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Exploring gorgeous Gili Air | Great for diving & snorkelling

Gili air is the least developed of the Gili Islands and is a mix between the other two.  Gili Meno is the smallest and caters mostly for couples and Gili Trawagen is the largest and caters for the party animals.  Gili Air is somewhere in between.  Good restaurants and bars but no boom boom boom till the wee hours.  Below we’ll help you explore Gili Air and offer a bite sized guide to island life.

Gili Air
No grid lock here on Gili Air

The Gili Islands – Explore Gili Air

Gili air is the least developed of the Gili Islands and is a mix between the other 2.  Gili Meno is the smallest and caters mostly for couples and Gili Trawagen is the largest and caters for the party animals.  Gili Air is somewhere in between.  Good restaurants and bars but no boom boom boom till the wee hours.  Below we’ll help you explore Gili Air and offer a bite sized guide to island life.

How did we get to Gili Air

There are regular boats going back and forth from Lombok that cater for the tourists but we decided it would be more fun going over on the locals boat.  The locals boat was a third of the tourist boat price and is more how we like to travel.  So there we were, with our cases and Chris with his nice boots piling on with all the local people and their shopping to get to the island.  I absolutely loved it. 

Explore Gili Air
The local boat from Lombok to Gili Air

Gili Air – where did we stay?

As Chris was planning on doing a lot of diving we decided to stay at the Manta Dive resort.  They had gorgeous little log huts and we were lucky enough to stay in Manta 1

  • The room was perfect, all wooden which gave it a warm and cosy feel even thought he temperature was hot hot hot.
  • An outdoor shower and toilet which was just amazing.  So refreshing and in the heat of the day. 
  • Beautiful bed linen and the ladies who serviced the room each day would leave us a little smiley face.
  • A nice balcony to relax on 
  • A pool right in front of our room which we could enjoy at any time of the day. 
  • Right within the dive centre so Chris never had far to go for his briefings 
  • The waterfront hotel was also adjacent  and we took breakfast there every morning and it was delicious
  • I loved this place and would recommend to anyone and its most definitely on my list to go back. 

What is there to do on the island?

The main attraction of the island is diving and snorkelling.   This is the main reason we ended up here.  Chris had found Manta Dive on Gili Air and it just ticked all his diving boxes.  Apart from diving there was so much more to do. 

Other ways to explore Gili Air:

  • There was snorkelling round most of the island.
  • You could walk round the whole perimeter of the island in 1hr 20 mins at a leisurely pace. 
  • There was just chilling and sipping cocktails watching the sun go down
  • Gili Air is a very chilled island and you almost feel your heart beat slowing when you arrive.
  • Boat Trips to other islands 
  • Fishing Trips & other excursions
Gili Air
Walking round the island

Explore Gili Air Underwater – All about the Diving

This was the main reason we visited the island.  Chris was keen to get under the water and I was contemplating having a go.   Manta Dive had all the accreditations and excellent reviews and they really lived up to their reputation.   On the 5 days we were there, Chris dove practically every day.

Manta Dive 

As well as catering for experienced divers Manta Dive offers a variety of courses from people completely new to diving right up to experienced divers wanting to enhance their skills. All the dive sites are within 20 – 30 mins boat ride from the island which means you get more time to explore rather than sitting in the boat. 

I would highly recommend this dive centre as the quality of the dives were amazing, the staff were really knowledgeable and friendly and they really made you feel like one of the family.  Fantastic service.

Gili Air
A turtle whilst diving

What was the food like on Gili Air?

The food on the island was amazing.  We tended to use the local family run restaurants called Warungs at lunchtime where the family would cook up a variety of meat dishes, curries, chicken, veg, rice and corn fritters.   You would pay a small sum of money usually less than £1 for a plate of whatever you wanted from the display.   Absolutely fantastic food. 

There were also a few restaurants which I would recommend and they are:

Classico Italiano a fantastic Italian Restaurant with all your usual favourites. Sharkbites Restaurant the best burgers on the island and they do take away too. The Waterfront Hotel & Restaurant This was actually where we stayed as it was affiliated with Manta Dive.  The food was excellent and they had a good variety of dishes from steak to salad and of course seafood. 

There are many other restaurants, cafe’s, ice cream parlours, street food stalls all with their own style and all extremely tasty.    The island also does some extremely good cocktails. There is nothing nicer than chilling, with a cocktail watching the sun go down. 

Explore Gili Air
A local Warung where we ate lunch most days

Time to say goodbye to Gili Air

Our time on this island had to come to an end sometime and it was really sad to leave.  The chilled relaxing time we had was difficult to give up. 

Homeward bound

We booked the fast boat to take us from Gili Air to Bali (via Gili Trawagan).  We’d spend the night in Bali, near the airport, before heading there in the morning for our early flight to Singapore on Air Asia.  From there we made our way to the international departures for our Flight home to the UK on Ethiad via Abu Dhabi.  For flights and prices click here.

One last thing…..

Before I leave this blog post I just want to tell you about when we arrived at Bali on our “fast boat”. The tide was in or out, I don’t remember, but whichever it meant the boat couldn’t dock.  So we jumped out, into the water to wade up to the beach with the crew bringing our luggage on their shoulders.  A sight I’ll never forget and there’s a picture here of my purple flowery case making its way ashore.

Explore Gili Air
Lynnes suitcase arriving at Bali

Our view

The Gili Islands are absolutely stunning. Small but perfectly formed little oasis of tropical beauty we would highly recommend at least five days on these islands as each of the three has something different , from lively all night parties to quiet relaxed Honeymoons. The diving is easy with beautiful underwater scenery and wildlife. Hopefully we will get back here one day.

Booking resources for your trip


You can compare cheap flights on the Expedia platform or here on the Aviasales website.  Both will give you a good idea of how much its going to cost you to get to your chosen destination.


We have always tended to use having said that if your on a tight budget another good site to try as a comparison is Hostelworld, If your looking to compare different sites you can do that on Hotellook, we tend to look on here first to make sure we are getting the best deal.

Tours & Tickets

You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site.  Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.

For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.

Some of the links on this page contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or services we write about. You will never be charged a fee for shopping through one of our affiliate links. You may even get a discounted rate and we will make a small commission. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships.

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28 thoughts on “Exploring gorgeous Gili Air | Great for diving & snorkelling”

  1. What an amazing looking place to visit. You made me want to go and had me at island and snorkeling. We LOVE snorkeling so this would be the perfect place for us.

  2. We keep talking about going there on our Bali trips but somehow haven’t made it yet! Gili Air looks like the perfect choice between the 3! And we’ve done the Bali fast boat to Nusa Penida and experienced the wading to shore, haha, those boats are not easy to get on & off of!

  3. I LOVED Gili Air!! I’m not a diver but I snorkeled with a turtle which was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had! I can’t wait to go back there once COVID is over 🙂

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