Arcing away from the northwest corner of Lombok, there are three idyllic atolls, where the sand is powdery white, the water a clear sparkling turquoise, and the sunsets over Bali’s volcano Mt. Agung just spectacular. They are called Gili islands, or simply Gilis and there are no cars, motorbikes or worries of any kind there!
It is super easy to get to the Gilis, since there are many transport companies offering to look after you. Most have the option to pick you up from your accommodation and take you all the way to the harbor.
Regular daily fast boats depart from Benoa Harbor in the south and Padang Bali in the east, and go directly to Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. All boats stop at Teluk Nare on Lombok island as part of the return journey back to Bali. Public ferries run every two hours between Padang Bai and Lembar in Lombok and drive takes around five hours or more. You can travel on your bike or take a bemos (passenger minivans) to Bangsal Harbor on Lombok and that will take you one hour. In Bangsal you can rent public shuttle boats that leave frequently to all three Gili islands. Airport transfers with a car and speedboat can also be arranged.
All three Gili Islands forbid any type of motorized transport on them and therefore rely on bicycles or horse and carts, locally known as “Cidomos”. Bicycles can be rented from any of the kiosks and cost from around Rp10,000 an hour, or to get a better value, ask for the daily rate. Cidomos are easily located all over the islands but tend to hang around the harbor and busy spots, arrangements can be made if you are staying in a more remote place on the island, for instance for a late ride home. Haggling is the norm, and always agree on a price before your journey so there are no surprises after.
Islands are a perfect gateway to enjoy sun and beach, but if you want to do something more, PADI and SSI licensed dive operators exist on all three islands. The Gili islands are different though, and each one of them is unique in its own way. We give you a guide through Gilis, what to do and when to go. Enjoy!■