Although not as tranquil and cheap as they were years ago, The Gili Islands are still a quieter and inexpensive alternative to Bali. The three hidden gems attract numerous travelers from backpackers on a budget, to a higher spending holidaymaking crowd. If you fall into the former boat, we’ve compiled some Gili Island travel tips for you to make the best out of your Gili holiday without having to break the bank.
Top things to see & do in Gili Islands
Lounge on the beaches
If you’re on a white sand paradise, it’s a no brainer that you should spend your time basking in the tropical sun and immerse yourself in the clear, turquoise waters. After all, it’s completely free! If you find yourself on the southern tip of Gili T where most upscale beachfront resorts are located, you may have to put in a bit of cash on beverages or sunbeds.
Go scuba diving
All three islands are dotted with qualified dive centers. With lionfish, scorpionfish, cuttlefish, octopus, and different types of rays littering the waters of Gili, marine life enthusiasts may argue that the dive scene is better than Bali’s – it is also cheaper to learn diving in Gili. An Open Water course will cost around IDR 6,000,000.
Like Bali, the Gilis are ideal for surfing all year round. The south side of Gili T boasts the best waves for both novice and pro surfers. A surf camp on the island ranges around IDR 6,000,000 a week – all inclusive of accommodation, meals, lessons, yoga, and other activities.
Visit the sea turtles
Gili T and Gili Meno have hatcheries that lie on the island’s main beaches. However, many may opt for snorkeling around the turtle populations for a closer encounter. Ask around for gear rentals and how to get there.
Bike the islands
All three Gili islands are small, pedestrian-friendly, and won’t take you a long time to tour around by bike. Make a morning out of it! Bike rentals typically start from IDR 135,000.
The islands are abundant of inexpensive lodges. Airbnb is available throughout, with shared rooms starting around IDR 130,000 per night. Cheap hotels and guesthouses with a private bathroom and air conditioning may cost around IDR 300,000. If you’re feeling fancy, expect to pay IDR 2,000,000 for beachfront resorts.
- Food & Fun
A meal can cost as low as IDR 35,000, while a nice seafood dinner may cost IDR 135,000. A bintang will cost you around IDR 30,000 and a week’s worth of groceries, around IDR 275,000 – 400,000. Get a sense of the local culture and go for food stalls rather than luxurious restaurants. If dining in at a resort or restaurant, keep an eye out for hidden taxes. Relaxing massages start around IDR 100,000.
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