Gili Air is a gorgeous tiny island in Indonesia, surrounded by warm, calm, crystal clear water, sandy white beaches and coconut palms.
The island is so tiny that there are no roads or cars, only sandy paths and bicycles to get around.
Gili Air, along with Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno; make up the Gili islands. The Gili Islands are located between Bali and Lombok with Gili Air being most popular with families due to its laid-back atmosphere.
On Gili Air you will find numerous little bungalows, villas and other small homestays scattered around the island. On the beach front are fantastic little rustic eateries where you can sip on cocktails as you watch the sunset and the kids splash about in the shallow warm waters metres away from you.
The easiest way to get to Gili Air from Australia is to fly to Bali and take a fast boat to Gili Air.
Operators such as Gili Gili Fast Boat cost $70 per adult and $60 per child and include transfers from your accommodation in Bali to the harbour. From Kuta (the main tourist area of Bali) it takes 90 minutes to get to the harbour and 90 minutes in the fast boat to Gili Air.
10 Things to do on Gili Air
Here are some tips on things to do on your family holiday on Gili Air:
Check out the other Gili Islands – Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno. Gili Trawangan has a reputation for being a bit of a party island whilst Gili Meno is known for being isolated. Both islands are absolutely stunning and well worth a visit.
Relax on Gili Air
The beauty of Gili Air or any of the Gili Islands, is that there is not much to do here. The main object of your stay should be relaxation! Relax by the pool, on the beach at the bar – the choice is yours!
Watch a Movie on the Beach
Hire some snorkels and go exploring right off the beach. The other option is to join a boat tour for a few hours. You can join a group tour for approximately $10 per person or hire your own boat for $90 including driver and guide. Whether you go with a group or in your boat they all go to the same spot and you will see some gorgeous fish and coral and if you’re lucky a turtle or two.
Do you love to dive? Or want to learn how? The island is full of diving places which will take you out on a tour or teach you to dive in their pools at great affordable rates.
Hire a Bicycle
Riding a bicycle around the island is a great way to go exploring. It will take you an hour or so to go around the entire island. But take a few hours and stop at the gorgeous beaches and cafes along the way. You can hire a bicycle for around $5 for 24 hours. You can hire ones with a cushion on the back to double the kids or get a baby seat for the smaller kids.
Eat & Drink
There is no shortage of gorgeous little beach cafes or restaurants to stop and grab a drink and something to eat. Most places are either on the beach or looking over the beach. Grab a spot on a bamboo beach lounge and soak up the beautiful scenery whilst enjoying some delicious food, all whilst the kids build sand castles at your feet.
Have a Massage
Grab a massage on the beach or at a little day spa. Prices start at around $15 for a 1 hour body massage.
Swim in the ocean or one of the gorgeous swimming pools – the choice is yours. Many of the resorts will allow you to swim in their pools provided you purchase food and drinks.
Watch the Sunset
The western side of the island is perfect for watching the sunset. The little cafes here put out bean bags and serve popcorn and cocktails whilst you enjoy mother nature’s free show.
Places for families to stay on Gili Air
The eastern side of the island is where you will find the most accommodation, beach bars and restaurants as well as fantastic views across to Lombok’s mountainous northern coast.
However, the entire island is full of quaint little bungalows, villas and guest houses and as the island is so small everything is within walking distance or a short bicycle ride away anyway, so you really can’t pick a bad spot on Gili Air.
Melissa is the creator of Thrifty Family Travels – a website detailing her family’s experiences exploring the world. The website provides families with travel inspiration as well as practical information on travelling the world with their children, including in depth itineraries, tour reviews, hotel suggestions and basic ideas on where to go and what to do.