Are you on your way to our tropical paradise with white sandy beaches and palm tree plantations? If yes, you are certainly in for a wonderful treat. We are happy to welcome you to our favorite place in the world! To give you the best possible experience, we have written down a few things for you, which are good to know before traveling to Gili Air. Feel free to ask for more information, if needed.
When visiting Gili Air, we also recommend you to read through our Gili Air E-book – A guide to travel like a local. Here you will find tips and tricks about Gili Air, where to eat, where to drink, and how to get the best possible experience during your stay on the island.
Gili Air is a Muslim Island
The majority of the Indonesian people are Muslim. In fact, Indonesia is the country in the world, holding the largest population of Muslim people. However, all religions are spread throughout the country, and the main religion of the different islands varies. On Bali, most people are Hindu, whereas on Lombok, most people are Muslim. This means, that the three Gili Islands are also Muslim islands.
When traveling to Gili Air, tourists are expected to respect the local culture and religion. This does not have a large impact on your visit on Gili, but a few things come to our mind that is worth mentioning in order to respect the local culture. It is important for us to mention that the locals on Gili Air are very respectful and kind to tourists, and all cultures and minorities are respected. Therefore, we highlight the importance of also respecting their culture.
Dress up when entering village area (leaving the beach).
Since Gili Air is surrounded by white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, it is normal for tourists wanting to go to the beach for a swim or snorkel with the turtles. There are plenty of beach bars, restaurants and places to go lay in the sun for a nice sunbath session. However, when leaving the beach area to walk into the island, please dress up. If wearing a bikini or swim shorts, please cover yourself with shorts and a t-shirt, or wear a sarong over your bikini. This way, you make sure to respect the locals by not walking around without clothes on where they live.
Point only with your right hand
The local people of Gili are very welcoming and talkative. Most of them are always up for a nice chat, and they are very interested in where you are coming from. Please always meet the locals with a smile and feel free to have a talk. Please bear in mind that you should always only point with you right hand – since pointing with your left hand OR with your feet are considered very rude.
Do not touch the head of people
Many tourists fall in love with Gili Air because of the lovely and vibrant local community. However, please bare in mind when interacting with the locals, not to touch the heads of people older than yourself, since this is considered rude and as an offense to their religion.
Take of your shoes before entering a house
It is not very normal to wear proper shoes on Gili, since the beach is almost always right nearby. However, if you wear shoes or flip flops, it is expected of you to remove them before entering a house or a shop. When visiting the local mini market, or a cute little bikini shop by the harbour, you should kindly leave your shoes outside. This is due to respect for the local people’s culture.
Vaccinations When Going to Indonesia
When traveling to Indonesia, it is recommended to prevent yourself with several vaccinations. For visits shorter than 3 weeks, it is recommended to get Hepatitis A vaccine, Tetanus vaccine, and Japanese Meningitis vaccine. For visits longer than 3 weeks, it is recommended also to get Hepatitis B vaccine and Typhoid vaccine. You can read more about vaccinations in our Useful Travel Tips here.
Malaria is not common in the areas around Bali and Lombok, but for some other areas of Indonesia it is recommended to look into the risk of malaria. Dengue fever is common, which is why it is important to prevent yourself with mosquito spray containing DEET or AUTAN. Dengue mosquitoes are active around sunrise and sunset. There is no vaccine or medicine to prevent dengue.
Please note that all the above information is recommendations only. We do not take responsibility for your choice of vaccination.
Visa Restrictions When Entering Indonesia
When arriving in Indonesia, most visitors can walk through the airport without a visa for a maximum 30-day stay. This is possible for most citizens of the world according to the 169 Free Country List. This visa is a 30-day stay, which cannot be extended. Mandatory requirements include: passport with minimum 6 months validity and return tickets proving you will leave the country.
If you want to stay more than 30 days in Indonesia, you can get a Visa on Arrival when arriving at the airport. This visa can be purchased in the airport for a fee, which gives you the possibility of extending your 30-day visa for another 30 days – leaving you with 60 days total in Indonesia. With a Visa on Arrival you are required to go to the Indonesian embassy for fingerprints and a photo when extending for another 30 days. Mandatory requirements include: passport with minimum 6 months validity and return tickets proving you will leave the country.
If you intend to stay longer than 60 days in Indonesia, you can apply for a Social Visa. A Social Visa is possible to get through a visa agent, or if a company sponsors you. However, it is important to mention, that you are not allowed to work when visiting Indonesia on a Social Visa. Working illegally in Indonesia can cause large fines and lead to deportation from the country.
How to get to the Gili Islands
There are several ways in which you can arrive in the Gili Islands. If coming from Bali, you can take a private driver or a shuttle bus to Padang Bai, from where a fast boat leaves 2-3 times a day depending on the season. Driving from Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali to Padang Bai will take you 2-3 hours depending on the traffic, but we recommend that you always leave early in order not to miss your boat. Fast boats from Padang Bai to the Gili Islands will take you around 2 hours. We arrange transfer from all over Bali to Gili Air – please feel free to contact us for inquiries.
If you are flying to Lombok, you can take a taxi to Bangsal. Driving from Lombok International Airport Praya to Bangsal will take you around 2 hours depending on the traffic. From Bangsal you can choose to take a public boat, which leaves almost every hour (when the boat is full) from 7.00am – 6.00pm. You can also choose to hire a private boat from Bangsal to Gili Air. The boat ride will take you between 15-25 minutes depending on the transportation you choose. We arrange transfers from all over Lombok to Gili Air – please feel free to contact us for inquiries.