Need a little help of what to do during your time in the Gilis?
Tucked away between Lombok and Bali, the small archipelago is Indonesia’s crowning jewel. The 3 coral-fringed islands are best known for diving and snorkeling – and it’s not hard to see why.
Despite their small size, there are plenty of things to do in Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. Surrounded by crystal clear waters lapping against golden sand, they are ideal for a beach getaway.
Add to that a bunch of vibey bars, laid-back beachside accommodations, and an abundance of diverse wildlife and flora, and you are in for an unforgettable time!
17 Cool Things to Do in the Gilis
It’s no secret that the Gili Islands are a dream destination for divers and snorkelers. When you have time out of the water, here is a list of things to do and see in the Gilis.
Learn How to Scuba Dive with Blue Marlin Dive Center
Ok, obvious ones out the way first.
The Gilis have some of the most epic snorkeling and scuba diving destinations in Indonesia.
If you’re interested in the underwater world and love a good adventure, there is no better place to learn how to dive than in the famous Coral Triangle itself.
Blue Marlin is the original dive center of the Gili Islands. They are PADI certified, catering to beginner and advanced divers, and provide a bunch of different courses and guided dives.
Surf Some Epic Waves with Sunny Surf School
While the Gilis are best known for their snorkeling sites, there is a lot of fun to be had on the surface of the ocean too.
As a surfer myself, I can confidently say that surfing has changed my life in every possible way. More of a lifestyle than a sport, learning to surf is one of the most wonderful ways to surround yourself with nature and do some exercise at the same time.
There are plenty of surf schools around the islands. Sunny Surf School Gili Trawangan is one of my favorites, they welcome all levels and ages!
Snorkel Untouched Reefs at Gili Nanggu, Sudak and Kedis Islands
If you have to choose just one of the things to do in Gili Trawangan on this list, snorkeling should be it.
The Gili Islands are some of the best in Indonesia for their flourishing coral reefs and marine life. Each snorkeling trip reveals different secrets about the ocean, you can expect to see sea turtles, kaleidoscope-colored coral reefs, and incredible tropical fish.
A private or group snorkeling trip can be arranged from Gili T to the more exclusive reefs of the less crowded Gilis.
Spend a Night, or 2, at Le Pirate Gili Meno
Set on the quietest of the 3 Gili Islands, Le Pirate Gili Meno is an outstanding paradise resort with a restaurant, cocktail bar, and beach club.
They can arrange all kinds of activities like snorkeling, fishing, and cycling – you can live a real island dream.
Unlike typical resorts, this relaxed spot has a super laid-back atmosphere. One of the best parts is the outdoor movie night they host under the stars.
If you are looking for an idyllic tropical escape, Le Pirate is a stunning setting.
Groove the Night Away at Sama Sama Reggae Bar
For some drinks and dancing after a magical sunset, Sama-Sama Reggae Bar is the best place to start your night.
The bar has a super chilled ambiance, along with a live reggae band performance every evening.
If you have enough energy, head over to The Jungle Bar for a wild night of electronic music and cheap drinks. You may have a headache in the morning, but it’ll be worth it!
Take a Tour of Gili T’s Swings
The sea swings in Gili T are one of the most well-known things on the island.
Dotted around the shoreline, there are wooden swings dipped into the ocean where you can swing, look out over beautiful island views and get a good Insta-pic.
You can bike around the island to hit all the best swings, or find your favorite one for a magical sunset pic. What’s a trip to the Gilis without a sea swing or 2?
Stretch it Out at Gili Yoga
Yoga is a great addition to a day of relaxing and unwinding. You can stretch out your kinks and have a moment of connection with your body.
As a huge fan of yoga myself, one of the best things to do in Gili Trawangan is to relax, stretch your ligaments, and work your muscles, all at the same time.
The Gili Yoga studio is a shaded space surrounded by tropical foliage and open walls.
They typically practice Yin and Vinyasa sequences at sunrise and sunset, but be sure to check out their website for updated schedules.
Grab a Bite at the Gili Trawangan Night Market
Nothing beats a good night market for some late night snacks.
With a buzzing atmosphere paired with a delectable selection of delicious food, the Gili T Night Market is a great place to get yourself something tasty.
The market is one of the most popular dining places on the islands – and for good reason.
Perfect for budget travelers with lots of food stalls, take your pick from king prawns and lobsters, traditional nasi goreng, and the day’s freshest catch barbecued before your very eyes.
Bask in the Sun at North East Beach on Gili T
One of your favorite things to do in Gili Trawangan will be to do simple nothing.
And by this, I mean lounging around in the sunshine on a beautiful beach – heavenly, if you ask me!
North East Beach on Gili T is just a short walk from the main jetty, where boats from Bali and Lombok arrive and depart. Surprisingly, the central beach is super quiet, and there is always space to relax.
This is also one of the best beaches for turtle spotting too. There’s no better way to see turtles on the island than in their natural habitat (try not to crowd them, and DO NOT touch!)
Hop Aboard a Sunset Cruise
I can’t think of a better way to end a day than chasing the sunset on an intimate cruise.
A sunset cruise can be a totally romantic and special experience for you and a loved one in tropical paradise.
There are private and shared options depending on your preference, but each promises an unforgettable, front row view of a magnificent sunset.
After a day of snorkeling, you can enjoy a freshly prepared dinner and drop anchor with the sky changing colors all around.
Have a Drink at Window Bar Gili T
There are so many great options of where to grab an evening drink in Gili T.
Window Bar is one of the most aesthetically pleasing and relaxing spots, located on the other side of the island from the harbour it is less busy than the main strip.
You can enjoy soft white sand between your toes, undisturbed ocean and sunset views and a packed menu of tasty drinks and meals.
There’s even a jungle gym where you can test yourself – before or after your cocktails 😉
Prepare an Indonesian Feast with Gili Cooking Classes
Take a little bit of the islands home with you by learning how to cook some signature Indonesian dishes.
This fun and interactive experience uses local, fresh produce to teach you to prepare all the delicious dishes you’ve been tasting while exploring the islands.
Try out the intro course or try out the ‘super six’ class to learn all the classics. Hosted on both Gili Air and Trawangan, you can try out a class wherever you are based.
Treat Yourself to a Full Body Massage
You deserve a treat – even when on holiday. After days of cycling around the island, you can treat yourself to a soothing, pampering massage. Let all those kinks and cramps be put to rest by the pros.
A few of the best spas and wellness centers in the Gili Islands are Santai Spa on Gili Trawangan, Slow Spa on Gili Air, and Karma Sea Spa on Gili Meno.
Hand over control to the professionals, and unwind with an indulging massage as the cool sea breeze and sound of waves surround you.
Tuck into some of the Best Pizza on the Islands at Mama Pizza
I don’t know about you, but I struggle to get through a week without indulging in a slice, or 5..
What’s better than authentic Italian pizza? Authentic Italian pizza on the beachfront!
Set right on the sand of Gili Air’s pristine beach, Mama Pizza has a menu of sourdough pizzas, bruschettas, and cocktails.
Prepared in a traditional brick oven, the Italian chef makes sure each dish is absolutely perfect before being served. From one paradise to another, there really is no better Italian restaurant in the Gilis.
Circle the Whole Island by Bike
There are no cars or motorbikes on the Gili Islands. You may occasionally come across an electric bike, but the majority of people get by with walking or cycling. If you are wanting to do something a bit more lively with your day, you can circle the whole island by bike – or on foot if you fancy.
The small size, flat landscape, and lack of cars makes them safe and easy to circumnavigate on two wheels. It’s a great way to explore all the best bits of the islands.
On Gili T you can rent a bike for under $3 per day, and cycle around it in under an hour!
Relax on a Shady Beach
When on a tropical island, what better is there to do than spend a whole day lounging on the beach?
The sun on the Gilis can be pretty strong, so you’ll want to make sure to drench yourself in SPF and hide out under some shade. Luckily the shoreline is dotted with rentable sun beds and bales, even some shady trees.
Find yourself a comfortable spot and lay down for a day of crashing waves and hot, hot sun.
Make Your Own Jewelry with Yin Jewelry for the Soul
Bring home some amazing souvenirs from your trip with this one super fun thing to do in Gili Trawangan.
Yin Jewelry hosts silver smithing classes where you can design and make your own personalized silver jewelry!
During the three-hour workshop, you will get to design and make a pendant or a ring with five grams of silver (with the option of paying for extra silver for larger pieces). I love that you can leave the islands with a sentimental item that will always remind you of your time in the Gilis.
There are a whole load of amazing things to do in the Gilis – from nature spotting and diving to just lazing and lounging to your hearts content, every kind of traveler will find their thing on the islands.
Just a short boat ride over from mainland Bali, a visit to the Gilis is a MUST – don’t miss out!
Featured image: Window Bar Gili Trawangan