Get Lost in the Gili Islands, Indonesia

Written by: Rebecca Root

The Gili Islands are a Must-See

Yet to be touched by the curse of conglomerate hotels or even a MaccyD’s, the three tiny islands of the Gilis are what the term ‘off the grid’ was made for. Think Castaway meets The Beach and you’ll find a happy medium for the trio of quaint and tranquil islands that boast nothing but simplicity and all the nasi goreng you can eat.

Having swayed between sleep and sickness on the ferry from Lombok, arriving to these paradisiacal islands was a huge relief. No cars, little noise and the unexpected horse and carriages dotting the shoreline made for a pretty big contrast from a raucous few days in Bali. Gili Trawangan, aka Dragon Island, was to be my five day homage for sun-catching, yoga-stretching and pineapple-munching.

The boat to Gili T

With very few tourists gracing the shores, Gili T is an insight into rustic, Indo island life. Hostels are run by wanna-be-your-best-friend families that take care of your every need. That means hot water, room service and a TV with apparently popular films from the ’80s – jackpot.

Accommodation down, my five-day Gili adventure could begin. It started with an abundance of banana pancakes and turtle watching on the aptly named Turtle Beach. It ended with a lot of booty-shaking around a beachside fire and somewhere in the middle there was an episode with a paddleboard, a few new friends and a whole lot of zen.

Bikini malfunction

Day one held the disaster that was my attempt at paddle boarding. Splash, bang, wallop accurately describes my hour long session and, after providing many an onlooker with a chuckle after a bikini malfunction, all hopes at mastering the board were abandoned.

Paddle boarding in the Gili Islands

Day two and three were taken to recover from all that seaside exercise. However, it was still hard work catching those rays and even more strenuous lifting those beachside cocktails.

Day four involved that pretty essential lap of the island. From the harbour we wandered past the colourful bars and diving centres up to the luxury lodges and beach villas. About here is where the jealousy kicked in. Only metres away the more wealthy of holiday makers arrived on the island via private boats and not surprisingly they weren’t sporting that shade of green I had rocked up with from the boat ride. Deserted bays and yet more beautiful coastline lined our lap of Gili T and, despite the many turtles, no dragons were to be seen.

Day four we decided to up the ante and venture out to see those neighbouring islands. Gili Meno and Gili Air sit only minutes away from Gili T by boat and both offer another unique aspect of Gili life. Gili Meno is less developed than Gili T and offers a serene space for escapism. Gili Air is the more sophisticated of the islands appealing to the affluent crowds with an abundance of luxury villas and fanciful bars.

Sunbathing on the Gili Islands

Coming back down to our almost earth on Gili T the highlight of our very strenuous week involved ‘lifting our hearts to the moon’ and doing that ‘downward facing dog.’ Yoga to a Gili T sunset was the epicentre of calm and iced our heavenly utopia to perfection.

It would seem that five days of serenity in these almost-forgotten islands are more than worth a bout of seasickness. So pack the wet wipes and make that epic journey to Indonesia’s hidden utopia.

Check out these top Indonesia experiences


Ultimate Bali

from £530

10 days


Discover the best of Bali on our 10 day Ultimate Bali tour. If you’re looking for the perfect combination of...

International Business Internship In Indonesia

from £1035

30 days


Indonesia is an excellent destination in Asia to pursue and undergo an international business internship.

In-Class TEFL Course in Surabaya

from £1290

20 days


Join our 4-week TEFL in-class course in Surabaya and become a TEFL/TESOL certified teacher of English as a foreign language.

International Law Internship In Indonesia

from £1035

30 days


A system of rules that are created and enforced through social/governmental institutions to regulate behavior: law.

Graphic Design internships in Bali

from £1050

56 - 168 days


The Indonesian island of Bali is known for stunning scenery, diverse arts and vibrant culture. As an internship destination, Bali...

IAR Orangutan Project

from £875

11 - 22 days


Work with International Animal Rescue on the rehabilitation of Indonesia’s beautiful orangutans.

Orangutan Volunteer Project

from £795

7 - 26 days


Work on enrichment with captive orangutans and sun bears at the world renowned Samboja Lestari rescue centre.

Orangutan Conservation in Borneo

from £1280

15 - 29 days


Volunteer at the award-winning Matang Wildlife Centre in Sarawak, Borneo, and get up close and personal with orangutans, sun bears...

NGO Management & Administration Internships in Bali

from £500

14 - 168 days


The Indonesian island of Bali is known for stunning scenery, diverse arts & vibrant culture. As an internship destination, Bali...

International Engineering Internship In Indonesia

from £1035

30 days


Indonesia in recent years has drastically modernized the engineering industry and is rapidly developing the country's entire infrastructure.


Bali on a Shoestring

from £492

The magical reputation of Bali doesn’t have to be held up by incredible water temples or surfing opportunities alone –...

Discover Lombok

from £578

Immerse yourself in the amazing scenery, rich culture and incredible diversity of Indonesia's tropical Lombok island. Get off the beaten...

Cycle Bali

from £820

It’s all about two wheels in Bali, and this action-packed cycling trip takes in some of the island’s best spots...

Highlights of Sumatra

from £679

If the only thing you think of when you hear “Sumatra” is “coffee,” then we need to have a chat....

Sumatra Adventure

from £705

Sumatra offers an incredible travel experience for those willing to stray from well-worn tourist tracks. The world’s sixth largest island...

Explore Bali & Java

Set loose your spiritual side on a 12-day tour to the stunning beaches and jungles of Bali and Java. Travel...

Sailing Indonesia – Bali & Lombok

from £847

The impossibly beautiful coastlines of Bali and Lombok have to be seen to be believed – no postcard can do...

Bangkok to Kuta on a Shoestring

from £1815

Slurp down rice noodles under the streetlights of Bangkok and wander the paddies and temples of Java – this epic...

Komodo & Flores

from £1440

The many islands of Indonesia are scattered like gems across the Indian Ocean, hidden oases of tropical rainforests, wildlife and...

Classic Bali & Sailing Adventure

from £1439

Bali has earned its reputation as one of the world’s beach hotspots, but there’s so much more to it than...

Find more Indonesia inspiration

[contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact form 1"]