Gili islands – are an archipelago of three small islands — Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air — just off the northwest coast of Lombok, Indonesia. The islands are a popular destination for tourists. Each island has several small resorts, usually consisting of a collection of huts for tourists, a small pool, and restaurant.
Most local inhabitants live on Trawangan in a township stretching along its east side just inland (which is also where most recent development is taking place). Automobiles and motorized traffic are prohibited on the islands by local ordinance.
Preferred method of transportation is by foot and bicycle or the horse-drawn carriage called a cidomo. Scuba diving and freediving in and around the Gilis is also popular due to the abundance of marine life and attractive coral formations.
Most famous diving spots are Shark Point, Manta Point and Simon’s reef, where you can admire the amazing coral gardens and swim with huge mantas and harmless reef sharks.
Gili Trawangan – is the largest of Lombok’s Gili Islands and the only one to rise significantly (30 m) above sea level. Measuring 3 km long and 2 km wide, it has a population of around 1,500 (see demography).
The name Trawangan originates from the Indonesian word terowongan (“tunnel”) due to the presence of a cave tunnel built there during the Japanese occupation in World War 2. Of the Gilis, Trawangan is the most developed and geared towards tourism.
The main concentration of settlement, recreation, accommodation, and diving business is situated on the eastern side of the island. On Gili Trawangan (as well as the other two Gilis), there are no motorized vehicles.
The main means of transportation are bicycles (rented by locals to tourists) and cidomo (a small horse-drawn carriage). For travelling between the Gilis, locals usually use motorized boats and speedboats.
Gili Meno – is the middle of Lombok’s three northwest coast Gilis. Gili Meno has a population of about 500, mainly concentrated on the centre of the island (see section on demography). The main income comes from tourism, coconut plantation, and fishing.
On the west side of the island, there is a small shallow lake that produces salt in the dry season. Until a few years ago there was also a small production of seaweed on the reef at the north end of the island. Gili Meno has swimming beaches all around the island, and a turtle sanctuary.
The island attracts fewer tourists than Gili Trawangan and is the quietest and smallest of the islands. However, honeymooners are often drawn to the crystal-clear water and idyllic, secluded white beaches. There is no fresh water on the island and it has to be brought by boat from Lombok.
Electricity is supplied by underwater cables from Lombok. There are no cars or motorbikes.
Gili Air – is the second smallest of the islands and the closest to mainland Lombok, making it popular with honeymoon couples and travellers seeking a quiet retreat. It has a population of about 1,800.
The island offers excellent snorkeling and scuba diving off its east coast, and turtles can be seen along the coral reef. Other water sports such as Stand Up Paddle boarding and kitesurfing are also now available.
Continued investment in tourism is resulting in rapid development of the islands, and each year sees new resorts and accommodation on the islands while attempting to retain their individual character.
Proximity to Gili Meno, the smallest and most secluded of the islands and to Gili Trawangan the largest island, known for its many restaurants and parties, makes Gili Air an attractive destination that combines relative seclusion with adequate services. Both other Islands are a quick boat ride away.
Indonesia is a land of over 17 000 islands, situated in South- East Asia. Its coastline is surrounded by two oceans: Pacific and Indian. This is a mecca of many cultures, customs and traditions with very colourful and fascinating folklore.