled seafood or meat, Chill Out Bar also offers an extended menu of classic Indonesian cuisine like nasi goreng and Western dishes like burgers too. Great for post sunset drinks too.
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Other restaurants on Gili Air

Biba Beach Guest House Restaurant

This is an Italian restaurant with tasty pizzas that are cooked inside Biba’s wood-oven.
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Gili Air Santay Restaurant

The open-plan kitchens serve up fresh fish, spicy Thai curries and even schnitzels. You can take a well-deserved nap in one of the comfortable hammocks, while your freshly cooked meal is being prepared.
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The Beach Club Restaurant and Bar Gili Air

Bean bag chairs, cocktails and a bar menu; need we say more?

Tami’s Neverland

Tami’s has a youthful vibe and has a great selection of local dishes.

Mirage Coffee Bar

This is a chilled out bar on the north beach of Gili Air. Get there during the day for homemade bread and sandwiches or venture there in the evenings for snacks, cocktails and breath-taking sunsets. For those who need a boost of excitement, there is also live music on Fridays.

Gili Air bars and nightlife

Gili Air’s nightlife is a far cry from the full blown party scene on Gili Trawangan. In the peak season, it is possible to find a party at one of the island bars and even though the party venue changes constantly, the helpful locals and bar owners can easily point you in the right direction.

Legend Bar

This is a popular reggae bar that also plays pop and house music. During the high season, Legend bar hosts Wednesday beach parties.

Zipp Bar

As the most happening bar on Gili Air, it is one of the places where you might stumble across an occasional party in the high season. Zipp bar has happy hour and barbecues at night and once a month hosts Gili Air’s full moon parties

Star bar

This is a popular meeting point and also the local watering hole for dive instructors and Gili Air expatriates.

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