After traveling to two other popular Gili’s beforehand, we weren’t sure what to expect on Gili Air. We’d heard it was one of the best islands in Southeast Asia so it was time to see it for ourselves! What we came to find was a true paradise. Not only did it have the best beaches and scenery, but Gili Air in Indonesia had everything we look for in an island getaway.
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What To Expect in Gili Air Indonesia
When first pulling up on the Gil Air beaches we had a different feeling than we did arriving at the other islands. To us it appeared to be more developed than both Gili T and Gili Meno.
As we walked with our bags to our beachfront hotel we were ecstatic with all the friendly faces, funky beach bars, and cafes welcoming us in. Its small size makes it easy to access all of the colorful Gili Air beaches and restaurants. Once we settled in and started exploring, our initial feelings were confirmed that this is the best Gili Island!
→ Gili Islands Ferry Guide: Schedule, Route, & More Helpful Tips
Gili Air Beach Breakdown
- Beautiful Long Swimming Beach
- Small Restaurants and Beach Bars
- Snorkeling at High Tide
- Best Snorkeling on the Island
- Beautiful Views of Lombok
- Many Restaurants and Cafes
- Beach Chairs for Rent
- Gili Air Ferry Port
- The Main “Town” with Shops and Bars
- Diving Schools and Tour Operators
- Lots of Boats & Horses
- The Best Sunset Spot On the Island
- Views of Lombok & Gili Meno
- Many Hotels and One of The Best Areas of Gili Air
- Nightlife with Live Music and Beach Bars
Getting Around Gili Air
Walking: The island is totally walkable and that’s one of the things we love most about Gili Air Indonesia. Getting from point A to B is super easy, and many safe cut throughs are available if you don’t want to walk the beach. The best part of the day was our nightly strolls from our bungalow to watch the beautiful sunset.
Biking: This is one of the most common ways to get around, and you can almost circle the entire island by bicycle. However, on the west and north side of Gili Air there will be a lot of sand in your path. So for now you’ll have to walk some of the outer loop. For a quicker ride use the inland roads which aren’t always paved, but are more convenient than walking on the sand!
Horses: We don’t recommend using horses because of the many reports of animal abuse on the Gili Islands.
Best Gili Air Restaurants
Warung Sunny: Good local spot off the beaten path. Also offers Mexican cuisine with an Indonesian twist.
Good Earth Cafe: Tasty smoothie bowls and coffee. Great spot for breakfast.
Mama’s Pizza: Yes pizza in Indonesia… And it’s really good! Located right on Sunset beach.
Sapari’s: Great sunset bar right next to Mama’s Pizza. Comfy bean bags and cheap beer.
Coffee & Thyme: First restaurant you’ll see in port. Good spot to hang if you’re waiting for your boat.
Gili Lumbung: Another great bar for sunset. Features live bands at night right on the Gili Air beach.
Living The Gili Air Island Life
Hopefully by now you’re starting to see why this is the best Gili Island! In addition to having a plethora of cool cafes and bars to hang out at, we noticed that the swimming at the Gili Air beaches was infinitely better than in other areas of the Gili’s.
While there is still plenty of rough coral, you can find more patches of sand to swim, snorkel, and float around in than anywhere else. Our favorite spot to swim is on the Southeastern side of the island right in front of Soprano’s cafe.
For all these reasons and more, we found that Gili Air was the perfect place to relax and enjoy the island life. We actually spent only a couple days on Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno, and the rest of our time here. Don’t skip the other popular Gili Islands completely, but Gili Air in Indonesia is definitely the spot to be!
→ Gili Islands Indonesia: 20 Important Things to Know Before You Go
Have any questions about the best beaches on Gili Air or want to share your own experience traveling here? Comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Helpful Indonesia Articles
Nusa Islands: Nusa Penida – Nusa Ceningan – Nusa Lembongan
Bali: Uluwatu Beaches – Bali Warung – 20 Facts About Bali – Kecak Fire Show – Bali to Gili T Ferry
Where To Stay on Gili Air Indonesia
Ultra Luxury – Gili Air Sanctuary Villa and Resort – Two story villas with private pool and attentive staff. Great ambience and reasonable price for small island luxury.
Fun Vacation – PinkCoco Gili Air – We can’t recommend this hotel enough if you’re anywhere in Indonesia. PinkCoco has one of the most fun island designs and decor we’ve seen in Southeast Asia, and it’s near all the best beaches on Gili Air.
Hostel Life – Beranda Ecolodge – Fan only dorms, but cheap enough if you want to splurge for your own room. Nice layout in the center of the complex with pool, bar, and breakfast area.
For more places to stay in Gili Air you can explore the latest prices here!
Indonesia Travel Planning
Flights: We always find deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Singapore to Bali for $60 USD, and Bali to Surabaya for less than $40!
Accommodation: Compare competitive sites for hotels such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Transportation: 12Go is where we look first in Asia for ferries, trains, buses, and transfers! From speed boats to the Gili Islands and bus transfers around the country.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities all over Bali. We recommend taking a sunrise Mount Batur hike with breakfast, an authentic cooking class in a local village, and the Ubud waterfall tour!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Here’s all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
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Hi thanks for your great info
Just wondering if you think it’s definitely worth staying somewhere with a pool on Gili air ?
We are so torn between the east and west side for swimming beaches and if low tide is an issue should we make sure we have a pool ?
It’s just my girlfriend and I on a kid free holiday
Hi Ineke! Totally up to you! There are plenty of great beaches to swim at so a pool isn’t necessary however, it is always nice to have! Especially at low tide. I would book the hotel that you like the most and then rent bicycles to easily explore so you can see/ swim at all the best spots on the island. Have fun!