The best of both worlds of the three Gili Islands, Gili Air has just the right mix of sophistication and desolation to appeal to the discriminating island hopper. A lively beach on the southeast coast is balanced by the quiet beauty of the beaches to the north. Watersports, diving, snorkeling and visiting the beaches are the main draws at this destination that’s known for its “island attitude.” Gili Air is located in North Lombok Regency, approximately 2.5 hours via transfer from Lombok International Airport.
Gili Air has a very relaxed atmosphere, and the local community of Sasak Muslims has embraced tourism. There’s also a substantial expat population on the island. Gili Air attracts a lot of serious divers, including many eager to complete their certification without the distraction of endless parties. The main commercial areas along the east and southern coasts can be quite bustling during the day, and fairly quiet at night. This makes the island more attractive to travelers looking for comfort, as opposed to the backpackers on Gili T.
Beautiful beaches ring the east and north of the island, with white sands and calm waters. There’s a surf break on the southern coast that is inconsistent, but great when it’s going. It’s considered to be best for experienced surfers due to sharp coral and occasional strong currents. There are dive operators on Gili Air that offer tours, certifications, and snorkeling trips for all skill levels. There’s plenty to do, and plenty of places to just relax on a quiet beach and do nothing.
Accommodations range from luxury hotels to hostels and bungalows. They are found lining the west and north coasts and scattered about the rest of the island. If you want to spend time on the beaches near your accommodation, seek somewhere far away from the southern ports where water conditions are not as clean. There’s a variety of restaurants and bars serving international and regional cuisine in all price ranges, mostly in the area near the port and along the eastern shore.
There’s no motorized transport on the island, but it’s small enough to walk around in about 90 minutes. Other options include hiring a bicycle or a traditional horse-drawn carriage called a cidomo. Gili Air can be reached by fast boats or ferries from both Bali and Lombok, or by inter-island ferry from the other Gili Islands.
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