There’s so much to see and do on the Gili Islands, but here are our top five things to do with kids!
The Gili Islands are absolutely stunning and were a real highlight of our trip around Indonesia. There’s so much to see and do with little ones, I can’t recommend it enough! The majority of these are found on Gili T which is easily accessible by boat (10-20 mins) from the other islands
1. White sand beaches
Each Gili island is encircled by beautiful sandy shores leading down to shallow turquoise waters. Buckets and spades are readily available from the shops (thank goodness because we didn’t have room on our luggage to pack one!) and there’s plenty of shade from trees and restaurant parasols on the beach. We spent time on the beach in the morning and evening to avoid the hottest part of the day. As it turns out, Gili has spectacular sunrises and sunsets!
2. Snorkelling and Scuba Diving trips
We hired a private boat and travelled around the three Gili Islands, stopping off at the best snorkelling locations on the way. The private boat, crew and snorkelling gear cost 900,000 IDR for four-hours. Having a private boat meant we could go at our own pace which was best with little ones!
For adults and older children, there’s scuba diving. Gili has an abundance of sea life including sharks, turtles and manta rays along with wrecks and beautiful coral. There’s a price agreement on Gili so all Dive companies charge around 450,000 IDR for a single tank dive and discounts are given for booking multiple dives, having 4+ people or your own equipment.
3. Explore the island
Each Gili island is small and can be explored in an afternoon. On Gili T there are canoes all along the beaches available to hire (60,000 IDR / hour for a double) along with paddle boards. There’s horse riding (400,000 IDR / hour) which is particularly lovely at sunset. Cycle hire with a child seat is available for 50,000 IDR per day which is a great way to see the island… but avoid the sandy roads in the North!
4. Try Indonesian food
The delicious Indonesian Nasi / Mie Gorang was a huge hit with our little one. Fried rice / noodles mixed with seafood, chicken or vegetables and served with chicken satay, prawn crackers and a fried egg.
5. Sunset on the south coast of Gili T
There are several beautiful beach clubs and restaurants on the south coast of Gili T that welcome children. Huge beds on the beach, beanbags, hammocks and swings are fun for both adults and children! We particularly enjoyed Malibu and Exile which had campfires and live bands on the beach for sunset.
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3 thoughts on “Top Five: Things to do with kids on the Gili Islands”
I came across your blog post after seeing you’d commented on another post about travelling with kids to one of the islands off of Bali.
My husband and I are taking our two girls (age 5 & 1) in April and would really like to go to Gili Air but have seen so many reviews to say it’s unsafe to take them by boat. Unfortunately all other routes would take such a long time.
Would you mind letting me know how you found the experience getting to/from Gilis with the little ones?
Thanks so much!
Thanks so much for getting in touch. Fin was 1 when we went and we were also a bit nervous about booking the ferry as the ticket says no under 2s and we read some awful reviews! For us it was fine, we found the boats were safe (but bumpy on some routes). We took 3 ferry’s in the end and they were all quite different experiences but I would happily do it again with the kids. We booked with the more established companies – scoot and Gili Gili fastboat. Scoot we needed to shimmy along a narrow ledge on the outside of the boat to get on board – this was manageable with the baby in a carrier. Scoot also dropped us in waist deep water off Nusa Lembongan because the tide was out so we needed to wade through the water with the baby and bags – again it was manageable but not ideal! Gili Gili Fastboat was great, easy to board and the crew were so helpful with the baby. Getting from Bali to Gili T was so quick and easy, you could always spend a night or two there and then it’s a short boat ride over to Gili Air. The ferry’s all have life vests but we did take our own for Fin as he was so small we wanted to make sure it fit properly in case anything happened. We used it for canoeing etc on Gili too so much be worth taking one.
Let us know how you get on or if you have any other questions!