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Gili Air, an escape from the real world

Posted by francois on April 13, 2016
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Gili Air is a small rustic island near to Bali, that is only accessible by boat, and on the island there are no cars or petrol motorbikes.

We arrived by fast boat, which we took from Padang Bai, on Bali.

Gili Air island does not have proper paved roads, only dirt roads and foot paths. The only way to get anywhere is by foot, bicycle, boat, or by horse and cart. It is so small, that you can walk around the entire island in about 2 hours.

The entire island is literally a village in the middle, with restaurants, dive shops, and bars around the edge, facing out to sea.

We checked into the cheapest island accommodation we could find, which was Gili Air garden. It was a small bungalow, with a futon, fan, mosquito net, and private bathroom. It only took about 3 minutes to walk to the beach from the accommodation so we were able to really take advantage of the warm tropical ocean numerous times a day.

The island was filled with lots of travellers from all over the world, mostly backpacker types looking for a relaxed island life. If there ever was a ‘chill out’ island, Gili Air is it.

We explored the paths around the island and through the villagers’ houses on foot, and other times we hired a bicycle to get around, just for something different. It was fun to cycle without any cars to worry about.

We made the best of the island, going snorkeling at the beach every day with turtles, and lots of vibrantly coloured fish and corals. Every day we went snorkeling by ourselves for hours, and one of the days we treated ourselves to a snorkeling tour with a local guide. The guide took us on a boat to some amazing coral reefs around the island, where we saw lots of beautiful fish and of course more turtles.

Some evenings we were treated to an amazing sunset on the beach, the sea was extremely calm with no waves and the water reflected the pink sky like a mirror. The weather was hot and humid every day, with occasional down pours of heavy rain, and thunder storms which didnt seem to last very long. The nights were less humid, but still very hot, so having a room with a fan or aircon is a necessity.

The electricity supply on the island is a bit dodgy, and the entire island often had days where there was no power for hours a few hours in the afternoon. We also experienced power cuts during the night, which was bad when your room is like a sauna, and you cant open the door without inviting a million mosquitos.

While we were on the island, there was a free trance festival at one of the beach bars, which made our experience even more interesting.

We saw some of the local wild life again, with a scorpion we found in our room one night, lots of large golden orb spiders and giant snails that we would find crossing the foot paths at night.

On one of the days we thought our eyes were playing tricks on us, as we noticed what looked like a horse on a boat….and it turned out, that it was! The first and probably last time we will ever see a horse on a boat! We suspected the horse either went on one of the many snorkeling tours available on the island, or possibly just a trip to the vet, lol!

We got so used to the extremely slow and relaxed lifestyle on the island that we were not looking forward to going back to the real world.

If you are looking for a place to do nothing but relax, snorkel, lie on the beach and chill, Gili Air is definitely the island to do that.