Gili Air is the most easterly of the three Gili Islands of Lombok. Gili Air is the second smallest of the islands and the closest to mainland Lombok, making it popular with honeymoon couples and travellers seeking a quiet retreat. It has a population of about 1,800. The island offers excellent snorkelling and scuba diving off its east coast, and turtles can be seen along the coral reef. Other water sports such as Standup Paddleboarding and Kite surfing are also now available.
Traditionally, Gili Air was seen as the domain of families and couples wanting a quiet, off-the-beaten-path escape, while the rowdier hoardes had their fun on Gili Trawangan. With Trawangan now upscaling so obviously, more and more backpackers seem to be chosing Gili Air as their primary option. This island has more of a rural, established feeling than the other two, and it is no surprise that many of the local Gili Islanders seem to prefer living on Gili Air.
Continued investment in tourism is seeing these islands develop very quickly and each year sees new resorts and accommodation on the islands while attempting to retain their individual character. Proximity to Gili Meno, the smallest and most secluded of the islands and to Gili Trawangan the largest island, known for its many restaurants and parties, makes Gili Air a happy Medium of seclusion with adequate services. Both other Islands are a quick boat ride away.
Most of the accommodation and other tourism facilities are on the south and east coasts, facing Lombok. The boat landing is in the centre of the south coast. A coastal path leads you around the perimeter of the island, and a leisurely stroll all the way around will take about 90 min. For such a small island, the maze of paths that criss-cross the island can get surprisingly confusing, but these always lead back to the coast path eventually.