Guidebooks are useful for a general overview of a destination, but you never find the latest – off – the – beaten – track attractions, events or places to stay. If you want to find out the best up-to-date travel information, you came to the right place!
Our team consists of an enthusiastic group of locals and expats that are lucky enough to call the beautiful Gili Islands their home. One of the (many) advantages of living here, is that we are always the first ones to find out what’s happening on The Gilis. And we love to share it with you! Below you will find our best insider tips.
Is there something you would like to share with us or do you have a great Gili insider tip? Don’t hesitate to send an email to favoriteplaces@Gilis.Asia or send us a message via Facebook or Instagram.
Feel free to share the sunshine!
Gili Insider Tip: Join A Beach CleanUp
It’s also called Debris Free Friday!
Done with sitting on the beach? Please join us for an hour to help make a difference. Every Friday at 5pm, Gili Eco Trust gathers the islanders to clean up the beach or streets of Gili Trawangan. Find out on their Instagram or Facebook where the Debris Free Friday is hosted. There you will get instructions on the cleanup and what Gili Eco Trust does with the collected debris.
So grab a bag and a buddy and head to the beach to help fight for a plastic-free paradise! Free sunset Bintangs for all those eco-warriors that helped out.
Gili Insider Tip: Sunset Beach Bonfire
On the sunset side of Gili Trawangan, you have a big selection of sunset bars. One of our favorites is The Exile Bar.
At the Excile Bar you can escape from the busier main strip and watch the red sun sink behind Mount Agung on the neighbouring island of Bali. As the sky turns purple The Exile will light up the bonfire on the beach so you can continue to enjoy your sunset drink and listen to some reggae tunes.
Gili Insider Tip: Sunset Horseback Ride
Feeling like an active sunset ride whilst enjoying a splash in the sea? What a wonderful way to cool down on a sunny day.
You can book your rides with STUD Horse Riding Adventures, Gili Trawangan. They have availability in the mornings before 11 am and in the afternoon from 4 pm.
Gili Insider Tip: Rent Bikes
There are no motorbikes on the Gilis Islands, that’s why the air is so fresh and clean here. So, what’s the form of transport? Bikes! They’re really easy and cheap to rent out! Depending on your hotel, you can get a bike rental included in your accommodation package, or the chance to rent it out for the day at an additional price. Renting a bike out daily from a local bike renter shop. It shouldn’t be more than 40 – 50,000 IDR.
We recommend getting a bike with a basket. It’ll be easy to put your beach bag or other small things inside while biking. If you’re planning a longer stay on the Gili Islands, it’s also possible to buy a bike for cheap (400,000 – 1 Million IDR), depending on who you buy it from and how good your bargaining skills are! You can then resell it afterwards so it’s a great way to get your money back!
Gili Insider Tip: Don’t Swim From Island To Island
We’re only half joking, but still feel like we need to say it! Please don’t try to swim between the islands; Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. The three islands are easily visible to each other, and one would think you can swim between them, but there are strong currents and you could get swept away.
Best to stick to the island hopper, which is only 40,000 IDR one way and it leaves once in the morning and another time in the evening depending on the island you’re coming from; Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan. On each island there is a ticket office at the harbour and there are schedules demonstrating the exact guaranteed times for when they leave.
Gili Insider Tip: Ask To Have Your Coconut Cut In Half
Have you ever ordered a whole fresh coconut on the Gilis? You can ask the staff to cut it in half for you! The inside of the coconut is high in fibre, has significant amounts of iron & potassium, cholesterol-free and low in sodium! Almost all the restaurants and cafes on the Gilis have coconuts readily available to order! Treat yourself to one everyday since you’re on island time now!
Gili Insider Tip: Use A Personal Hotspot
For all you digital nomads out there we recommend you use your own personal hotspot for internet while working on the Gilis! Although the majority of the restaurants have wifi, you will have faster and better internet through your own personal hotspot. Tip: Telkomsel is the strongest phone provider on the Gilis. You can buy 20-50 GB Internet plans through their app or going to the local electronics store on the island for only 120,000 IDR, which is so cheap!
As soon as you run out of your internet, you don’t need to wait for the plan to renew and there is no autopay, you can go back to the shop, tell the manager your phone number and they will top up your account and you can buy your new internet deal automatically through the telkomsel app! Download it on your smartphone, it’ll be more convenient for you!
Gili Insider Tip: Become A Volunteer
There are cats everywhere on all three of the Gili islands; Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. Some have homes, some don’t. Some have a relaxing life as beach bums around the beach restaurants, some prefer the local villages. The cats here on the Gilis have a variety of different tails: short, long, bent, stubby, curly…there’s no limit to the tail models here!
Cats of Gili is a charity project launched in September 2013 acting under Gili Eco Trust (GET), an environmental organization for the Gilis. Cats of Gilis ensures that our island cats are taken care of. They spay and neuter them to limit overpopulation and take care of those who are sick or injured. Their cat hospital is located on ‘Lutwala Dive,’ on the northend side of Gili Trawangan. You’ll always find someone there to help. So stop by to volunteer and make a difference while on your holiday!
Gili Insider Tip: The Best Apps For Your Trip
We’ve provided a list of apps for your smartphone that will help your stay in the Gili islands and Indonesia a lot more pleasant! Each of these apps will help you with language barriers, getting to the Gilis, safe travel banking cards and how to save our planet while you’re on your vacation!
Gili Insider Tip: Use Coconut Oil For Your Hair
Worried how your hair will react with the humidity here? Buy yourself a bottle of 100% pure pressed coconut oil! It gives your hair great shine, moisture, and texture thanks to its rich fatty acids and proteins! No blow-dryer, shower cap, or sleeping with a towel under your head is needed to help it penetrate. You can also buy coconut cream at the local Indonesian supermarket.
Leave it in your hair for ten to twenty minutes and let it soak in. Some say it’s better to apply when your hair is dry, as it absorbs moisture better! Now get to living the real island life and make your own hair mask!
Gili Insider Tip: Bring A Headlamp With You
It’s surprising to travelers visiting the Gili Islands for the first time that the side streets away from the central road are not lit up at night time. The main road will be lit up by restaurants, cafes and bars, but the majority of the side streets leading into the central village are not. So if you’re staying in a homestay or hotel in these unlit side streets, make sure to expect this!
We recommend you pack a headlamp in your suitcase! It can have several uses while traveling; if the electricity goes out or you decide to rent a bike to ensure your bike safely. Take care of yourself, these side streets are safe to walk through, but we just want you to pack smart and ensure you don’t get injured or injure someone else!
Gili Insider Tip: Take It Easy
Go with the flow. When your trip is planned out in detail, it can be stressful! Oftentimes, you’ll feel rushed to make sure you see everything! You can miss out on meeting locals that would show you a unique and special experience. Try to just walk around aimlessly and be flexible with your plans, you never know what could happen. Also, treat yourself to a lovely traditional Indonesian massage. You won’t regret it!
Feel free to share the sunshine!