You know the tropical island paradise you dream about? White sand, turquoise water, and more rum than you know what to do with? Well, it’s real, and it’s totally within reach for the average Aussie. The Gili islands, a trio of islands off the coast of Lombok, are a stunning combination of sunshine, sand, and sea, making them perfect honeymoon spots – and super easy to get to from Australia.
The biggest tourist hit is Gili Trawangan, but Meno and Air are both gaining in popularity – and they both have a reputation as ideal honeymoon getaways due to their more laid back and gentle rustic atmosphere. Gili Trawangan is arguably the most developed of the three, with Meno coming in a close second, but there are still absolutely no motor vehicles on any of the islands – cycling, walking, or hiring a Cidomo (horse and cart) for a few dollars are the main ways of getting around. Of course, this means peace and quiet are one of the many virtues of these beautiful islands.
Accommodation varies from the budget to the luxurious – mostly private bungalows and villas, (which are the staple of any Indonesian holiday!), but there are also a fair few luxury hotels and spas. The three islands each offer their own little slice of heaven, but Trawangan is definitely the busiest of the three – so if you’re looking for seclusion, head to the smaller Meno or Air! Boats between islands are available though – so if you change your mind, the other islands are only a short boat ride away.
If you are party animals, there are plenty of bars and lots of great restaurants packed to the rafters on Trawangan – but if you prefer a little more intimacy, then there are several secluded and quiet spots to enjoy a good meal in each other’s company. During my own stay on Gili Trawangan, I saw one couple enjoying a private meal on the beach at sunset, in a rose strewn bower overlooking the sea – I can’t think of a more perfect setting!
For the adventurous honeymooners, the Gili islands are fantastic scuba diving and snorkelling destinations. There are plenty of dive schools if you would like to learn – and there are few better places to do so, as it has some of the most stunning underwater scenes, with incredible water clarity and diverse marine life. Turtles are frequent locals, and there is nothing quite like seeing these amazing creatures up close!
You can also surf (although the breaks are a little unreliable) or take a walk/cycle around the island. The islands are only a few kilometres across, so they can easily be done in a few hours if the feeling takes you. Take a picnic, and take your time enjoying the scenery!
If physical exertion really isn’t your thing, then never fear – as with any good holiday, sun loungers, ice cream, and cocktails are in abundance!
The beaches are too lovely not to spend time on, and the water is so perfect you could look at it all day. I’d recommend the ginger ice cream, available from many of the vendors which line the streets – I had at least one scoop every day!
The Gili islands are beautiful, and I can guarantee that whichever island you end up on, you will find it very hard to tear yourself away – an everlasting honeymoon in the Gili Islands? Yes please!