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The Gili Islands of Northwest Lombok – Indonesia

The Gili Islands of Northwest Lombok – Indonesia

Gili Trawangan : Between White Beaches, Coral Reefs and Party
Gili Trawangan is the largest of Lombok’s Gili Islands and is the only one to rise significantly above sea level. It is 3km long and 2km wide with a population of about 700. Of the Gilis, Trawangan has the most tourist facilities; the pub Tîr na Nôg claims that Trawangan is the smallest island in the world with an Irish pub. The most crowded part of Trawangan lies on the eastern side. It is administered under Lombok Barat Regency along with Senggigi Beach.

On Gili Trawangan (as well as the other two Gilis), there are no motorized vehicles. The main means of transportation are bicycles (rented by locals to tourists) and cidomo (a small horsedrawn carriage). For traveling to and from each of the Gilis, locals usually use motorized boats and speedboats.

Some of the first inhabitants of Gili Trawangan were from Sulawesi who are fishermen and farmers. Previously Gili Trawangan was covered in forest and deer lived on the island. (Source: Inhabitants of Gili Trawangan — no printed source available)

The economy of Gili Trawangan centres on tourism, as the island is too small to support any broad scale agriculture, and too remote to allow economically viable industry or commerce.

There are now seven dive operators on the island which run a full range of PADI courses, starting from the Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) course or the Open Water, right up to Instructor courses at certain times during the year. The schools organise Fun Dives with local dive masters who have a wealth of knowledge about each site.

There seems to be a dive centre for everyone, whether you like the hustle and bustle of a big busy school like Blue Marlin or Manta Dive, or more relaxed smaller groups at laid back schools such as Vila Ombak Diving Academy and Trawangan Dive. There are also some schools which are more tailored to French speaking divers (Big Bubble) and German speaking divers (Dream Divers).

The diving is very easy and varies from walls, slopes and plateaus. The maximum depths at many of the sites range from 24m-18m, making it perfect for beginners and more experienced divers alike. Almost all the dive sites can be reached by boat in 10 minutes and all the dive shops are located on the beach front making access very easy.

Some of the fascinating marine life you may see include: black and white tip sharks, turtles, frog fish, leaf fish, ghost pipe fish, moray and ribbon eels, pygmy seahorse, eagle rays, octopus, cuttlefish, snakes and bumphead parrot fish.

SNORKELING
Snorkeling in the waters off Gili Trawangan is very easy and doesn’t require a boat. Simply walk into the clear blue waters from the beach and you’re away! The main snorkeling area is along the main beach area, but there are other less busy areas with great snorkeling to be found up and down the east and northeast sides of the island.

Along the main beach front there is usually an easy current which takes you along making snorkeling all the more easy as you drift with the current, get out at the end, and walk back up the beach and start again.

A host of amazing marine life can be found while snorkeling, ranging from parrot fish, moorish idols and puffer fish, to barracuda, trumpet fish and baby cuttlefish, and if you’re really lucky, turtles!

Masks, snorkels, fins and life jackets can be found for rent all along the beach front.

Gili Meno : Quite Beaches and The Only Blue Coral Reefs in Asia
Gili Meno is the middle of Lombok’s three Gilis. It has a population of about 400, mainly concentrated on the center of the island. The main income of the population comes from tourism, coconut plantation and fishing. On the west side of the island there is a small shallow lake that produces salt in the dry season. Until a few years ago there was also a small production of seaweed on the reef at the north end of the island. It has swimming beaches all around the island, as well as an impressive bird sanctuary.

The island attracts fewer tourists than Gili Trawangan and is the quietest and smallest of the Gilis. However, honeymooners are often drawn to the crystal clear water and idyllic, secluded white beaches.

There is no fresh water on the island, it is imported daily. Electricity is supplied by generators, although there are plans for renewable energy sources to be developed. There are also no cars or motorbikes and only a limited number of tourist accommodation options.

The second island between G. Air and G. Trawangan. The most quiet island and probably the water is cleanest.
Electricity is available 24 hours but very unstable. The water system has not been installed to this island therefore most of cheap hotels use light salty water and only expensive hotels buy pure water from the main land but most

The boats from Lombok arrive at the East coast of the island. The accommodation is spread m ainly to S(left as you land) and some to North

Gili Meno is the middle of Lombok’s famous three Gilis. It has a population of about 400, mainly concentrated on the center of the island. The main income of the population comes from tourism, coconut plantation and fishing. On the west side of the island there is a small shallow lake that produces salt in the dry season.

With a population of just 300, Gili Meno is the mellowest of the three islands, and certainly the most in-tune with a desert island ethic. The beaches are much nicer than you will find on Gili Trawangan and Gili Air.

A coastal path leads all the way around the island, and can be covered at a very leisurely pace in 90 minutes. Most of the tourist facilities, including the boat arrival and departure point, are on the southern part of the east coast.

There is a lake on the western side of the middle of the island. This is sometimes quite full, and at others very dry. It is though always very saline.

HOW TO GET THERE:
From Lombok
Public boats depart from Bangsal between 8AM-5PM, take about 30 minutes, and cost Rp 10,000. They depart only when there are enough people (normally a minimum of 15). Dedicated boats to Gili Meno are few and far between, and best looked for early in the mornings and mid-afternoon. The boat office at Bangsal will though make sure you get dropped off by a Gili Trawangan-bound boat if necessary. A chartered boat from Bangsal to Gili Meno will cost about Rp 200,000.

Perama has a tiny office on Gili Meno at Kontiki Cottage. They offer daily transfers to and from Senggigi, but these may not run direct outside the peak seasons, and you may be diverted to Gili Trawangan.

From Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno
Public inter-island boats run twice daily. The morning boat leaves Gili Air at about 8:30AM arriving in Meno at 8.45AM. The same boat goes onto Gili Trawangan picking up there at 9.30AM, and returning to Gili Meno at 9:45AM. The afternoon boat runs the same route leaving Gili Air at 3PM and Gili Trawangan at about 3:30PM. The fare from either of the other islands to Gili Meno should be about Rp 20,000, but is prone to impromptu fluctuations.

A charter boat from Gili Trawangan or Gili Meno will cost about Rp 200,000 – a relatively huge sum of money for a 10 minute ride.

WHAT TO SEE:
It is hard to imagine why anyone on Gili Meno would want to do anything other than walk. Do just that, slowly. Horse carts (cidomos) are available though, and are useful for getting you and your bags to and from the boat landing. A single trip should cost Rp 40,000-60,000.

* Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary
A splendid initiative whereby green sea turtle and loggerhead turtle eggs are collected, hatched, and the younglings safely released into the ocean. In 2008 and 2009, a total of 2,000 turtles were released. Go along, see the work and lend your support. Donation. edit

* Taman Burung (Bird Park)
Sadly, this aviary is not as well kept as it was, and the formerly very popular komodo dragon died in 2007. Still worth a visit though, with a large range of birds present. Rp 50,000.

Gili Air Lombok – Nice Quite Beaches and Spectacular Coral Reefs
Gili Air is the smallest of the Gilis and it’s closest to the Lombok mainland, making it popular with honeymoon couples and travelers seeking a quiet retreat. It has a population of about 1,000 and administratively lies in the West Nusa Tenggara province. The island offers excellent snorkeling and scuba diving off its east coast, and turtles can be seen along the coral reef.

The island still maintains its rural charm, as tourism is relatively new. In the early eighties it was backpackers who first discovered the three little islands of Air, Meno and Trawanggan, (gili, means small island) and basically not much has changed on Gili Air since then except that the level of services and facilities has grown little by little over the years.

Coconut Cottages and The Frangipani Garden Restaurant are located in a Coconut grove on the east coast of Gili Air only 100m from the beach where you can enjoy some of the best snorkeling on the island. Coconut was opened in 1992 by Kamil and his Scottish wife Elaine and together with their family hope to make your stay on the island relaxing and enjoyable.

The island of Gili Air is, with approximately 1,800 inhabitants, the most densely populated island of the archipelago made up of three small atolls (Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan). The local inhabitants (the Sasak) are very kind and hospitable to tourists.
Muslim is the prevailing religion, and is observed assiduously by the inhabitants of the island. Their religious ideas are in no way disturbed by the comparison with other cultures, customs and different uses, above all from western cultures.

The island economy has only recently been transformed from the fish market to a prevalently tourist market. There are continually new small resorts and restaurants springing up, which last just one season, whilst others, with greater experience, manage to establish themselves, and provide modest and primitive services that are of great interest to the tourists arriving on the island, in search of primitive adventures.

A holiday on the island of Gili Air will long be impressed on the visitor’s mind, as a kind of ‘Terrestrial Paradise’ that still exists on earth

The Sasak are worth noting for their splendid rites and their beautiful dances.
On the island, the only means of transport are the cidomo, which are small horse-drawn carts that transport people from one part of the island to another.
Gili Air has rich tropical vegetation, with many coconut palm trees, and is one of the most beautiful and still unpolluted natural areas.

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