Diggin' Mandi

Snorkeling, Bintang, and Fun in the Sun – Gili Islands, Indonesia!

BEAUTIFUL! When I think of the Gili Islands, beautiful is the strongest thought that comes to mind. Beautiful white beaches and a water so clear and blue it is breathtaking. It is no wonder so many choose to become certified in scuba diving here.

What also makes the islands such a great place to visit is there are no motor vehicles found on the islands; a huge change from Bali. The main horse power found on the islands are, well, actual horses. But you really don’t need a horse to get around because the islands are so small that you can rent a bike and make a whole trip around the largest island Gili Trawangan (Gili T.) in a leisure hour and a half.

Courtesy of Phil Pu

Courtesy of Phil Pu

The three islands do offer different scenes from one another. Gili T. is known for the party scene and younger crowd. Gili Air is more for a relaxed and reserved genre while newlyweds and couples are the main focus of Gili Meno.

The three islands run on generated power, so it is not a surprise if the power goes out at night and you are left sitting in darkness. It may be five minutes or five hours before the power will kick on, so have your electronics charged before sunset. However, many of the restaurants and bars have their own personal generators, so the islands are not in complete darkness. So no worries, you can still go and paint the town if you want to.

Pool rules

Snorkeling Bliss

I am such a water baby. I have loved the water for as long as I can remember. So I found myself wondering while I was in Fiji (where I went scuba diving for the first time ever), “why had I not done this sooner”?

Me snorkeling

Courtesy of Phil Pu

When I went diving in the rainbow reef in Fiji I immediately got hooked to the world of diving and snorkeling. So now I found myself on the gorgeous beaches of the Gili Islands and knew without a doubt that I had to get out there and get my swim on!


Courtesy of Phil Pu

I ended up going on two separate day-long snorkeling trips during my week stay. They were awesome! I saw my first sea turtle and was in bliss. I did get a little nervous when it turned and looked at me. I felt it may have wanted to come take a nibble on my flowery water get-up I was wearing. Perhaps I looked like lunch? I was wrong, but I still backed off, ha.


My first turtle….ever!! Courtesy of Phil Pu

There were so many different species of fish that I had never seen before. I had no idea if any of the large ones wanted to eat me or not, and I really didn’t care, I was a happy girl!

The coral there is amazing and the water crystal clear! The water temperature is wonderful! There was even a stop on the tour that allowed us to see a sunken ship. Paying to go snorkeling away from the beach shore was well worth it here. The price of it all was absolutely fabulous (see below)!

I highly recommend paying to go snorkeling for the day while visiting Gili T! A person can see so much just snorkeling of the beaches there, but you get to see so much more when you take a boat out and snorkel away from the beaches.

Coral 2

Courtesy of Phil Pu

Night Life

It can easily be said that there is no lacking of night life on Gili T. There are several bars and plenty variety of music. If there is a bar that has a window in it, I never saw one. The Islands are too warm to need windows. I loved it!

Feel like dancing in the street? No problem! You won’t be the only one. Drink specials? You betcha! I myself divulged on many of my nights drinking an excessive amount of Bintang (local beer) and dancing in the street with friendly strangers and new friends. I can’t forget to mention beer-pong! My friends and I always seemed to find ourselves at the same bar most nights for beer-pong tournaments.

It was rare when bed time came before watching a beautiful sunrise.


Night Market

Every night when the sun goes down an empty lot found on a corner becomes a bustling food market. Here you will find amazingly good and amazing priced fresh food.

Courtesy of Phil Pu

Courtesy of Phil Pu

The variety found there will be overwhelming the first day, but you will soon figure out what you like and become a pro before your vacation is over. Foods range from locally caught seafood to authentic Indonesian foods.

Courtesy of Phil Pu

Courtesy of Phil Pu

Courtesy of Phil Pu

Courtesy of Phil Pu

I quickly fell in love with the spicy corn-on-the-cob! For only three dollars (US) you will leave the night market in agony because you ate too much.

Final Thoughts

I am a fan of the Gili Islands. There is a relaxed and calming sense to them and the cost to visit is very forgiving. The locals are kind and the beaches are fun. If you are wanting to get certified in diving then this would be the most economically savvy choice. In the end I would recommend a visit to whomever is considering the location. Between the three islands – Trawangan, Mano, Air – there is a place for whatever scene you are looking for.

Courtesy of Phil Pu

Courtesy of Phil Pu


  • Snorkeling day trip = 100,000Rp (~ $8.00USD); with lunch included on Gili Meno = 120,000Rp (~ $10.00USD).
  • Roundtrip cost from Kuta (including transfer to ferry port and back) = 500,000Rp (~ $42.00 USD).
    • You should never pay more than this. Bartering is completely acceptable to get this price.
  • Large plate of food with six different side choices = 40,000Rp (~ $3.00USD).

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