Gili Air the Beautiful Island

Gili Air, one of the three Gili Islands. This is the part of Gili Islands group that is located near the Lombok mainland. Maybe this is just a small island, but it is truly a tropical paradise. The sea is so clean. It looks blue and clear. The land is stills natural too. It looks calm and relaxing. This is why it becomes a popular tourism destination for tropical island explorer and budget traveler. Backpackers will really love this place.

The History of Gili Air

Gili Air is like a little brother of Gili Trawangan. It is so slowly catching too, especially compared to the elder brothers. The history of this island has the strong correlation with the history of Indonesia. In the Second World War, Japanese forces used this island as the part of a lookout post. It can be seen from the wreck of patrol boat in the bay of Gili Air, specifically in the south of this island. And now, this spot has become a popular dive site.

Before being a popular tourism spot, Gili Air used as a stop off location by Bugis fishermen. It ever be coconut plantations in 1971 too. But coconut harvest is not easy. It became a problem and led the island plantations to an abandoned island. In 1980, the island discovered by backpacker tourists. And finally, the popularity of Gili Air is growing. Even there are many homestays and hotels built on Gili Islands includingGili Air.

The Population

Compared to the other Gili Islands, Gili Air has the largest local population. Bugis, Mandar and Makassar are the local people in this island. They have been lived here since few years ago and establish coconuts plantation and fishing. The majority of the islanders are Muslims. For that, nude sunbathing and topless are offensive to them. Even women should cover their thighs and shoulders. But by the time, skimpy clothing is acceptable in Gili Air.

How to Get There

Gili Air can be reached only by island hopper boat. It becomes the preferred transportation from Gili Trawangan to this island too. And of course, people can also reach this island from Gili Meno and mainland Lombok with the boat. From Gili Trawangan, this island can be reached for about 30 minutes. The boat operates at 9.30 and 4.00 with IDR 25,000 of transportation cost. If you take the boat from Gili Meno, you have to be ready at 9.45 or 4.15. From this island, the cost of transportation to Gili Air is a little bit cheaper or about IDR 23,000. But from mainland Lombok, the boat operates in irregular intervals and the cost is also much cheaper. Only with IDR 8,000, you can take it and go to Gili Air. The boats will leave the Bangsal when the outriggers are full. If you want to get the effective speed to the island, there is full charter boat. The cost to charter a boat is about IDR 200,000.

What to Do at Gili Air

Gili Air is truly a tropical paradise. It will be a perfect destination for the adventurers. The beach and the sea are the main attractions of this island. When you visit this island, there are several things to do. These things must be on the list.

  • Swimming and snorkeling. Gili Air has the beautiful sea. The clear water makes it perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The east coast is safe. If you want to get an unforgettable snorkeling adventure, you can do it with safe. There is snorkeling gear available from the local dive centers and operators. There is scuba diving at Gili Air too.
  • Enjoying the nightlife. Maybe Gili Air is not as popular as the big brother, Gili Trawangan. But it also has enough entertainment. There are several bars such as Corner Bar, Legend Bar, Star Bar, Zipp’s Gili Air Santay, Mirage Coffee Bar and Frangipani Garden Restaurant. If you want, you can also find “Goa Style” beach party. Although it called as a nightlife entertainment, the most beachfront bars are usually close at 11 pm.
  • Surfing. Gili Air has the beautiful beach and the beautiful sea. The scene is really impressive. Although it less known for any surfing activity, it has quality surf scene sometimes. If you want to try it, you can go to the south west of the island. The south island has mid high and high water tide condition. In here, there is Playgili. This is a great place to surf.
  • Get around the Gili Air. This island is still natural. Cidomos and bicycle are the only transportations here. Cidomos is a horse drawn carriage. But if you want to get a bicycle and get around the island with it, there is bicycle rental.

Security

There is no police station in Gili Air. There is no military post as well. But you can find a small police station in Bangsal harbor. Non-uniformed police and SATGAS are ready to ensure the security and the safety of the visitors. Someone who break the law or just disturbing tourists, they will face the police and even face banishment for up to 5 years. But of course, preventive is better. Instead of taking a lot of cash or valuable items, you can deposit some of them.

Accommodation

Accommodation is growing in Gili Air. It is easy to find one of them. But as a small island, there are only a few of hotels here. Several of them are Coconut Cottages, Hotel Gili Air, Sejuk Cottages and Villa Karang. If you want to get to this island, just make sure to book a hotel or cottage first. Getting a hotel without booking it may be difficult sometimes.

Summary

Gili Air is a good place to enjoy the beautiful beach or get a good snorkeling experience. Scuba diving is also available. The facility is still limited. But for the basic facilities, it looks enough. Hotels, nightlife and police station are already there. Tourists can get surfing experience as well. If you want it, you can go to the south of the Gili Air.