We spent ten days travelling Lombok and three of the Gili Islands – Gili Air, Gili Meno & Gili Trawangan.
First stop on our Indonesian adventure was Lombok. Lombok is a huge island off the coast of Bali. Currently, tourism has not quite picked up in this area and so it’s beaches remain fairly untouched and full beauty is in tact.
We flew from Kuala Lumpur to Denpasar and then got a domestic flight from there to Lombok. Although it was cheaper than the boat I really regret not taking it to the island! We had a five hour wait in the airport and then our flight was delayed a further two hours! We were hungry, tired and just cranky.
We stayed in an airbnb called Teras Lombok Bungalows near Mangsit for two nights. They are so beautifully decorated and in a very quiet area just a short journey away from the main town of Senggigi.
The beach was just across the road and there were a few amazing resorts along it.
The Kliff & The Sail
We ate in both of these restaurants that are part of the Katamaran Resort. The food was spectacular and both had similar menus. The resort itself was out of this world. I really wish I could have afforded to stay here!
This spot is a local beach bar, and appears on so many lists of best places to eat. The food was delish and cheap so thumbs up from us.
Things to Do
We just chilled out for our first day in Lombok but on our second day we rented a driver for the day and headed on a two hour drive to Tiu Kelep Waterfall. When we arrived we were met by our local guide who brought us on a short trek (approx 1 hour) to see two waterfalls. They were just out of this world – I have never seen something so amazing. Definitely a must visit.
Another thing to do that unfortunately we didn’t have time for is to visit the southern Gili Islands. As tourism continues to grow in Gili Air, Meno and Trawangan some of the natural beauty of the islands have unfortunately been lost. The southern Gili’s are rarely visited by tourists and to the locals are a place of extreme beauty. We will definitely be returning to check these out (hopefully before the tourism industry gets its hands on them!)
The Gili Islands
There is a public shuttle boat service that runs twice daily between each of the gili islands. It costs just 70,000 Rupiah per person, per trip which is about 4 euro and takes just 20 minutes. There is the option to get a fast boat which are more frequent, but you will pay twice as much. The public boats are perfect and unless you really need to be somewhere at a certain time, I wouldn’t bother with the fast boat.
Our first stop after Lombok was Gili Air. In my opinion this island is the most beautiful of the Gili’s. While tourism continues to grow, the island remains fairly undeveloped.
We stayed in cottages on the east side of the island called 3W Cottages. They were quite secluded, the pool area was really beautiful and included breakfast which was really nice (the banana pancakes are delish!) The rooms were basic enough but it was fine.
Gili Air had some of the best food I have eaten to date in Indonesia.
If you like healthy food (vegan/vegetarian options too) then you need to go to Gili Bliss. After finding this little gem we went back every day for our fix. Try the berry goodness bowl and falafel salad, you will not be disappointed.
For the best chicken or tuna burger you will ever eat. This is the spot. Located on the beach and the perfect place to watch the sunset this place can’t be beaten.
Great seafood that you can choose yourself, and a really nice beach view. I had the yellow fin tuna and it was perfect. Get there in time for happy hour and have a glass of wine for almost the same price as water – your welcome!
Things to do
Gili Air is full of things to do, here’s some things that you can do on the island:
- Watch sunset on the sun swings
- Chill out in the hammocks by the sea
- Snorkelling to find sea turtles
- Scuba diving
The smallest and often ignored island has so much to offer, and is certainly just as beautiful as the others.
We stayed in hotel Vila Bagus, however I would not recommend you stay here. The hotel itself was really nice but one member of staff in particular was extremely rude and unhelpful. It ruined our stay here.
Things to do
Despite our unfortunate accommodation situation, we had such a good time exploring all of the hidden gems that this island offers. I include some things that we got up to below:
- Find the underwater statues
- Snorkel with sea turtles
- Visit the turtle sanctuary
- Watch the sunset
The most popular, biggest and definitely the wildest of the islands, Gili Trawnagan has everything the other islands have to offer, and probably more. However, this comes with the having a lot more people around.
We stayed at Gili Amor Boutique Hotel. It was perfect. Located a short walk from the pier, and close to the main strip for bars and restaurants. It was really nicely decorated too. The pool is in the shade for most of the day but it was nice to just relax and cool down here.
Kayu Cafe & The Banyan Tree
Both of these spots are great for heathy lunches and small bites. You can get smoothie bowls and fresh cold press juices here and all at reasonable prices.
The best vegan food I have ever had. This place is very popular and expect to queue at peak times. We waited about 30 minutes for a table, but it was totally worth it. I recommend the jackfruit curry and the 7 veg dip to start.
Cookies & Cones
Donuts. My biggest weakness. They were amazing.
Pearl Beach Club
This place is on the beach and is really beautiful. The whole building features bamboo details and is just stunning. I was recommended this spot by a few people and although the food was really good, and it is one of the better places to eat on the island, I did get really really sick after eating here. Andrew was fine, so it may have been something else but I feel I should let you know that.
On our last night we just chilled and decided to eat late and get take out. So we headed along to Pizzeria Regina which was near our hotel. The pizza is cooked fresh in a wood fire oven and is absolutely delicious.
Things to do
- Party all night
- Visit the sunswings at Ombak Villa to check out the sunset
- Go horseback riding
- Scuba dive
- Snorkelling to see sea turtles
- Watch a movie on the beach
Things to be aware of…
- Watch your drinks and don’t buy cheap cocktails on the beach. They can be made with tainted alcohol, and can be fatal. Keep your wits about you, and be sure to watch when your drinks are being made/poured
- Barter with anyone offering you transport – the first price is never the last price!
- The beaches on Gili Islands in particular are full of coral. Bring water shoes, or wear fins to avoid any hurt toes on the way into the water. In addition, check when high tide is to ensure you are able to swim. The water can be very shallow which is not ideal when there is a lot of coral around
- If you want a photo on the swings, go there first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds. We went at 7am before breakfast and there was nobody to be seen!