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- 13 May 2021, 3 nights
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Gili Air is one of the three Gili Islands in Indonesia, and at under 2km long it's an easy stroll – wherever you're heading. There's no motorised traffic, so instead the clip clop of horses' hooves fills sandy streets, which are dotted with coconut palms. Gili Air might be small but there are plenty of activities to try here, from scuba diving to yoga on the sands, or you can spend lazy days working your way through the cocktail menu in one of the many beach bars.
It is easy to find a Gili Air hostel with a restaurant that serves local food and some also have bars or put on a free breakfast for guests. Hang out in gardens around a mushroom-shaped swimming pool or rebalance in a yoga centre. You can spend the night in a conical thatched hut or sleep on a bamboo bed suspended from the ceiling. As well as huts and cabins, Gili Air hostels have dorms and private rooms to suit all travellers.
Divided into geographical areas, Gili Air's inland has a more local feel with cattle roaming between palm fields. The south is the busiest area thanks to the harbour, although the main strip is on the east coast. This easy-going high street backs on to some of the islands best beaches and has plenty of restaurants. The west is the place for sunset views over Mount Agung in Bali, followed by a walk to the promenade's bars to check out the lively nightlife.
Activities on Gili Air are about spending time outdoors. Along the eastern beaches there's snorkelling, and scuba diving with companies that'll take you through your PADI qualification. Yoga fans will have a choice of beachfront classes, although there's also a popular yoga and meditation centre inland. For after-dark entertainment, catch a movie at one of the island's two outdoor cinemas or sign up for a cooking class with fellow travellers. There are markets on the island for picking up souvenirs, or you can take a boat to nearby Gili Trawangan for a wider selection.
To get to the Gili Islands you can fly to Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali and take the 2-hour boat ride from either Serangan or Padangbai port. The alternative is to fly to Bandar Udara Internasional Lombok airport and connect to Bangsal Harbour – a 2.5-hour bus ride. From Bangsal it's a 15-minute boat ride to Gili Air. To travel between the Gili Islands you can charter a boat or buy tickets for the island-hopping service.