Gili Air, although closest to mainland Lombok, lays somewhere between the tranquillity of Gili Meno and the bustle of Gili Trawangan in terms of atmosphere – making it a great option for backpackers and families wanting to get away from the tourist crowds and brush shoulders with local culture.
With warm, shallow waters right off the beaches that positively teem with tropical marine life; days spent lounging with cool drinks under the hot sun, occasionally jumping into the turquoise waves, are the main reason to visit. As with Meno, the pace of life is slower and endearing but like Trawangan there’s still plenty to keep you entertained – with exceptional diving, snorkelling and even some good surfing by day, to great live music, bars and socialising at night. Gili Air also has a friendly local population concentrated in it's main village at the heart of the island with a mosque and some great local "warungs" (cheap restaurants serving tasty Indonesian food).
There’s a surprisingly wide range of accommodation on the island to suit every taste and budget (though never feeling crowded), whether it be on the beach or set back in the coconut groves. Dining options are also quite varied, with inexpensive local food available inland to freshly caught grilled fish and international cuisine being offered at the many beachside restaurants.
Gili Air, like it's sister islands, is motorized traffic-free and all distances are easily covered by foot or with a rented bike. There are also horse drawn carts available that run a taxi-style service from and to anywhere on the island, which can be handy with bags to carry. The name "Air" actually means 'Water' in Indonesian, while "Gili" translates as 'small island'. So "Gili Air" is about as literal a name as it can get, being a small island surrounded by water! Enjoy unobstructed views out towards mt. Rinjani, Lombok's highest and most active volcano, from the east shore of the island. If you get up early enough, you'll witness the most magical sunrise - a real bucketlist moment! And if you get bored of all that sun, sand and surf, why not hop over to Lombok for a Rinjani hiking excursion to see the volcano close up!
Get away from the the bustle of Bali and relax in the quiet of island life on Gili Air!