Gili Gede: Better Than Bali

Gili Gede (Better Than Bali)

While the old favourites of Bali and Gili Trawangan have expanded to nightmarish tourist proportions (and Lombok is racing to catch up with them) Gili Gede offers a peaceful and quiet alternative.

gili gede
Busy beach

Travellers of all sorts and from all over the world are joining cruisers in the search for somewhere fresh and new to visit. Aren’t we all looking for a destination with an authentic atmosphere and peaceful vibe?

We reckon that if you’re looking to relax in an unspoiled destination that still offers stylish accommodation and activities, Gili Gede is that perfect blend of seclusion and creature comforts. We anchored off the southern part of the island to shield from the weather and ended up staying in the area for three months!

Gile Gede
Safe anchorage

And since we were there, the best news of all? FERRIES ARE NOW RUNNING AGAIN BETWEEN BALI AND GILI GEDE.

Indonesia’s Hidden Paradise

Gili Gede is a small island located off the south-west coast of Lombok. Before we arrived we had heard stories about this place, but not very much. Turns out, it’s a hidden paradise! Largely untouched by tourism, Gili Gede has no cars, plenty of wildlife on land and sea and some classic palm-fringed sandy beaches.

Gili Gede
The high street

There’s a small local population here making a traditional living from fishing, building wooden boats and pearl farming.

Gili Gede
Fishing boats
Secluded Destination

Joe, a local man who had helped us with a couple of electrical repairs on SY Esper, invited us to his home and on a tour round the island. This was an offer we jumped at.

Gili Gede
Joe giving us the lowdown

Surrounded by beaches with winding trails over the hills and through forests and a thoroughly laid back vibe, the small island can be toured on foot in a day.

sailboat haul out methods

Traditional Way of Living

The island is free of cars, with the occasional scooter passing on the muddy paths. This makes it great for a quiet stroll through untouched trees and shrubs and the occasional village.

Gili Gede
Jamie on the main drag across the hill

Everyone we passed (and that was not many people) stopped to wave and say a few words. Smiles are free and easily given. And with the island’s small population, you can get a glimpse of the traditional way of living, which they are more than happy to show you.

Gili Gede
making an octopus lure in the same way for millennia*

*These kinds of lures have been used across the Indo-Pacific for catching octopus since around 1500BC. To find out more, check out these links:

Gili Gede
The beach is used by everyone
Gili Gede – Final Thoughts

Visiting Gili Gede is a unique experience. Its unspoilt nature, local communities and lack of traffic provide a tranquil and relaxing holiday for both cruisers and landlubbers. We believe that Gili Gede and the surrounding tiny islets (more on those coming soon!) are the most unspoilt destination that the Bali, Lombok and northern Gili Islands region has to offer.

Goats everywhere!
Accommodation and Eating Out

Obviously, we stayed on our boat, but we ate at a few places (there aren’t many). These were our favourites:

Getting There

You can fly to Lombok and take a five minute ride on a local boat across from Pelangan Harbour. Or take the ferry from Bali.

Peace and fair winds!

Liz and Jamie xx

Check out the video for lots more detail…

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