Lombok Gili Islands / Indonesia / Lombok

Living on a beautiful island like Bali doesn’t mean that life is always a vacation. We get into routines, meet with friends, take classes, work, and study. I recently gave a piano concert at my house (so much fun!) and the kids are learning and creating much in homeschool. We enjoy our lives so much! But sometimes, it’s nice to leave it all behind and “do nothing” for a few days. And what better place to do nothing than where there’s almost nothing to do?

This time, we chose to head just east of Bali to the island of Lombok, and the neighboring Gili Islands, still part of Indonesia. Most people get from Bali to the Gili Islands by boat with a 1-3 hour ride. But because of our aversion to sea sickness and some horror stories we heard about the trip, we decided to fly to Lombok first, drive through it and then take a shorter boat ride to Gili Air, the nearest of the three Gili Islands. Our friends the Kings took the boat from Bali and were there waiting for us when we arrived. They had already picked out a hotel, next to a beautiful beach with crystal blue water and great snorkeling right off the shore.

Emily on Gili Air

Emily on Gili Air

Gili Air is extremely laid back. There are no cars or any motorized vehicles on the island. The roads are sandy paths mostly used for walking, but there is also the occasional horse carriage or bicycle.

Walking on Gili Air

Walking on Gili Air

Already a quiet island, we came in low season, so it was even more quiet. Despite this, there were several delicious restaurants to choose from with high quality food, most of them right on the beach. Scalliwag’s was one of our favorites.

At Scalliwag's

At Scalliwag’s

We took some walks around the island, went on a glass bottom boat ride to Gili Meno (an even less populated island) and did some snorkeling nearby. The water was beautiful and clear. The fish were colorful and large. We even saw sea turtles! The coral was mostly covered in sand, however, and wasn’t very colorful.

Boarding the glass bottom boat

Boarding the glass bottom boat

Snorkeling near Gili Meno

Snorkeling near Gili Meno

I got some cool necklaces from these guys that make them out of coconuts.

Making coconut jewelry

Making coconut jewelry

Despite wanting to “do nothing” I did check my email and had some drama to deal with, but overall it was a very relaxing and wonderful trip where we had fun playing and connecting with our friends, clearing our heads of clutter, and enjoying our moments on this beautiful world.

Gili Air from Gili Meno

Gili Air from Gili Meno

On the way back to Bali, we stopped in Senggigi (a beach town in Lombok), Mataram (the biggest city in Lombok where we got Emily some new shoes and a swimsuit), and Kute/Kuta beach (a still somewhat rough and undiscovered beach town in the south of Lombok). The coastline north of Senggigi was particularly spectacular.


North of Senggigi, Lombok

Kute Beach

Kute Beach, Lombok

Note: Most of Lombok follows a metered taxi system which is inexpensive and efficient. However, there are transportation companies set up in the Bangsal port in the north and Kute in the south, to prevent taxis from taking passengers from those locations, so they can charge tourists more (sometimes 3-4 times more). In Bangsal, if you’re willing to walk another 300 meters away from the port, you can find metered taxis there.

We really enjoyed this trip and are looking forward to visiting more places in the future that remind us to pause, clear our minds, take a deep breath of fresh air, and know there is nothing that needs to be done today except enjoy the day. Enjoy more pictures from the trip below.

Brandon is a location independent entrepreneur, musician, worldschooling father, and the principal author of this blog. He's all about reaching his potential and enjoying life to the fullest in each moment.


  1. Jennifer Pearce Says: March 29, 2013 at 12:33 am

    This is a country of such incredible beauty. The water, sand, greenery, sea life, and friendly people kept us feeling in such awe of life and our great fortune to be a part of it. It helped me realize how much I want to practice being even more present in soaking up this amazing existence to the fullest potential. I am so honored to have such an amazing family and wonderful friends to share it with. I find in them so much love, strength, and wisdom. Lastly, I just have to say, I very much enjoyed the absence of motorized vehicles on the islands as well. :) I’m so glad we took this opportunity!

  2. Looks beautiful. Been to Bali 8 times and never visited these islands, will next time. Gorgeous.

  3. *Sigh… this is so beautiful. That place looks very serene and paradisal. I will make it a goal to be there some day. With you guys! :)

    Those pictures are great. It’s so fun to see the girls and what they’re experiencing. Aysia is growing so fast! Kennedy noticed that Marie looked quite upset in the picture of everyone walking on Gili Air. What was the cause of her distress? :)

  4. Wow! That makes me consider moving to Bali even more! Can you tell us how much it was to fly to the island for all of you (we have 3 kids too) and how much the accomodation of the island was. As far as I understand, the beaches of Bali are not really interesting, is it the case?

    • You can’t fly directly there, but you can fly from Bali to Lombok for about $25/person on Lion air (30 min), then a $20 or so taxi ride to Bangsal (2 hours), then an 80 cent/pp public boat ride (or $10 to charter your own) to Gili Air (30 minutes). Definitely faster to take the fast boat from Bali (2 hours), if you can handle the sometimes tempestuous sea in between.

  5. Hello from Spain.

    I really like your lifestyle, it is a good example for me and my family.


  6. That water is nearly unbelievably blue. Picture perfect tropical island… **sigh** What a lovely, relaxing vacation! I think I’d love the quiet of no motorized vehicles on an island… but miss the convenience of them if I had to walk very far. Although a horse drawn carriage could be fun.

    How did the cost compare to Bali for lodging and food?

  7. Olaf from Solingen, Germany Says: April 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I traveled Bali, Lombok and Gili in 1997 with a friend as backpackers for a few weeks. Had a wonderful time. Glad to read that Gili is still a great place to visit and not to crowded with tourists. Thank you for sharing your experience on this trip.

  8. Hello:

    We have traveled all over Europe and Costa Rica. We are looking for another destination for the next adventure. This might be the ticket. How safe is the area for families traveling? The pictures look amazing! Thanks.


  9. Theresa Burkard Says: January 19, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    What a thorough article. I really enjoyed reading this and it kinda takes me back to last year when I also visited Gili Island. Anyway, later I found out that there’s plenty other beautiful islands in Indonesia like Derawan Island or Kei Island. Have you heard about that? I usually read http://www.jakpost.travel for my daily digest about Indonesia’s tourism destinations. You should read it too, and maybe one day we got bump into each other in some place in Indonesia. ;)

  10. I am so excited to find your blog through another travelling family blog. We have a home base in Canada but are making travelling a priority in our lives with our 5 & 7 year old girls. We will be in SEA for June/July this year and actually plan to end our trip on the Gili Islands with friends from Australia. I’m really excited to explore Bali with my family as I haven’t been back since I traveled solo 14 years ago! I remember loving Ubud and it will be fun to experience it as a family this time. Thank you for sharing your adventures!

Leave a Reply