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Gili Air Or Gili T, Which Is Better?


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Danni Kinder



When it comes to tropical getaways in Indonesia, the Gili Islands are a popular destination for travelers seeking stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a laid-back island atmosphere. Among the three Gili Islands, Gili Air and Gili Trawangan (often referred to as Gili T) stand out as the most visited and well-known. If you’re planning a trip to the Gili Islands, you might find yourself torn between which of these two islands to visit.


Both Gili Air and Gili T offer their own unique charm and attractions, making it challenging to choose just one. In this article, we’ll delve into the key factors that can help you decide between Gili Air and Gili T, from their locations and beaches to their snorkeling and diving opportunities, accommodation options, nightlife scenes, transportation services, dining experiences, and budget considerations.


Ultimately, the decision between Gili Air and Gili T comes down to personal preferences and what you’re looking for in a tropical getaway. Let’s explore the distinctive features of each island, so you can make an informed choice and have an unforgettable time on your Gili Islands adventure.



Located off the northwest coast of Lombok, the Gili Islands are easily accessible via a short boat ride from Bali or Lombok. Gili Air is the closest to the mainland, making it a convenient option for travelers seeking a quick escape. On the other hand, Gili Trawangan is situated farther away, offering a more secluded and tranquil island experience.


Gili Air is the smallest of the three islands and is known for its peaceful atmosphere. It has a local village feel, with charming pathways lined with palm trees and traditional houses. The island is perfect for those looking to immerse themselves in the local culture and enjoy a more laid-back and serene setting.


Gili Trawangan, on the other hand, is the largest and most developed of the Gili Islands. It boasts a vibrant and bustling atmosphere, with a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops. This island attracts a younger crowd that appreciates a livelier nightlife and a wider range of entertainment options.


Whether you prefer a quiet retreat or a lively social scene, the location of each island will play a significant role in your decision-making process.



When it comes to beaches, both Gili Air and Gili Trawangan offer stunning stretches of pristine white sand and turquoise waters. However, there are some notable differences between the two.


Gili Air boasts a more laid-back and tranquil beach atmosphere, making it the perfect choice for those seeking a peaceful retreat. The beach on the east side of the island is particularly popular, with calm waters and a relaxed vibe. Here, you can sunbathe, enjoy a leisurely swim, or simply unwind with a book and a refreshing coconut in hand.


Gili Trawangan, on the other hand, offers a more vibrant and energetic beach scene. The beaches here are larger and wider, with a greater variety of beachfront bars and restaurants. Travelers looking for a livelier beach atmosphere will find plenty of options for sunbathing, lounging, and enjoying beach activities such as beach volleyball and water sports.


Both islands offer stunning sunsets, with incredible views of the horizon as the sun sinks beneath the sparkling ocean. Whether you prefer a serene and secluded beach experience or a lively beachside vibe, the choice between Gili Air and Gili T will depend on your personal preference for beach ambiance.


Snorkeling and Diving

The Gili Islands are renowned for their incredible snorkeling and diving opportunities. Both Gili Air and Gili Trawangan offer access to breathtaking underwater worlds teeming with vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life.


Gili Air is known for its calm waters and excellent snorkeling sites just a short swim away from the beach. The coral gardens around the island are home to an abundance of colorful fish, sea turtles, and even occasional sightings of reef sharks. Snorkelers can easily explore these underwater wonders on their own or join a guided snorkeling tour to ensure a memorable experience.


Gili Trawangan, with its larger size and deeper waters, offers a wider range of diving opportunities. The island is a popular destination for diving enthusiasts from around the world. There are numerous dive centers offering dive courses for beginners as well as guided dives for experienced divers. The underwater landscape surrounding Gili Trawangan includes stunning reef formations, walls, and even a famous underwater sculpture garden. Divers can encounter reef sharks, turtles, vibrant coral, and a plethora of tropical fish species.


Whether you prefer snorkeling in calm shallow waters or diving into deeper depths, both Gili Air and Gili Trawangan have something to offer for underwater enthusiasts. The choice between the two islands will depend on your level of experience, preferred activities, and desire to explore the marine biodiversity of the Gili Islands.



When it comes to accommodation options, both Gili Air and Gili Trawangan offer a range of choices to suit different budgets and preferences.


Gili Air, being the smaller and more tranquil island, offers a more laid-back and intimate hotel and resort experience. You’ll find a variety of accommodation options, including cozy guesthouses, boutique hotels, and beachfront bungalows. Many of these establishments focus on providing a relaxing atmosphere with beautiful garden settings and traditional architectural designs. This makes Gili Air an ideal choice for travelers seeking a more authentic and peaceful island stay.


Gili Trawangan, being larger and more developed, offers a wider range of accommodation options to cater to different tastes and budgets. From budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses to luxury resorts and villas, there is something for everyone on Gili Trawangan. The island is known for its beachfront resorts that offer stunning views and easy access to the beach. Additionally, if you’re looking for a livelier atmosphere with a vibrant nightlife scene, Gili Trawangan has a variety of accommodation options close to the main strip, making it convenient for those looking to experience the island’s social scene.


Whichever island you choose, it’s recommended to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak seasons when availability may be limited. Assess your preferences, budget, and desired level of tranquility or liveliness to choose the accommodation option that best suits your needs.


Nightlife and Entertainment

When it comes to nightlife and entertainment, Gili Trawangan takes the lead with its vibrant and lively atmosphere, earning its reputation as the “party island” of the Gili Islands.


Gili Trawangan offers a wide array of bars, beach clubs, and restaurants that come alive after sunset. Whether you’re looking for beachfront cocktail bars, reggae-inspired beach parties, live music venues, or beach clubs with renowned DJs, Gili Trawangan has it all. The island’s nightlife scene caters to all tastes, making it a hub of excitement and fun for those seeking a vibrant party scene.


On the other hand, Gili Air offers a more subdued and relaxed nightlife experience. While there are a few beachfront bars and restaurants that offer live music or sunset views, the atmosphere on Gili Air is generally quieter and more laid-back – perfect for enjoying a dinner under the stars or a peaceful evening stroll along the beach.


Ultimately, the choice between Gili Air and Gili Trawangan for nightlife and entertainment will depend on your preferences. If you’re looking for a lively party atmosphere with a wide range of entertainment options, Gili Trawangan is the way to go. However, if you prefer a more tranquil and intimate evening setting, Gili Air provides a more subdued ambiance.



Getting around the Gili Islands is primarily done on foot, as motorized vehicles are prohibited on all three islands. This creates a unique and peaceful environment, allowing visitors to explore the islands at a leisurely pace.


Gili Air, being the smallest of the three islands, is easily navigable on foot. Most accommodations, restaurants, and attractions are within walking distance from each other. You can stroll along the beach or take a pleasant walk through the village to explore the island’s charm.


Gili Trawangan, being larger in size, offers more transportation options to get around the island. Bicycle rentals are available and are a popular choice for exploring the island. Riding a bicycle around Gili Trawangan allows you to cover more ground and visit different areas of the island at your own pace. Horse-drawn carriages, known as cidomos, are also available for transportation, particularly for longer distances or if you prefer a more traditional mode of transport.


For those who prefer a faster mode of transportation, there are also public boats, known as “public boats,” that operate between the Gili Islands. These boats are the main means of transportation for inter-island travel, allowing you to easily visit Gili Air and Gili Meno from Gili Trawangan and vice versa. Private boat charters are also available for a more personalized and convenient mode of transportation.


Overall, both Gili Air and Gili Trawangan offer convenient transportation options to explore the islands and move between them. The choice of how you get around will depend on your preference for walking, cycling, or taking a cidomo, as well as the distance you need to travel.


Dining Options

Both Gili Air and Gili Trawangan offer a wide variety of dining options to satisfy every palate, ensuring that food lovers have a memorable culinary experience.


Gili Air offers a more laid-back and local dining scene. You’ll find a selection of small warungs (local eateries) serving traditional Indonesian cuisine, as well as beachfront restaurants offering fresh seafood and Western dishes. Many of these dining establishments have a cozy and intimate ambiance, allowing you to enjoy your meal in a relaxed setting while taking in the beautiful beach views.


Gili Trawangan, being larger and more developed, offers a more diverse dining experience. The island has a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and food stalls, catering to various tastes and dietary preferences. Here, you can find everything from local Indonesian cuisine to international dishes, including Mediterranean, Italian, Mexican, and Asian fusion. Beachfront dining options, rooftop bars, and trendy cafes are also abundant, providing a vibrant dining atmosphere along with stunning ocean views.


Both islands also offer options for vegetarians and vegans, with several restaurants dedicated to serving plant-based dishes and healthy, sustainable food options.


Ultimately, the choice between Gili Air and Gili Trawangan for dining options will depend on your preference for a more local and intimate dining experience (Gili Air) or a diverse and vibrant culinary scene (Gili Trawangan). Regardless of your choice, you’ll find plenty of delicious and satisfying options to satisfy your taste buds on either island.


Budget and Costs

When it comes to budget and costs, both Gili Air and Gili Trawangan offer options for every traveler, whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly getaway or a more luxurious experience.


Gili Air, being smaller and less developed, generally offers more affordable accommodation and dining options compared to Gili Trawangan. You’ll find a range of guesthouses, homestays, and mid-range hotels that provide comfortable and reasonably-priced accommodation. Local warungs and small restaurants offer delicious meals at affordable prices, making it a great choice for budget-conscious travelers.


Gili Trawangan, being larger and more developed, has a wider range of accommodation options, including high-end luxury resorts and villas. While there are options that cater to luxury travelers, there are also budget-friendly guesthouses and hostels available. Dining options vary from budget-friendly street food stalls to upscale beachfront restaurants, offering a range of prices to suit different budgets. It’s worth noting that the prices on Gili Trawangan may be slightly higher compared to Gili Air due to its popularity and larger tourist infrastructure.


In terms of activities and entertainment, both islands offer a variety of options to suit different budgets. Snorkeling equipment rentals, guided diving tours, and boat trips to neighboring islands can be arranged at various price points. Nightlife and entertainment options on Gili Trawangan may involve additional costs, such as cover charges and drink prices in bars and clubs.


It’s important to note that prices on both islands may vary depending on the season and demand. During peak seasons, such as holidays and festivals, prices may be slightly higher. It’s advisable to plan and budget accordingly, considering your accommodation preferences, dining choices, and desired activities.


Overall, with careful planning and consideration, both Gili Air and Gili Trawangan can be enjoyed on a range of budgets, allowing travelers to have a memorable and enjoyable experience within their means.



Choosing between Gili Air and Gili Trawangan for your tropical island getaway is no easy task, as both islands offer their own unique charm and attractions. Gili Air is perfect for those seeking a laid-back and tranquil setting, with its serene beaches, peaceful atmosphere, and local village feel. On the other hand, Gili Trawangan caters to those looking for a livelier and more vibrant experience, with its bustling nightlife, diverse dining options, and larger beachfront resorts.


Consider your preferences and what you’re looking for in an island escape. Are you seeking a quiet retreat or a lively social scene? Are you more interested in exploring marine biodiversity through snorkeling and diving or simply enjoying beachside relaxation? Your choice will determine whether Gili Air or Gili Trawangan is the better fit for you.


Ultimately, why not consider experiencing the best of both worlds? Many visitors choose to split their time between Gili Air and Gili Trawangan. This allows them to enjoy the tranquility and local charm of Gili Air and then venture to Gili Trawangan for a vibrant, fun-filled experience.


Whatever you decide, the Gili Islands are sure to provide you with beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a memorable island adventure. So pack your swimsuit, sunglasses, and a spirit of adventure, and get ready to savor the unspoiled beauty and enchanting atmosphere of the Gili Islands.