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Tag: gili air

Gili Trawangan Island Culture and History

Culture and History of The Gili Island

Traveler’s quote: the Gili island are not only a place where seas corverge but where lives and cultures converge into a very interesting reality where you constantly to pinch yourself”

The three Gili Island, composed of Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air are located off the northwest coast of Lombok. In sasak language, “Gili” means “small island”. There are more than 30 gilis around Lombok, but Trawangan, Meno and Air are by far the most frequently visited. Because of their proximity to the equator, they have a tropical climate throughout the year with an average air temperature of 28C and water temperatures ranging from 26 to 29C.

The rainy season runs from November to April and the dry season from May to October. The gilis bathe in the bali sea, at the convergence of the indian and Pacific Oceans and enjoy a drier micro-climate than the rest of Indonesia due in part to the fact that they are situated between two great volcanoes – Mount Rinjani on Lombok and mount Agung on Bali.

Like the majority of the Lombok community, the inhabitants of the Gili island are primaliry muslim and each island has a mosque [s] emitting sounds of live prayer five times daily. Bahasa Indonesia is the national language spoken that unites all of the country’s island but Gili locals speakm sasak Gili Air which is slightly different to sasak Lombok.

About 200 years ago, fishhermen from Sulawesi of Makassar, Bugis and Mandar ethnicities arrived on the Gili island. They began to settle temporarily because of the abundance of fish in the sea and the presence of fresh water on Gili Air and at that time, sectioning off a bit of land with string was enough to claim it.

These otherwise nomadic people began to settle in the Gilis and cultivate the land, planting peanuts, tapioca and corn whilst continuing their tradition of fishing. They sold and exchanged their produce in the markets of Lombok and also traded portions of their land for livestock, rice and other much needed items not native to the islands. Coconut palms are indigenous to the Gilis while mango, banana and papaya trees have been introduced over the years.

The firs western traveler to set foot on the Gili island came in 1984 to Gili Air. By the mid 1990’s Bali had gained international recognition as a travel destination and the Gilis began to be kniwn as an off-the-beaten-track paradise escape. Today, the Gili Islands are flourishing and are attracting all types of visitors from every coorner of the globe.


Over time the people of the Gili islands have adapted to a multitude of changes and cultural maintain their cultural identity. Historically the people here have seen their days of hardship when during WWII, Lombok and the Giliislands were occupied by japanese forces. The islands were used to contain prisoners of war and the locals endured forced labour.

A hil situated on the south of Trawangan was used as a lookout post and today remnants of the bunker still remain. Trawangan derived it’s name from the indonesian word “terowongan‘ meaning “tunnels“of which a network were dug by the occupying forces. The holes have since been fiiled in.

Hot Tip : Bear in mind that the Gili Islands are exposed to open oceans and can have incredibly strong currents running between and around them and trade winds that create coppy seas. For this reason-always check daily conditions before commencing oceanic sport and know that it is NOT recomended to swim between the island no matter you skill level.

Editor : Jackysan
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Gili Air, The Island of Water, Charm and Balance – The closest island to Lombok, Gili Air is aptly named after the Indonesian word “air” meaning “water“. It’s the only Gili island to have natural underground fresh water wells. Gili Air is gem of a spot that allows you to sample the best of both worlds of the Gili Island – it has the relaxing charm of Gili Meno and a bit of the night life of Gili Trawangan.

Here you can take it fast or slow and enjoy an abundance of water sports from diving to surfing to kiteboarding and land activities such as yoga and cycling. in the evenings you also have the option of watching movies screened on the beach (weather permitting).

Gili Air Tourism
Gili Air Beach (c)

Gili Air has pristine beaches an clear turquoise waters that soothe and revive. it is the most locally populated island with 1500 residents and it’s not hard to see a special pride amongst the localsfor the awe that their land inspires. There is the biggest concentration of bars and restaurants on the east of Air where you can take in views of lush Green Lombok and the heights of Mt. Rinjani.

Gili Air Bike, Gili Island, Lombok Indonesia(c) (c)
Gili Air Bike, Gili Island, Lombok Indonesia via Mila Supinskaya

Venture to the northwest and you will find yourself on empty sands gazing at the majestic Agung volcano of Bali. For sunsets be sure to be on the north/west side of the island. Happiness is infectious on this island and it’s friendly inhabitants will never miss a chance to make you smile.

Gili Air has a great selection of restaurants including homemade italian ir mediterranean food, spanish tapas and exquisite cuisine options as well as a number of charming warungs seving all the best local dishes. There’s a range of accommodation for every budget from backpackers to bungalows (on the beach and in the village) and private villas and resorts.

Sunrise Resort Gili Air
Sunrise Resort Gili Air (c)
Yoga in Gili Air
Sup Yoga in Gili Air (c)

There are also a number of spas to choose from and you’ll be delighted to find quality shooping on the island! because of Air’s beauty and increasing popularity as a dive and travel destination the island is seeing rapid depelopment but somehow maintains it’s local charm and atmosphere. wander throughout the island to take it all in as you lose and find yourself here!

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Editor : Jackysan