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Gili Air Activities Guide: Things to Do that Aren’t Diving

Posted on 03/11/2019

Gili Air Activities Guide: Things to Do that Aren’t Diving

So, you’ve booked your diving trip to Gili Air. You’ve figured out how to get here, what to expect, and even booked in your courses and dives. You can’t wait to see all the amazing marine life but would also like a few days away from the tank. Or you’re keen to get down under but your partner, friends or family don’t or can’t dive. That’s alright! 

We’ve got a whole host of suggestions. They’d make for the perfect date night, family day out, fun activity with your friends or some well deserved me-time. We’ve considered the little ones too so most of these are age inclusive. And we’ve covered a broad range of potential hobbies so there’s something for everyone!

Get your cook on!

Our tiny paradise island offers great cooking classes. Learn to cook local food in a fun class with your own pack or other traveller foodies dropping in. This one’s the perfect family activity with the young ones, just as much as it’s the perfect date night or me-time. 

The most well-known place for this is ‘Gili Cooking Classes’. This is located on the right hand side, a few shops or so down the main street from harbour. In the centre of the island further north, ‘Warung Sunny’ also offers Indonesian food cooking classes. You’re more than welcome to drop into either when you get here for details.

Gili cooking classes staff standing in front of menu smiling
Image by @gilicookingclasses

And if cooking isn't quite up your street, we’ve put together a Good Food Guide so you can eat your way around the island instead. A day well spent away from the water if you’re asking us! After all, diving burns all those extra calories...right?

Yoga, meditation, spas and wellness

If you’re into yoga, meditation, healthy eating and that wellness vibe, there’s a few resorts here that offer it all. 

H2O yoga and meditation centre offer a class schedule in various practices. They also have accommodation on site, a pool area and their Good Earth Cafe for healthy fuel. Their studios are open air, and the resort is more generally open plan so it feels pretty spacious. They have a nature theme with blue as their main colour. Just pop in for more info!

Flowers and Fire is more yoga focused and again they offer a varied class schedule. They cater to different abilities by labelling classes with levels. So there’s something for the beginner, intermediate and advanced yogi. Their studios are also open air but their design is more bamboo and garden themed. They also have a healthy eating cafe on site. Learn more about their yoga classes, workshops, events and venue online, 

morning yoga/meditation in bamboo treehouse

For a more upmarket experience, there’s Slow. They may be pricier but they offer more private all-in-one experiences. This includes extensive packages, luxury accommodation, spa treatments and private yogalates and dance classes. 

There’s also a few salons and spas which are clearly visible when making your way around the island. All of these offer massages, facials and a whole host of beauty treatments at affordable prices. 

If you’re looking to wind down or get some exercise in, or perhaps both, the above options are all great choices! All can be enjoyed solo but many are great for groups with varying interests. Order a delicious smoothie bowl and coffee while your partner is in yoga class. Or go and get a facial while your daughters go to meditation class. We could go on!

Explore the magic of Lombok

For the more adventurous, you can take a day trip or longer to Lombok and go exploring! Public boats leave early in the morning and cost 12,000 IDR per person. They leave when the boat is full and get you to Lombok in around 20 minutes. The last boat comes back to Lombok at around 4 or 5pm depending on the day. There are also other transport options which can be easily explained to you by the ticket office staff at harbour. Just ask!

Once you get there, there’s a range of options. You can head to the beaches of Kuta or Senggigi or even venture out to Pink Beach...it’s actually pink. Or the rice plantations and hiking trails of Tetebatu, which compared to Bali are free of tourism. There’s a plethora of waterfalls all over the island and we can’t forget to mention Mt. Rinjani. The volcano you see from Gili Air, it’s there for you to climb in Lombok. The options are endless!

the rice plantations of Tetebatu Lombok
Image by Aneesa Patel/ @saltyaneesa

Lombok serves as a great escape for those with itchy feet. The overwhelmingly green landscape is a welcome change from our beachy island life scenery.

Benang Stokel waterfalls in the greenery Lombok
Image by Ellie May Humphreys - @earthellie

And if you’re travelling as a family,  it’s the perfect place to achieve the result of exhausted kids. All that Dora the exploring is sure to get them sleeping well before they’re asked to go to bed. You’re welcome!

Sunsets, sunrises and perhaps horse-riding

Another beautiful thing to do is getting up early to watch the sunrise or heading over to the sunset side to watch sundown. 

You can catch sunrise over Mt.Rinjani directly out front from Manta. Relax on our Waterfront loungers while admiring the view. Followed by ordering a delicious breakfast from the exact same spot. Sounds like the perfect lazy morning, right? Here’s a taste of the experience to motivate you into getting up early:

watching the sunrise from the waterfront at Manta Dive
Image by Aneesa Patel/ @saltyaneesa

And of course, you definitely want to catch at least one sunset during your time here. The sunset side of the island is on the opposite side to Manta but not too far of a walk or cycle away. Head west from harbour instead of east and follow the coastal beach path. You’ll soon reach a strip of stalls and restaurants. This is where you want to be. 

Take a seat at any of the beach bars or restaurants, Lumbung and Mowies are popular choices! Grab a drink while admiring the view before enjoying a delicious dinner under the starry night sky. There’s nothing quite like it.

watching sunset on the beach
Image by Aneesa Patel/ @saltyaneesa

And if you’re not one for sitting down, you can always book a sunset horse-riding experience. Gallop away along the beach and ocean waters instead. Just imagine the wind in your hair as you gaze into the burning sky, a movie-like experience. Or your partner’s eyes...makes for a romantic date night too!

Freediving, paddleboarding and other activities fit for a mermaid or merman

And for those who can’t help but get their toes wet, even when they aren’t diving, there’s other water activities too. There’s a couple of places on the island that offer freediving courses if you’d like to try your hand without the tank! Freedive Flow is the only freediving centre here and it’s on the left hand side when making your way down the main road from harbour. You can’t miss it!

There’s also stand up paddleboarding and snorkel tours that run around all 3 islands. There’s lots of travel agents, tourist information and mask, snorkel and fins rental stalls dotted all around the island. Speak to the people here for more info!

All in all, there’s way more to do than you think on and around our tiny paradise island. We’d recommend using the slow pace of our island to your advantage. Perhaps invest time in your own hobbies and goals. Read that book you’ve been meaning to for ages, write that poem you’ve had in your head for the past couple of months...you get the jist. 

Either way, we hope you enjoy your time both underwater and on land. We look forward to welcoming you soon!

By Aneesa Patel/ saltyaneesa


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  • rarddib 06/11/2019 3:30am (4 months ago)

    hi :) bross :)

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