Gili Air is a small island in Lombok, Indonesia, about 10 minutes by fast boat from Lombok’s mainland, a 2.5-hour speedboat ride from Bali’s mainland or 2 hours from the Nusa Islands. It has beautiful clear water, coconut palms and you can get around the entire island by riding a bicycle. In fact, motorised transport is not allowed, just adding to the island vibes. So where to stay in Gili Air? Here’s our Gili Air accommodation guide to help you choose…
- Best Areas To Stay
- How Many Days Do You Need?
- Booking Accommodation
- Accommodation Guide
Where To Stay In Gili Air? Area Guide
Gili Air is a tiny island and most places can be reached within a 10 – 20-minute bicycle ride.
The main areas to stay in Gili Air can be divided into staying by the beach or staying inland, or by North, South, East and West. But where is the best area to stay?
Gili Air Map
Staying By The Beach Or Inland?
Honestly, in our opinion, it doesn’t really matter if your accommodation is right on the beach or not, as even if it is inland it will be very close to the beach, and perhaps a little more tranquil.
We stayed inland in a beautiful pool villa, which was only a 5-minute bicycle ride to the nearest beach and was on a gorgeous quiet road with palm trees and some local houses around.
Inland would be our pick for the best place to stay for a more local feel. The east side beaches would be our pick for where to stay in Gili Air for the best beaches.
Should I Stay In The North, South, East Or West Part Of Gili Air?
The east side of the island is the best area to stay in Gili Air for swimming and snorkelling, as it has the best beaches.
The south side of the island is perhaps the busiest as this is where the jetty is and where boats arrive and leave. So this would be our pick for where to stay if you don’t want to walk far with luggage but also don’t mind a more touristy feel.
And the western side is the best area to stay in Gili Air for sunsets, where you can see Mount Agung on Bali.
In terms of getting your luggage to your accommodation, you can get a cidomo which is like a small horse and cart, but as we honestly didn’t know about the treatment and care of the horses, we decided not to use them. You could also hire a bicycle if you had a backpack only.
We walked to our accommodation with our bags, which was fine but will be slow. Keep in mind some roads are sandy/dirt, particularly part of the west and north roads around the beachside, so this will be harder.
But overall, due to the small size of Gili Air, it’s one of the only places where location doesn’t really matter. I would decide based on the best accommodation for you, whether that be a guesthouse, hotel or villa.
You really can reach all areas of the island easily, so below we have our accommodation guide with all of the best places to stay in Gili Air, Lombok.
Should I Stay On Gili Air or Gili Trawangan?
Gili Air may only be a short boat ride from Gili Trawangan, but the two islands are very different. One question we had the first time we visited the Gili Islands was which Gili Island to stay on. All of the Gili Islands have no motorised transport, and all have beautiful clear water surrounding them.
Gili Trawangan has the most tourists, restaurants, shops, bars etc. It is the busiest island and the one to stay on if you want to party. Having said that, there are areas of the island where you can escape the crowds and have a more tranquil stay if that’s what you’re after. It also has some beautiful beaches.
Gili Air is a quieter island than Gili Trawangan with fewer tourists. It still has some delicious restaurants and things to do. I personally preferred the white sand beaches here for swimming and snorkelling. Gili Air would be our pick for where to stay in the Gili Islands for a nice balance of activity, things to do and yet fewer crowds. It’s a great option for couples and families. Having said that, I think out of all the Gili Islands, most people will find something to love about Gili Air.
Gili Meno is another of the Gili Islands, that is known for being the quietest and the most untouched. It’s popular for romantic stays, honeymoons and people looking for a peaceful stay.
How Long To Spend In Gili Air?
Personally, I think 2 days and 2 nights is a minimum. Spending time here is all about relaxing, taking it slow and enjoying nature, which is difficult to do if you have a short stay.
You could also easily spend up to a week on Gili Air if you are happy to have a slower-paced holiday and fully enjoy the island time, or if you are staying here to do a dive course or something similar.
If you have the time I would recommend picking two of the three Gili Islands to stay a couple of nights on each, as each island has a completely different personality.
When looking for where to stay, we always search for our hotels on Booking.com. Simple to use and also has a great app.
Airbnb is another good option if you’re looking to stay in a private villa.
Gili Air Accommodation Guide
Our picks for the best places to stay in Gili Air below are based on our favourites that we have stayed in, knowledge of the best hotels and their specific locations, lots of research, reading reviews, hearing from you and putting this all together with our own experience.
So here are our favourite picks for where to stay in Gili Air…
Please note: Prices are per night and were accurate at the time of this post.
Splurge: Luxury Accommodation In Gili Air
We absolutely loved staying at Slow Villas. It’s the perfect place to stay for laid-back luxury accommodation that makes you feel even more connected to the island. It quickly feels like your own beautiful island home, with a stunning private pool and garden. Slow has a focus on environmental sustainability.
Gili Air Villas (2 bedrooms or more)
These villas below only have two bedrooms or more. But some of the villas listed above also come with one-bedroom, two-bedroom or more options as well, so make sure to check them out also.
Luxury Hotels For Less
Best Hotels In Gili Air For Under $100/night
Best Hotels For Under $50/night
We will continually update this post with any new places we stay and love, to make sure we recommend the best accommodation.
What’s your pick for where to stay in Gili Air? Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below…
This article was first published on March 12th, 2019, and last updated in 2023.