Here we are at the end of our tour in Indonesia and the last 4 days, we will rest in a little paradise on the island of Gili Air between Bali and Lombok. Here’s some informations on how to get to Gili Air, what to do in Gili Air, where to eat in Gili Air and where to find a cheap hotel in Gili Air.
How to get to Gili Air – From Bali to Gili
I had viewed the prices on the internet but they were way too high. So I decided to take them on the spot. See my detailed article: How to get to Gili Air Island
We were deposited in SANUR at the agency Scoot Fast Cruises (Sanur Kaja – Denpasar Selatan T +62 361 28 22 33). This very serious agency offered us 1,500,000 IDR round trip per person! Too expensive from what I had heard. And impossible to negotiate with this agency …
So we went to Sanur Beach where we found a small SEMAYA ONE Kiosk – see below.
There, we were able to negotiate the round trip to 750,000 IDR / people or half price !!!
We were leaving the next morning (they picked us up at the hotel at 7am) to drop us off (1h30 taxi included in the price) to Padang Bay. From there, we waited at the pier until 10:00 to go fastboat. Normally the crossing only lasts 2 hours but that day, the sea was dismounted and we took 4:00 to arrive at GILI AIR!
Here are the prices “official” but I recommend you negotiate 750,000 RP round trip!
What to do on the island of Gili Air?
Gili Air is a very small island (we walk around in 1:15) on which there is no motor vehicle. On arrival, you can take a carriage to get to your hotel. Otherwise, I advise you to move during your stay by bike. We negotiated the rental of a bike IDR 40 000 per day or about 3 Euros.
Do not expect a place style Mauritius, Martinique, Seychelles or other places very touristy and fashionable … Here, people are simple, cool, respectful (average age quite young); it’s a relaxed Bohemian spirit that reigns over this little piece of land.
What to do on Gili Air Island – Beaches
Enjoy the beautiful beaches doing nothing!
What to do on the island of Gili Air – Snorkeling
This is one of Gili Air’s main activities. In addition, the best spot of the island was facing our hotel!
What to do on the island of Gili Air – Massages
I tested the traditional Balinese massage (head and body): very nice, the care is done on the floor of a bungalow on stilts facing the sea (sound waves + Zen music): the HAPPINESS for only 120,000 IDR is 8 Euros! Be careful, you have to book a day before.
What to do on the island of Gili Air – Diving
Inquire near the port, several agencies or hotels offer excursions or other courses …
What to do on Gili Air Island – Yoga
Restaurants on Gili Air Island
Restaurant in Gili Air Island: the PACHAMAMA
We tested the PACHAMAMA: Wonderful !!! Good products, well prepared and far from traditional nasi-goreng or mi-goreng in an intimate and warm decor … It is an inventive cuisine that knows how to combine the flavors and present the dishes in a modern way.
Small flat: The caramel truffle. I almost cried when the waiter brought me the plate because it was without color, without smell, without cream, without anything … just with a very small truffle ridiculous (40 g) and which had to feel good alone and abandoned in the middle of this empty plate. In addition, it did not bring me in the mouth the expected pleasure: taste rather bland and very dry and compact texture.
In short, choose instead the dessert approaching the Banoffee that I jealously watched in the other plates …
Restaurant at Gili Air Island: SATE BAR
We tested for lunch the very small restaurant SATE BAR:
Good formula for lunch because you quickly eat very good little prepared skewers in front of you. You can combine them as you wish and choose as an accompaniment to rice or fried potatoes. I liked the vegetable skewers and the pineapple ones. FYI, a skewer costs about 10,000 IDR (or 0.70 Euros). You can eat on average for 50,000 IDR (3.5 Euros).
Restaurant in Gili Air Island: The Chillout
We tested for the evening the famous restaurant CHILLOUT:
Good place to eat fish and seafood (we choose raw, we weigh, we pay and we eat on the beach). A bit pricey but so good !!!
Cheap hotel in Gili Air
Here is our good address: Unzipp Bungalows
Facing the most beautiful spots of snorkeling on the island, there is a set of bungalows around a beautiful pool. In addition, the restaurant where we also take breakfast is facing the sea with the sea air and the sound of the waves … The price paid was interesting for Gili Air: only 37 Euros per night with breakfast included.
Unusual: bathrooms and toilets are open. It’s good to feel in the nature and watch the birds when you are in the corner !!!
Only downside: Some bungalows are a little dark … but everything else is fine.
How to come back to Bali
Very important information for your return to Bali:
Even if you have booked the date and time of the return ticket for the fastboat to BALI, you must go to the pier 48h before the return to validate with your agency the registration of your departure. This is very important because otherwise they put you on returns where there is room and it is not necessarily the one that suits you and that you had booked! Be careful because there are only 2 departures per day and always in the morning at 9 or 11am.
Here is what I photographed at the port at the departure pier:
My impressions on GILI AIR? See my article: