Besides Bali, Lombok is a good alternative tourists’ destination in Central Indonesia. There are a lot of newly developed tourism objects in this island, but there is one object which has becoming favorite, the Three Gili. Gili in Sasak’s language means Small Island, so, Three Gili is three small islands of Lombok which consists of Gili Terawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. These Gili are so famous because of its beach beauty and peaceful atmosphere.
Gili Air (Water Gili) could attract many tourists because of its beautiful panorama and tranquil situation. This island is the closest island to the main island of Lombok amongst the Three Gili. The size of Gili Air is approximately 188 hectare. The local residents of this island are around 1,562 people. Regardless of its small size, Gili Air has school facilities from Kindergarten until High School.
Just like the other Gili, Gili Air is also a great place for diving. The best spot for diving and snorkeling is located in the Aast Coast Area of Gili Air. In its water, tourists could observe turtles, various fish, and colorful coral.
Gili Meno extent of 150 hectare and could be gone around in 1.5 hour using cidomo, a traditional horse-drawn carriage. Gili Meno is a good destination for snorkeling because of the cleanliness of its beach and beauty of its coral reef. In this island, there is also saltwater lake which is used by the local residents to produce salts.
Besides, becoming fishermen the local residents of this island indeed become salt sellers. However, due to the high visit of tourists, more jobs are available for them such as working in hotel, restaurant, tutoring for diving, cidomo coachman, and so on. Unfortunately, in Gili Meno there is no school. The children must go to Gili Trawangan for studying. In this small island, besides snorkeling or diving the visitors could also visit Gili Meno Bird Park. In this park, collection of various birds and crocodile are shown.
Gili Trawangan is the biggest island if compared to the other Gili. The size of Gili Trawangan is 340 hectare with 1,529 people living here. Usually, the tourists who visit Three Gili will prefer staying over in this island because of its complete and comfortable accommodations. There are a lot of resorts or lodges to be chosen from the cheapest until the luxurious one. Besides that, some of the local residents also rent their rooms for the tourists.
Gili Trawangan is also the most crowded island amongst the other Gili. This island is the favorite place for private party. Abundance of resorts and restaurants are available along the coast, even a special place for watching sunset is also available. In the high season, the number of tourists visiting this island in one day could reach 100 people. The number of ships or vessels visiting this island could also reach 10 ships per day.
For the transportation, besides cidomo there is also cikar dangol in this island. Cikar dangol is similar with cidomo but without roof, because it could also be used for transporting goods. In Gili Trawangan there is also a turtle conservation place which was built by Gili Eco Trust. Twice a year, there will be an event for releasing the turtles into the sea. Many people will come and participate in this event. The conservation of the turtle in this island also affect the tourism sector, because the observing the turtles are one of the attractions in diving or snorkeling.
These Three Gili offers a total escape from the stressful daily routine and crowded atmosphere of the cities. The common contributors to the sound pollution in the cities, motor vehicles, are prohibited. Thus noise-free situation is guaranteed in these islands. For traveling around the island, you could go on foot or using cidomo.
In the afternoon, the tourists usually prefer diving or snorkeling around the island. If you are a beginner in diving, you do not need to worry because in Gili Trawangan there are some certified diving and snorkeling courses. However, if you do not want to dive or snorkel but still want to see the beauty of the Gili’s underwater life, a lot of glass-floored boats are also available to be rented. In the evening until night, the best activity to do here is enjoying sunset whilst relaxing in the cafes along the coast. For you the seekers of nightlife, you can still come to the bars and cafes at night in Gili Trawangan. These cafes are usually full of foreign tourists who spend their day partying until midnight.
There are many ways to go to Three Gili. If you depart from Bali, you could go directly to Gili Trawangan by speedboat, cruise ship, or ferry. However, if you go here by plane, you could contact some tour operators to assist you crossing to these islands from Lombok’s main island. The trip only takes a few minute, even to the farthest Gilli (Gili Trawangan) it will only take around half hour. You could also cross to these islands by heading to Bangsal from Mataram City, and then rent a traditional boat from there. It will be a cheaper alternative for visiting Three Gili. Moving from one Gili to another Gili will only take around 10 minute trip using boat.