25 Oct Gili Islands, Lombok Indonesia
Gili Islands are an archipelago of three small islands namely Gili Air, Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia. Gili Islands. The islands are a popular tourist destination for those seeking experiences in remote islands where you get to sample tropical lifestyle in an affordable and versatile manner. Each of the islands houses several huts, restaurants and small pools where you refresh as you tour three beautiful islands for an unforgettable holiday experience.
History of Gili Islands
The three islands were virtually uninhabited about 30 years ago. There is minimal evidence of Gili islands having been discovered before the 17th century. The earliest people to live on the island were Sasak farmers, thought to have moved into the area from Burma or Northern India. The settlers formed several clans who were ruled by a prince. In the mid 1700s some Balinese invaded Gili Islands and ruled until the 19th century. The Sasak people fought and overcame the Balinese in 1894 when they enlisted the help of colonial Dutch forces. The Dutch colonised most of Indonesia in the 19th century. Sometime in 1942, the Japanese occupied the area only to be forced out by the Dutch in 1958.
Major attractions of each place/location
Activities on Gili Islands
Snorkelling with turtles is one of the greatest tourist attractions in Gili’s Trawangan Island. There is a hatchery on the main beach and several diving centers known to harbor thousands of turtles and rare aquatic species. It is right to refer Gili Island as the turtle capital of the world! Alternatively, you can explore the islands as you kayak. The northern side of Gili Trawangan is the home to Karma Kayak where tourists can enjoy kayak rides. In addition one can bike around the islands from Trawangan Island. The island also possesses some of the most beautiful sugar-white sandy beaches in the area especially near the Malina’s Restaurant and Bungalows.
Gili Meno’s Island has a unique tourist attraction site-Meno’s Bird Sanctuary. The sanctuary hosts hundreds of tropical birds collected from rain-forests in Indonesia. Some of the birds in the sanctuary include flamingos, macaws, eagles, pelicans and parrots among others. The collection of birds at the centre is growing and tourists returning to the place get treated to sights and experiences with exciting and exotic birds.
Gili Air has some classic historic sites having been the first place where fishermen touring the area settled in 1850. The island has several bars and restaurants on eastern part. There is a small party area that attracts many visitors.
The three islands have a lot in common. Among the commonalities are sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and excellent snorkeling. There are no cars and the bicycles on each island can take you to any corner of any island and let you feast your eyes on natural tropical beauty.
Mount Rinjani, located on Lombok, is one of the most spectacular tourist attraction sites near the Gili Islands. The mountain has a beautiful crater that draws thousands of tourists every year. The mountain is a mild active volcano
Gili Islands are also the home to one of the largest Irish Bars in the world- the Japanese sushi restaurant which is a great source of fun for many people.
Budget, how to stretch your dollar further
The best way to stretch your dollar would be to go local in terms of food and seek cheaper, authentic accommodation. Gili Islands offer great value for money. There is cheap accommodation in the area for about 1.5 million rupiah or $150 which gets one a room with basic amenities such as a mattress on the floor, a fan and shower. For only $250, you are bound to get a room with a bed and even WiFi. Food is also cheap on this paradise. You can buy oatmeal from homes and smoothies from street vendors at only $1.5 while banana coconut bread goes for $0.5. For lunch you can have a banana leaf filled with fresh vegetables, curry and rice for $2.5! The cost of most western meals ranges from $6 to $12 at popular cafes such as Cefe Kecil. At Oceans II you can get pasta for $2! Beer costs $2 for a small bottle at Irish bar. You may also choose to sample Gili’s entertainment at fairly cheap prices averaging at $500 a month. In addition you can attend yoga classes at $6.5 per class.
In case you want to snorkel, you’ll just need to hire snorkeling gear for only $20 or $30. The big names in snorkeling include Dream Divers, Manta Dive and Blue Marlin Dive Center. Gilis is a snorkeling haven and you can get professional snorkeling training for a small fee as you seek to feast your eyes on the gorgeous world in the turquoise blue waters. Near all the three islands you can see moray eels, nudibranches, parrotfish, turtles and reef sharks.
Unlike Bali, Gili Island has few locals involved in the selling of wares to tourists. However it is advisable to engage friendly locals who can help you shop around for memorabilia at cheaper costs.
Travel tips to get around
In order to get from Bali to Trawangan consider taking a boat which stop off at Telul Nare in Lombok. Trawangan is small and one can walk around to various tourist destinations on the island. Alternatively you can buy a good bicycle for as low as $40 and use it to explore the area. In case you plan to do island hopping use public daily boats that ferry people across the three islands. The average cost is $25 per person one way. Alternatively, you can take a horse cart (cidomo) to ease your movement on Gili Trawangan. It is possible to walk around the Trawangan Island on foot in only two hours. You can follow the popular stretch called “Goodheart” which is the main stretch or the North Beach where a lot of snorkelling goes on.
Prices of entry/transport in Gili Islands
The prices to enter tourist attraction sites and move are fairly low. For instance, to get from Bali to Trawangan is approximately $10 and you can pay as low as 50% of full amount in case you the light some light. In case you are to take a boat from Gili Trawangan to Gili Meno, it just costs about $2.
Gili Islands, Lombok Indonesia is ripe for exploration!