Don’t get me wrong, I love Bali, it’s beautiful. But after visiting Gili Trawangan, one of the three Gili islands, I felt as though I was being unfaithful to Bali. Why? Because I enjoyed the Gili Islands so much that a part of me wished I booked more of my holiday there.
The three Gili Islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air, are located just northwest coast of Lombok (another underrated beach paradise). All of the islands are blessed with white sandy beaches and views so stunning that you forget you are awake (and possible drooling). So which island should you visit?
Gili Trawangan is the most ‘developed’ of the three islands offering a variety of bars, hotels, restaurants, boat trips, and scuba diving lessons. If you are a beach bum during the day or like to party at night (especially with Aussie’s) this is your island.
Gili Air offers lush greenery, perfect for taking pictures that you can show off to your friends. None of the islands allow cars or motorbikes, leaving the main forms of transportation as horse and buggy or bicycles.
And finally, Gili Meno is said to be the most peaceful of the three islands, as it is the most untouched. If you are looking for complete seclusion and relaxation, this may be the best option for you.
Personally, I loved the atmosphere on Gili Trawagan. The white sandy beaches were filled with two types of people. The first being people who partied too hard the night before, and the second were hard-core beach bums and snorkeling lovers. Being a snorkeling addict, I was so impressed that you could just wade into ocean water filled with coral and tropical fish underneath your feet (I highly recommend bringing water shoes to avoid cutting your feet). The water was so clear and so brightly coloured; I thought I was swimming in a pool of blue Kool-Aid. It was surreal.
I didn’t want to leave the Gili Islands. These islands were more remote than Bali, and the untouched mountain surroundings trumped the beaches I saw in Bali. Every place in the world is different and offers pros and cons to every holiday. But if you are looking to find some of the best beaches for being a beach bum, surfing, snorkeling, kayaking, or scuba diving, you may want to leave Bali behind and try one of the Gili Islands.