Gili Air and the Island Life
Located off the north west side of island of Lombok, Indonesia, sits three small islands; Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan. Gili Air sits closest to Lombok, and remains one of the quieter and calmer islands compared to the larger and more popular Gili Trawangan. In a sea of paradise Gili Air is a hidden gem of lad back days and chill nights. It takes a grand total of 90 mins to walk the entire island and a must if you want to get a true feel of the island. Long stretches of empty coral beach sit between bungalow hotels and beach side restaurants.
The northern side of the island is the perfect place to relax, with it’s endlessly calm beaches and picture perfect views. This side is less populated with hotels while its south shore is home to the main dock, shops, restaurants and dive shops. Snorkeling is allowed anywhere off the island (you can rent gear for around $7 US a day for two people), the only thing to be careful of is rip currents and choppy water. Hard life I know.
Our days were spent finding beaches to lay around on for a few hours before finding food followed by beach again. Now that you really hate me, let me say that one of the coolest thing we did was ‘Movie on the Beach’. It’s put on by one of the local restaurants (amazing fish curry) and like it’s name describes they show movies on the beach after dark. Earlier in the evening they show a kids movie, I always find it fun to see adults standing around trying to look like they’re not watching some animated character dancing around, followed by the big kid movie. Ours was Mad Max, and while it was a bit hard to hear the dialogue, the surroundings definitely made up for it. Large beanbag chairs and modern recliners are spread along the sand, wrapping around trees that hold colorful paper lanterns.
Small shops line the main down town area selling sarongs, dresses and the standard nick-knacks. Be prepare to take off your shoes when entering shops, this is why sandals and flip flops are the shoe of choice. You will need some sort of water shoe for going into the water, the beaches are beautiful but they are coral and will hurt a bare foot.
Fresh fish is caught daily and can be cooked anyway you’d like from curry and grilled to kebab style, pair it with the ever popular Ben tang Beer for a filling meal. As you’re eating dinner beach side, don’t forget to look up! See the southern hemisphere stars as they glitter across the night sky. Every now and then fireworks go off in the distance, somewhere along Lomboks coast line.
But be warned, Gili has been known to inflect feelings of intense longing to never leave. Sadly all good things must come to an end, that’s in part what makes them so good. Gili Air will make you crave the slow-paced island life that dreams are made of.