Tips for Travelers: How to Spend a Weekend in Gili Islands

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Gili is known for its sandy beaches with palm trees lining it and coral reefs just a short swim from the shore. When you see pictures of it you can’t help but book a quick getaway there.

So, how would you want to spend your weekend trip in the Gili Islands?

Maybe it’s by doing a quick tour of everything the island has on offer, or perhaps you want to take things easy and relax on the beach this weekend.

Whatever your agenda is, I’ll help you plan your time there the way you want to.

Follow these tips to get the most out of your weekend on the Gili Islands as a budget backpacker or traveler.

Tips on How to Save Money
Most of the people you’ll meet on the island are budget backpackers or travelers, which is great. You’ll be able to do activities together with that in mind.

Before you jump into the bigger activities, there are ways to save on the smaller things. You’ll be glad you did these things and had the budget to “splurge” on something else.

Here are a few tips that saved me money while I was there:
• Rent Bikes for Transportation
The island is small and quiet that you wouldn’t want to disturb the peace with a loud car or bus. Instead, opt for a bike rental. You can easily rent a bike for as low as 35,000 IDR which is about $2.50! It’s a great way to get around the islands and get the most out of your stay.

• Street Vendors
Save your money on food and go to the street vendors or night markets. You have many options to choose from that are all equally delicious. You can get food anywhere between 13,000-21,000 IDR which is about $0.95-1.50. Not only will you save money, but you’ll get a taste of the more local foods.

• Use Your Bargaining Skills
Vendors see tourists as people made out of money, not knowing most people who come are on a tight budget. Bargain with the sellers and if done well you won’t pay the price they originally offered.

When I was there, I stuck to a daily budget of 400,000 IDR or $30. This covered my nightly bed at the hostel, eating at local and cheaper restaurants, drinking very little, and riding local transportation or riding my rental bike.

You can go to the Gili Islands and pay not much more for better accommodation, food, and more drinks.

It’s possible to do both budgets, but it depends on your wallet, not mine.

Best Activities to Do on the Gili Islands
While there are many things to see and do on the Gili Islands, there are about five I’d recommend.

On these islands, you can
• Lounge on the beaches
• Scuba Dive
• Surf
• See wildlife
• Bike

Lounge on the Beaches
You can’t go wrong with any of the beaches on the Gili Islands. You can lounge there for hours and take a dip when you get too hot. There will be restaurants or shacks along the beach to get a refreshing drink or snack. Just be sure to keep your trash out of the waters!

Scuba Diving
You can go to any of the Gili Islands and find a center that trains in scuba diving. All the prices are about the same, so you worry about the reliability and reputation of the company instead of the price tag.
On you take a dive, you will see scorpion and cuttlefish, and even octopuses if you get lucky!
The diving centers here are much cheaper than other Indonesian islands and you’ll still receive the accredited certificates you want to work towards.

Surf
The surf action is on Trawangan Island’s southernmost point, which has good waves almost all year round!
You can sign up for a surf that would cost you around $400, which includes everything. However, you can easily find a guide to teach you lessons and you’ll be surfing on your own before you know it!

See Wildlife
If you want to see animals and other wildlife native to the area go to Trawangan and Gili Meno Islands. There, you’ll have access to Gili Island’s biggest beaches, which are also home to turtle populations!
Staff at your accommodation will be happy to help you figure out where to see the most sea turtles and best places to rent gear from.

Bike Around the Gili Islands
As I mentioned before, the best transportation on these islands is a bike! The islands are so small that it’s completely manageable to do it. Just bring some snacks, water, a little bit of money, and your camera for the day.

I hope these tips have given you what you need to navigate your whirlwind weekend on the Gili Islands!

Author Bio: This article is written by Peter Young promoting Bali Ferry — they provide ferry service from Bali to Gili Trawangan.