16 Fun Things to Do in Gili Air
When you go to Gili Air, it’s all about spending time in the sun, on the beach, or in the water. Here are 16 things to do in Gili Air so you can take advantage of this beautiful island and its surroundings.
- Scuba diving
- Watch the sunset
- Island hop
- Enjoy live music
- Have a movie night
- Practice yoga
- Walk or bike around the island
- Pamper yourself
- Go horseback riding on the beach
- Learn how to freedive
- Get up early for sunrise
- Shop cute boutiques and stores
- Fly underwater with a subwing
- Take a cooking class
Gili Air is surrounded by dive sites, so you’re a short boat ride away from discovering a beautiful underwater world. You’ll see healthy coral and a wide variety of marine life. The water around the Gili islands is warm and calm, with little to no current. This makes it a great place for beginners and inexperienced divers.
If you’re an experienced diver, make sure you dive Shark Point and do a night dive. Shark Point, as its named, is where you’ll find black tip and white tip reef sharks. Although sharks are the highlight, you’ll find other exciting creatures, like octopus, sea turtles, stingrays, and large schools of fish.
Night dives are an entirely different experience from diving during the day. When the sun goes down, interesting and weird creatures come out to play. I did my first night dive in Gili Air and it was an unforgettable experience. I saw a squid, shrimp, hermit crabs, sea urchins, lionfish, scorpionfish, and bioluminescence. When you’re surrounded in darkness with nothing but a flashlight, diving becomes even more of a treasure hunt.
One of the best things about Gili Air, and the other Gili islands, is the ability to snorkel off the beach. You can easily find places to rent snorkel gear. Then, walk into the ocean and swim out. There aren’t any waves and the water is clear, so you can easily snorkel at any time.
Watch the sunset
Head to the west side of the island for sunset. Post up on the beach with your own drinks, grab some gelato at Damonte “il gelato,” or take a seat at one of the many restaurants (Mama Pizza does incredible pizzas) along the beach.
The most popular tour you can take from Gili Air is an island hopping tour, where you’ll snorkel and see the other Gili islands. Swim with turtles and visit BASK Nest, the famous underwater sculpture of 48 human figures composed in a circle.
Island hopping tours are advertised everywhere, so you can walk up to a vendor and book last-minute. You can also check if your accommodation arranges island hopping tours or recommends a vendor.
Enjoy live music
Although Gili Air is quieter than Gili Trawangan, you can still have a fun night out. One of the best ways to spend it is by hearing live music. Check out Legend Bar, Zipp Bar Restaurant, My Happy Place, and Raja Bar & Restaurant for live music throughout the week.
Have a movie night
This isn’t your typical movie night at home or in a theater. When you’re on an island, you’ve got to watch movies on the beach instead. Settle into a bean bag, bury your feet in the sand, and enjoy a movie with stars in the background. Begadang hosts movie nights twice a week, with free popcorn.
Walk or bike around the island
Since there aren’t any motorized vehicles on Gili Air, the main ways to get around are by walking or biking. There are many places, especially by the ferry terminal, that rent bikes. To explore on foot, the island is small enough that it only takes a few hours. You’ll see all sides of the island – what’s been created for tourism as well as how locals live.
Treat yourself. You’re on vacation! For such a small island, there are a lot of spas on Gili Air. Choose from all sorts of massages, reflexology, manicures, pedicures, baths, and much more.
Go horseback riding on the beach
Have you ever imagined yourself galloping across the beach as the sun sets on the horizon? You can finally live out your dream with Gili Air Horse Riding. Don’t worry if you’ve never ridden a horse. The horses are well trained and the guides tell you what to do so you can focus on having a memorable experience.
With calm water around Gili Air, you can paddleboard off the island. Instead of seeing the sunrise or sunset from shore, escape the crowds by paddling out and enjoying the view from the water. You can find paddleboards for rent throughout Gili Air.
Learn how to freedive
It only takes two to three days to learn freediving. And once you know how, you can swim deeper and longer on a single breath. Gili Air Divers is a certified, reputable dive shop that will teach you how to freedive.
Get up early for sunrise
Gili Air doesn’t just have fantastic sunsets. There are also amazing sunrises. And the best part is you don’t get the same crowds for sunrise as you do for sunset. Sunrise on Gili Air is peaceful – almost meditative. Go to the east side of the island, where you’ll only be joined by a few families with young kids and runners.
Shop cute boutiques and stores
As soon as you step off the boat and onto Gili Air, you’ll see lots of small, colorful stands and shops. Spend an afternoon browsing all the swimwear, clothes, and jewelry that’s on sale. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, it’s fun to stroll around and window shop.
Fly underwater with a subwing
If you don’t know what a subwing is, it’s a board with two wings that you tilt to control how you travel through the water. Just grab onto the board while a boat tows you along. You’ll feel like you’re a dolphin or mermaid, gliding and rolling underwater. Subwing Gili Islands does subwing trips nearly every day.
Take a cooking class
Gili Cooking Classes hosts three different cooking classes, depending on the number of dishes you want to make and your budget. You’ll learn how to make some of the food that you commonly see on menus, including fried tempeh, fried noodles, and gado gado.