Gili Air is closest of the Gili islands to the mainland of Lombok Indonesia. Gili Air is only around 1.5km in width and height. You can walk around the island in a few hours. There are no cars or motorbikes on Gili Air so is a beautifully relaxed, peaceful island which draws tourists for the excellent scuba diving and snorkeling.
Majority of accommodation is located on the southeast coast though there is guesthouses and bungalows scattered all along the coast. Majority of the hotels do not have a webpage. See our lists of the hotels with web pages and contact phone number for the others.
The locals used to refer to Gili Air as 'Gili Lazy' as it was the quiestest of the Gili Island but in the last few years there has been some major development on the island with many new hotels and beach resorts, lots of new restaurants and bars and scuba diving centres.
Best Snorkeling and scuba diving on Gili Air
There is good snorkeling and diving all around Gili Air. The swell is a bit rough near the south western tip of Gili Air through most other sections of the coast has nice calm waters which is excellent for snorkeling.
Just on the south eastern side of the island is one of the best places to snorkel with thousands and fish and many turtles swimming by. The water is shallow to about 20 meters out then there is a drop to deeper sections. It is just past this drop which is the best place to see the turtles. Each afternoon the glass bottom snorkel trip boats from all 3 Gili islands visit this snorkeling spot and hand out bread to feed the fish. You can get some excellent photos with hundreds of fish swimming close by you to get a bit of bread.
It is easy to rent snorkel, mask and fins at any of the hotels or shops along the path from the harbour.
Read more about Scuba Diving Gili Islands
Check out the PADI scuba dive centres on Gili Air:
Ocean 5 Dive Resort a dive center on Gili air with accommodation. Oceans 5 offers all padi courses, iahd courses and reef check conservation programs. Oceans 5 restort has an excellent pool to learn how to dive. They have a ramp into the pool so easy to walk in fully suited. There is a shallow end, 1.5 m section and 3m deep section. Ocenas 5 Resort is located right in front of the harbour where the boats arrive on Gili Air.
7 Seas Dive Centre is a PADI dive centre with accommodation and a good pool for your beginners PADI dive courses. Located just 200 meters from the habour where the boats arrive on Gili Air. 7Seas International have dive instructors who speak Bahasa Indonesia, English, Francais, Deutsch, Espanol and Portugeus. Let them know which language you prefer when booking.
Swimming pool at 7Seas Dive Resort
Manta Dive Resort Gili Air offer both PADI and SSI Education courses.
Getting Around Gili Air
Gili Air is only a small island with no cars or motorbikes. There is a path that travels around Gili Air which you can walk around in about 1.5 hours. You can ride a bike but expect to get off and push your bike in sections of the path that is covered with sand. The other way to get around is by horse and cart. Most of the transportation of goods and people in Gili Air is by these horse and carts.
Snorkeling Boat trips from Gili Air
You can go on a 4.5 hour snorkeling boat trip on a glass bottom boat which visits 4 snorkeling spots close to the 3 Gili islands. You will stop at Garden Fish reef on Gili Air, Turtle Reef and Bay Rock reef on Gili Meno and Good Hart reef on Gili Trawangan. The boat trips leave at 10.30am and return at 3pm costing 120,000Rp which includes the fins, snorkel and mask and your lunch. You can buy the trip for 100,000Rp without lunch.
Boat Trips from Gili Air
You can arrange longer boat trips from Gili Air which take you to Komodo island via Moyo, Satonda and Sangeang islands. All these are excellent for scuba diving and snorkeling. Also Komodo island you can visit the Komoda dragons. The longer trips can be up to 7 days and includes 16 dives.
Restaurants on Gili Air
All the hotels on Gili Air have their own restaurant and there are heaps of little restaurants dotted along the coast of Gili Air. These are open air restaurants with nice views over the sea serving up mainly good Indonesian food like fried rice, fried noodles, curries and stir fries. The restaurants have relaxed decor with bamboo furniture. The average meals prices are around 30,000Rp, that's just A$3
Internet WiFi hotspots on Gili Air
Most hotels and restaurants on Gili Air have free WiFi internet access. Most of the hotels you can access the WiFi from your room. Oceans 5 Hotel you can definitely access internet from the rooms (I am using their WiFi now).
There are internet cafes on Gili Air though expect the connection to be very slow and often not working. They still rely on dial up connections via telephone lines to get internet connections.
ATM and Money changers on Gili Air
There is 2 ATMs issued by CIMB Niaga bank for cash dispensing at the Gili Air harbour. This machine accepts VISA, Mastercard, Cirrus, ATM Bersama and Prima. There are a few foreign money exchange along the harbour at Gili Air. The exchange rate at these are around 400 - 500Rp per A$1 or US$ lower than you will find in Lombok or Bali.
Shops on Gili Air
There are plenty of little shops on Gili Air selling cigarettes, snacks, fresh fruit. These shops do not open late as most of the island goes to sleep around 10pm.
There are also a few dive shops that sell all sorts of dive equipment, snorkels, fins, masks, tshirts, swimmers, bikinis.
The People of Gili Air
The people who live on Gili Air are mostly from Lombok. The majority of these people are muslim. There is one small mosque on Gili Air which you will hear the calling to prayer 5 times a day. Although the people of Gili Air are used to the tourists walking around in swimmers and bikinis it is best to show some respect to the locals and not expose too much.
Your Environmental impact on Gili Air
All foods and products are brought onto Gili Air by boat from Lombok. All packaging you consume, beer bottles, water bottles, empty plastic wrappers has to be transported off the island too.
Help the environment of Gili Air and help transport some of your waste off the island when you leave. Even if you collect a little plastic bag with some of your wrappers and drink bottles it helps. You have bought your boat ticket to Lombok or Bali so why not transport your own waste and dispose off it there which has less cost for transporting rubbish.
Getting to Gili Air
Boat from Gili Trawangan to Gili Air
There are 2 boats each day that leave Trawangan and drops people off at Gili Meno and Gili Air. These boats leave at 9am and 4pm. The trip from Gili Trawangan via Gili Meno to Gili Air takes around 30 minutes. The seas around the Gili islands are mostly calm though sometimes a decent size swell can come in so sometimes the ride can be a bit rocky.
From the Gili Air harbour you can get boats to Lombok, the other Gili islands, Gili Meno and Gili Air and there are also fast boats leaving to go to Bali Padang Bai harbour.
Hotels on Gili Air
Blue Marlin Bungalows comfortable accommodation for scuba divers to stay. Run by Blue Marlin Dive Centre.