Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Wed February 03 2016

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  • Shannon Wolf | February 3, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    Gili Air: Slow Boat to Tropical Bliss

    Gili Air: Slow Boat to Tropical Bliss

    PHOTO: As you arrive on the slow boat to Gili Air, you will be dropped off in literal paradise where the pressures of the day will fade away. (photos by Shannon Wolf)

    When you go to Indonesia, you can’t leave without taking one of the many slow or fast boats over to the Gili Islands on the northwest coast of Lombok from Bali.

    There are three islands to choose from — each a bliss combination of the most picturesque turquoise waters and endless white sand beaches.

    The biggest of the three is Gili Trawangan, also known as the “party island.” Second largest is Gili Air, offering a more chilled-out vibe for those who want to rest and relax. And nestled right between the two islands is Gili Meno, the smallest. Known as the “honeymoon island,” solo travelers will feel like the ultimate third wheel on this island full of lovers.

    Out of the three Islands, I would have to say that without a doubt, Gili Air is by far my favorite!

    Gili Air is the epitome of simple island life. Transportation takes place on sandy pathways via bicycle and horse and buggy. There is intermittent electrical power and minimal technological distractions, leaving you with plenty of time for self-reflection, reading and getting back to nature.

    READ MORE: Gili T: Where Partying is the Rule, Not the Exception

    Getting Here:

    From Gili T: You will want to take the public boat (aka slow boat) over to Gili Air, which is the cheapest and simplest option.

    Buy your ticket at the dock for 40k (one-way)

    Departure times: 9:30 a.m., 4 p.m.

    From Bali:

    Go to any tourist stall and barter the price for a return fast boat down to 500k. The company will pick you up at your hostel to bring you to the port, you jump on your boat and enjoy a two-hour journey over to the island.

    Cheapest Accommodation: Gilinta Villa ($10 a night)

    One of the nicest places I have stayed in all of my travels and highly recommend to everyone who goes to Gili Air! The staff is incredibly helpful, friendly and your bungalow makes you feel like you’ve hit the jackpot!


    • Comfortable bed with mosquito net and fan.

    • Stunning bamboo house with balcony.

    • Ensuite bathroom with stone lined outside shower.

    • Free, delicious breakfast and coffee.

    • Wi-Fi (but only works in dining room).

    PHOTO: One of our favorite spots to watch sunset every night on the west side of the island.

    Best Eats:

    • Coffee and Thyme: Makes incredible coffee and coffee chocolate cake (worth every penny!).

    • Warung LemonGrass

    Best Beaches:

    Gili Air is tiny, with a circumference less than 3 miles, making it feasible to explore every inch of the isle’s beaches. The northeastern side of the island is untouched with beautiful white sand, while the eastern side has some of the best snorkeling around. Unless it’s high tide, swimming close to shore may not be feasible due to sharp coral — you may need to trek out a bit further to properly splash around.

    READ MORE: Filmmaker Captures Southeast Asia's Brilliance With Captivating Video

    Must Do’s

    • Watch one of the most beautiful sunsets of your life. (On the opposite side of the island of the main strip is the perfect view for sunset along with many bars to lounge at!)

    • Rest, relax and enjoy the tranquility of Gili Air.

    • Take a walk around the entire island.

    • Go snorkeling.

    PHOTO: The sunsets on Gili Air are far beyond what a picture will capture. Simply put, you need to go! 

    Heading to Lombok?

    From Gili Air, be sure to take ONLY the public ferry (aka slow boat) found at the dock rather then though a company, as the prices are incredibly high and the boat only takes a few minutes to get over to Lombok. (I learned the hard way so you don’t have to!)

More Indonesia


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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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