The Gili Islands are a group of 3 small islands in Indonesia off the coast of the larger island of Lombok. These islands are a great alternative or weekend trip from Bali as they have better beaches, amazng diving and just a fun travel scene overall. Better beaches than Bali? Oh yes, no doubt (except for the Nusa Islands)!
The Gilis are a hard core party destination, a paradise, a divers dreams, and so much. But, you really have to know first what YOU actually want. Based on your own expectation, you should choose your island and hostel.
It is important for your overall experience to understand the difference between these 3 Gili Islands. Below we also added a map with all hostels, and our own recommendations on food and things to do.
1. Gili Trawangan = PARTY
Also know as Gili T, it is the largest of the 3 and has become known as the party island. Still with a strong laid back beach culture, the island comes alive at night. If that sounds like your scene, this is likely the island for you.
2. Gili Meno – Quiet and smallest
is the quietest and smallest of the islands. This is the perfect destination for those who want to get away from it all and enjoy a secluded island paradise. Still this island has great diving and snorkeling for those days when you want some adventure.
3. Gili Air – more for Couples and Families
is the closest to Lombok. It has a great mix of the other two islands, socialising and relaxing. A great choice for backpackers or travelers who want to get away from their mundane life while meeting new people or relaxing. Gili Air is the best choice for families and couples.
Good to know: You can also visit the other islands, obviously. Just ask at your hostel for a transport over or take a snorkel trip. We have been to all 3 islands, actually.
Fun fact: Gili simply means Island. Just a random fact you can annoy people with in the hostel.
Whichever island you choose, you’ll need some place to stay. We’ve rounded up the best hostels in the Gili Islands to help you make your choice that much easier. Whether your looking for a place to relax or a place to party, we’ve got some great options for you.
Money-saving tip: Compare hostel prices with Hostelz.com. They compare prices from Hostelworld, Booking.com and others with 1 click.
We put all hostels and backpacker places in Gili Islands on this big hostel map. It will help a lot in planning your Gili Islands Backpacking trip. We also answer common FAQ.
Check-In and Check Out: The average check-in time is from 15:00 (3pm), while the Check-Out time is before 11:00 (11am). Hostels usually offer luggage storage in case you arrive earlier or leave later. Make sure you check if luggage storage is free or if there is an extra cost.
Tips for Visiting Gili Islands:
Before you go, here are some quick tips for visiting the Gili Islands and making the most of your stay.
You can’t fly directly to any of the islands, but the closest airport is Lombok International Airport (LOP). Be sure to plan your trip accordingly.
There are no cars or motorized vehicles on the islands, but all of the islands are small enough to walk or bike. Many of the hostels on this list rent bikes for cheaper than other places on the islands. (On that note, we actually saw a few scooters here…)
If you’re on a budget, you can save money on food by eating at the many stalls around the islands that are much cheaper than the more expensive western restaurants.
A further way to save money and help the environment while you’re at it is by bringing a reusable water bottle with a filter. Check our recommended packing list here. This is a great tip in general for traveling around Bali, Indonesia and South-East Asia.
You wouldn’t believe, but some people die here because of partying hard and then go diving with a weak body. It is not common obviously, but we heard stories…
If you want to island hop, there are ferries to and from each of the islands every day.
This hostel has fun themed rooms with several options for whatever you need. They have several dorm or couple rooms, one single room, and one family room. The themes for these rooms include a ball pit room, a flying boat room made of bamboo, a room full of pillows, a treehouse-themed room, and more. Some rooms have air conditioning while others have fans. Similarly, some rooms have private bathrooms and others have shared bathrooms.
Guests have said that the staff is friendly and the place is kept clean. They offer activities such as a cinema, a game cube with Mario-Kart, ping-pong, game nights, and restaurant delivery. Nearby on the island you can visit Gili Meno’s underwater statues, relax on the beach, go snorkeling or diving, try out horseback riding, or grab a bite to eat or a drink at the number of bars and restaurants on the island
Location: The Rabbit Tree Hostel has a great location. It is in the center of the island, so everything is within about a 20-minute walk. This is enough to walk around the entire island, actually. On Meno Island you really do not need to worry about the location.
This beachfront property on Gili T offers a 12-meter infinity pool overlooking the ocean, a sandy beach area for guests to enjoy, a restaurant and bar, air conditioning, WiFi, and more. They offer dorm rooms—mixed or female-only—and rooms in air-conditioned teepees.
Mad Monkey prides themselves on the social scene of their hostels, and this location is no exception. They offer many activities where you can meet others, including live music every Sunday at their poolside stage and weekly pool parties with a DJ and happy hour.
Location: This hostel is located on the northwest side of the island. Many of the island’s attractions are within walking distance, but the hostel also has bikes available to rent to make your journey around the island easier. Check our map for reference.
Gili Castle is one of the most recommended hostels on Gili Trawangan. It’s 3-bed dorms and private rooms are comfortable and air conditioned, equipped with personal lockers and plugs. They have a big social area, a swimming pool with a jumping bridge, a 6-meter rock climbing wall, a jumping tower, a bar, and great music.
As said, each dorm has a max of 3 beds only. So the dorms are really small, which is quite cool.
This place is one of the most legendary hostels in Indonesia. It is a party hostels in its purest form, really. Get ready for beer pong, drinking games, and pub crawls.
It is the sister hostel of Gili Mansion, just next door.
Gili Castle and Mention also organized weekly beach cleanups. Join ’em. It will give you a perspective on how the Gilis are run, too.
Location: On the eastern side of the island, Gili Castle has a great location. It’s close to great snorkeling points, beaches, restaurants, and parties. When arriving by boat, you only need to walk like 5 minutes from the peer.
Four brothers who grew up traveling the world created this wonderful Broken Compass hostel. They focus on organic growth through good service and word of mouth recommendations. Both dorm rooms and private rooms are available, all with air conditioning and a large fan. In their dorms, each bunk has a privacy curtain, reading light, and a personal locker with charging point inside. All bookings come with breakfast.
The hostel has a bar and restaurant, a great place to chill or socialize with other travelers. Not quite as social as some other hostels, this place is great for those traveling in groups or for those who want a quieter stay.
Location: Also on the east side of Gili T, the Broken Compass is close to many bars, restaurants, beaches, and other fun activities.
La Boheme, like many hostels, has 3-bed dorms or private rooms for those who prefer their own space. All rooms have personal lockers, fans, and plugs. Some have air conditioning while others have fans only.
Their big lounge area has comfy bean bag chairs, an LCD projector, and free WiFi. They offer free breakfast (fresh fruit and pancakes) and have free delivery from Le Petit Gili Restaurant or the use of their kitchen for other meals. You can relax at the swimming pool or rent bicycles, kayaks, or snorkeling equipment.
Location: Just off the main road, La Boheme is within 5 minutes of the main strip of the island where the night life is lively.
Last but seriously not the least, comes the hostels on Gili Air. This is our favorite, prefered island. It is more chill in many ways. Locals are much more relaxed, we felt, and the overall atmosphere is much more relaxing. From here you can take day trips and snorkeling trips over to the Gili T and Meno.
Gili Air is also small, so you can walk to anywhere with in 20 minutes. In theory, you could rent a bike…but it’s not worth the trouble here. On Gili T we recommend renting a Bike, yes.
6. Captain Coconuts – Gili Air
This one of a kind Captain Coconuts hostel is very mindful of its environmental impact. Their rooms are constructed with recycled antique timber doors and windows. They make sure through their solar hot water system and bio-septic system that their guests’ travel footprints will not negatively affect the island’s environment.
A complimentary breakfast is available to guests, along with WiFi, and a natural stone pool and deck. The resort’s bamboo lodge offers a unique experience to guests; each bed is suspended from the roof and is equipped with privacy/mosquito screens and private fan, with lockers fitted with charging stations for your convenience. For more privacy, you can stay in one of their standard or deluxe rooms, or book the two bedroom villa for your family or friends.
Location: On the southwest part of the island, Captain Coconuts is within walking distance of many activities such as one of the best places to watch the sunset. On Gili Air, the location of the hostel is not that important anymore. Gili Air is small and walkable.
Described as a “home away from home,” Gili Buana has a cozy feel with its traditional design and decorations. Choose from shared or private rooms depending on your budget. They offer an Indonesian or international breakfast to enjoy in their outdoor dining area. Relax by the poolside or take a dip in the refreshing water.
Guests have said that this hostel has an amazing staff, a large pool, good air conditioning, and hot showers.
Location: Gili Buana is just a short walk to the beach, various diving centers, and other attractions. You can also rent bikes from the hostel.
This beachfront Tipsea Turtle property has a tropical jungle for a backyard, the perfect setting for their swimming pool and bar. On the beach, they have six deluxe bungalows, each with modern amenities such as en suite bathrooms. They also offer dorm rooms for those on a tighter budget, including female only dorms, or private rooms for those who want their space.
Along with the pool, they have WiFi, free breakfast, a bar and cafe, daily activities, and easy access to a diving center. They’ll help you participate in sunset cruises, snorkeling, or sunset walks.
Location: With its location on the northeast side of Gili Air, the Tipsea Turtle is close to the beach and many great restaurants and diving or snorkeling locations.
Of course, there are always cheap hostels. But how do you actually find them? When you are traveling on a shoe-string budget and you want to save every dollar, there are ways to find the cheapest places in Gili Islands.
Open Hostelz.com with a full list of all hostels in Gili Islands
add your dates
Order the listings by price
Simple as that.
Hostelz.com is a price comparison site for hostels. They list every single one in the world and tells you exactly which website is cheaper to use.
Another smart Tip: Check what is actually included, and what is excluded. Take a closer look at the location, too. A further location might mean more costs in transport.
Best Hostels in Gili Islands for Solo Travelers?
What is seriously the best hostel in Gili Islands for solo-travelers?
This is a resort style Hostel Situated in Gili Air, sustainably designed and they are mindful of environment and surroundings. The hostel exterior is so beautiful with its small bungalows and pool. They have very unique swinging dorm beds and maybe you will need to get used to it. But then it will be really nice to gently rock to sleep in them at night and wake up to the sun rising between the palm trees in the early morning.
Again, this is the best hostel in Gili Isands for solo traveler, both male and female.
We recommend booking your hostel as early as possible! All of Gili Islands best hostels are popular; especially in high-season. To make sure you end up in those stylish and good hostels, secure your room/ bed as soon as you have your travel dates fix.
The coolest Hostel App you need comes as well from Hostelworld. It gives you super cool features like you can contact your hostel mates beforehand and make plans together. Find more details in our review of the app
Ask all your questions and connect with like-minded wanderers 🔥
Here we share with you the most asked question:
What are the 3 Gili Islands?
The three Gili Islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno, are small tropical islands scattered off the coast of Lombok in Indonesia. The three islands are a popular addition to many a traveller's Bali itinerary.
Which Gili Island is the best to visit?
Gili Trawangan is the most evolved tourist destination among all the three Gili Islands and a great place for party lovers. It is also best known for its scuba diving and snorkeling experiences, as well as surfing, kayaking and parasailing.
Gili Meno is one of the most sought-after romantic getaways of all times. It is home to some of the best beaches in the archipelago and the top mind for every honeymooner.
Gili Air comes with the best features of both Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno. It offers the light, sound and all the beats for a party lover and at the same time, it offers cool and tranquil beaches, mind sweeping views for people who are looking for rest and relaxation. The diver and snorkelers also find the waters to be very welcoming.
What is special about Gili Islands?
The Gili Islands offer a range of action and adventure – they are considered the best alternative island escape that visitors to Bali can add to their holiday itineraries.
When should I go to Gili Islands?
The best time to visit Gili Islands is from June to early - October.
Are there cars on Gili Islands?
Unique about the Gili Islands is that that are no cars on the island. It is so small that within 30 minutes you can explore the entire island by bicycle. The local transport is a bike, electric bikes or horse taxis.
Do you have any questions left, maybe doubts? Then please leave it in the comment below. We are very keen to help you - and actually you would even do us a favor!
Your question will help us to improve this Gili Islands guide.
Last note: Our commitment
This is a genuine article to help you travel a bit smarter, and find the best place on a budget! We will never recommend you any place we haven’t evaluated or are not convinced by. We are constantly updating all our guides to keep them as fresh and accurate as possible.
Safe travels, The Hostelgeeks
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