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patagonia xpress gili air

Why we love Gili Air, a tropical island destination

Gili Trawangan is deemed the most developed Gili island, it is a magnet for backpackers and party seekers out of the three special islands. Gili Meno is the most underdeveloped, staying true to its local values, thus the quietest. Gili Air, however, has it all! The tiny island dances around the idea of a vibrant beach life, and a wilderness for travelers seeking bliss. It is our epitome of a tropical paradise getaway.

Patagonia Xpress provides the safest, most comfortable fast boat services from Bali to the Gili islands. As Gili lovers ourselves, here are a few reasons why you should visit the quiet Gili Air:

patagonia xpress gili air

The best of both worlds

The sand is silky white, the waters dazzling blue, the coast is warm and long – perfect for a romantic walk with a loved one. There are parts of Gili Air where you can cycle and enjoy a private beach of your own. Feeling a bit groovy? One thing you’ll notice about Gili Air is wherever you go, you’ll find mini Bob Marley’s hosting a relaxed party. Despite its chilled out ambiance, it’s possible for you to have a two dollar cocktail in hand and dance the night away.

The food

On a small Indonesian island, you would expect to only be able to feast on Indonesian staples like nasi goreng, mie goreng, or nasi campur. Worry not as Gili Air offers you a range of dining options that are served to perfection for local and international tongues. Mowies’ dishes are not unlike those served in a typical hipster joint in Melbourne or Bali. Another favorite is Zipp Bar, which conveniently serves 2-4-1 happy hour cocktails until 8 pm.

A range of high quality accommodation

From beachside bungalows to three-star hotels with stunning pools, Gili Air has plenty of accommodation for everyone. Those on a budget can opt for a standard bungalow from IDR 350,000/night, while island-view bungalows can start from IDR 650,000/night.

Snorkeling on Gili Air

Snorkeling in Gili Air

The visibility of Gili Air’s underwater realm during dawn is excellent. You’ll undoubtedly spot turtles grazing seaweed and swim around corals. The east side of the island is believed to boast the best snorkeling opportunities, however, the beach isn’t as idyllic as the one on the west. Best time to go is in the morning to avoid snorkel boats packing up the surface. Wear reef shoes or fins to protect yourselves from sea urchins and sharp corals.

Patagonia Xpress can conveniently take you to Gili Air from Bali. View our schedule to start planning your Gili trip.

gili air

Sophisticated and Minimalist: Gili Air

When you have tranquil beaches, clear waters, sea turtles, and amazing marine life at your fingertips, you are living the life. Gili Air ticks all the boxes and will undoubtedly spoil you for the rest of your trip. Compared to its two sister isles, Gili Air is the perfect balance of relaxation, the laid-back beach life, while being able to stay active. With today’s volume of fast boats from Bali to the Gili Islands, accessing the islands are easy and breezy.

fast boat bali to gili trawangan patagonia xpress

The island is dotted with the right amount of bars and restaurants where visitors can hang around and chat until late hours. Big parties rarely occur in Gili Air – it is certainly quieter than Gili T.

Gili Air boasts excellent water activities. From stand up paddling, kite surfing, diving, snorkeling to going on an excursion on a glass bottom boat. The island has a number of good dive schools that will sufficiently teach you how to dive and bring you to the best locations around the island. Visit Manta Dive for more information. Sea turtles, sepias, colorful corals and beautiful fish await you!

If you fly solo, you can easily rent out snorkel equipment and explore underneath the turquoise waters on your own. Not only it is a cheaper alternative, it will feel rewarding once you spot large groups of rainbow colored fish and meet a group of nemos! If you, for some reason, don’t fancy getting wet but are still curious about the underwater marine life, you can go on a glass bottom boat and watch through it.

As a quiet island with not many residents, Gili Air gets fairly dark at night. It is the perfect opportunity to switch off with the island and enjoy the stars above you. You may even spot shooting stars – priceless and romantic.

gili air beach

Before sundown, however, one of the island visitors’ favorite pastimes is to find a spot on the east side of the island after 6pm and watch the sunset. Immerse in the stunning view and calm atmosphere when the ocean uncurls and the sun disappears. It is also a great photo opportunity. Sunsets over Bali are guaranteed to be breathtaking!

Believe it or not, you can also go on a mini shopping spree on the mini island. Despite not having a high number of shops to choose from, the available shops have a range of interesting clothes, accessories, shoes, as well as souvenir trinkets to take home with you.

Planning to travel to the Gili Islands? Patagonia Xpress offers safe, luxury fast boats from Bali to the Gili Islands. View our schedule and prices for more details.

choosing gili islands

Which Gili Island is for you?

What brings you to the Gili Islands? Are you desperate for an escape away from the hustle and bustle? Or are you looking to party all week and come out as a licensed diver? If you and your summer fling are merely craving a secret getaway from Bali to Gili, all three islands can accommodate every traveler’s wants and needs.

Blessed with pearly beaches, clear waters and azure sky, these three miniature islands are how you would envision heaven on earth. With each having a distinct personality, find out which one is for you.

choosing gili islands

Gili Trawangan: the wild one

The largest, most developed, and lively one out of the three islands, Gili T is perfect if you’re looking to let your hair down and dance the night (or three) away. The island has a welcoming vibe, mostly visited by like-minded crowds looking to mingle and make memorable nights out. The social atmosphere is the massive charm – each night of the week, a different bar or club hosts a different party.

Gili T is also one of the cheapest and safest places to dive with many reputable dive schools to choose from and dive spots to die for. If you’re not into the nightlife scene, the snorkeling, diving, and sunbathe opportunities are aplenty. The best marine life is believed to be on the northern side of the island, while the western side is dotted by serene high-end resorts.

Gili Meno: the romantic one

The smallest of the Gilis, Gili Meno is a perfect honeymoon spot for lovebirds. It arguably offers the best beach and has a definite romantic atmosphere. Different to Gili T, there are only a handful of restaurants and accommodations are fairly limited to exclusive resorts. There are about three dive schools in Gili M. The western side is practically deserted so you can take advantage of having a private beach. The island is mostly about tranquility and relaxation, so if you are one to get bored easily, go for a day trip from Gili T.

Gili Air: the quiet one

Gili Air is the perfect mix of the two. It has sufficient amenities and dive franchises like Gili T but still boasts the peaceful ambiance like Gili M. There is a slight hippy feel to it. Clubbing is not a priority in Gili Air – visitors typically go for the laidback, chilling by the beach type of night. Full moon parties are held each month for Gili Air-goers. The eastern side offers great snorkeling opportunities – you might see clownfish or spot turtles. Its key allure is the authentic, local feel, hence many are hoping that the ongoing development will not take that away from the island.

sunset in gili islands

Motorized vehicles are forbidden on all three Gilis. Getting to the Gili Islands from Bali, however, is easily done with fast boats. Visit Patagonia Xpress for your fast, safe, comfortable fast boat to Gili Trawangan, Meno and Air.

gili swing

Embrace the culture of the Gili Islands (Gili Islands Etiquette)

The Gili Islands are a manifestation of heaven on Earth and many will agree with us on this. However, the lifestyle and culture can be completely foreign from a Western perspective. Gili Air, for example, has unique cultural dynamics that may be challenging to understand for an outsider.

There is no harm in taking a bit of time and effort to familiarize yourself with the Indonesian culture, which has different customs, habits and values wherever you go on the archipelago. It can be wise to gain some insight into the culture prior to or during your visit.

The local population in The Gilis is a mixture of Sasak people hailing from Lombok and families of the original Bugis settlers. The three islands were once virgin tropical playgrounds before their secret came out some years ago by backpackers. Numbers of tourists skyrocketed throughout 2007, with fast boat services from Bali to Gili correspondingly multiplied. While the strange ways of tourists are generally tolerated, there are actions and behaviors to consider to avoid offending the locals.

gili islands swing

Here are several Gili Islands etiquettes to keep in mind:

  • It is considered rude to point with your fingers – if you really need to direct at a place or thing, use your hands like you are presenting it.
  • Indonesian society believes the left hand is used for ‘toilet duties’ and is therefore considered unclean. In Gili Air, it is rude and offensive to hand someone something with your left hand.
  • You may have to remove your shoes when entering a building or someone’s house and wait to be invited to sit if you are a guest.
  • Try to keep your voice to a minimum. Be considerate of the local residents and avoid being rowdy and starting trouble when you’re out drinking, for example.
  • Indonesians highly appreciate if you try to speak their language, even if you only know a couple of words. Get to know them better this way.
  • The Gili residents are predominantly Muslim, which means the dress codes here are different than it is in the Western world. People are moderately clothed with their hair and body typically covered. Please be respectful and don’t expose too much of your skin. Cover yourself with a sarong when going into a village or a shop and refrain from sunbathing topless.

fast boat gili trawangan

Getting to the Gili Islands from Bali is highly accessible via fast boats. Patagonia Xpress provides fast, safe, comfortable fast boat services from Bali to the Gilis and surrounding islands.

scuba diving

GIli Island Turtles

The Gili Islands are a paradise for sea turtles, as well as holiday makers. You can even find endangered species such as green sea turtles…