The Splendid Sights of the Gili Islands

Surrounded by swathes of white sandy beaches and rows of towering coconut trees, the three renowned Gili islands provide the perfect excuse to escape the hustle and bustle of Bali.

Set on-off Lombok’s coast and only an hour by boat from Bali, the Gili Islands have long served as tropical island getaways for Indonesia. Meaning small island in the local Sasak language, there are more than 35 islands, or gilis, along the shore, but the famed three – Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno – offer alluring seduction for travellers seeking relaxation during the day and a lively nightlife.

Gili Trawangan, the biggest of the three, is better known as the party island and was famed for herds of partying backpackers back in the day. The beachside bars and dive outlets offer a vibrant atmosphere to travellers, while there are plenty of accommodations, with small romantic villas and boutique B&Bs.

The middle of the three islands is Gili Meno, the smallest in size and least developed, making it perfect for honeymooners looking for some alone time. White sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters create the perfect backdrop to villas that cater to romantic interludes. Underwater, Gili Meno has great diving, including the hauntingly beautiful underwater statues commissioned by eco-resort BASK Gili Meno. The circle of 48 life-size figures on the sea floor were created by Jason deCaires Taylor to form an interlocking piece as a platform for marine life to colonise and inhabit. As more and more corals grow on the pH-neutral sculptures, more and more marine life will develop.

Last on the list is Gili Air, with its excellent snorkelling and scuba diving. A combination of the other two islands, Gili Air welcomes honeymooners with idyllic secluded beaches, and provides a great soundtrack to enjoy the sunset. Located closer to the mainland, the island is also for the more adventurous at heart with more water-based activities on offer.