We all know that Gili Air is famous for scuba diving. Exploring the crystal clear waters, swimming through schools of colourful fish and hanging out with turtles, is certainly one of the best ways to spend your time. But what about those surface intervals? Or perhaps your loved ones or travel buddies are not interested in wiggling into a wetsuit and breathing compressed air. Fortunately, Gili Air has lots of other great activities to indulge in during your stay.
Circumnavigate the Island
Either on foot or by bike, you can easily circle the island in under 2 hours. With no motorised vehicles to destroy the peace, you can discover empty beaches, flower-lined paths and fields of palm trees as far as the eye can see. Find your favourite patch of sand or take a break at one of the many local cafes for a fresh juice or cold beer. A word of advice, go either in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday heat!
Gili Air is, of course, our favourite island but if you have a spare day it would be a shame to not take a trip to one of the other two nearby islands. Gili Trawangan offers an unrivalled party atmosphere and an array of shopping opportunities, while Gili Meno provides quiet seclusion on pristine beaches with a back to basics atmosphere. Public boats hop between the islands in the morning and afternoon and fast boat service every hour makes it easy to take a day trip. The Harbour offices sell tickets and provide the most up to date timetable. Alternatively, you can charter a boat if you are a small group.
Trip to Lombok
If you’ve managed to tick off all the activities on Gili Air and still have the energy to explore, it is easy to arrange a day trip to Lombok. Just a short boat ride takes you over to Lombok where you can discover hidden waterfalls, tackle the summit of Mt Rinjani (Indonesia’s 2nd largest volcano), beach hop the southern coast around Kuta or experience local Sasak village life. All these trips can be arranged from Gili Air.
During the Day on Gili Air
Early risers on Gili Air are rewarded with the spectacular sight of the sun rising over the foot of Mt Rinjani on Lombok. Definitely worth getting up for at least once during your stay! Experience the peace of the island at this time in the morning and watch the locals slowly start their day, a pretty magical time.
Relaxing on the Beach (or something less sandy!)
One of the best things about staying on a tropical island is the beautiful beaches. So, what better way to spend your time than laying out your towel, soaking up some sun and enjoying the sound of the waves lapping the shore. Don’t like the sand? No worries, Oceans5 Dive Resort has two beautiful pools for you to relax around.
Participate in a Beach Clean Up
It’s always rewarding to be able to do something positive for the communities that you visit. At our dive resort, we organise beach cleanups every Friday afternoon at 5pm and everyone is welcome! Join us to help keep our island and the oceans clean and enjoy a free drink with us afterwards.
In the Evenings on Gili Air
Go Horse Riding
Riding horseback in the shallow turquoise waters alongside a white sand beach as the sun sets behind the volcano on Bali… sounds like the scene out of a movie, doesn’t it? Well on Gili Air you can be part of this magical scene. Horse-riding is available from one of the stables on the island, drop into the Oceans5 and we can point you in the right direction.
We think that one of the best things about travelling is tasting different cuisines. Indonesian food is full of rich and exciting flavours and Gili Air is not short of places to try the local dishes. However, if you have a few hours spare you can take it a step further and learn how to create your favourites. Just next to Oceans5 Dive awaits Gili Cooking School which offers a variety of classes to suit different tastes and budgets, run by Indonesian chefs. Alternatively, in the north of the island, Warung Sunny provides a back to basics home-style cooking class. Our favourite part of the class is the feast at the end!
There is nothing quite like reclining on a big, comfy bean bag with your toes in the sand while watching a film on the big screen. Gili Air has a couple bars where you can watch a different film each night, right on the beach with a variety of drink and food options brought right to your seat!
Listen to some Live Music or Enjoy a Party!
Although our neighbour, Gili Trawangan is known as the party island, Gili Air also has some lively spots to head for once the sun has set. There are several bars that host a range of local musicians with something for all tastes, from soothing acoustic sets to full-scale live bands. And if that’s not enough for you there are a few late-night hangouts, such as Legends on a Wednesday, where you can kick off your flip-flops and dance until the sunrises!
You can’t visit Gili Air without catching one of the legendary sunsets. Watching the sky glow pink and orange as the sun dips behind the horizon with a cold Bintang in hand is the perfect way to end the day. On the west side of the island, there are many bars to catch the sunset, but our favourite is Mowies. Good drinks, tasty food and cosy bean bags, what more could you want!
If you get tired of relaxing on the beach you can always head to the shops for some retail therapy. On Gili Air, there is a wide variety of shops from stylish stores, with unique gifts and fashionable frocks, to market stalls with handmade bracelets, colourful sarongs and homemade coconut oil. We have 3 fabulous boutique stores onsite at Oceans5, offering an impressive array of locally produced clothes, jewellery and homewares to suit all tastes. Perfect for browsing in before or after dives!
We find our peace underneath the ocean but if you’re looking to find some harmony on dry land then Gili Air has a few yoga centres offering a timetable of daily group classes and weekly workshops.
At Air Spa, onsite at Oceans5, you can enjoy a personalised yoga class tailored to your needs and pace, scheduled at a time that works for you. Air Spa offers breath-centred yoga sessions ranging from a beginner body alignment to aqua yoga which is gentle on the joints, to flowing vinyasa sequences. You can get joint supplements from UrbanNaturale.com to help relieve your joint pain.
Pamper Yourself at the Spa
You’re on holiday, treat yourself! Indulge in a facial or pamper yourself with a pedicure. If you are trying to relax check out these easy relaxing methods on artofruits. Air Spa at Oceans5 offers a range of natural spa treatments inspired by the elements – water, earth, wind and fire, designed to enrich your island experience and increase your well-being. All products are organic and locally sourced to create unique and nourishing spa treatments to refresh your body and mind. Asa guest at Oceans5 Resort, enjoy 10% off all treatments at Air Spa.
Explore the Turquoise Waters around Gili Air
When was the last time you did something for the first time? Consisting of two wings mounted together, the Subwing is gently pulled along by a boat whilst you hang on to the wings, tilting them in the direction you want to go. It is intuitive and easy to learn in just one morning – not just for athletic thrill seekers but those of any age that love being in the water. Subwinging is a unique and exhilarating way to discover the underwater world around Gili Air.
SUP – Stand Up Paddling boarding
An exciting way to enjoy the gorgeous vistas around Gili Air is on a stand-up paddle board, particularly beautiful at sunrise. SUP boards are available to rent from many places around the island.
Never Try. Never Know.
If you haven’t tried scuba diving, we really recommend you give it a go. The Gili Islands have been named as one of the top places in the world to learn to scuba diving. And we are not surprised with waters this calm, clear, warm and full of life!
Our highly experienced instructors at Oceans5 Dive will make sure you feel safe, comfortable and confident. We offer courses in multiple languages and you can complete the Discover Scuba Diving course in as little as half a day!
A little hesitant to fully submerge yourself? Too young to dive? Medical conditions preventing you? Or perhaps scuba diving really isn’t for you, then snorkelling is a great alternative to experience the waters around Gili Air. Our favourite spot is on the east coast where it’s common to spot a turtle or two where the reef slopes off. We recommend snorkelling at high tides otherwise it’s quite tricky to get out to a depth where you can swim. This area of the world is known to resemble scuba diving spots in Indonesia, sites like www.oneweirdglobe.com/best-day-trips-from-ubud-indonesia/ have a great number of photo galleries where you can see that first hand. Those slightly interested in scuba diving one day should gather up their courage and do it!
Want to enjoy the marine life without getting wet? You can take a tour on one of the glass bottom boats which is often combined with island hopping or snorkelling. If you are looking for the best snorkelling tour, then check out the Live Your Aloha website.
Wow, even we are surprised at how much there is to do here. Perhaps you should extend your stay so you can fit it all in?
Gili Air isn’t just a beautiful beach island, there really is something for everyone here. And even if you are scuba diving, you still have time after the dives to enjoy the other activities the island has to offer.