Scuba diving in the Gili’s was one of the main draws for tourist years before the islands became a holiday destination in their own right. The diving season is year-round, with an average water temperature of about 28 degrees. There are more than 20 dive sites to visit with a variety of different topographies to explore. The conditions and dive sites are suitable for beginners and the experienced divers alike, with a wonderfully diverse array of marine life, including reef sharks, turtles, lionfish, stingrays, moray eels, frogfish, barracuda, scorpionfish, eagle rays and mantas.
There are at least 20 dive operators now on Gili Trawangan alone. When choosing who to dive with, look out for those that are members of GIDA (Gili Islands Dive Association). These dive shops will provide the most professional, safe and enjoyable dive experience.
Snorkelling and Glass Bottom Boat Trips
For those people who don’t have time to immerse themselves into the diving, there is plenty of opportunity to enjoy the underwater world simply with a mask, snorkel and fins. This activity is most popular off the east coast of the island where most people choose to sunbathe and it’s easy to get in and out of the sea. The best spot island-wide is on the northern tip, on the eastern edge, although depending on the tide it can be a little more difficult to enter and exit the ocean. Snorkel gear can be rented from many places along the main strip for a daily rate of about Rp50,000 per person.
Snokelling trips can be arranged for approximately Rp100,000 per person. This is usually a 4-5hr day trip, including snorkeling at various spots around the 3 islands. Most trips stop off on Gili Air for 1hr for lunch, whic is not included in the price. Private charters are available, and cost approximately Rp1,200,000, with a maximum of 6 people. Both type of trips include mask, snorkel and fin rental.
Glass bottom boat trips are roughly the same price as the above, and quite often the snokelling trip boats will be glass bottom boats anyway.
Flyboarding is a new activity on the Gili Islands, having been launched mid-2014 by the South Sea Nomads company. It’s a completely new water sport that is taking the world by storm. Essentially, you are strapped into a snowboard-esque binding, which is connected via a large hose, to a jet-engine speedboat. As the boats gives some throttle, the water travels through the hose and exits at high speed from your bindings, building up enough pressure to raise you out of the water, as shown in the picture. To book your time soaring and spinning through the air like Iron Man and swimming and diving like a dolphin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Don't miss out! Prices start from $85USD. Visit their website for more information: http://www.southseanomads.com/flyboard.
This is the original Gili Islands Party Boat, and is the perfect way to make new friends and get a tan while you have an ice cold beer in your hand. Spend the day and afternoon on the boat soaking up the sun on their roof deck or chilling out on the hammock-style netting. The boat cruises around the Gilis, stopping a few times for you to jump into the clear, blue waters, and have a swim and a snorkel. Lunch is provided. After the sunsets, they head back to Gili Trawangan where you can continue to party at The Irish Bar to your hearts content.
The party boat price is Rp300,000 per person, including shared snorkel gear and food. There is also an on board bar, which is very reasonably priced.
Trip start times vary depending on the season and Ramadan. Please check their schedule online or email them via this link: http://www.southseanomads.com/
Freediving is a rapidly growing sport, and the gili islands has the perfect place to learn what it’s all about if you’ve never tried it before, or to train to a higher level if you already have some experience. Freedive Gili is the place to go. It’s located a couple of hundred meteres north of the main harbour area and Manta Dive. The instructors there actively competitive in major competitions, and hold national records in their field. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, and the tuition is second to none.
They teach ALL SSI Freediving courses from SSI Level 1 to Instructor and are the only specialized Freediving Instructor Training Center in the region. For more information, please visit their website: www.freedivegili.com
Surprisingly, Yoga took a while to cement itself a place on Gili Trawangan, but now it’s here, it’s very popular. Gili Yoga is set within the same business as Freedive Gili, with both activities complimenting the other perfectly. They have created a sanctuary in the heart of Gili Trawangan, for you to call your home away from home, to meet like-minded adventurers.
They offer a variety of daily drop-in yoga classes for all levels of experience, as well as yoga and meditation workshops and retreats. Whether you are here to stretch and sweat, breath and relax, or embrace your spiritual potential, their yoga classes and teachers will help guide you through the journey.
Their teachers are professional, passionate and dedicated yogis who love to share their lifestyle with you. For more information, please visit their website: www.giliyoga.com
Horse-riding on the Gilis has been available for some time now, with the main outlet being Stud Horse Riding Adventures (☎ 087 861 791565), located towards the south-east of the island, on the approach to the main sunset-viewing area. Prices are approximately Rp350,000 per person for an hour. We recommend that if you want to try it, you have had some past experience with horse-riding.
There is a plentiful choice of spas on the island, offering a vast array of treatments to suit all of your relaxation needs. Most places offer traditional massages, manicures, pedicures, mud baths, sports massages, face masks, body waxing and more. Prices are slightly higher than those in Bali, but still are very reasonable compared to what you would pay in a western country. The closest spas to us are at Vila Ombak Hotel and Exquiste Spa, both of which are only a few minutes walk away. There is also a small spa in the Black Penny, whic h is directly next door to us, which offers fish feet cleansing amongst a selection of body massages.
Gym & Tennis
There is currently only one gym on the island, housed within the Kelapa Villas. Ask our staff for directions, as it’s located in the middle of the island and can be hard to find without help. You can pay for a one-day pass, which is about Rp50,000 per person. There are two new gums currently being built, and due to be finished in early 2015.
Kelapa Villas also have theislands only tennis court, which is about the same price for a session. It’s not currently possible to have lessons, but they do have raquets, so you can turn up with a friend and have a knock about. There is also an on-site bar and restaurant for the post-game warm down.
Sunset and Sunrise
Everyone loves a sunset, and Gili Trawangan rarely fails to deliver. There are many places claiming to be ‘the best sunset spot’, but anywhere on the south-west and west side of the island can offer a good view. Wilson’s Retreat on the east coast is a nice place to watch it, and has an excellent cocktail menu to go with it. Those of you who are more adventurous may want to trek up the hill and watch it from there. It’s a short and steep climb, but the rewards are worth it. Bring refreshments as there is nowhere to buy them once you’ve reached the viewpoint. Sunset is between 6pm and 6:45pm year-round.
Sunrise is best viewed on the east coast, and the sun comes up over Mount Rinjani on Lombok. It’s a spectacular view, but only early risers will get to see it. It’s a 6am event, but it’s worth it at least once during your trip.
Mini Golf & Golf
In 2014, Gili Trawangan saw the opening of the first mini-golf on the island. This is located towards the north end of the island, about 200m inland, close to Melati supermarket. Prices are cheap, and there’s also trampolining, darts and table tennis available, as well as a small bar for refreshments.
In Lombok, there is the opportunity to play at some great golf courses. Please contact us for prices as they change frequently. We can help arrange transport to the golf course via a 15minute speedboat ride from Gili Trawangan, where you’ll be met by golf-cart and taken to the clubhouse to start the days round of golf. It’s a great day out, but don’t forget your suncream. It gets very hot out there. $100USD
Mount Rinjani Trekking
Mount Rinjani is visble from our breakfast area, and is an active volcano on the island of Lombok. It rises to 3,726 metres (12,224 ft), making it the second highest volcano in Indonesia. On the top of the volcano is a 6-by-8.5-kilometre caldera, which is filled partially by the crater lake known as Segara Anak or Anak Laut (Child of the Sea). The lake is approximately 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) above sea level and estimated to be about 200 metres (660 ft) deep. There are also hot springs in the caldera. Sasak tribe and Hindu people assume the lake and the mountain are sacred and some religious activities are occasionally undertaken in the two areas.
Trekking to the summit is a poular, but very strenuous activity, and is usually done as a 3 day, 2 nights package. The cost varies a bit, but is roughly Rp1,500,000 per person, including transport there and back, and all food and drink. Please ask our reception staff for more information.
Gili Trawangan has no motorized transport. The only way to travel around is by Cidomo (traditional horse-cart), by foot, or by bicycle. Most visitors to the island will rent a bike at some point during their stay, and our reception staff will be more than happy to help arrange this for you. It’s quite popular to circumnavigate the island by bike, but there are some areas of deep sand, so it’s not possible to get the whole way round without having to get off a couple of times. Bike rental is approximately Rp50,000 per day, or Rp10,000 per hour. For more information, just ask our staff.
Indonesian Cooking Classes
Cooking classes have been available on the Gilis since about 2012, and Gili Cooking Classes, located in the heart of the local food emporiums next to the night market, are the best at what they do.
Whether you love Indonesian food, cooking is your hobby, or you’re simply curious, there is no better way to learn Indonesian cooking than by being trained by Indonesian chefs, with local ingredients, whilst in Indonesia.
Classes are 3 hours long, conducted in English by professional chefs. Their experienced teachers will guide you through a session of completely hands-on fun filled courses, with emphasis on the art of fine Indonesian cooking in a relaxed social environment.
The courses are focused on traditional Indonesian cuisine using the freshest local & seasonal products. During the class, you will learn traditional and practical techniques, as well as the substitutions to Indonesian local ingredients as to ensure you can prepare the dishes authentically and innovatively back home. You will prepare every dish by yourself before enjoying a nice and friendly outdoor dinner sitting around the bar.
For more information and bookings, please visit their website: www.gilicookingclasses.com
Surfing & Paddle Boarding
Gili Trawangan has a fast right hander which can really pump with the right conditions. The best waves are at high tide, and the underlying reef can be sharp so booties can come in handy. The surf break is off the south coast (in front of Ko-Ko-Mo Resort) - just follow the locals who will be out and jogging with their boards whenever the surf is decent. There are a few breaks off Gili Air and Gili Meno, but they are more difficult to reach and smaller. The best season is the January-June wet season, with swells from 1-2m. Surfboard rental is approximately Rp50,000 per day.
Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is a relatively new sport on the Gili islands, and is based out of Trawangan Dive's water sports centre, Gili Paddle. With Graham Francis, you can learn to stand-up paddle board, or if you are already experienced, you can rent SUP's by the hour.
UV Diving was launched on Gili Trawangan by the innovative South Sea Nomads company in 2013 and is operated out of Manta Dive (www.manta-dive.com).
It’s a completely new diving experience, showing the underwater world in colours you would only expect to see at a full moon party. Fluorescence underwater occurs when you shine blue (near-UV) lights on corals and fish that contain proteins which absorb the blue light and re-emit the light in a different wavelength (colour). The results are incredible. On a UV night dive you can expect to see fluo pink scorpion fish, yellow shrimps and moray eels, orange crabs, green, pink and yellow corals.
Each unique dive costs only $60 per person including all your dive and UV equipment, and is available every night of the week, with a maximum of 4 people per guide. To book your UV experience email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. For more information, please visit their website: http://www.southseanomads.com/uv-dive-gilis