"The Gili Islands - Lombok" Top 5 Page for this destination Lombok by pure1942

Lombok Travel Guide: 447 reviews and 1,210 photos

A Trio of Tropical Thrills

First off, this page is not about Lombok as such. The page is about the Gili Islands, which are a group of three small islands off the north-west coast of Lombok. Apologises for this misdirection but the VT database does not include the Gili Islands so this is the best location for this page :)

The Gili islands are three tiny specks of tropical bliss situated off the coast of Lombok. The three islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno, remained a well kept secret on the South East Asia backpacker trail until quite recently. Lately, however, the trail to the island has widened a little but still offers a very relaxed and laid back island atmosphere without the crowds of nearby Bali. For us these little islands offered a welcome respite from Bali and abandoning our initial intentions to stay for four days we ended up staying on the Gili Islands for three weeks. We eventually had to change our flights out of Indonesia to accommodate our prolonged stay on the islands.

The main reason for our Gili love affair was the island’s ability to suit our every mood. If we wanted beaches, the Gilis offered breathtaking stretches of sand, if we wanted diving and snorkelling they offered great opportunities for underwater exploration. If we want to meet locals, we could. If we wanted to meet other travellers we could. Gili Trawangan offered good eating and nightlife options as well as secluded quieter spots. Gili Meno gave us total isolation and peace and Gili Air offered a diluted mix of everything offered by the other two.
We enjoyed our stay on Bali, but deep down we felt it may have been a little over-rated. Perhaps it was just the mood we were in. Four months into a 14 month RTW trip we were a little travel weary and Bali just didn’t appeal to us in the way we thought it would...however the Gili Islands were just what the doctor ordered for a couple of tired backpackers. We loved every minute of our stay on these islands, which totally re-energised and motivated us for the next leg of our journey. Today the Gilis remain one of my favourite travel destinations and a place which has left me with some of my fondest memories from my entire 14 month trip.

While development has taken hold on the three islands, as yet, they have not been overly exploited. However, the inevitable impact of tourism is being felt on the tiny islands with adverse effects on the fragile sewerage, refuse and marine systems being felt. That being said, the islanders and small ex-pat community living on the islands have woken up to the realities of letting things get out of hand and when I visited, there did seem to be a growing momentum to address the problems that mass tourism is having on the islands and programmes were being put in place to protect the environment. The main problem on the Gili Islands is that the islands are just too small in size to support a large number of visitors. Limiting the number of visitors on the island at any one time is one possibility. There is also talk of a ban on plastic bags, containers and bottles. There were a couple of shops on the island that were offering reusable carry bags rather than plastic bags. We bought a snorkel set at a dive/snorkel shop on the main strip on Gili Trawangan and they gave us one of these reusuable Gili Island bags which we ended up using for a further 9 months on our travels!!! This shop also gave us some information on how to minimise our impact on the island during our stay. What the future holds for the islands is as yet uncertain but visitors to the islands should bear in mind that on such small and fragile islands, certain efforts to support and encourage the local island community will have to be made if the islands are to avoid irreparable damage.

  • Last visit to Lombok: Jan 2010
  • Intro Updated Nov 13, 2011
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Reviews (21)

Comments (2)

  • csordila's Profile Photo
    Dec 9, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Hi Brian, I also would like to visit Lombok! (with you????? or.........). L.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Nov 27, 2011 at 10:12 AM

    Brian, fantastic page with outstanding colourful photos of this Indonesian gem. The accommodation really seems to be a great find and a bargain as well.


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